Getting the most out of student selected components: 12 tips for participating students

Simon C. Riley, Trevor J. Gibbs, William R. Ferrell, Peter R. Nelson, W. Cairns S. Smith, Michael J. Murphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Student Selected Components (SSCs) are an established feature of UK undergraduate medical curricula that offer students choice. They represent a large investment in time and resources. Although programmes vary between Schools, the major learning objectives remain broadly similar. Providing students engage fully with the activity, the final learning outcomes should also be comparable. However, engaging effectively and purposefully with such programmes may not be a clear and straightforward process for students.

    Aim: To present the challenges and solutions to inform students how to derive the greatest benefit from the learning activities in their SSC programmes.

    Methods: Synthesis of the accumulated experience over more than 10 years of developing, running and evaluating SSCs by the Directors of SSCs in five Scottish Medical Schools, combined with analysis of course evaluation and student feedback.

    Results: Consensus defined 12 tips aimed at improving the approach taken by students to their SSCs, and to provide a structure to maximise their final learning outcomes.

    Conclusion: SSC programmes provide diverse opportunities for students to develop and expand their learning. With increasing emphasis being placed upon student assessment to judge a wide range of professional skills and standards into foundation and specialist training, much greater importance is now being given to SSCs as an opportunity for personal, professional and academic developments. However, it is important that this is performed in a purposeful manner to maximise this opportunity. These 12 tips provide guidance to students on how they can maximise the opportunity presented to them by SSCs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)895-902
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedical Teacher
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Undergraduate medical curriculum
    • Multiinstitutional consensus
    • Education


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