Specialist Language Courses

SLC judges at the Medical English Olympiad

SLC was delighted to have been invited to join the judging panel at the 2019 Medical English Olympiad, held at Sechenov Medical University, Russia’s leading medical school, in Moscow.

Having fought their way through two rounds, the final nineteen participants, all students from different medical schools across Russia and Egypt, were divided into five groups of three or four. They spent several hours working together in teams to create a fifteen-minute presentation on the following theme: ‘What will the role of the doctor be in the future? Will technology make doctors redundant?’. Chris, SLC’s Managing Director, was on hand from time to time to answer questions on pronunciation, language and presentation techniques.

chris and team 1

Chris working with the Medical English finalists

At the end of the day, before a judging panel of representatives from the UK and Russia, each team delivered – performed in some cases – their presentation. They were marked on a range of criteria, looking at the linguistic features of the language used, the arguments made, the creativity showed, and the levels of teamwork displayed.

The arguments were many and varied, both looking back at the impact of technology so far and looking forward to a world of surgeon robots, big data and machine learning. Some common themes emerged. On the technology side, the increasing accuracy of computer-led work and the greater accessibility of healthcare via always-on diagnostic and treatment devices, whether in (or on) the patient or remote. On the human side, the vital role of empathy and the ability of doctors to think on their feet, deal with emergencies and manage the unexpected. All teams concluded that in the future, much as now, doctors and technology would work in partnership to deliver increasing levels of improved healthcare.

The winning team staged a ‘battle’ complete with sound effects as humans and machines fought against each other to win the argument before concluding that neither would win without the other. Congratulations to Alex, Arkady, Ella and Kate!

chris and bethan

Bethan and Chris in judging mode

Other teams conducted online polls, shot videos, role-played scenarios and carried out extensive research. The work done by the groups was of excellent quality all round and the judges – including Bethan, Jo and Chris from SLC – certainly found it a challenge to decide who the winners were, with the second placed team only a hair’s breadth away from the first.

Prizes were given out at the end by Professor Irina Markovina, Director of the Sechenov Linguistics and Intercultural Communication department. We were delighted to include SLC’s English for Doctors course as part of the prize for the four winners. The whole event was conducted in excellent spirit, with teams working together throughout the day and providing mutual support and appreciation at the end.

students and judges

The participants and judges celebrate the end of the Medical English Olympiad

Professor Markovina and the other members of the organizing committee expressed their desire to use the success of the Medical English Olympiad as a platform to grow the size and level of international participation for future competitions. At SLC we see the huge potential for this and look forward to supporting Sechenov and the other participating universities in their efforts. Watch this space!


For further information on how SLC works with universities:

1. Online Medical English and Test Preparation materials 

2. Case Study on how Sechenov University’s English department use SLC’s materials with their students