1st Year Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This page was last updated on 31/12/2015.
Any questions regarding this document should be preferably posted on the 1st Year Facebook page or otherwise directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope these answers are useful to you and hopefully provides some insight from the thoughts and opinions of previous 1st year students!
Disclaimer: Even though we are University-affiliated, many of these comments are our own opinions. Consult the University of Auckland as a final authority regarding Admissions, Enrolment etc. However, we have tried to provide links to the University’s website as much as possible for accuracy’s sake.
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Table of Contents
1. General Questions
2. MBChB (Medicine) Entry Related Questions
3. Beyond First Year Questions
1) Any general things I should know about Uni?
There are 2 main semesters in which you can enrol in papers. Semester 1 and 2 are the main semesters where people usually take 4 papers per semester over 12 weeks’ worth of lectures, tutorials and/or labs. The 3rd semester is the summer semester where one paper is condensed into just 6 weeks’ worth of lectures. This semester is extra work for those who want to take extra papers for interest, to finish their degree faster, or resit failed papers. The maximum number of courses you can take per semester is: 5 papers for both Semester 1 or 2, and 2 papers for the summer semester. During the main semesters: there is usually a 2 week break after Week 6 (this is slightly different for Semester 1, 2015 though). Most papers in University have ‘mid-semester tests’ or assignments due around this break – could be either before or after – so expect crowded computers/study spaces at this time. Between Semester 1 and Semester 2 is an inter-semester break of usually at least 3 weeks (which depends on how early your Sem1 exams finish).
2) How do I enrol?
After you apply for the University of Auckland and are accepted, you now have to enrol in the 8 papers required for 1st year.
BSc (Biomedical Science) should enrol in the following papers:
Semester 1: Biosci 101, Biosci 107, Chem 110 and Poplhlth 111*
Semester 2: Biosci 106, Medsci 142, Physics 160 and a General Education
*For BSc (Biomedical Science), it is not necessary to take Poplhlth 111. Only if you are intending to apply for MBChB (Medicine), you will be required to take that paper. If you are sure you will not be applying for MBChB, consider taking Stats 101 as that is another core paper you will have to take inevitably. More info here. However, my opinion is that it would be best to take Poplhlth 111 to keep your options open should you change your mind later and want to apply for Medicine.
BHSc students should enrol in the following papers:
Semester 1: Poplhlth 101, Poplhlth 111, Biosci 107 and Chem 110
Semester 2: Poplhlth 102, Hlthpsyc 122, Medsci 142 and a General Education
More info here.
Once you've selected your desired papers, they will be in your enrolment cart. Make sure you actually enrol in them - if you don't do this and forget, the lab streams may have filled up and you might not be able to enrol in your desired courses. As for University fees, they must be paid by the day University officially starts (usually the first Monday of March) - so if you're waiting for your student loan to go through, aim to get it all done by then.
3) I'm having problems with enrolment and don't know what to do! Can you please help?
There are all sorts of problems that are quite possible here. But first, let me explain some basics of enrolment. There are currently 2 main ways to do enrolment: manually or through the cohort option. For those who enrol early; cohort option may be the easiest because all the lab streams are not full so you can pick whatever timetable you want. However, when you enrol late, cohort option is nearly impossible to do because there are not likely to be full timetables that will not clash somehow. It is expected that each student finds a timetable that does not clash at all. If you are enrolling late (i.e. lots of lab streams are full and you can't get whichever papers you want through the cohort option), it would be best to enrol manually.
Manually enrolling involves entering whichever papers you want to do into the Timetable Planner and letting it figure out a non-clashing timetable out for you. (However, there are potentially some problems with this way currently due to the system - if manually enrolling does not work via the timetable planner, refer to this page). Also, helpful note here: you must enrol in both the laboratory component along with a lecture component. Labs are 3 hours long and attendance is recorded and occur every 2 weeks whereas lectures are held at their designated times every week (attendance isn't recorded). There is something important to watch out for here. There are lab streams dedicated to different degrees: e.g. a certain lab stream dedicated for students doing BSc (Food Science) or BSc (Nutrition) or BSc (Biomedical Science) or BHSc etc. This is written in the small text found by hovering over the "i" icon. Make sure you select papers designated for your degree if you can. However, if you know it will clash with another lab stream or lecture, then select another lab stream (which might not be for your specific degree in this case). Once all the desired courses are in your enrolment cart, try enrolling - if you did select a lab stream that was not designated for your degree, or there is a clash in timetabling, or a selected lab stream is full, you will be rejected from being able to enrol. If it is the case that the lab stream was not designated for your degree, you can apply for concession - this just asks the University to let you into your desired lab stream because you've got no other alternative; in which case, they should be happy to let you in. If they find that there is another alternative timetable, they may reject you. If it is the case that there is a clash in timetabling, it would be best to review your timetable, check what exactly is clashing. It is possible to apply for concession here and enrol despite the clash (meaning you will catch up on the missed lecture in your own time), but if it's a clash between 2 lab streams (i.e. you accidentally chose 2 lab streams which happen at the same time), that's likely to be rejected. Cases where you might want to apply for concession despite the clash would be: a lab stream clashes with your desired Gen-Ed paper - if approved for concession, that means you'll have to go to the lab over going to your Gen-Ed paper (since lab attendance often counts towards your final grade) and catch up on the missed lecture on your own time. This means you'll likely miss out on 6 Gen-Ed lectures for the semester (there are 6 labs per paper). It's your choice whether you want to do this, but make sure you're ready to catch up on missed lectures if you do indeed apply for concession. By the way, you can only apply for concession once. Make sure it counts. Finally, if it is the case that a lab stream is full, you will have to choose another lab stream. Also note, lab streams do not all open up at once; the departments tend to open up lab streams once the older lab streams fill up. This is simply because it's more efficient to have, say for example, 10 lab streams with full capacity, than to say, have 12 lab streams all at 80% capacity. It wastes time, money and resources for the department. So if it is relatively early (i.e. University doesn't start for a while), and you see some lab streams filling up, don't panic - the department might release more lab streams for you to enrol in. However, if it is relatively late (e.g. University starts in less than a month), don't expect the University to open up many more lab streams since they themselves might not be able to; meaning: all the possible lab stream times are full.
The University website regarding concessions explains it quite well on how to apply for concession. You can find that here.
I hope this helps you understand a bit more about enrolment - if you still have problems with enrolment, it would be best to contact the Science Student Centre as they will be able to help you more directly. You can find out more about how to contact the Science Student Centre here.
4) What general education papers should I take?
General education (Gen-Ed) papers can provide many interesting insights into many topics. If you are worried about your workload, you may consider taking an ‘easier’ Gen-Ed to ensure yourself more time to study for your core papers in Semester 2 such as Medsci 142. Actually, my suggestion would be to take the perceived ‘easier’ GenEds because they take up the least amount of time during the semester and especially if you are serious about getting the top grades for papers such as Medsci 142, it may be extremely beneficial to take the ‘easier’ GenEds to ensure maximal time allocated to studying Medsci 142. If you want to know what others perceive as the ‘easiest’ Gen-Eds, consider studying the following: Phil 105G, Econ 151G, Intbus 151G. A helpful website (though its accuracy is not ensured) may be www.studentcoursereview.co.nz for past students’ opinions. Other GenEds, though not necessarily hard and potentially more interesting, may require a heavy investment of time spent on thousands-word essays, which takes away study time from more ‘important’ papers such as Medsci 142.
You can choose from either the “Open Schedule” (Click here) or the “EMHSS Schedule” (Click here). However, just be careful: you are not allowed to do a Gen-Ed in a subject which you have already passed another paper in. E.g. You have passed Biosci 101; therefore, you are not allowed to take Biosci 100g as part of your Gen-Ed requirement, or you are taking Medsci 142; therefore, you are not allowed to take Medsci 100g. For more information regarding Gen-Ed regulations, click here and here.
5) What is GPA and how is it calculated?
Your final grade in a paper is a combination of your internal assessment grade and your exam mark (e.g. a typical paper might look like: 50% exam, 20% mid-semester-test, 20% lab and 10% assignment; however, this is different for every paper and you should refer to your course manual or course coordinators as they should provide this information). Your final grade in a paper is called a 'Grade Point Equivalent' (GPE). When you take an average of your GPEs, they become a 'Grade Point Average' (otherwise known as your GPA). This helps simplify your grades into a single number.
Below tells you the estimated grade thresholds for most papers. However, in some papers, the grade thresholds are not the same. They are sometimes adjusted higher or lower depending on how well the rest of the cohort does in that paper; e.g. in one year, Poplhlth111’s A+ grade threshold was not 90%. It was around 93-94%*** my source is from friends who got A or A+ and calculating their grades manually. This is by no means from official UoA announcements. Point is, it can vary slightly from paper to paper - some departments like to scale marks, other don't - just try your best and get the best mark you can!
9 = A+ (Score is 90 or above)
8 = A (Score is 85 - 89.99)
7 = A- (Score is 80 - 84.99)
6 = B+ (Score is 75 - 79.99)
5 = B (Score is 70 - 74.99)
4 = B- (Score is 65 - 69.99)
3 = C+ (Score is 60 - 64.99)
2 = C (Score is 55 - 59.99)
1 = C- (Score is 50 - 54.99)
0 = D (Score is 0 - 49.99: i.e. fail grade)
More information regarding GPA calculation can be found here.
6) Why do some subjects clash with themselves (e.g. Physics 160)?
The component that seemingly clashes during the enrolment process is the labs and tutorials. Labs are usually run fortnightly with tutorials every other week. If you’re doing BSc (Biomedical Science), that would only apply to Physics 160 (if I recall correctly). So for example, odd weeks are lab weeks and even weeks are tutorial weeks. This appears as if the lab clashes with the tutorials on SSO. If you press ‘Enrol’, this should not appear as a problem.
7) Should I apply for Semester 2 papers now?
I think you should; the only thing you get to choose is your general education paper (assuming you’re doing Biomed/Healthsci). Although there are a lot of choices out there, it doesn’t hurt to pick now as otherwise you may miss out on your preferred lab streams. Furthermore, when picking a gen ed paper, the ones that are deemed to be the "easiest" often fill up very quickly so enrolling earlier will ensure you have a place in the paper. If you end up changing your mind you can always change it before the semester starts.
8) Random tips on enrolling?
Personal tip to you: enrol your lab streams so that you can have Wednesdays off. Having nothing on Wednesday has got to be one of the best things ever and it is possible to do this for both semesters. You can have it such that you have one subject’s lab in odd weeks and another subject’s labs in even weeks (e.g. Chem on Thursday ODD, 107 on Thursday EVEN). It’s possible to do and could potentially save you bus fares; so that you don’t have to come in on Wednesdays.
Also, the ‘Timetable Planner’ system is a new enrolment tool implemented for its first time in 2015. It is likely to be glitchy (but may I add, is doing very well with no major complaints from the majority of students - congratulations to the UoA Tech-staff for its extremely well tested system) and may not process your timetable very well. My personal recommendation if you are encountering a problem with certain papers’ and their enrolment, would be to first enrol in the papers which you are happy with its lab time and lecture times. Then check back every day until more lab streams open up which is when you’d be able to enrol in your preferred lab stream. This is because the University opens up more lab streams to meet demand - it would be wasteful to open up all possible lab streams have most of the labs only at ¾ full - that is why the different departments opens each stream up one at a time. If it is getting too close for comfort to the beginning of University and you still haven’t been able to enrol in your preferred lab stream, consider sending an email to the University explaining your situation (which they should sort out as soon as possible) or applying for concession, in which case they will also try resolve the situation. Applications for concession are possible during the enrolment process.
9) Should I enrol in the Morning or Afternoon stream?
In case you haven’t realised, the 1st year papers for Biomedical Science have 2 streams; one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. It’s absolutely up to you, but just make sure you enrol such that all 3 or 4 papers are in the morning OR all 3 or 4 of the papers are in the afternoon. There is no difference between the two streams; both are taught the exact same content (the lecturers simply repeat themselves). It just depends if you’re much of a morning person or an afternoon person. They have their pros and cons; just consider the times - for me, personally, I liked the afternoon stream because that meant I could sleep in… =D
Also note; I don’t think it shows on SSO but some papers which have 2 streams (morning and afternoon), use ‘overflow’ rooms. Overflow rooms are where other lecture theatres are used to accommodate the large amount of people enrolled in the single paper (on top of extra streams). What will happen is this: 260-098, the main big lecture theatre is where the lecturer is delivering the lecture with 550-ish students and another lecture theater: OGGB3/OGGB4/OGGB5 is where they project on one projector a video of the lecturer and on another projector, what the lecturer is putting on the slides (There are two projectors per lecture theatre). Some actually prefer the overflow rooms to the main lecture theatre because it’s less cramped. But note: some papers’ afternoon stream does NOT have an overflow room (e.g. MEDSCI 142).
10) What is the DELNA?
The DELNA is a fairly simple test that all first years need to sit in order to assess English language skills. You need to book online for a session and the test should take approximately 10-15 minutes. You can find more info here.
11) What is academic integrity?
Academic Integrity is important in university – the work you hand in must be all your own and not copied from someone else. You’ll have to complete an Academic Integrity course at some point during your degree, and you’ll find that you’re automatically enrolled in it. You’re supposed to read about academic integrity and watch a few videos here and answer quizzes about it on CECIL. You need to get it 100% right, but you have 9999 chances and it’s not exactly the hardest thing ever! It’s nothing to worry about; just something you can consider doing before University starts so you don’t have to even think about doing it during University. If you don’t complete it within the first semester you will simply be re-enrolled in the following semester until it is completed.
12) What are course guides and where/when do I get them?
These are books which are printed for each individual course by the relevant departments. Some departments require you to buy it from UBS (each coursebook costs around $20 - $30). Other departments give you one copy as part of the cost you paid for the course. If you don't want to buy a courseguide, the whole thing is often uploaded to CECIL as well, so you can print off the relevant pages for lectures (but it's probably easier, and cheaper, to simply buy the courseguide). Inside these courseguides should be all the relevant course information, lectures, tests, labs etc. Also, the important stuff that's in these courseguides are the lecture notes - these lecture notes are usually organised into lectures. So, the pages for Lecture 1 will contain Learning Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Aims/Concepts (whatever fancy word the lecturer wants to call them) will have relevant pictures, notes etc. for what the lecturer will cover in Lecture 1. Such is the same for Lecture 2, and so on. However, some lecturers don't put that much in the lecture guide and require you to write a lot of stuff during lectures; this gets rather troublesome - please refer to our Academia portal for more information.
13) How will I make it to my classes on time if I have classes/labs that are back to back?
Lectures start 5 minutes after the hour and finish 5 minutes before the hour giving you 10 minutes to travel to your next lecture (assuming it’s at another location; otherwise, you have 10 minutes to chill in the same lecture theatre).
14) How do labs work? Will they be cancelled on public holidays?
Labs are held every 2 weeks. So the whole semester can be split into ‘ODD’ and ‘EVEN’ weeks. Also, labs are held regardless if it’s a public holiday or not (depending on department; I think BIOSCI has it regardless, CHEM might not) – so although your SSO Timetable may say no lab on a Monday, those labs are (likely to be) still there and you’re expected to show up.
**You should be told by your course coordinator/lab tutors in advance - ask them for final confirmation**
15) Do I really need to get a lab coat and safety glasses?
You will be required to buy a lab coat for use in BIOSCI, CHEM and MEDSCI labs. You will need to bring it to every lab you have or face the threat of hiring one! Although it's only $2 each time, this isn't worth it in the long run as you'll need a lab coat for the rest of your University degree anyway so you may as well invest in one now. You’ll also need safety glasses, which always must be worn in CHEM and MEDSCI labs (unless otherwise stated) and in BIOSCI labs when using harmful chemicals. These can all be bought at University Book Store (found at Kate Edgar Information Commons Level 0 and Level 1). You can also get them second hand at some other places (the Grafton campus usually sells some at a discount but it's often sold out quickly - so get in quick!).
16) Do I HAVE to buy textbooks and which textbooks should I buy (if any)?
Textbooks are often recommended by the course as a reference. For 1st year courses, they try to recommend just 1 textbook for all topics (Stage II and Stage III may recommend multiple textbooks per paper or even 1 textbook per topic within the course). All the recommended textbooks information will be emailed to you or you will be told either in-lecture or told in the courseguide.
Personal tip: don’t buy any textbooks. Just get the pdf version. You can buy the e-books (aka pdf files) from online websites. Textbooks themselves are quite heavy and having to lug them around can be bothersome. HOWEVER: some people excel using textbooks as references and if you prefer to have your handy-dandy textbook to study, make notes, scribble in or read on, it doesn’t hurt to buy a physical copy.
Which textbooks to buy: Tortora & Derrickson’s Principles of Anatomy and Physiology is an amazing textbook. I still used it (the pdf version) in 2nd year Biomed just to have a quick recap of the basics in some topics. Campbell’s Biology is decent but unneeded in my opinion and the Chemistry textbook, I heard was decent in some areas, but useless in others. I’ve heard a lot of random things about the POPLHLTH 111 textbook: very mixed reviews from some praising it as the best thing ever all the way to, what most people say, that it was really unnecessary and a waste of money. MEDSCI 142 uses Tortora & Derrickson’s A&P again (same as BIOSCI 107) - which is very useful - kill two birds with one stone. The physics textbook is referred to often by the lecturers for exercise questions - but the lecturers post worked answers to those questions from the textbook anyway; so is not entirely necessary. And I don’t really remember BIOSCI 106’s textbook…
All in all, my opinion is: don’t buy textbooks because it is the lecture content (i.e. what is covered in lectures) that is assessed, not your knowledge of the textbook. BUT if you have to, buy Tortora & Derrickson’s Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Check the BIOSCI/MEDSCI courseguides to see which edition they want you to use. (I think the latest is now the 14th edition (unsure)).
However, just to add on: often, for pre-labs, they require you to read a small section from the textbook. If you don’t have the textbook nor its pdf file, you can go to IC Level 1 “Short Loan” where there are plenty of textbooks you can temporarily loan out for 2 hours to read the relevant sections! This is free of charge for all students.
Just to add on: this is just my opinion regarding textbooks. I think the majority of university students would agree that buying textbooks is a waste of money (seriously), but textbook usage preferences are your own choice. You may find it extremely useful, but you should probably know that most people don't.
17) What am I expected to learn for the tests/exams?
There is not really a ‘syllabus’ as there might have been in high school. You’re expected to take in what the lecturer teaches in lectures and you’ll be tested on that. However, most lecturers include ‘Learning Objectives’ which you could potentially use as a ‘syllabus’ but some lecturers might not update their ‘Learning Objectives’ and test you something that wasn’t explicitly written in those L.O.’s so you may as well just memorise everything the lecturer taught during lectures.
18) Do I really need to read the textbook(s) to know everything for the exam?
Not really, well no. You just need to know what the lecturer covers in his/her lectures. It’s best to just rely on what the lecturer talks about and what the lecturer states as the learning objectives - those are the most accurate representations of what will be in the exam. What you’ll find is that some lecturers tend to follow the textbook very much so reading the textbook may be extremely helpful in those circumstances whereas sometimes the lecturers don’t bother with the textbook - so textbook reading is very limited in its usefulness.
Special mention to the MEDSCI 142 Respiratory section: it may be beneficial to have read all of the recommended readings from the textbook because some questions asked in tests/exams require in-depth knowledge and the textbook covers it pretty well. If textbook reading doesn’t help, then ask on piazza - the course tutors are very enthusiastic and keen to help!
19) How do I find past exam papers to practice on? And where are the answers?
Go to this website, click on “Readings & Exams”, then type in your course number: e.g. “CHEM 110”. Click on the exampapers option, press the ‘View Online Tab’, log in with your Uni log in and then you can view past year exams (not course assessments such as Mid-semester tests - those are normally provided by the course coordinators via CECIL).
Note: answers are not provided for exams as they are designed to be revision tools. Instead, if you got together with friends to discuss answers, and for the leftover questions that you still couldn’t do - asking your lecturers (via email) or asking on Piazza, would help your learning experience more… probably. However, for subjects such as CHEM and PHYSICS, if I recall correctly, do post up on CECIL past exam papers AND past exam paper answers. The Biosci department usually has some past tests/exam MCQ quizzes on CECIL where they do tell you the answers to the past MCQ section of the exam - the long answer section will have to be determined by you.
20) Any general things I should know about exams?
MBChB (Medicine) Entry Related Questions
1) How will my GPA contribute towards MBChB Entry?
You must pass all 8 papers you are enrolled in and collectively obtain a GPA greater than 6 (equivalent to a B+) to be eligible for an interview. Side note: your high school grades are not at all looked at when considering entrance into MBChB (provided you already were accepted into Biomed/Healthsci).
Read here. “All eligible applicants will then be ranked and shortlisted for interview based on their grades achieved in the four common courses (highlighted below in bold) that are offered in both the BHSc and the BSc (Biomedical Science) programmes. If the final grades for the four common courses are not available, an interim grade (highest possible) will be temporarily assigned for the interview ranking only. Official final results will be used for the final selection.“
Biosci 107, Chem 110, Poplhlth 111 and Medsci 142 are incredibly important because they count explicitly for MBChB entry.
For 2015, University of Auckland exams finish on 16th Nov. Interviews take place between 24th Nov ~ 4th Dec. You’re likely to receive an invitation to the interview before your semester 2 results are released. Refer back to the previous bolded statement: “If the final grades for the four common courses are not available, an interim grade (highest possible) will be temporarily assigned for the interview ranking only. Official final results will be used for the final selection.” I hope you get what I’m getting at… your first semester results are quite important in receiving an interview. However, this does not lessen your second semester results since ‘Official final results will be used for the final selection’.
Regarding GPA calculations: Example: You got: Chem110 A+, Biosci 107 A, Poplhlth 111 A+, Medsci 142 A. That would be an 8.5 GPA. More info regarding calculating your GPA using final grades here.
2) What do I do about UMAT?
The Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test (UMAT) is a 3 hour test which counts for 15% of your final mark in getting into medicine. (Source: UoA Website).
The UMAT test result gives your result as a percentile. This means the ‘mark’ you receive from ACER (the organisation which runs the UMAT test) is not the ‘raw score’, but rather an indication of how well you did in comparison to your peers. E.g. a score of “80th percentile” means your test result was better than 80% of all the people who took the test that year.
UoA Medical Admissions Office compares raw score. The raw score is usually a bell curve around a raw score of 50%. It has also got a low standard deviation which means that the results are usually extremely clustered around 50. The implications of this is that even if you got a percentile of say, 80, your raw score may be around 55. However, it varies year to year - you should be able to see what your raw score was when ACER gives you your results. Comparing a raw score of 50 (usually a percentile of 50 as well) against a raw score of 55 does not pit the latter candidate to a much greater advantage in terms of grades! Please do not freak out about the UMAT test.
There has been some advocates of removing the UMAT from consideration of entry into MBChB in the medical community. Well respected medical researchers who have conducted research on the correlation between UMAT scores and the success of future medical careers concluded that it had no proven indication of how ‘well’ a doctor one would turn out to be. My point is that the UMAT is not indicative of your suitability for medicine and it should not at all cause you a nights’ worth of restlessness. For more information and my source about this issue, please read the guest editorial ‘Selecting medical students who will become general practitioners: is the aptitude test suitable?’ in this link.
3) How do I register for UMAT and do you have any tips for UMAT?
Applications for UMAT open in December the preceding year. You can find all the information regarding registration on the ACER website: http://umat.acer.edu.au/
Just a side note about the UMAT. There are usually 2 streams of the UMAT (Morning and Afternoon). In 2014, you were able to choose which stream you wanted when applying for registration on the ACER website.
Also, UMAT is usually held on the last Wednesday of July. This may clash with some people who have labs on that day. If you are unlucky enough to have that, please do not worry because if you contact the course coordinator, you are likely to be able to temporarily switch lab streams. The key here is to prepare early for this and contact your course coordinator as soon as you learn about the date.
More tips about UMAT: The more I write on this topic, the more subjective this response will become. Ask around your friends who have done this test before for more opinions/comparisons, or email us on email@example.com if you wish, but here are my personal suggestions for preparing for the UMAT test.
Don’t use the commercially available courses offered to you by private companies which are unaffiliated to ACER (Australian Council for Education Research). ACER is the final authority on the UMAT test and (quote) “do not recommend or endorse any commercially available courses offering UMAT preparation. Nor do ACER or the [UMAT] Consortium have knowledge of the content of such courses, or any involvement in their development, or any commercial interest in the programs.” The aforementioned quote and the link to its source come straight from the final UMAT authority. Those suggestions are also repeated by various universities throughout Australasia; the University of Auckland included. Those courses are expensive and may be an entire waste of money. Although you may hear some statistics from some companies like ‘most people who sat this course were offered an interview’, those statistics may not be entirely reliable since the courses are extremely expensive and those that can afford the courses are then probably of higher socioeconomic position and had a better chance of securing a place in the desired degree anyways. It’s even more possible that said companies are manipulating stressed first year students’ mentality of ‘if other people take the course and I don’t, I will be disadvantaged’. Of course, this comment will inevitably be argued against by other students (probably affiliated with the aforementioned companies). However, affiliated or not, a strong argument that is presented is that one would like to say that they tried everything they did to get into their desired programme of choice even if that included working extra jobs to pay for extracurricular tuition so that one may be satisfied of their effort despite the outcome of their application. I do not slight this idea at all and admire the mettle of those who choose this arduous road.
TL;DR: Ultimately, the choice is yours. When all official sources related to the UMAT Consortium and the Medical Admissions Office recommend you to not take ‘UMAT tuition’ offered by private commercial companies is pitted against those private companies’ statistics which obviously point to their own financial gain, it is possibly better to listen to the official source of information.
4) What is the MH03 form I’ve heard about?
Back in 2013, there was a form which was required to be submitted separately to the SSO application for MBChB called the ‘MH03’ form. On this form asked 2 questions: “Please state briefly why you wish to undertake the medical programme. Please include any professional and personal experiences, and other personal attributes that you feel are relevant.” and “Please describe any sporting, cultural, artistic and community involvements, leadership roles and other personal achievements that you feel are worthy of merit.” You were given (if I remember correctly) 3000 characters for each question - this was submitted online separately to the SSO application.
In 2014, you were required to type in the answers in the application on SSO along with the rest of your personal information and UMAT ID for the University to get your UMAT results etc. I am unsure if this will be required for this year; however, I personally reckon it is a great idea to write the answers to those questions anyways because it will help you realise more explicitly why you would like to be a doctor - a bit of self reflection that can be quite useful.
Beyond first year
1) What options are there apart from medicine?
There are many options available! You can apply for Optometry or Pharmacy, switch to Nursing, continue with Biomedical Science/Health Science, switch to the medical science degrees: BSc (Physiology) or BSc (Pharmacology) etc. If you’re keen on getting into medicine, there is still postgraduate entry into medicine you can consider and that is after you have completed an undergraduate degree i.e. a Bachelor’s degree.
Optometry: Here and here
Pharmacy: Here and here
Nursing: Here and here
These degrees (above), along with Medicine (MBChB), are specialist clinical degrees where you will learn about patient interaction. Therefore, they have a clinical element and will have their own unique papers and a different degree structure; e.g. have 30-point papers (normal papers are usually only worth 15 points)
Medical Science degrees (degrees which have ‘MEDSCI’ papers as part of their core papers)
Biomedical Science: Here
Medicinal Chemistry: Here
Bioscience Enterprise: Here
2) I hate BIOSCI papers. Is there any way I don’t have to do them past first year?
BIOSCI papers get much better in 2nd year and 3rd year with regards to Biomedical Science. But if you really dislike BIOSCI and wish to not take them, you can switch to Physiology or Pharmacology. These 2 degrees comprise purely of MEDSCI papers and you get a bit much more freedom to choose elective papers.
Quite a few people generally find BIOSCI papers to be more manageable than MEDSCI papers, especially in Stage II and III, as MEDSCI papers have lengthy lab reports and tend to just have more content than BIOSCIs, so make sure you weigh your options as dropping BIOSCI papers could end up being detrimental.
Switching from Biomed to Physiology is quite a popular option for people going into 2nd year, however 3rd year Physiology requires you to take four MEDSCI papers out of 309, 311, 312, 316 and 317. This forces Physiology students to take either one (or both) out of 309 and 311 which are notorious for being the most difficult Stage III MEDSCIs.
There are a lot of different factors so if you want more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try our best to help.
3) Is it still possible to do BSc (Physiology/Psychology) and still complete it within 3 years even if I did Biomedical Science 1st year?
Yes! That is entirely possible because it is possible to finish Psychology’s first and 2nd year papers within one year due to some papers’ prerequisites to be BIOSCI or MEDSCI first year papers. More info here and here.
4) What kind of jobs are there for BSc (Biomedical Science) graduates?
This question will be addressed in later talks held by SAMS due to the very large possibilities. Stay tuned for when and where these events will take place!
5) What are these specialisations for Biomedical Science?
These specialisations include:
The different papers for each specialisation can be viewed on the University website here and the descriptions for each here.
These specialisations aren't compulsory but are recommended so that once you have completed your degree you will have specialised in a specific topic, rather than having done a range of papers that don't really relate to one another.
If you are considering further study in the medical sciences and want help regarding Stage II and Stage III course selections, stay tuned on our Facebook page and/or lecture announcements. We have talks which will occur later in the year for first year and for second year medical sciences students addressing these sorts of questions at greater depth. Otherwise, feel free to email us at email@example.com.