2nd Year Biomedical Science

duftlagl

Member
Is anyone else thinking of doing Biomed 2nd year at UoA next year? If so, what papers are you guys thinking of taking?
Also, does anybody have some info on the Capstone Course in 3rd year? It just seems pretty vague to me at the moment.

Thank you!
 

acbard9

Regular Member
Happy to give paper advice for Pharmacology papers if that's the route that you might be interested in. (To clarify: you can take Pharmacology papers in your Biomed major). e.g. MEDSCI 204 is pretty easy, but not necessarily content that is easy to memorise. It's a course that is important to make sure you understand what they want from you, so if you do it, make sure you ask plenty of questions.

The capstone course is meant to integrate your knowledge from previous papers, and is going to involve more workshops and group-based learning of skills. The course is not allowed to teach new content, though I believe it is expected you carry knowledge from previous papers into it. Depending on the capstone course, there is likely to be oral / written presentations, and a supervisor has told me there might be "CV/employability" skills incorporated. (Source: I've gone to capstone course meetings for 2 majors)

Biomed at Auckland is a hard ask. If you're looking to maximise your grades, I do not recommend it at all. In terms of career options, you would actually have to do another year of possibly teaching, tech training, forensics, enterprise etc. to increase job prospects, as a Biomed standalone isn't the most marketable, especially with the average GPA of those in Biomed. I would launch into something that had better job prospects, perhaps a Plan B job you might be interested in.
 

Hollyw28

BSc Biomed, PGDip Biomed, PGDip HSc
Happy to give advice on the Neuroscience route as well as Physiology papers if you need. I have completed my BSc in Biomed as well as a major in Physiology (under a certificate of proficiency) and from my experience Physiology as a major is much harder than Biomed, but that's just my opinion. Pick a major that could be a plan B for you. Do something that allows you to have a plan B outside of medicine that is something you enjoy. But yeah I can give advice on Physiology and Biomed if you like, just ask away!
 

acbard9

Regular Member
I should've said Biomed/Physiology/Pharmacology at Auckland is a hard ask. My bad. Was a Pharmacology major myself.
 

duftlagl

Member
Happy to give paper advice for Pharmacology papers if that's the route that you might be interested in. (To clarify: you can take Pharmacology papers in your Biomed major). e.g. MEDSCI 204 is pretty easy, but not necessarily content that is easy to memorise. It's a course that is important to make sure you understand what they want from you, so if you do it, make sure you ask plenty of questions.

The capstone course is meant to integrate your knowledge from previous papers, and is going to involve more workshops and group-based learning of skills. The course is not allowed to teach new content, though I believe it is expected you carry knowledge from previous papers into it. Depending on the capstone course, there is likely to be oral / written presentations, and a supervisor has told me there might be "CV/employability" skills incorporated. (Source: I've gone to capstone course meetings for 2 majors)

Biomed at Auckland is a hard ask. If you're looking to maximise your grades, I do not recommend it at all. In terms of career options, you would actually have to do another year of possibly teaching, tech training, forensics, enterprise etc. to increase job prospects, as a Biomed standalone isn't the most marketable, especially with the average GPA of those in Biomed. I would launch into something that had better job prospects, perhaps a Plan B job you might be interested in.

Happy to give advice on the Neuroscience route as well as Physiology papers if you need. I have completed my BSc in Biomed as well as a major in Physiology (under a certificate of proficiency) and from my experience Physiology as a major is much harder than Biomed, but that's just my opinion. Pick a major that could be a plan B for you. Do something that allows you to have a plan B outside of medicine that is something you enjoy. But yeah I can give advice on Physiology and Biomed if you like, just ask away!

Thanks for the reply, both of you.
To say a little about myself, I have done HSFY at Otago in 2018 and decided to do a health professional programme at UoA this year where I did papers including MEDSCI 201, 203, 205. Although now after finals I have the desire to get into dent through the graduate entry, I didn't even think about such pathway throughout the year, and so performed poorly due to lack of motivation (avg A-'s, which I'm aware that it's not good enough for graduate entry to dent).
Now, I'm wanting to do either Biomedical Science or Physiology (leaning towards Biomed as I heard it's less intense) in 2020 as a SECOND year student (HSFY = Biomed 1st year) and aim for the graduate entry.

However, the problem is that I am not able to repeat the 200 level MEDSCI papers I did this year (since you can only repeat if you failed the paper), which I believe are considered the most ideal and 'easiest' papers to get a high GPA.

Because Otago looks at the best scoring (maximum of) 120 points at 300-level and the best scoring of 200-level and 100-level papers to 360 points, with 100-level papers weighted x 0.5, 200-level papers weighted x 1.0, and 300-level papers weighted x 1.5, I think the option is to take other 200 levels (excluding MEDSCI 201, 203, 205). Am I right? If so, could you please recommend some papers? I personally enjoyed all three MEDSCI papers this year, especially MEDSCI 205!

+ Also, the capstone course freaks me out cos I SUCK at public speaking, doing presentations etc..


Because of these concerns I have, I am also considering Biomed and Physiology options at Otago next year - since no capstone course! I have been trying to get in touch with the Otago Biomed faculty to see whether my MEDSCI papers would be cross-credited, or not (I really hope they don't since I did bad).

Apologies for my questions being all over the place (hopefully you can still understand what I'm trynna say but let me know if you confused!!)
Please give any infos or advice you wish to give. Anything will be appreciated

Thank you :))
 

acbard9

Regular Member
Give yourself a little credit man. A- average from 201 203 and 205 is a great achievement! Remember that only about 3 of those people in those classes got an A+, and maybe none with an A+ average.

From my experience, the Stage 3 MEDSCI papers do get harder, and maybe only 1 person gets an A+ (e.g. MEDSCI 303 is probably the easiest Stage 3 MEDSCI, but top was 90.25% this year), so perhaps Biomed will give you the option of choosing BIOSCI papers, though I cannot confirm or deny whether BIOSCI Stage 2/3 is any easier. A common strategy is to pick up "easy" Stage 2 papers, which they've outline on the "SAMS UoA" website, which I recommend you checking, though what is easy may depend on your preferred study method and topics. e.g. if you're a little bit into STATS, the STATS papers at Auckland are much easier to get a good grade on. I know of one STATS paper where, one year, half the class got at least A-. I see you enjoyed MEDSCI 201/203/205, so perhaps consider 204 and 206, which are easier than those 3 imo. I have also heard from close friends of some animal/plant-related BIOSCI papers that allow for potentially better grades. My PSYCH friend says she does better in her PSYCH papers, but I reckon I would do terribly on those, so definitely have a think about what your strengths are.

However, I think the real problem is that you won't have finished in the minimum academic time, though rules are about to change. I am unsure exactly how this system works though, as I think this is based on whether you can have those courses credited into your new major (which I have been told is not possible)? Stuart will be much more able to help you on that front.

I cannot comment on Otago at Stage 2 or 3, but having studied there in 1st year, I much much preferred my lifestyle back in Dunedin, which might've have helped me to do well. I am happy to ask my Dunedin homies to recommend me good papers, though I believe there's a large Otago paper opinions thread on this forum already.

Have you thought about doing a different professional program? There are a few on offer at AUT for example, and I have a friend there who is enjoying her Occupational Therapy experience.


I really hope this helped, and I wish you the very best of luck whatever you choose! :)
 

Hollyw28

BSc Biomed, PGDip Biomed, PGDip HSc
I'll give you my thoughts on the papers I have done so that you can get an idea for what they might be like. Also I agree with the above comment, A- across 201, 203 and 205 is brilliant! I found 205 to be a right pain but physiology isn't my strong suit personally.

MEDSCI 204 - Pharmacology and Toxicology. I found this paper to involve a lot of memorisation however very interesting. I did this paper back in 2017 so don't remember much about it. I feel an A- or above is doable though.

MEDSCI 206 - Principles of Neuroscience. It was this paper that initially struck my interest in medicine. Extremely interesting, especially if you're into all of the neuroscience stuff. I got an A- (and this was really good for me back in 2017 since I wasn't at all motivated at this point in time lol). You get 2 clinical lectures with a stroke patient and a Parkinson's patient that really brings everything you've been studying to life. Made me remember that what we learn isn't just a bunch of things I have to remember but stuff that happens to real people! Like I said it was this paper that struck my interest in medicine so it holds a strong place in my heart

MEDSCI 307 - Neuropharmacology. This paper involves a lot of memorisation (remembering a crap tonne of drug names and the receptors they work on) however it is very doable to do good in this paper if you put in the work to remember everything! The concepts themselves aren't difficult in my opinion, rather just remembering everything.

MEDSCI 311 - Cardiovascular Biology. Renowned as being the hardest MEDSCI paper alongside 309 (which I cleverly didn't do haha). I did this paper this year (2019) and whilst it was intimidating at first, it wasn't as hard as it was made out to be. Don't get me wrong though, it was no walk in the park. This paper was unusual in that the lecture content alone would be enough to get you like a B. They really want you to do a lot of outside reading and show this in your essays in the exam to get that A+. Also there's the sheep lab which is a lot of fun if you're not squeamish! All in all if you don't have to do it I would avoid it, but if you choose to do physiology then I'd pick it over MEDSCI 309 any day.

MEDSCI 312 - Endocrinology of Growth and Metabolism. I just finished this paper this semester (S2 2019). I personally enjoyed this paper but a lot of people find it boring. It's like a step up of a few modules from 201 (some of the endochondral ossification stuff, and endocrinology/hormone stuff). Outside reading isn't as huge of a requirement in this paper as in 311 (although I can't be sure since I don't have my exam grade back yet!) My main criticism of this paper is that the labs are only worth 5% but take forever to write the reports!! But overall very doable for an A+, the easiest 3rd year MEDSCI I've done.

MEDSCI 316 - Sensory Neuroscience. I enjoyed this paper a lot. I did it back in 2018 so don't remember much but you can definitely get an A+ in this. Do a little bit of extra reading and chuck in some fancy references to your final exam essays and you're sorted.

MEDSCI 317 - Integrative Neuroscience: From Foetus to Adult. I liked this paper but I gotta say it was the most disorganised MEDSCI paper I've done. And it definitely wasn't "from foetus to adult", its not really as advertised! A lot of stuff about how MRI and x-rays work (however I think this content may have been removed this year). Having said that, I think the way it was assessed was pretty straight forward, you just gotta keep on top of all of the topics. Again, doable to get an A+!

BIOSCI 353 - Molecular and Cellular Regulation. This is probably my most favourite paper I've done at uni, purely because it is run by Chris Squire who is the most chill and laid back guy. Doesn't try to give trick questions. In the year I did it there was only 3 topics because unfortunately a previous lecturer passed away (there are usually 4 topics). Also when I did it, stuff examined in the mid-sem wasn't in the final exam (YAY). It says on the uni-website that you should enrol in 350 as well but I don't think this is necessary. I got an A in this paper with a medium level of effort. Lots of effort can defo get you that A+ so I recommend this paper.

BIOSCI 356 - Developmental Biology + Cancer. This course is split into two broad halves; developmental biology and cancer. I personally found the developmental biology half to be very interesting, and the cancer half to be a bit more overwhelming. Across the entire course there is a lot of rote memorisation so be prepared for that. But again another paper that I think you can get a good grade in with the right amount of effort. I got an A in this paper.

Obviously some of the papers above can be included under biomed but other's wouldn't be able to be included under physiology (e.g. the bio papers and MEDSCI 307). Having done both Biomed and Physiology, if you're looking for a GPA boost and are choosing between these two majors I'd do Biomed. Also Biomed can get you into postgraduate physiology and biomed pathways, whilst physiology can get you into just physiology pathways (don't quote me on this. I have graduated with Biomed and am eligible to do a PGDipSci in Biomed or Physiology so that's where I got this from). Back when I did Biomed you could either do 2 3rd year BIOSCI and 3 3rd year MEDSCI, or 3 3rd year BIOSCI and 2 3rd year MEDSCI. I believe this may have changed for students enrolled in Biomed after 2019 so you may need to check this.

Also if you have gaps in your timetable fill them up with easy papers! PSYCH 109, PSYCH 108, STATS 101, STATS 125, STATS 150, PSYCH 202 to name a few...

Anyway I hope this helps in some way! You definitely shouldn't rule yourself out with your A- average. You definitely have room to get that GPA up. And as the above commenter mentioned, be careful about finishing in the minimum amount of time as the rules are changing regarding this. There is a thread that I have commented on that explains this further (although this is for MBChB and not sure if it also applies to dent)
 

acbard9

Regular Member
Just to add the other Stage 3 MEDSCIs I've done...

MEDSCI 303 (Drug Disposition and Kinetics) - This course is more about conceptual understanding. Not much at all to memorise, but it is important you get a good grasp of the content. It's a walk in the park in the first quarter of the paper, but more thinking power is required after that. Some concepts will seem straight forward at first, but hard to "word", so make sure you know how to explain the concepts too. You get a lot of practice in assignments to trial your explanations, and the markers (probably Course Coordinator Leslie) will provide a good guide as to whether that is/isn't what she wants in a test/exam. People say that there's quite a bit of "maths" understanding to it, which was to my advantage, as I could condense concepts into formulas instead of brute memorising things. I personally think it's the easiest of the 4, but only because I was lucky enough to be more in-tuned with my numbers.

MEDSCI 305 (Systems Pharmacology) - Much like was mentioned above in MEDSCI 307, MEDSCI 305 is plenty to remember. In fact I would say more so than 307, and less integrated, making studying a little more difficult. Despite this, you can stick the knowledge into flash cards and you could definitely As for tests/exam. You also do a group project, but I personally really enjoyed this experience, and is marked generously. The lab test tests exactly what you expect, so is an easier A/A+. I think MEDSCI 305 has the most A+ getters compared to 303/306/307.

MEDSCI 306 (Toxicology) - The most difficult of the 4 Stage 3 MEDSCIs I did, but also the most useful. On top of there being quite a bit to remember, assignments also take ages, particularly the first one. Assignments are marked more harshly than you are likely to expect coming from e.g. 205, and harder than 303/305/307 marking. Lab work + Lab quizzes were a bit difficult, and confusing at the start, and the lab test average in my year was 30% (though it only counted for 3%). There is also an individual project that is difficult, yet somehow the easiest thing in the course. Marking is a little confusing too. I would also like to add that Malcolm and De are incredible help, and they'll make sure you understand concepts, and you take a heck of a lot away from the course skills-wise. Again, the most useful course I've ever done, and the hardest I've ever tried in a paper, but I "only" got A-.

MEDSCI 307 (Neuropharmacology) - I agree wholeheartedly with Hollyw28 on this one. Lots to memorise, but stick them into flash cards and you'll have yourself an A grade in tests/exam. The push to A+ is a little more difficult (just like any MEDSCI paper), I think due to the assignments. Just also wanted to add that if you struggle on the assignment portion, Rachel (Course Coordinator) is very good at letting you know what she expects. Whatever she gives you as feedback, make sure you incorporate that into the next assignment.


Overall, if you're looking for an A grade, my ranking would be 305 > 307 > 303 > 306

I should note that the Pharmacology papers are changing perhaps by the time you get to 3rd year, so my reviews may not be the most accurate. As a general guideline, the new MEDSCI 318 = MEDSCI 303 + 306; the new MEDSCI 320 = MEDSCI 305 + 307.

Very best of luck mate. I hope Otago people might see this soon and give you advice, but otherwise, definitely have a look at previous Otago paper threads.



ETA:

Oh, and to add courses I found pretty smooth going:

STATS 101 - basic concepts, barely anything to memorise, easy assessments
MATHS 108 - there's even an easier version called MATHS 102
COMPSCI 111 - just memorising, but not too much of it
MAORI 130g - very very interesting course, also not much to memorise, easy questions
 
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Stuart

Administrator
Emeritus Staff
Hi duftlagl,

If you are applying at Auckland, try not to do half a year or study part-time. If you are applying at Otago, try to finish it as quickly as you can. This is my general advice.

Also, as a matter of interest, why are you not going to continue studying the professional programme? Was it BOptom by any chance?
 

acbard9

Regular Member
I am also on board with the idea of continuing your professional program. I know job prospects aren't on your horizon right now duftlagl, but it will become important if you don't get into Med.

You may pursue a one-year postgraduate course related to your program (after undergrad), and given the coming changes to graduate Med entry*, only the grades from that one-year course will count. This would make your undergrad professional program GPA obsolete with regards to Med entry.


*While this is yet to be presented officially, numerous emails to the Med entry committee appear to all but confirm this change.
 

duftlagl

Member
Hi duftlagl,

If you are applying at Auckland, try not to do half a year or study part-time. If you are applying at Otago, try to finish it as quickly as you can. This is my general advice.

Also, as a matter of interest, why are you not going to continue studying the professional programme? Was it BOptom by any chance?

Thanks for your advice and Nope I did Bachelors of Medical Imaging! Through placememts, I figured its a lil too repetitive work for me with restriction in how much you can learn, unless you decide to specialise in ultrasound or CT (which Im not that interested about)
 

duftlagl

Member
I am also on board with the idea of continuing your professional program. I know job prospects aren't on your horizon right now duftlagl, but it will become important if you don't get into Med.

You may pursue a one-year postgraduate course related to your program (after undergrad), and given the coming changes to graduate Med entry*, only the grades from that one-year course will count. This would make your undergrad professional program GPA obsolete with regards to Med entry.


*While this is yet to be presented officially, numerous emails to the Med entry committee appear to all but confirm this change.

Oh for real? I will check with the Otago Dent graduate entry people about this. Thanks for this info!!!

Just cos im dumb and i just wanna clarify, one year of postgraduate study ISNT pHd... right??? So does all courses offer a year of postgrad study?

Because for my degree, you need to study 2 extra years after undergrad to specialise in Ultrasound <-- and i think this is the postgrad study youre talking about??

Apparently its SUPEERRR competitive to get into the ultrasound programme since everyone wants it!

I shouldve just done biomed straight after HSFY... regrets 😢
 

Stuart

Administrator
Emeritus Staff
Hi there,

I strongly suggest you look into different programmes and their requirements. For postgraduate studies, there are a number of different options: Honours (1 year), Postgraduate Diploma (1+ years), Masters (2+ years) and PhD (4+ years). There are also other study options, but they aren't really relevant for professional programme admissions. acbard9 is talking about Honours and Postgraduate Diploma.

If you are worried about competitive nature and or duration of study, I am afraid medicine or dentistry may not be a good idea.

You have already spent two years at university, so you don't have a lot of options left. I strongly recommend coming up with two plans concurrently: career and medicine/dentistry. It is really important you do this in order to set yourself a base for life in the likely case you don't get into your desired programme.
 

acbard9

Regular Member
Hi duftlagl ,

If the two extra years after Undergrad to prepare for Ultrasound is a separate, stand-alone qualification, you may be able to use the GPA just from that program ***at Auckland*** with their new grad entry criteria. Otago is likely to still consider all of your academic record as a graduate applicant, though I am not the best person to ask about Otago's new grad entry criteria.

I actually think Med Imaging was a better choice than Biomed personally, as that can be, as Stuart has explained, your "career" path. Remember that even if you don't want to do Ultrasound or CT, there are potentially research, teaching, tech-based positions you can try for. There are also potentially professional Masters degrees you could hop into with additional years of training (e.g. Medical Physics at Canterbury or Auckland). All of this, while being able to have Medical Imaging as a back up. Biomed, on the other hand, might leave you more stranded for job prospects than you might expect.
 
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