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HSFY Mature Aged Students: Advice and Discussion

Pwnter

Lurker
Hi all,

Long time reader, first time poster. I'd like some advice from any that care to comment, particularly if you were a mature student that made their way thru HSFY.

I finished 7th form in 2005 taking full 6 subjects, but doing only calc, chem, and bio from the STEM fields. I've worked for the last 14 years and have done a couple of 100 and 200 level papers part time. I've reached the stage in my life where I want to change course for a number of reasons, but all of which have led me to med. I'd like some advice on what worked as a mature student going back into HSFY, particularly the challenges of thrusting yourself into study after so long out of it. I finished high school when most of the students ill be up against were still pre primary!

In an effort to give myself the best chance, I am planning on doing the foundation course which commences in late Jun 2020 leading into HSFY 2021. This is preceded by a bridging course starting May. Is the bridging course recommended, or will the foundation course be enough to bring me up to scratch?

I'm lucky that as a result of working for so long, I have pretty good savings so I can pay for tutoring and the like. Is it recommended to start this during the foundation course? I figure if I'm not smashing 90%+ in that, then I'm not giving myself the best chance come HSFY. I see tutoring as enabling me to build the most secure foundation to base all of the HSFY knowledge. Because of where my I and my family are in life, this is a one shot wonder. No chances to try the post grad route if I'm not successful, so keen to do my best from a study perspective and if necessary, throw other resources at it.

Hopefully this all makes sense, and if there are any other comments or feedback I'd be very much receptive to them.

Regards,
 

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rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
Hello and welcome :)

I think the first thing you would need to do is contact the admissions office. FAQs about admission into Health Sciences First Year (HSFY), Health Sciences First Year, University of Otago, New Zealand There is often a rule that to be eligible for hsfy you need to have not done any university level study prior. So it would be best to firstly confirm you can do hsfy with entry to the professional programmes, then feel free to return and we can help you with any other specific questions.

Best wishes.
 

Cathay

🚂Train Driver🚆
Emeritus Staff
I'd like to echo rusty's message - please check with the Health Sciences Admissions Office to make sure you can actually do HSFY, and be eligible for entry to professional programmes. If your previous tertiary-level study will prevent you from doing HSFY, it is better to find this out before you commit any resources towards doing it!

Before you contact the Health Sciences Admissions Office, be sure to have all the details of your previous tertiary-level study; and please let us know how you get on - if the answer is yes we can provide further advice, and if the answer is no we can suggest possible alternatives. (I believe Auckland's first year programme is less restrictive - but I'll need to fact-check that.)
 
Hi all,

Long time reader, first time poster. I'd like some advice from any that care to comment, particularly if you were a mature student that made their way thru HSFY.

I finished 7th form in 2005 taking full 6 subjects, but doing only calc, chem, and bio from the STEM fields. I've worked for the last 14 years and have done a couple of 100 and 200 level papers part time. I've reached the stage in my life where I want to change course for a number of reasons, but all of which have led me to med. I'd like some advice on what worked as a mature student going back into HSFY, particularly the challenges of thrusting yourself into study after so long out of it. I finished high school when most of the students ill be up against were still pre primary!

In an effort to give myself the best chance, I am planning on doing the foundation course which commences in late Jun 2020 leading into HSFY 2021. This is preceded by a bridging course starting May. Is the bridging course recommended, or will the foundation course be enough to bring me up to scratch?

I'm lucky that as a result of working for so long, I have pretty good savings so I can pay for tutoring and the like. Is it recommended to start this during the foundation course? I figure if I'm not smashing 90%+ in that, then I'm not giving myself the best chance come HSFY. I see tutoring as enabling me to build the most secure foundation to base all of the HSFY knowledge. Because of where my I and my family are in life, this is a one shot wonder. No chances to try the post grad route if I'm not successful, so keen to do my best from a study perspective and if necessary, throw other resources at it.

Hopefully this all makes sense, and if there are any other comments or feedback I'd be very much receptive to them.

Regards,
Hi there Pwnter. I am similar to you, however am currently mid-way through HSFY with med aspirations. I finished school in 2011 and completed a bachelor of nursing; and have been working since then in various cities/hospitals.
Pretty much forgotten most things from school and never did physics or chemistry past NCEA level one. I was allowed in HSFY with a bachelors degree because it was through polytech, but I know of others that were also granted dispensation, so I presume it's a case by case basis.
I was worried about the physics and chemistry side of health sci, so I enrolled in jumpstart physics course during January, and the distance taught intro to chemistry course (both super helpful). I also had a private chem tutor which was so beneficial and fully owe my grade to her.
So far I have found the course challenging but I really have given all my time and effort but have just received my results and now it seems all worth it. I think that as long as your willing to put in the hours you can be successful no matter your background. I can't provide any insight into foundation course though sorry :)
 

Pwnter

Lurker
Hi Guys,

thanks very much. I had the same concern and have already checked. My study was in BA subjects via distance learning, and didn't meet the full academic year threshold, so am good to go. Appreciate the thought however :)

Cheers

So having confirmed I can study, would appreciate some feedback on the specifics included in my opening post regarding the Foundation Year for anyone that has completed it, or knows those who have. Furthermore, any feedback on any other general challenges or issues I should be aware of or think over would be much appreciated.

Thanks to thehutt131 for your answer. Good to know that you've found it to be a rewarding change over and the study is achievable.
 

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TBar

Member
Hey there,

I am an alternative med-entry student doing HSFY this year (my background is in the humanities too). I can't talk to the foundation course directly but I have a friend who did it and found that it set her up wonderfully. I also second the advice above and think doing the Jumpstart Physics and the distance chemistry course are worth it.

In terms of study-tips once you're doing HSFY, I wrote an advice post in the alternative entry section here.

If I was to summarise my advice for surviving and thriving in HSFY I would say get a good tutor, and get them early if you are weak at physics and chemistry. Otherwise, for the other subjects, I highly recommend brute-force rote learning (i.e. flashcards, mind maps, mnemonics etc...) everyday.

This approach got me an A- average in semester 1 and I didn't know how to do simple algebraic rearrangements at the start of the semester. Admittedly, this GPA is insufficient if you are attempting to enter through HSFY (unless you are able to enter through one of the subcategories i.e. rural, Pasifika etc). However, if you start early, which it sounds like you are, I think this is the best way to set yourself up for success.

If you've got any specific questions feel free to ask :)
 

jaejoong

Member
I did the foundation programme at Otago (and just a clarification bridging is like a 6 week programme that comes BEFORE foundation). Although I didn't do bridging I will recommend it for anyone who has been away from any science/math subjects and needs help with basic science/math skills.

Just a disclaimer I hope my post doesn't discourage you in any way, but I hope you go for it, do well in HSFY and get into med!!! because you can do it. Instead, I want to point out my own (and some of my classmates) pitfall so you can avoid it.
I went into the foundation programme after 1 year from completing high school. I went in with a mindset of doing well in foundation = doing well in HSFY. To some extent this is true but you should use the foundation year for more than just getting decent grades. The problem with me was that in foundation I would not study at all and a few days before an exam/test I would learn everything (CRAMMING) and ace the test, because the foundation year course content is quite minimal, this was possible. This is impossible in HSFY!
Instead during foundation I should've been focusing on building good study habits such as reviewing/writing my notes on the same day my lectures ran and not leaving things for later, or even learning to study for a set time without being distracted. Because in HSFY the content it not so difficult, but if you don't keep up to date it will become very difficult and most importantly unenjoyable!

But in terms of the foundation programme, it's run by such a lovely group of people. The teachers there are very helpful and kind! Definitely use them as a resource while you are there!

During HSFY if you are able to fund tutoring I would definitely recommend it for chem and physics. And find one early on as TBar mentioned.

That being said, do your best, be confident and I'm sure you will succeed! Good luck!
 

marka

Lurker
Hey there,

I am an alternative med-entry student doing HSFY this year (my background is in the humanities too). I can't talk to the foundation course directly but I have a friend who did it and found that it set her up wonderfully. I also second the advice above and think doing the Jumpstart Physics and the distance chemistry course are worth it.

In terms of study-tips once you're doing HSFY, I wrote an advice post in the alternative entry section here.

If I was to summarise my advice for surviving and thriving in HSFY I would say get a good tutor, and get them early if you are weak at physics and chemistry. Otherwise, for the other subjects, I highly recommend brute-force rote learning (i.e. flashcards, mind maps, mnemonics etc...) everyday.

This approach got me an A- average in semester 1 and I didn't know how to do simple algebraic rearrangements at the start of the semester. Admittedly, this GPA is insufficient if you are attempting to enter through HSFY (unless you are able to enter through one of the subcategories i.e. rural, Pasifika etc). However, if you start early, which it sounds like you are, I think this is the best way to set yourself up for success.

If you've got any specific questions feel free to ask
Hi TBar,

I've found your posts on these threads really helpful, especially your advice for HSFY. I applied to med through the alternative category and have an offer for 2nd year in 2021 provided I complete HSFY next year. I am keen to get a tutor from the get-go as my background is in humanities. Did you find your tutor through the uni? Or was it through an agency? I want to make sure I find someone reputable who knows the HSFY course really well. Any advice greatly appreciated. Many thanks :)
 

Stuart

Administrator
Emeritus Staff
Hi TBar,

I've found your posts on these threads really helpful, especially your advice for HSFY. I applied to med through the alternative category and have an offer for 2nd year in 2021 provided I complete HSFY next year. I am keen to get a tutor from the get-go as my background is in humanities. Did you find your tutor through the uni? Or was it through an agency? I want to make sure I find someone reputable who knows the HSFY course really well. Any advice greatly appreciated. Many thanks :)
Hi marka,

Welcome to MSO and congratulations on getting an offer.

I don't think getting private tutors is necessary. You can get great support from the staff. You are already paying for the tuition. Furthermore, many of the private tutors are not very experienced or qualified.

The most important thing is that you know how to study.
 
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TBar

Member
Hi TBar,

I've found your posts on these threads really helpful, especially your advice for HSFY. I applied to med through the alternative category and have an offer for 2nd year in 2021 provided I complete HSFY next year. I am keen to get a tutor from the get-go as my background is in humanities. Did you find your tutor through the uni? Or was it through an agency? I want to make sure I find someone reputable who knows the HSFY course really well. Any advice greatly appreciated. Many thanks :)
Glad to hear it helped :) Congrats on getting in. HSFY is a trip but you’ll survive if you’re consistent.

I found my tutors through the university - the wall beside the St David Lecture Theatre has all the ads for tutors. When getting a tutor organise a catch up first so you can get a sense of their approach. I found the best ones have resources compiled already (e.g. past physics and chemistry exam questions grouped by module).

Stuart is right though, you don’t need a tutor. I would use the department run drop in sessions primarily knowing what I know now.

For me the tutors helped me stick to a study regimen as I had to show them my completed work each week. When I started this year I found physics and chemistry intimidating. Tutors helped me get over the fear factor.

You could make your own resources in the holidays by collating all the exam questions for chemistry and physics by modules i.e. kinematics, organic chemistry etc. Then you could aim to work through them as your homework during each module and using the drop-in sessions to get help with the questions you can’t do. I found the resources given out as homework in physics and chemistry of variable quality personally and found it was more efficient to just chug through all the past exams and mid term tests.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

marka

Lurker
Glad to hear it helped :) Congrats on getting in. HSFY is a trip but you’ll survive if you’re consistent.

I found my tutors through the university - the wall beside the St David Lecture Theatre has all the ads for tutors. When getting a tutor organise a catch up first so you can get a sense of their approach. I found the best ones have resources compiled already (e.g. past physics and chemistry exam questions grouped by module).

Stuart is right though, you don’t need a tutor. I would use the department run drop in sessions primarily knowing what I know now.

For me the tutors helped me stick to a study regimen as I had to show them my completed work each week. When I started this year I found physics and chemistry intimidating. Tutors helped me get over the fear factor.

You could make your own resources in the holidays by collating all the exam questions for chemistry and physics by modules i.e. kinematics, organic chemistry etc. Then you could aim to work through them as your homework during each module and using the drop-in sessions to get help with the questions you can’t do. I found the resources given out as homework in physics and chemistry of variable quality personally and found it was more efficient to just chug through all the past exams and mid term tests.
Thank you so much for the advice and all the best for your study this year too
 

drum99

Member
Hi all,

Long time reader, first time poster. I'd like some advice from any that care to comment, particularly if you were a mature student that made their way thru HSFY.

I finished 7th form in 2005 taking full 6 subjects, but doing only calc, chem, and bio from the STEM fields. I've worked for the last 14 years and have done a couple of 100 and 200 level papers part time. I've reached the stage in my life where I want to change course for a number of reasons, but all of which have led me to med. I'd like some advice on what worked as a mature student going back into HSFY, particularly the challenges of thrusting yourself into study after so long out of it. I finished high school when most of the students ill be up against were still pre primary!

In an effort to give myself the best chance, I am planning on doing the foundation course which commences in late Jun 2020 leading into HSFY 2021. This is preceded by a bridging course starting May. Is the bridging course recommended, or will the foundation course be enough to bring me up to scratch?

I'm lucky that as a result of working for so long, I have pretty good savings so I can pay for tutoring and the like. Is it recommended to start this during the foundation course? I figure if I'm not smashing 90%+ in that, then I'm not giving myself the best chance come HSFY. I see tutoring as enabling me to build the most secure foundation to base all of the HSFY knowledge. Because of where my I and my family are in life, this is a one shot wonder. No chances to try the post grad route if I'm not successful, so keen to do my best from a study perspective and if necessary, throw other resources at it.

Hopefully this all makes sense, and if there are any other comments or feedback I'd be very much receptive to them.

Regards,
Hey Pwnter - just out of interest did you end up doing the foundation studies and will you enter HSFY next year? I just got offered a medical school place in 2022 through Alternative, but I have to successfully complete HSFY next year with a B average. I'm in a very similar situation to you - I think we finished high school at the exact same time! So I'm going to do JumpSTART Physics and a distance Chemistry course Otago offers to get myself refreshed and hopefully ready for the onslaught. Anyone else have any words of advice and do you think this will be enough prep? TBar - I've read your fantastic HSFY overview - thanks very much for this resource. I am coming from an arts background y'all!
 

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TBar

Member
I would second this, if you can, apply through alternative prior to starting HSFY. Then you reduce the pressure on yourself to get high 90s grades in the core 7 HSFY papers.
Thanks for the shout out, glad to have helped.
If it makes you feel better, med is way more enjoyable than HSFY. I remember being really over it by this time last year.
 

drum99

Member
I would second this, if you can, apply through alternative prior to starting HSFY. Then you reduce the pressure on yourself to get high 90s grades in the core 7 HSFY papers.
Thanks for the shout out, glad to have helped.
If it makes you feel better, med is way more enjoyable than HSFY. I remember being really over it by this time last year.
Hey TBar - oh that is cool hearing Med is more enjoyable for sure. Just out of interest what is the workload like from HSFY compared to ELM2-3? I would be interested to know that. And also how have you found it from a non-Science background? Very cool to see some Alternative entry students from humanities and arts backgrounds :)
 

TBar

Member
Workload - less than HSFY. Way more contact hours. I averaged 40 hours per week during semester, maybe 50 hours at exam time. Treat it like a full time job and you will be fine.

Non-science background - Fine! HSFY is when you feel the difference most. Now I’m doing pretty well, consistently a 4. If I pulled 50-60 hour weeks I could get a distinction but quality of life is more important. Afterall, 3s become Drs. Btw different marking system in Med. 3- bare pass 4- clear pass 5- potential distinction
 

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