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What do you learn about in first year biomedical UoA papers?

charlottechatw

New Member
Hi everyone,
I'm year 13 this year and I'm struggling to find insider information about what medical school is actually like in terms of the content. I'm keen to do either medical school or engineering (more biomedical engineering pathway) but likely biomed first year in auckland at the moment.

1. How much of the content is biology? I don't mind biology but definitely prefer chemistry and physics. Are most of the papers based around memorising muscles / bones etc. or is there a good mix of all areas of biology (if that makes sense).
2. How do the exams work compared to high school? Do you have assignments that you get graded on throughout the year as well as end of year exams?
3. Are there any papers that people typically find harder than the others?

Thank you so much if you can answer any of these!
:)
 

1997

New Member
Hi! In response to your questions:
1. Roughly half of the papers are based on biology. There is a lot of memorising in these papers, although memorising muscles and bones is not a big part of these papers. That is something that happens once you get into medical school. There is a good mix of biology - cells, DNA, biochemistry, physiology in all these biology papers.
2. Each paper has assignments and tests throughout the semester. You get graded on them. At the end of the semester, you have a final exam.
3. Yes, MEDSCI 142 has been the paper that most people find the most difficult. The other papers are not easy either, but they are not super hard. You just need to put in the effort for all papers.
Hope this helps. All the best with year 13!
 

Venus

New Member
Honest opinion:
- No need to study for labs as the work is very light and is worth about 20% of each course and is not even assessed in your tests/exams. Save your time for memorizing the lectures. The exception to this is medsci142, which I would recommend doing as much preparation as possible before each lab; it would be a good idea to read and answer any questions you can in the lab guide before actually going into the lab because you're tested on it at the end of every medsci lab and the lab content will be small (but significant) part of your tests. For the other labs just read the lab course notes before hand and listen carefully during the lab as all the answers are given somewhere in the instructor's presentation at each lab.

- For lectures, I would not advise trying to understand the lecture content. There is simply too much information/trivial facts that needs to be learnt and trying to understand it is a complete waste of time. Attempting to understand the content will result in you spending a lot of time learning things that are of no benefit to your GPA and are not necessary for the test. If it's not in the course guide or lecture, then there's no point in learning it. But again, the exception to this is medsci142. Putting effort into simply memorization in the other courses can easily get you an A+, but sadly this is not the case for medsci. In medsci142 the test questions are significantly harder than in the other courses; they actually require you to think rather than just rifle through facts that you've memorized. It is the same for the medsci exam. Fortunately, medsci is actually conceptually easier to grasp than the other courses because it deals with biology on a larger level. By that I mean you're not taught about like 20 different enzymes in the same lecture that all sound pretty much the same. Instead you're dealing with anatomical systems like how the heart works mechanically. But again, you do need to actually understand medsci as the exam questions really do make you think.

And just an extra tip for medsci:
Do all the past exam papers because some lecturers copy and paste questions from their old exams.

My top tip for first year biomed: Memorization is key
 

charlottechatw

New Member
Hi! In response to your questions:
1. Roughly half of the papers are based on biology. There is a lot of memorising in these papers, although memorising muscles and bones is not a big part of these papers. That is something that happens once you get into medical school. There is a good mix of biology - cells, DNA, biochemistry, physiology in all these biology papers.
2. Each paper has assignments and tests throughout the semester. You get graded on them. At the end of the semester, you have a final exam.
3. Yes, MEDSCI 142 has been the paper that most people find the most difficult. The other papers are not easy either, but they are not super hard. You just need to put in the effort for all papers.
Hope this helps. All the best with year 13!
Hi, thanks heaps - that helps a lot! Also, how much lab work do you do on average? And is it worth much of our overall GPA?

Honest opinion:
- No need to study for labs as the work is very light and is worth about 20% of each course and is not even assessed in your tests/exams. Save your time for memorizing the lectures. The exception to this is medsci142, which I would recommend doing as much preparation as possible before each lab; it would be a good idea to read and answer any questions you can in the lab guide before actually going into the lab because you're tested on it at the end of every medsci lab and the lab content will be small (but significant) part of your tests. For the other labs just read the lab course notes before hand and listen carefully during the lab as all the answers are given somewhere in the instructor's presentation at each lab.

- For lectures, I would not advise trying to understand the lecture content. There is simply too much information/trivial facts that needs to be learnt and trying to understand it is a complete waste of time. Attempting to understand the content will result in you spending a lot of time learning things that are of no benefit to your GPA and are not necessary for the test. If it's not in the course guide or lecture, then there's no point in learning it. But again, the exception to this is medsci142. Putting effort into simply memorization in the other courses can easily get you an A+, but sadly this is not the case for medsci. In medsci142 the test questions are significantly harder than in the other courses; they actually require you to think rather than just rifle through facts that you've memorized. It is the same for the medsci exam. Fortunately, medsci is actually conceptually easier to grasp than the other courses because it deals with biology on a larger level. By that I mean you're not taught about like 20 different enzymes in the same lecture that all sound pretty much the same. Instead you're dealing with anatomical systems like how the heart works mechanically. But again, you do need to actually understand medsci as the exam questions really do make you think.

And just an extra tip for medsci:
Do all the past exam papers because some lecturers copy and paste questions from their old exams.

My top tip for first year biomed: Memorization is key
Thanks so much, that’s amazing advice that I’ll definitely take on board! :)
 

stalebread

New Member
hey current biomed student here, for biosci and chem there's labs once every 2 weeks (so every other week) and each of these labs are 3 hours long. In total this adds up to 5 labs for each paper. From memory, labs for chem make up 15% of your final grade - so each lab is worth 3%. For biosci the labs make up 20% of your final grade - so each lab is worth 4%. Im not sure about medsci yet because it's in the second semester but i'd imagine it would be about the same.
 

charlottechatw

New Member
hey current biomed student here, for biosci and chem there's labs once every 2 weeks (so every other week) and each of these labs are 3 hours long. In total this adds up to 5 labs for each paper. From memory, labs for chem make up 15% of your final grade - so each lab is worth 3%. For biosci the labs make up 20% of your final grade - so each lab is worth 4%. Im not sure about medsci yet because it's in the second semester but i'd imagine it would be about the same.
Awesome thank you! This may be too general a question, but are labs hard? / how do you find them?
 

stalebread

New Member
Awesome thank you! This may be too general a question, but are labs hard? / how do you find them?
I've only done a couple labs for chem and biosci so far, but yeah I've found that they can be kinda stressful - especially chem ones. Biosci labs are a lot more chill and fun. The thing that mostly makes the chem labs hard is the time pressure, especially if you muck something up and you have to redo it, 3 hours seems a lot but it goes by suuuuper fast. Though the questions in the lab assignment are mostly pretty easy, its getting the experimental part of it right that makes them stressful.
 

charlottechatw

New Member
I've only done a couple labs for chem and biosci so far, but yeah I've found that they can be kinda stressful - especially chem ones. Biosci labs are a lot more chill and fun. The thing that mostly makes the chem labs hard is the time pressure, especially if you muck something up and you have to redo it, 3 hours seems a lot but it goes by suuuuper fast. Though the questions in the lab assignment are mostly pretty easy, its getting the experimental part of it right that makes them stressful.
Ooh ok, thanks for ur help!
 

amacca

New Member
Awesome thank you! This may be too general a question, but are labs hard? / how do you find them?
Hey Charlotte,

I'm gunna jump in here too :) I think the labs can be busy, but it's really important to prepare for them before you go into them (maybe like 1 - 2 hours prep depending how well you get the content). Most people don't, and this is what I think causes a lot of stress and time pressure, when in reality the prep is very minimal effort.

Labs aren't worth much individually, but doing well in internal assessments for BioSci and Chem takes heaps of pressure off for exams :)
 
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