Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Eight Labours of the Grumpy Biomed: Techniques

Having had about 9 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours I'm pretty tired and hacked off today, all for an exam that was about as nice as being shot in the heart. The MCQs were pretty so-so, I had to leave a few out because I really hadn't revised the physicsy stuff like MRI/NMR that well, but I think I did well on ELISA and antibody techniques. For once Section B's short answer questions went very well, they were about electrophoresis and PCR, which were topics I'd revised well. I think I managed to do well on that. Sounds okay so far doesn't it? Wrong, the essay ruined everything.

The title of the essay was to describe real time PCR and contrast it with traditional PCR, giving examples of where the former would be used. Whilst I'd revised traditional PCR a lot and started off the essay with an excellent, almost textbook recital of the damned thing, I knew virtually nothing about real time PCR (much less its applications). I tried my best to blag it but I don't think I'll get away with it, I really know nothing about real time PCR. So that's it, I answered the question incompletely which probably means I'll get less than half marks for that section.

I got 65% (a B) for the coursework component of this module, but I don't think even that will be enough to make up for the poor essay performance and pretty average MCQ answers. I had really hoped that I'd finish this year with eight good grades (i.e. only As and Bs) but I really don't think that's likely anymore.


  1. Ah grumpy, don't be so hard on yourself, your essay doesn't sound too bad; from what i remember, rtPCR and PCR are pretty similar in technique! +/- fluorescence.

  2. Tofu

    Thanks, believe it or not that really did reassure me a bit :)

    I tend to get quite fatalistic after exams...maybe it wasn't *that* bad, I don't know, at times I just feel so underprepared...

  3. Sorry to hear that! When i think i've done badly in an exam, i never do as badly as i thought. I hope thats some consolation while you wait for results day.
    I have my genetics exam in two weeks and i'm not looking forward to it in the slightest!

  4. Gary

    That is some consolation, I hope that's how it pans out!

    Are you at QMUL then? :)