Sunday, 15 January 2012

One month to go

Currently listening to: Maxwell's Silver Hammer - The Beatles

So here I am, nearly a week after finishing my first set of postgraduate exams, and still recovering. Sadly the SMD calendar is so tight that we finished exams on the 9th and we were back for our new modules on the 11th. I spent the whole of Christmas revising, the new year doing exams and only got one day off before starting all over again. Happily enough, I feel that the exams mostly went well with the notable exception of Research Skills and Sciences Paper 1 (I dislike practicals and I dislike exams about practicals even more), which can only be summed up by the term "FUBAR".

Aside from that paper however, RSS Paper 2 went as well as can be expected for a subject which I a) hate and b) have no talent for, so hopefully that and my coursework will make up for paper 1. The Molecular and Cell Biology and Basic Pathology papers went well, so here's hoping I managed to pass Part 1 of my MSc. Speaking of, some marks from last term have begun trickling in, and I am pleasantly surprised:

Basic Pathology - essay on mutliple myeloma: 90%
Molecular and Cell Biology - essay on angiogenesis: 70%
RSS - SDS PAGE and Western Blotting: 65%
RSS - Statistics viva: 62.5%

All in all a good set of marks which I'm very pleased with. The final two don't look particularly impressive, but when you bear in mind that I'm god-awful at labs AND maths, they become fairly decent. As always, it seems I do best in essays, because I like extended writing, especially when I can pick the topic according to my interests, and not have to feign a fascination for electrophoresis FFS. The essays are worth 25% of the total module mark, so I hope they'll make up for any booboos made during the exams. Results should be out by the end of the month.

Wow, such a long time since I made a "grade-whoring" (as one of my friends kindly puts it) almost feels like I'm back at QMUL SBCS angsting over biomedical sciences. Though in actual fact I could bomb my MSc exams and still be okay for medicine, which is not something I could say last year! in exactly a month (and a few hours), I will be boarding the train to Coventry for the Warwick Selection Centre (where I'll also be considered for the Barts and The London GEP). It hasn't quite hit me yet, perhaps because I'm still quite drained from exams, but I'm sure as it gets closer to the date, I'll start feeling the nerves more and more.

In the meantime, I've been preparing by reading the BBC's health news section, trying to get clued up on MMC and NHS politics and I've also bought two interview preparation books (this and this) which are proving to be good reads. Admittedly some of the advice is pretty common sense (like, erm, don't be an arrogant twat in your interview) but there's a lot of decent stuff in there about the NHS, ethics, etc. In all honesty, like most other things, the Selection Centre will probably be nothing like what I imagine it to be, and there's only so much books will be able to help. Ultimately, it's all down to how I perform on the day. So I guess all I can do is continue preparing, try to stay positive and just see what happens. Keep calm and carry on, which, now I think about it, has pretty much been my motto since last April.

Hope you're all well and enjoying the new year.

P.S. All interview tips and advice are very much appreciated.

P.P.S. No news from Southampton or Barts and The London (for the standard 5 year degree).


  1. Congrats on the results! Especially that multiple myeloma paper!

    God the absolute banes of my life as a Biomed student are labs and maths - I hate them with a passion unrivalled. I think I'm doomed to forever suck at labs and frankly I don't care for anything remotely approaching practical-based research. Call me pessimistic but eugh.

    Hey, you'll do great at Warwick - don't second guess yourself. Great motto too! :)

    Best of luck!

  2. Those are really good results! Well done :)

    Best of luck with your interview, let me know how it goes.
    Best interview tip is to be yourself !

    Good Luck!

  3. Ah that first book is awesome! I used it a lot for my interview preps too, and whilst some bits seem obvious... when you're under pressure, there's a tendency for the simplest of things to just go straight over our heads.

    so.. my advice would be.. to stay calm, and synthesise an answer in your head before answering questions.. i often try to make up answers aloud as i go along, but i end up mumbling and sound a little confused when i start talking to myself in front of a group of interviewers... so yep..stay calm!

    Good luck grumpy!!!

    1. Ooh, seems we posted our comments practically at the same time :P Cheers for the advice Tofu, glad to hear a vote of confidence for that book from a successful med applicant :)

  4. @Rose: I'm exactly the same, if the SDS PAGE assignment was marked on practical *skills* it would have been a total fail. Luckily it was marked on the theory and write-up (which admittedly, still isn't my forté) but at least it means I don't have to pretend to know what I'm doing in the lab!

    @areyousure?: Cheers dude, yep, will definitely update after the interview to let you know how well or badly it went!

  5. Love that song. Good luck with the interviews.

    1. Clearly you have excellent taste! And thank you.

      Seen this? :P

  6. Good luck Grumpy Biomed..would offer you advice but I'm not sure how my interviews have gone yet. But I read that first book that you have (the green ISC one) and thought of my own answers to the questions in that book and that seemed to help. Well done on those amazing results!