The idea of going to university for the first time causes one to feel nervous yet excited at the same time. It is an experience that leaves a number off questions that tend not to be answered to your satisfaction. Do Not Fear!

As a student who just completed their first year of the MPharm course at UCL School of Pharmacy, I will try to explain how to best manage the year. In short, first year can be described as being a coin. One face depicts the portion of the year feeling of chilling out while the other as a moment of crisis and panic. To avoid falling completely to these sides and making your first year like a roller coaster ride, it is important to balance the social life and the academic life. In doing so, you guarantee yourself a fantastic first year experience, without the need to worry just before exam time.

After a week, it is common to conclude that most lectures seem to be topics that have been covered prior to taking the A-level exams. The reason is to allow all students from different education systems to be on the same level in terms of their knowledge on biochemistry and chemistry by the time they get into second year.

To proceed to second year,  you have to pass your exam paper by 40% and a 50% on calculation and practical part of the exams. Although this may seem like a hassle-free task, it can prove to be difficult for many. The trick is that the lecture related exams happen during June and tests you on your knowledge that you have gained since October. This is a ton of knowledge to learn, where in reality you’ll only be examined on about 20% of the information that you were taught. Problem is you don’t know what information will be examined and would really need to be familiar with as much topics as possible to increase your chance of passing the year.

You will either love or hate the 1-2 lab experiments every week and each lab experiment has a write-up. Do not fall into the trap of doing them on the last day, as there will always be a question or two in the lab write-up that is difficult to obtain an accurate answer for. So you have to do lab write ups as well as learn lecture material as well as have somewhat of a social life! Kind of a hard thing to manage in your first year!

You will be getting lecture notes from an academic staff member before each topic is to be taught but lecture notes are not enough to ensure that you pass your examinations. It is strongly advised to head into the School of Pharmacy library and loan a book or two out in order to assist you in understanding your material better. Some suggested reading books for the first year are as follows.

Pharmacy stress

  • To summarize, the key to a successful, memorable first year is
    • Revise lectures as you go along dont leave it last minute!
    • Write lab reports in advance
    • Attend one of UCLU’s societies and clubs
    • Go to all the SOP Student union events. The important thing is to balance your social and academic side.