Undertaking the second year of a Pharmacy degree at the University of Reading is much more specific and challenging in comparison to the first year. Hard work, keeping up with lectures and assignments is essential from the start.

The autumn term modules focus on the pharmacology and toxicology of drugs, the medicinal chemistry behind these drugs, the analysis of them, and the actual designing and manufacturing of medicines. In addition to this, there is a module on statistics, epidemiology and Pharmacy Practice, which builds on skills developed in the first year.

The spring term introduces Therapeutics 1, and highlights the importance of group work through Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions. The three main systems which I learnt in this module were the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems. It is a good idea to look over your notes from the first year, particularly the modules on Human Physiology and Pharmacology and Toxicology from the autumn term. The other module introduced is Medical Microbiology, which focuses on sterilisation skills, and the use of antibiotics. The spring term is a much more overwhelming semester as there is ample group work for individual modules. A medicine design project takes place, which requires detailed research into a given case to be written up into a group report that is then presented in a conference.

Pharmacy Practice 2 is more intense in comparison to the first year, and I would recommend familiarising yourself with the Drug Tariff, NICE Guidelines, BNF and MEP. Notably, hospital drug charts are reviewed in the spring term. The Gold Standard labels are also very useful in the dispensing classes. These are a set of template labels which are used in the classes, and are all available on the Reading Blackboard site.

In my opinion, the most workload when it comes to revision and note-making was for Therapeutics 1 and Dosage, Form, and Design and Manufacture. Both these modules require detailed knowledge of the content, therefore I highly recommend making your notes as you go along, otherwise Easter break will be a nightmare!

To summarise:

  • Keeping a diary is very helpful.
  • Checking your emails regularly is also essential, as this helps with organising yourself.
  • When it comes to revising, make a realistic timetable and set yourself breaks.
  • At times, it can be stressful but there is support available within the library. The study centre has guides and advisers who will be able to discuss revision strategies with you. There is also a mathematics support centre to aid the pharmaceutical calculations and statistics module!

After reading the above, you might be feeling anxious and nervous, but I found taking each day as it comes to be the best way! Just remember to stay focused, organised, and up to date with deadlines, and you should be fine! As I said before, second year is more specific to pharmacy, so make the most out of it!

To conclude, I compiled a list of books that I personally found useful during my second year at the University of Reading:

–       Aulton’s Pharmaceutics 3rd ed

–       Rang & Dales’ Pharmacology 7th ed

–       Pharmaceutical Analysis – Watson 3rd ed

–       Pathology and Therapeutics for Pharmacists – Pharmaceutical Press 3rd ed

–       Patrick’s Medicinal Chemistry 4th ed

Good Luck!

Dilbagh Gill (Third Year MPharm – University of Reading)