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Midterms and Final Examinations

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    I firmed Pharmacy with an integrated foundation year and what's scaring me from this moment are the midterms and finals. Are everyone's exams 80% of their final grade? That's really scaring me considering I came from an American high school which counts only 10% of the final grade from its midterm or final exam.

    How hard are these tests at Manchester? Are they standardized meaning can I access past papers online (IB/AP)? How much essay writing is there? Also, do the staff sometimes "curve" the grades/average them out following some sort of scale? Just he thought of 2 papers holding the weight of my final grade scares me! I'm so worried this is going to be one huge shock for me so please provide me with any info you have :/
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    (Original post by dma94)
    I firmed Pharmacy with an integrated foundation year and what's scaring me from this moment are the midterms and finals. Are everyone's exams 80% of their final grade? That's really scaring me considering I came from an American high school which counts only 10% of the final grade from its midterm or final exam.

    How hard are these tests at Manchester? Are they standardized meaning can I access past papers online (IB/AP)? How much essay writing is there? Also, do the staff sometimes "curve" the grades/average them out following some sort of scale? Just he thought of 2 papers holding the weight of my final grade scares me! I'm so worried this is going to be one huge shock for me so please provide me with any info you have :/
    I don't do pharmacy, but I can give you some of the answers, because they're the same across (almost) all courses.

    Exams are meant to be challenging. Anything over 70% is a First (i.e. the highest grade you can get), 60% is a 2:1 (still good enough to get you onto almost any graduate programme), 50% is a 2:2 (still fine) 40% is a Third (a bit shoddy) and less than 40% is a fail. As you can see, you're not going to be getting percentages that are as high as you would in a US high school, but they're not comparable anyway.

    Exams aren't standardised across universities (unless this is different for pharmacy, but it's likely that at least some will be non-standardised) but it's normal for lecturers to drop hints about what might come up, and to provide one or two past papers. If they are provided online, then they will be on Blackboard (part of the intranet).

    You will probably find that some modules have a coursework element, where an essay that you write over a period of weeks counts towards your final grade.

    It's far from unusual to only have one paper per module. However, you will have several modules each year (between 6 and 12) and your grades will be averaged out over those modules. In addition, your first year grades don't count towards your final degree classification.

    Don't forget that everyone will have been taught the same material, so you will be on a level playing field with them. You just have to do the work!

    On a final note, what on earth made up the other 90% of your final grade in high school?! :lolwut: And did anyone actually bother studying for a test that only counted for 10% of your final grade?
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    Hey thanks for the quick reply;p

    So what kind of testing is this where a C is considered good? I mean if everything's written in the books and lecture papers then what makes it so difficult? I dont mean to sound like a smartass or anything but how does one do good in them? Is getting lets say an 85% a huge deal?

    Lol we did have a lot of tests during each quarter but 2 exams per semester which were only 10%.. the rest was quizzes, hwk, PPRR, normal tests, a project or two

    As you can see highschool was a bit of a walk in the park.. we didn't have IB or AP level courses (and obviously no british school A-levels and stuff) so honestly do you think Im taking too much of a risk here with manchester?;p Please note I'll be doing a foundation year in Xaverian college though

    EDIT:

    This is what the pharmacy admissions told me.. "The Foundation course is graded in points, therefore overall students must have a minimum of 24 points from both the Chemistry and Biology courses, in grades this is normally BB or higher."

    Can anyone explain this more furtherly? :s
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    (Original post by dma94)
    Hey thanks for the quick reply;p

    So what kind of testing is this where a C is considered good? I mean if everything's written in the books and lecture papers then what makes it so difficult? I dont mean to sound like a smartass or anything but how does one do good in them? Is getting lets say an 85% a huge deal?

    Lol we did have a lot of tests during each quarter but 2 exams per semester which were only 10%.. the rest was quizzes, hwk, PPRR, normal tests, a project or two

    As you can see highschool was a bit of a walk in the park.. we didn't have IB or AP level courses (and obviously no british school A-levels and stuff) so honestly do you think Im taking too much of a risk here with manchester?;p Please note I'll be doing a foundation year in Xaverian college though

    EDIT:

    This is what the pharmacy admissions told me.. "The Foundation course is graded in points, therefore overall students must have a minimum of 24 points from both the Chemistry and Biology courses, in grades this is normally BB or higher."

    Can anyone explain this more furtherly? :s

    Yes, 85% is a significant result - very few people will get this in any exam, and a final average of ~75-80% in lots of modules will normally win a university outstanding achievement award. In a vocational degree such as pharmacy, you won't be getting many firsts.

    Yes there are past papers and textbooks, but the degree will cover a huge amount of work, and will often require outside reading and further work. Remember as well that you'll have practical exams, coursework, presentations etc to do, so the exam will only count for 60-80% of your final grade.

    I know it sounds so different from school, but when 5-8% of students are getting >70% at the end of the degree, then the marking works!

    Don't worry about your current knowledge, the foundation year will sort you out, and teach you exactly what you'll need for pharmacy. the admission people gave you entry requirements for UK students, so i doubt that's relevant. What is your offer?
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    (Original post by Strangey)
    Yes, 85% is a significant result - very few people will get this in any exam, and a final average of ~75-80% in lots of modules will normally win a university outstanding achievement award. In a vocational degree such as pharmacy, you won't be getting many firsts.

    Yes there are past papers and textbooks, but the degree will cover a huge amount of work, and will often require outside reading and further work. Remember as well that you'll have practical exams, coursework, presentations etc to do, so the exam will only count for 60-80% of your final grade.

    I know it sounds so different from school, but when 5-8% of students are getting >70% at the end of the degree, then the marking works!

    Don't worry about your current knowledge, the foundation year will sort you out, and teach you exactly what you'll need for pharmacy. the admission people gave you entry requirements for UK students, so i doubt that's relevant. What is your offer?
    LOL your reply made me more worried in a way but the again it was what Im looking for soo I appreciate the details

    I can't not worry; I wasn't much of a hard-worker top A student throughout high school so I'm worried this foundation year will be too much of a shock for me My offer (MPharm Pharmacy with a foundation year - 5 years) is currently conditional they're just looking over a health questionnaire so it can be made unconditional - I'm not worried about that part. I can choose between this foundation year and a more general one at INTO Manchester (international students), but each one has it's pros and cons so I don't know which to choose.. Xaverian is hard but better for my future and I don't have math class (I'm terrible in math), INTO seems easier in grading although it does have math.. and I'd have to go through UCAS all over again with INTO -.-

    Whichever I pick I know I'm going to work my hardest and put in a lot of effort but the decision of choosing would be easier if the websites actually cleared up the course content, marking schemes, and syllabus and how many terms/semesters there are.

    Anywhoo if anyone reading this and has more info about Manchester foundation programs at Xaverian college then please help me out! I want the most useful info I could get
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    (Original post by dma94)
    Hey thanks for the quick reply;p

    So what kind of testing is this where a C is considered good? I mean if everything's written in the books and lecture papers then what makes it so difficult? I dont mean to sound like a smartass or anything but how does one do good in them? Is getting lets say an 85% a huge deal?

    Lol we did have a lot of tests during each quarter but 2 exams per semester which were only 10%.. the rest was quizzes, hwk, PPRR, normal tests, a project or two

    As you can see highschool was a bit of a walk in the park.. we didn't have IB or AP level courses (and obviously no british school A-levels and stuff) so honestly do you think Im taking too much of a risk here with manchester?;p Please note I'll be doing a foundation year in Xaverian college though

    EDIT:

    This is what the pharmacy admissions told me.. "The Foundation course is graded in points, therefore overall students must have a minimum of 24 points from both the Chemistry and Biology courses, in grades this is normally BB or higher."

    Can anyone explain this more furtherly? :s
    At university level, universities don't normally use letter grades. Instead, they refer to percentages / classifications (1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, as detailed above). A few universities have started using letter grades, but I'm not aware that any department at Manchester has done so, and it seems to be causing confusion at those universities anyway. However, it appears that foundation courses are graded very differently to degrees, and so I can't really help there!

    Foundation courses are designed to bring everyone up to the same standard as people who have done A Levels and got grades good enough to go straight into the first year of the BSc. They will be quite used to people who are fundamentally intelligent, but for whatever reason didn't do well enough in their A Levels, did A Levels in inappropriate subjects (Drama, Music and English for a Pharmacy degree, for instance) or are from foreign schools where they didn't have qualifications suitable for direct entry into the BSc.

    Once you've done the foundation year, you'll be in a really good position to start the degree, so I think you'll be fine

    LOL your reply made me more worried in a way but the again it was what Im looking for soo I appreciate the details

    I can't not worry; I wasn't much of a hard-worker top A student throughout high school so I'm worried this foundation year will be too much of a shock for me My offer (MPharm Pharmacy with a foundation year - 5 years) is currently conditional they're just looking over a health questionnaire so it can be made unconditional - I'm not worried about that part. I can choose between this foundation year and a more general one at INTO Manchester (international students), but each one has it's pros and cons so I don't know which to choose.. Xaverian is hard but better for my future and I don't have math class (I'm terrible in math), INTO seems easier in grading although it does have math.. and I'd have to go through UCAS all over again with INTO -.-

    Whichever I pick I know I'm going to work my hardest and put in a lot of effort but the decision of choosing would be easier if the websites actually cleared up the course content, marking schemes, and syllabus and how many terms/semesters there are.

    Anywhoo if anyone reading this and has more info about Manchester foundation programs at Xaverian college then please help me out! I want the most useful info I could get
    Given that the Xaverian foundation course is more focused on life sciences, I think that that would be better for you. INTO is likely to have a lot of ESOL stuff in, which isn't going to help you at all. In addition, it would be a big risk to go for INTO, because there's no guarantee that you would actually get an offer.
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    At university level, universities don't normally use letter grades. Instead, they refer to percentages / classifications (1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd, as detailed above). A few universities have started using letter grades, but I'm not aware that any department at Manchester has done so, and it seems to be causing confusion at those universities anyway. However, it appears that foundation courses are graded very differently to degrees, and so I can't really help there!

    Foundation courses are designed to bring everyone up to the same standard as people who have done A Levels and got grades good enough to go straight into the first year of the BSc. They will be quite used to people who are fundamentally intelligent, but for whatever reason didn't do well enough in their A Levels, did A Levels in inappropriate subjects (Drama, Music and English for a Pharmacy degree, for instance) or are from foreign schools where they didn't have qualifications suitable for direct entry into the BSc.

    Once you've done the foundation year, you'll be in a really good position to start the degree, so I think you'll be fine



    Given that the Xaverian foundation course is more focused on life sciences, I think that that would be better for you. INTO is likely to have a lot of ESOL stuff in, which isn't going to help you at all. In addition, it would be a big risk to go for INTO, because there's no guarantee that you would actually get an offer.
    Hey! Thanks for the input!

    I know it's a bigger risk but I can't help but lean towards INTO more. Lots of international students are there who don't really know what they're up for kinda like me and it seems more flexible, if for example I decided to choose a different pathway other than pharmacy. I guess since it's my first time to ever study abroad in a completely different environment.. I'm looking for somewhere I'll fit in best. I really really wish I were confident enough to start at Xaverian but it seems too intense
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    (Original post by dma94)
    Hey! Thanks for the input!

    I know it's a bigger risk but I can't help but lean towards INTO more. Lots of international students are there who don't really know what they're up for kinda like me and it seems more flexible, if for example I decided to choose a different pathway other than pharmacy. I guess since it's my first time to ever study abroad in a completely different environment.. I'm looking for somewhere I'll fit in best. I really really wish I were confident enough to start at Xaverian but it seems too intense
    If I remember rightly (don't take my word for it - do check), the pharmacy foundation year at Xaverian is more of a general life sciences foundation year, so if you wanted to you could switch to something like Pharmacology & Physiology, Biology or Neuroscience afterwards.

    I've had a (brief) look at both foundation courses online. As far as I can tell, Xaverian has several advantages,
    - you won't be wasting your time on English as a Foreign Language, or ICT (I presume you can use a computer...)
    - you will be a full member of the university, so you will be able to live in university owned halls - which I can assure you is a far better option than what INTO has to offer.
    - if it's more rigorous, then you will be better prepared for when you actually start the MPharm. Essentially, you need to cover the (two-year) A Level course in one year (a US high school diploma is generally reckoned to be equivalent to the GCSEs that the British take at 16), so it needs to be rigorous. However, it won't be unmanageably rigorous - they accept people who have inappropriate A Levels, so the last time that they studied sciences was two years ago, and to a standard no higher than you have been studying so far.
    - INTO is only for international students. Unfortunately, international students can have a tendency to group together into groups of people who speak their own language. You will be part of a very small minority for whom English is your first language, and as you won't be living in university halls, there's the potential to find yourself quite isolated.
    - You'd have to reapply via UCAS for INTO. There's no guarantee that you would get in, and I'm not sure that you have guaranteed progression to UoM from INTO, as you do with the Xaverian foundation year. Also, would you still be able to start INTO this September, or would you have to wait until next September?

    Anyway, I think the best option for you will be Xaverian. Sometimes you've just got to take a bit of a leap of faith!
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    If I remember rightly (don't take my word for it - do check), the pharmacy foundation year at Xaverian is more of a general life sciences foundation year, so if you wanted to you could switch to something like Pharmacology & Physiology, Biology or Neuroscience afterwards.

    I've had a (brief) look at both foundation courses online. As far as I can tell, Xaverian has several advantages,
    - you won't be wasting your time on English as a Foreign Language, or ICT (I presume you can use a computer...)
    - you will be a full member of the university, so you will be able to live in university owned halls - which I can assure you is a far better option than what INTO has to offer.
    - if it's more rigorous, then you will be better prepared for when you actually start the MPharm. Essentially, you need to cover the (two-year) A Level course in one year (a US high school diploma is generally reckoned to be equivalent to the GCSEs that the British take at 16), so it needs to be rigorous. However, it won't be unmanageably rigorous - they accept people who have inappropriate A Levels, so the last time that they studied sciences was two years ago, and to a standard no higher than you have been studying so far.
    - INTO is only for international students. Unfortunately, international students can have a tendency to group together into groups of people who speak their own language. You will be part of a very small minority for whom English is your first language, and as you won't be living in university halls, there's the potential to find yourself quite isolated.
    - You'd have to reapply via UCAS for INTO. There's no guarantee that you would get in, and I'm not sure that you have guaranteed progression to UoM from INTO, as you do with the Xaverian foundation year. Also, would you still be able to start INTO this September, or would you have to wait until next September?

    Anyway, I think the best option for you will be Xaverian. Sometimes you've just got to take a bit of a leap of faith!
    Thank you sooo much for your time, and I agree with you a 100% but I just don't have the guts I'm Kuwaiti and Arabic is my first language so I don't really worry about the isolation part, and just like a lot of people progressed to universities starting with the INTO centres, I think I'll be able to as well. And yes I do have an offer for INTO, the deadline is in a week so I have time to think a whole lot more but I can't help but feel that Xaverian IS in fact too rigorous for me for my first year abroad!

    But anyways thanks a lot for the advice! So glad I found out about this site

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