natural sciences a big step up? Watch

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dreamer
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#1
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Can anyone tell me the sort of transition workload and thinking-wise for the NS degree? I know NST has quite a reputation, but some real-life case studies would be appreciated!!

How many hours work (on average) should you be doing? Is there time to read around? Is it very syllabus-orientated? How many societies can you feasibly join and maintain a good standard of work?

I realise all the answers will vary from person to person, but any info would be great. Also, any opinions on the first year courses?
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MadNatSci
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(Original post by dreamer)
Can anyone tell me the sort of transition workload and thinking-wise for the NS degree? I know NST has quite a reputation, but some real-life case studies would be appreciated!!

How many hours work (on average) should you be doing? Is there time to read around? Is it very syllabus-orientated? How many societies can you feasibly join and maintain a good standard of work?

I realise all the answers will vary from person to person, but any info would be great. Also, any opinions on the first year courses?

OK, I can give you my point of view but obviously I can't speak for everyone, so hopefully one or two of the other NatScis will answer you too.

NST is hard work. There is no denying this. If you're anything like me and most of the other people I know you'll spend much of the first time feeling like you're drowning in work - however, once you begin to get used to it your time management improves and it becomes manageable. NatScis work harder than most other students (though the engineers, vets and medics work damned hard too, just no Saturdays) but you do still have time for other things: I know some NatSci rowers and I'm in the college choir and both of these are pretty big commitments; and I do have time for other stuff too. You just have to use all the hours available to you. The biggest problem time-wise with NatSci is the practicals, which take out pretty well an entire day. Oh, and the Saturday mornings aren't too popular either

Academically, the transition into NatSci is pretty gentle, at least for the biologists. A lot of people doing the course don't have A level biology and so at first the lecturers simply recap the A level topics - though it's scary how fast they go through them when you think your A level took you two years! The physical sciences I think may be harder because of the requirement for an A level in the relevant subject; having said this, I'm taking chemistry and it was still a pretty gentle introduction. It got harder quite quickly: as a poor mathematician with no grasp of physics I wasn't so keen on Schroedinger's equation and things, but it's do-able. Supervisions are a godsend, as you will discover I'm sure!

As for courses, I only really know about the ones I'm doing. I'm studying Chemistry, Physiology and Biology of Cells, all of which I'd recommend I think (though I HATE Cells practicals). It seems to be a pretty popular combination. For my maths option I'm doing QB, which I dislike intensely but I'm assured that it's the best option for my courses as it deals with biologically important stuff. Mings though.
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Alaric
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(Original post by dreamer)
Can anyone tell me the sort of transition workload and thinking-wise for the NS degree? I know NST has quite a reputation, but some real-life case studies would be appreciated!!

How many hours work (on average) should you be doing? Is there time to read around? Is it very syllabus-orientated? How many societies can you feasibly join and maintain a good standard of work?

I realise all the answers will vary from person to person, but any info would be great. Also, any opinions on the first year courses?
Well last year being a compsci I was also on the natsci tripos, and I can tell you it is rather a lot of work, but there are a lot of other people doing it and if you're pretty much naturally able you can get through it with spare time (I took naps during the day and worked late into the nights sometimes). Doing Maths and Physics leads to the marvel that is 9am lectures 6 days a week, though there is only a small amount of maths coursework, fortnightly physics practicals and weekly compsci practicals that I had to attend. At times I was having more supervisions that natscis because of the way the lecture courses are organised in compsci, though this year it's slacker (except this term and I've only had one supervision so far - eeek).
You're unlikely to be able to do too much reading around the subject for Physics/Maths/Chemistry though the biologists I know spend a lot of time researching essays so it probably depends on your 'type'. Some of the people who are really into maths/physics also went to the mathematicians' lectures... which just seems like masochism to me!

As a rough guide to hours this is what they told me I should have been doing last year on average:
12hrs lectures
3/4hrs in supervisions
6-12hrs preparing for supervisions
12hrs revising lecture notes
6hrs practicals

did I do that much? bull**** I did

You can probably find time for two or three societies if you wanted to, but it is always going to be a bit of a manic 8 weeks. You get used to it

Alaric.
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Helenia
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(Original post by Alaric)
As a rough guide to hours this is what they told me I should have been doing last year on average:
12hrs lectures
3/4hrs in supervisions
6-12hrs preparing for supervisions
12hrs revising lecture notes
6hrs practicals
Wtf? :eek: Who told you that?! I'm scared now, there's no way I do that much, especially the revising lecture notes bits!
I think the Natscis probably have more official contact time than us, but our essays usually require a bit more research than theirs. And they have Saturdays
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Alaric
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(Original post by Helenia)
Wtf? :eek: Who told you that?! I'm scared now, there's no way I do that much, especially the revising lecture notes bits!
I think the Natscis probably have more official contact time than us, but our essays usually require a bit more research than theirs. And they have Saturdays
Can't recall, may have been Dr King, though it was at university level rather than college level.
I never said I did that, I don't do anything near that . In fact on average I probably only do 6 hours a day. If that.

Alaric.
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hitchhiker_13
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(Original post by Alaric)
Can't recall, may have been Dr King, though it was at university level rather than college level.
I never said I did that, I don't do anything near that . In fact on average I probably only do 6 hours a day. If that.

Alaric.

Is that 7 days a week?
6 hours a day 7 days a week, 42 hours.

12+4+12+12+6=46 (max.)
So you're not that far off?
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Alaric
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(Original post by hitchhiker_13)
Is that 7 days a week?
6 hours a day 7 days a week, 42 hours.

12+4+12+12+6=46 (max.)
So you're not that far off?
Errr no you might be able to knock weekends off that actually... bearing in mind I have three lectures a day it's not too bad... I've got a group project at the moment, which is eating my time.

I really don't work much compared to a lot of people, in fact my friends who continued with natsci think I'm a slacker
I am

Alaric.
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