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Feel like a fraud perfect result but I still don't understand the subject watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hey guys, I passed a recent chemistry module on my biomedical course and got 95%, it's a 20 credit module so not to be sniffed at.

    I was able to work out the answers as it was mostly multiple choice, but I feel I don't understand the subject, I knew logically the answers to a few, and by cancelling out other answers I could deduce the right answer in others, but as for my understanding of the subject, I know I don't have a clue to be honest, if that makes sense.

    I'm annoyed because I like the subject and want to know it in detail, but due to life commitments and other aspects of the course, I don't have the time to delve into it.

    I'd even be interested to do a masters on the subject but there's only one chemistry module on my course so I don't think they'd consider me at a decent institution
    • Thread Starter


    I hope you find my humble views of interest:-

    1. You are obviously a highly intelligent student, in fact too intelligent for these modern examining methods like ordinary MCQs. In my time as a medical student (over ten years ago), we did have a few MCQ papers e.g. in Histology and in Applied Pharmacology & Therapeutics, but a) out of five parts to each Q, there could be any number correct, not just one, AND you were not told how many were correct (different for each Q), AND b) you got minus marks for any Qs you got wrong, so an 80% result was outstanding!

    2. I share your views on "not really understanding any detail" in the subject; I think it is a great shame that a large number of schools and even unis today in UK encourage students to work like machines, and not to work out answers for themselves in an analytical and questioning way, so that they would be in a position to answer Qs on the topic concerned of a type they have not encountered before or to tackle Qs phrased in a novel way.

    3. This partly stems from the technology that drives the world today (don't get me wrong - I do believe electronics and gadgetry have a crucial role to play too - I actually hold an MSc in computer science), but the compartmentalization that reliance on computers has led to, inevitably forces students and workers, rather than to find a tailor-made solution to a problem, to just "click and collect", instead of treating each situation with the inividuality it deserves.

    Looking forward, my suggestion to quench your burning thirst to learn more concrete chemistry would be to continue with whatever you originally planned to do with your biomedical course (as a stepping stone to medicine, I presume), but after your first two years in medicine, to take up an intercalated BSc in either biochemistry or pharmacology. Biochemistry is a very interesting subject (I was offered an intercalated degree in the subject after my BMS [basic medical sciences as the 1st two years were called then], which I wish I had not declined), and goes into considerable detail of chemistry of the chemistry of nature/life and of cells, even as one subject in the medical curriculum (included learning the full structural formulae of all 21 amino acids, of all adrenal and sex steroids, and of all the intermediaries of the Kreb's cycle (which my instinct tells me you would thoroughly enjoy!).

    A pharmacology degree (which I have done), includes exposure to pharmaceutical chemistry AND to biochemical pharmacology e.g. how certain chemical side groups of similar drugs result in the desired therapeutic effect or how others are related to side effects (structure-activity relationships) AND the chemical reactions that lead to synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine from tyrosine via phenylalanine and DOPA (dihydroxyphenylalanine) through the actions of e.g. DOPA decarboxylase, respectively.

    In summary, concentrate on the other modules in your course to make sure you do briliantly in your degree; this would help admission as a GEM candidate into a good medical school, and whose qualifications will take you far.


    M (ex-medic, alias Sheldon!)
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