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    Personally I'm not the hugest fan of the practical aspect of science in terms of my skills at performing experiments. I obviously can do the a-level practicals we do at school however I'm not incredibly fast at doing them so sometimes I don't even complete them (normally the rest of the class doesn't either in those cases). I tend to rely on other people in my group as they can carry out the practical tasks more effectively and they are faster thinkers in terms of working out the best practical method of making a particular measurement or setting up the right conditions ect. I also honestly find them quite boring sometimes and if we haven't done the theory, I normally have no idea what's actually going on because I'm making sure to make the right measurements or mix the right chemicals ect. I also don't really like writing up my practical notes and my lab book is a mess.

    In light of this, I am pretty worried about university practicals being stressful and a very large time sink. I know this is an extreme figure as you study 3 experimental sciences in year1, but natsci has 12 hours of practical work a week! Bristol physics has 17x 4 hour sessions over the first year. That's a lot of time spent in the lab and I guess I'm worried about getting exhausted from doing lab work which I think is fairly taxing and difficult (even if it wont be weighted for most of my marks). Maybe I'm just recoiling from remembering having a stressful time going to the bristol chem labs when I was in year 10 and extracting caffine from tea leaves (I was the last to finish- very time pressured and I had a paltry yield).

    I don't think that I want to be a practical scientist when I'm older and there are certain courses like maths and physics at warrick, where you can avoid practicals totally for the first 2 years (but you still do computational stuff). Then again I don't want the large amount of practical work required to turn me off doing natsci at cambridge because I do really want to continue studying chemistry for a year but lets just say I would be more exhausted after a 4 hour practical than 8 hours of doing problem sheets...
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Personally I'm not the hugest fan of the practical aspect of science in terms of my skills at performing experiments. I obviously can do the a-level practicals we do at school however I'm not incredibly fast at doing them so sometimes I don't even complete them (normally the rest of the class doesn't either in those cases). I tend to rely on other people in my group as they can carry out the practical tasks more effectively and they are faster thinkers in terms of working out the best practical method of making a particular measurement or setting up the right conditions ect. I also honestly find them quite boring sometimes and if we haven't done the theory, I normally have no idea what's actually going on because I'm making sure to make the right measurements or mix the right chemicals ect. I also don't really like writing up my practical notes and my lab book is a mess.

    In light of this, I am pretty worried about university practicals being stressful and a very large time sink. I know this is an extreme figure as you study 3 experimental sciences in year1, but natsci has 12 hours of practical work a week! Bristol physics has 17x 4 hour sessions over the first year. That's a lot of time spent in the lab and I guess I'm worried about getting exhausted from doing lab work which I think is fairly taxing and difficult (even if it wont be weighted for most of my marks). Maybe I'm just recoiling from remembering having a stressful time going to the bristol chem labs when I was in year 10 and extracting caffine from tea leaves (I was the last to finish- very time pressured and I had a paltry yield).

    I don't think that I want to be a practical scientist when I'm older and there are certain courses like maths and physics at warrick, where you can avoid practicals totally for the first 2 years (but you still do computational stuff). Then again I don't want the large amount of practical work required to turn me off doing natsci at cambridge because I do really want to continue studying chemistry for a year but lets just say I would be more exhausted after a 4 hour practical than 8 hours of doing problem sheets...
    Often you get out of labs early. I study Chemistry and whilst it says 12 hours a week in reality it is normally 4-8 hours, with other time spent writing up or doing a pre-lab. There is almost always enough time for anyone to get the work done (and if not they let you come in at another time).

    I would say most people hate lab work and most people are terrible at it. You get better with practice however, there are very few "naturals". I hated it for most of my degree but after doing a couple of research projects I feel so much better about it - it just takes longer for some people like you and I to pick it up! I found research to be very different to practicals.

    At my university (Oxford), everyone gets around the same mark for the lab mark anyway, so you just have to get through them regardless of your skill. In your first year you'll have a lab partner who you can bond with over your hatred of lab.... and it definitely takes the pressure off.

    If you still hated lab work later in your degree, you could specialise in something theoretical in your 3rd/4th year and never touch a chemical again!
 
 
 
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