studying boichemistry @ uni (Bsc)

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alinazubairx
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#1
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#1
for the people who have done/ are doing a bachelor's in biochem, what was it like in terms of learning, labs etc and what were the exams like- how long, content heavy?, can you wing the last minute?
thank you very much!
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asclepeion
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(Original post by alinazubairx)
for the people who have done/ are doing a bachelor's in biochem, what was it like in terms of learning, labs etc and what were the exams like- how long, content heavy?, can you wing the last minute?
thank you very much!
I finished a biochemistry BSc already. In terms of learning, I had morning lectures following by mid-morning to afternoon labs and then my labs counted towards coursework write up, results and presentations. Lectures were just typical PowerPoint lectures and my university also did quizzes with a clicker (interactive audience response quiz which was also how they took attendance).
Labs were manageable, mostly following instructions, answering questions and then we had to go off ourselves to interpret the results and write up into a report.
Exams were actually very essay-based, more than I bargained for and for extra marks you should do wider reading of literature e.g. in my exams I would literally write "studies have shown XXX, in one study XXX by (XXX et al., 20XX)". My exams were about 3 hours long and I had to write 3 essays per exam and I had an exam per module (at most I had 9 exams in one summer). It was quite content heavy and a lot of memorisation as well as understanding.

I don't recommend winging last minute because I did that in my first and second year exams and it came out not too great. Trying to cram and wings things like mechanisms and structures is very difficult. Whether your first year counts towards your final degree classification or not, it still goes on the transcript even though it's not as significant as your degree classification. It can also affect any departmental prizes you might be eligible for if your marks are low.

It was a demanding degree for me but I still loved it and I also managed to join societies, have part-time jobs and other bits of volunteering.
Last edited by asclepeion; 1 year ago
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alinazubairx
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#3
(Original post by asclepeion)
I finished a biochemistry BSc already. In terms of learning, I had morning lectures following by mid-morning to afternoon labs and then my labs counted towards coursework write up, results and presentations. Lectures were just typical PowerPoint lectures and my university also did quizzes with a clicker (interactive audience response quiz which was also how they took attendance).
Labs were manageable, mostly following instructions, answering questions and then we had to go off ourselves to interpret the results and write up into a report.
Exams were actually very essay-based, more than I bargained for and for extra marks you should do wider reading of literature e.g. in my exams I would literally write "studies have shown XXX, in one study XXX by (XXX et al., 20XX)". My exams were about 3 hours long and I had to write 3 essays per exam and I had an exam per module (at most I had 9 exams in one summer). It was quite content heavy and a lot of memorisation as well as understanding.

I don't recommend winging last minute because I did that in my first and second year exams and it came out not too great. Trying to cram and wings things like mechanisms and structures is very difficult. Whether your first year counts towards your final degree classification or not, it still goes on the transcript even though it's not as significant as your degree classification. It can also affect any departmental prizes you might be eligible for if your marks are low.

It was a demanding degree for me but I still loved it and I also managed to join societies, have part-time jobs and other bits of volunteering.
this has been really insightful, thank you so much!!
if I could also ask, after you finished ur Bsc, was it difficult to find a job in that field?
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asclepeion
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(Original post by alinazubairx)
this has been really insightful, thank you so much!!
if I could also ask, after you finished ur Bsc, was it difficult to find a job in that field?
It's difficult to comment on as a lot of biochem grads end up doing masters/PhD/grad med and I did a masters. In terms of jobs in that field, positions such as research assistant/technicians are quite competitive but it also depends on the lab skills you gained during your degree and the relevance to the job description.
If you want to progress down the academia pathway, you won't get very far without a PhD. A lot of other science positions at pharmaceutical companies and life science companies will take on BSc grads if they also have 1-5 years experience (depending on the company/role) but a lot prefer masters/PhD + experience.
You can also go down the graduate scheme pathway which are incredibly competitive but allows you to get a job in that field without additional degrees (e.g. Unilever R&D grad scheme). Grad schemes do have a lot of hoops to jump through though, including a certain number of UCAS points to apply (for some, not all), psychometric aptitude test, pre-recorded video interview, telephone interviews, face to face interviews and assessment centres.

I would say it's as difficult as most grads trying to get jobs.
Last edited by asclepeion; 1 year ago
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username5320822
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I agree, with biochemistry you can't really wing exams, questions are usually too specific and require demonstrations, graphs drawing or interpretations, etc....but this is common to most Bio- and Chem-related subjects.

Job wise, on a positive note there is an increase in demand, but it very much depends on what you want to do after Uni. Science is not just pharma industry or research, there are lots of opportunities in admin jobs (for example IP or science funding related jobs), charities, local authorities, teaching, editorial offices, etc. I think biochemistry is as competitive as many other professions, like law or business, but it is still a very competitive market and requires careful planning during the BSc. For example summer placements or placement years can help you acquire extra skills and make your CV more competitive.
Last edited by username5320822; 1 year ago
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alinazubairx
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#6
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(Original post by asclepeion)
It's difficult to comment on as a lot of biochem grads end up doing masters/PhD/grad med and I did a masters. In terms of jobs in that field, positions such as research assistant/technicians are quite competitive but it also depends on the lab skills you gained during your degree and the relevance to the job description.
If you want to progress down the academia pathway, you won't get very far without a PhD. A lot of other science positions at pharmaceutical companies and life science companies will take on BSc grads if they also have 1-5 years experience (depending on the company/role) but a lot prefer masters/PhD + experience.
You can also go down the graduate scheme pathway which are incredibly competitive but allows you to get a job in that field without additional degrees (e.g. Unilever R&D grad scheme). Grad schemes do have a lot of hoops to jump through though, including a certain number of UCAS points to apply (for some, not all), psychometric aptitude test, pre-recorded video interview, telephone interviews, face to face interviews and assessment centres.

I would say it's as difficult as most grads trying to get jobs.
w o w, ok . thank you very much for sharing this info.
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alinazubairx
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#7
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(Original post by fprischi)
I agree, with biochemistry you can't really wing exams, questions are usually too specific and require demonstrations, graphs drawing or interpretations, etc....but this is common to most Bio- and Chem-related subjects.

Job wise, on a positive note there is an increase in demand, but it very much depends on what you want to do after Uni. Science is not just pharma industry or research, there is lots of opportunities in admin jobs (for example IP or science funding related jobs), charities, local authorities, teaching, editorial offices, etc. I think biochemistry is as competitive as many other professions, like law or business, but it is still a very competitive market and requires careful planning during the BSc. For example summer placements or placement years can help you acquire extra skills and make your CV more competitive.
I see, thank you very much!
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