Kal134
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#1
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#1
Hi,
I am going to be starting a biochemistry degree In sept but I am very worried that I will find it difficult as I did no essay subjects at A level. Is biochem examined very differently at uni and how hard are the essays and what can I do to make the essays/exams first class?
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Seraphinia
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#2
(Original post by Kal134)
Hi,
I am going to be starting a biochemistry degree In sept but I am very worried that I will find it difficult as I did no essay subjects at A level. Is biochem examined very differently at uni and how hard are the essays and what can I do to make the essays/exams first class?
You don't need to have done an essay subject at A level. They should give you a markscheme so that you know what you are expected to write, but the best way to learn the style is to read a lot of academic papers in my experience.
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Kal134
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(Original post by Seraphinia)
You don't need to have done an essay subject at A level. They should give you a markscheme so that you know what you are expected to write, but the best way to learn the style is to read a lot of academic papers in my experience.
How are exams different at university in terms of their format e.g. short answers etc? and why would reading academic papers be the best way to learn and where would I get them?
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Seraphinia
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(Original post by Kal134)
How are exams different at university in terms of their format e.g. short answers etc? and why would reading academic papers be the best way to learn and where would I get them?
Exams are quite similar I think although I can't really comment as I haven't actually done any formal exams - they were cancelled last year. So maybe someone else can help with that. From past papers I've seen they're not too dissimilar from school exams but it probably depends which university you are at.
However, I have done quite a few essays and they expect you to write in an academic style, either similar to a review article (such as Nature News & Views articles) or if it's a practical report, similar to a research paper. When you're at university you get a subscription for most journals, but there are many free papers as well which you can access now, or you could find a site that lets you bypass the paywalls.
It's good to read papers not just for exams but to improve your ability to read them and get extra knowledge (which is what you need to get a 1st).

Examples of review articles

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...Helix_Families

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...014.00305/full


And a research paper:

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/16/7990



To search for papers you could try https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
or visit the individual journal websites (e.g. Nature)

Hope this helps
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QuentinM
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Kal134)
Hi,
I am going to be starting a biochemistry degree In sept but I am very worried that I will find it difficult as I did no essay subjects at A level. Is biochem examined very differently at uni and how hard are the essays and what can I do to make the essays/exams first class?
(Original post by Kal134)
How are exams different at university in terms of their format e.g. short answers etc? and why would reading academic papers be the best way to learn and where would I get them?
Congratulations on getting an offer (I presume?)

I personally did no "essay subjects" at A-level either (Biology, chemistry, physics, maths-although maybe you could call Biology an essay topic with the final exam essay) and adapted well, it really depends how well you are willing to engage with the change in styles.

I believe this is the same at several universities, personally for my university (Exeter) in 1st year we didn't have any "essay exams", all multiple choice, and we just had a few essays to write outside of this that weren't taken too seriously. In 2nd and 3rd year we transitioned to essay exams and more essay based coursework.

When you start, try and see what resources your university has for essay writing, and see what opportunities they have for practising it. Chances are students have pushed over the past few years to get more support in this area.

As for reading academic papers to get a flavour of the style, you will likely have an introductory lecture on how to do literature searches yourself, but if you go to websites like pubmed and start searching for topics you are interested about I'm sure you could find some open access reviews to download and read.
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Kal134
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Seraphinia)
Exams are quite similar I think although I can't really comment as I haven't actually done any formal exams - they were cancelled last year. So maybe someone else can help with that. From past papers I've seen they're not too dissimilar from school exams but it probably depends which university you are at.
However, I have done quite a few essays and they expect you to write in an academic style, either similar to a review article (such as Nature News & Views articles) or if it's a practical report, similar to a research paper. When you're at university you get a subscription for most journals, but there are many free papers as well which you can access now, or you could find a site that lets you bypass the paywalls.
It's good to read papers not just for exams but to improve your ability to read them and get extra knowledge (which is what you need to get a 1st).

Examples of review articles

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...Helix_Families

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...014.00305/full


And a research paper:

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/16/7990



To search for papers you could try https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
or visit the individual journal websites (e.g. Nature)

Hope this helps
Thanks for the links.

Do they teach you how to write in the academic style? And this sounds silly but how are you meant to read academic papers, like are you supposed to take notes whilst reading them and how do you pick them out specifically for what what you are learning?
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Kal134
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#7
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#7
(Original post by QuentinM)
Congratulations on getting an offer (I presume?)

I personally did no "essay subjects" at A-level either (Biology, chemistry, physics, maths-although maybe you could call Biology an essay topic with the final exam essay) and adapted well, it really depends how well you are willing to engage with the change in styles.

I believe this is the same at several universities, personally for my university (Exeter) in 1st year we didn't have any "essay exams", all multiple choice, and we just had a few essays to write outside of this that weren't taken too seriously. In 2nd and 3rd year we transitioned to essay exams and more essay based coursework.

When you start, try and see what resources your university has for essay writing, and see what opportunities they have for practising it. Chances are students have pushed over the past few years to get more support in this area.

As for reading academic papers to get a flavour of the style, you will likely have an introductory lecture on how to do literature searches yourself, but if you go to websites like pubmed and start searching for topics you are interested about I'm sure you could find some open access reviews to download and read.
How are you supposed to revise for essay exams and what exam strategies can be applied for them? Also how are you supposed to write the essays and what can you do to make them first class?
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Kal134
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Seraphinia)
Exams are quite similar I think although I can't really comment as I haven't actually done any formal exams - they were cancelled last year. So maybe someone else can help with that. From past papers I've seen they're not too dissimilar from school exams but it probably depends which university you are at.
However, I have done quite a few essays and they expect you to write in an academic style, either similar to a review article (such as Nature News & Views articles) or if it's a practical report, similar to a research paper. When you're at university you get a subscription for most journals, but there are many free papers as well which you can access now, or you could find a site that lets you bypass the paywalls.
It's good to read papers not just for exams but to improve your ability to read them and get extra knowledge (which is what you need to get a 1st).

Examples of review articles

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...Helix_Families

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles...014.00305/full


And a research paper:

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/16/7990



To search for papers you could try https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
or visit the individual journal websites (e.g. Nature)

Hope this helps
Also would you be able to email me the essays you wrote so I can get a sense of style of the layout? If not I can understand why
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studentbioch3m
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#9
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#9
Where are you applying?
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