Uni of Southampton Students
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Hi Everyone!

I'm Connor and I have just finished my Biology BSc here at Southampton and will be starting an MRes in Evolution in September. I came to Southampton through clearing, so I really did not know what to expect when I arrived. The past three years have been a blast and I want to do all I can to prepare any prospective students, so please ask any questions you have regarding Biology, UoS or general university life!
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Hellllpppp
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Hi I’ve firmed NatSci at Southampton and I’m interested in the “Fundamentals of Biochemistry” and the “Fundamentals of Cell Biology and Physiology” modules, I’m leaning more towards Biochemistry. I have a few questions…

Any tips for what I can do this summer to prepare myself? Should I be doing pre-reading etc or should I just keep relaxing

What are the practicals like in biology, do you have to do a lot of preparation work etc?

How do people revise at degree level (up to now I’ve got by doing lots of past papers)?

Do you have any tips for writing concise notes in biology, the content is so detailed and I often lapse into just copying the textbook verbatim

Sorry for so many questions!
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mts_wey
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Hi Connor, I just wanted to check with you about the chances of getting into BSc Biology with a ABC grade and EPQ - A? ( A for Biology, B for Chemistry, C for Maths). I currently have a conditional offer from Southampton based on my predicted grades of A*AB, but I don't think I will get my predicted grades as my maths exam was really bad. Would you be okay to share your A level grades? Thanks
Last edited by mts_wey; 1 month ago
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by Hellllpppp)
Hi I’ve firmed NatSci at Southampton and I’m interested in the “Fundamentals of Biochemistry” and the “Fundamentals of Cell Biology and Physiology” modules, I’m leaning more towards Biochemistry. I have a few questions…

Any tips for what I can do this summer to prepare myself? Should I be doing pre-reading etc or should I just keep relaxing

What are the practicals like in biology, do you have to do a lot of preparation work etc?

How do people revise at degree level (up to now I’ve got by doing lots of past papers)?

Do you have any tips for writing concise notes in biology, the content is so detailed and I often lapse into just copying the textbook verbatim

Sorry for so many questions!
Hi there Hellllpppp, it's great to hear that you have firmed here at Southampton, I am sure you will have a fantastic time. The biochemistry-related modules are great fun here and cover a wide range of topics, so you will be in for a treat!

1. Do not stress too much about preparation, although there are a number of things you can do to explore some of the topics you will be studying. My best advice is to indulge yourself with information surrounding some of the things you will be studying, whether it be podcasts, videos, books, or whatever you find interesting, just go at your own pace. Although studying at degree level can be a shock at first, you will not be disadvantaged at all by not reading all the books possible or revising topics before learning about them, it is all part of the experience. Enjoy your summer and if you do choose to do some prep, make sure it is fun!

2. The practicals are very varied, depending on what you are studying and how they link in with the assessment to the module. The main prep you will have to do is to read the experimental booklet prior to entering the lab, making yourself aware of what you are studying and the methodology involved. Then, once you have completed the lab session, you will go away to write about what you have done, your results and any analyses necessary. Some practicals may require more prep, but that will be made clear once you are on the module.

3. Revision is a tricky one, as everybody is different. What I have personally found is that I have moved away from the detailed, colour-coded and visually stimulating notes for more simple and time-efficient methods. I make more flashcards and make basic notes on the PowerPoint slides, and spend more time doing papers and reading around the subject. Extra reading will do wonders for your understanding and applying it will show a higher level of scientific knowledge, but do not overdo it. Papers are not the same as at A-Level, you will move away from remembering perfect answers to having to apply your knowledge to new scenarios - no two papers are the same.

4. Understanding the reason you are being taught something will help you write concise notes, as a lot of the time the 'excess information is just to aid your understanding. Taking a step back to see where the information taught fits in with the overall module, looking at the questions asked about the specific topic and what research is done surrounding it will make things more clear. You will learn how to do this throughout your degree so don't worry about having these skills right now.

I hope this makes things more clear, I am more than happy to answer any further questions. I hope you are excited to begin your degree this Autumn, I have had an amazing time here and I hope you will too!

-Connor
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by mts_wey)
Hi Connor, I just wanted to check with you about the chances of getting into BSc Biology with a ABC grade and EPQ - A? ( A for Biology, B for Chemistry, C for Maths). I currently have a conditional offer from Southampton based on my predicted grades of A*AB, but I don't think I will get my predicted grades as my maths exam was really bad. Would you be okay to share your A level grades? Thanks
Hi there mts_wey, thanks for the questions! I came to Southampton through clearing with ABB and an A* in my EPQ. I originally was on the Zoology MSci, but have since changed due to changing my master's course. I originally was predicted A*A*A, so I can completely understand the worry and reality of not getting predicted grades. Each situation is very different, on results day I spoke with a lecturer about my grades, why I wanted to study the course and my ambitions after uni, so it comes down to more than just grades when offers are handed out. My best advice is to contact the uni of results day if you do not get the initial offer, explain your situation and see what happens from there.

Also, do not let your A-Level grades make you feel like you do not understand your subject to the level you think you do. I was very knocked back by my results, although great grades in hindsight, at the time I felt like they defined my abilities. I'm now graduating with what is looking like a first-class honours, with a first-class dissertation. You will succeed if you are passionate, which I am sure you are, so think about what you want to achieve and keep working hard.

I hope this has helped, please let me know if you have any further questions!

-Connor
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