The Student Room Group
Learning at Imperial College London
Imperial College London
London

How is Imperial medical bioscience nowadays?

I've heard dreadful things being said about the course from four years ago to this day.

The complaints mainly being that there is little to no human contact, but I was wondering if the tidiness of the course has improved and is it a better option compared to KCL & UCL?
Reply 1
i wanted to know too bc i dont rly mind the lack of the social aspect but everyone says its so bad, have u applied there?
Learning at Imperial College London
Imperial College London
London
Heya, first year student doing medical biosciences at imperial here!

So I'll just give you a bit of my experience here.

At first the teaching method of the course threw me off a bit. The course isn't taught through traditional lectures - instead we have online e-modules that we have to complete before turning up to face-to-face sessions which is just ~150 students in one classroom and we are in our teams and we just recap on the information that was in the e-module.

Most e-modules are ridiculously long - at best they can take 2 hours to cover thoroughly but many times it can easily take at least 5-6 hours, though the average amount of time taken is 3-4 hours. Doesn't sound too bad but bear in mind in one week you're completing on average around 3 e-modules so yeah it takes a long time to get through them thoroughly and can be hard at times to keep up. Also some e-modules are not very well organised with a lot of repetitive statements and to be frank spelling mistakes which at times can make it difficult to understand what the author actually means (though this does not happen often and most of the time the content is fairly straightforward).

The course is also taught via team-based learning meaning that you'll be in one team for all your core/theoretical modules. In the face-to-face sessions most of the time we have to do this thing called iRAT where it's essentially a closed-book mini quiz testing your knowledge of the e-module that you'll have done before entering class (which is why it's optimal to complete the e-module), then you'll go through it in your core team, and then go through it as a whole class - in my opinion this is rather inefficient this easily takes up an hour of the class time (each class is 3 hours) so this could definitely be done more efficiently. However I will still say that it's a good way to consolidate your knowledge.

You'll also have a separate lab team - labs are great and honestly the best thing probably about this course. You have quite a bit of independence but lab team are always happy to help and answer any questions.

Workload isn't insane but it's still high - don't think that just because there are no traditional lectures that there's a low workload. E-modules take very long to get through thoroughly. You'll also get assignments/in-course assessments for each module, they don't come very often but when they do they count a significant amount towards the module grade (25%-50% depending on type of assignment and weighting of module), and having to keep on top of e-modules makes it more difficult during some weeks (especially close to the end of first-term) so sometimes the workload balance gets tough and a bit stressful but it's doable.

The team-based learning does honestly limit the amount of the people you meet on the course because quite a bit of the time your contact is limited to just your core team and lab team - not impossible to meet more people but yeah take advantage of freshers week to get to know as many people as you can. On the flip side, you can still form friendships within your teams as some of my close friends here are also in my teams so it's still a good way to get to know some people. However if you're also more interested in the social aspect you might be better off at a uni that teaches through lecture-based learning like ucl.

Overall at the start of the course I was very apprehensive about this team-based learning though it's come to grow on me more and I'm just used to it now. The course is of course still academically challenging but honestly I've come to like it more.
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous
Heya, first year student doing medical biosciences at imperial here!
So I'll just give you a bit of my experience here.
At first the teaching method of the course threw me off a bit. The course isn't taught through traditional lectures - instead we have online e-modules that we have to complete before turning up to face-to-face sessions which is just ~150 students in one classroom and we are in our teams and we just recap on the information that was in the e-module.
Most e-modules are ridiculously long - at best they can take 2 hours to cover thoroughly but many times it can easily take at least 5-6 hours, though the average amount of time taken is 3-4 hours. Doesn't sound too bad but bear in mind in one week you're completing on average around 3 e-modules so yeah it takes a long time to get through them thoroughly and can be hard at times to keep up. Also some e-modules are not very well organised with a lot of repetitive statements and to be frank spelling mistakes which at times can make it difficult to understand what the author actually means (though this does not happen often and most of the time the content is fairly straightforward).
The course is also taught via team-based learning meaning that you'll be in one team for all your core/theoretical modules. In the face-to-face sessions most of the time we have to do this thing called iRAT where it's essentially a closed-book mini quiz testing your knowledge of the e-module that you'll have done before entering class (which is why it's optimal to complete the e-module), then you'll go through it in your core team, and then go through it as a whole class - in my opinion this is rather inefficient this easily takes up an hour of the class time (each class is 3 hours) so this could definitely be done more efficiently. However I will still say that it's a good way to consolidate your knowledge.
You'll also have a separate lab team - labs are great and honestly the best thing probably about this course. You have quite a bit of independence but lab team are always happy to help and answer any questions.
Workload isn't insane but it's still high - don't think that just because there are no traditional lectures that there's a low workload. E-modules take very long to get through thoroughly. You'll also get assignments/in-course assessments for each module, they don't come very often but when they do they count a significant amount towards the module grade (25%-50% depending on type of assignment and weighting of module), and having to keep on top of e-modules makes it more difficult during some weeks (especially close to the end of first-term) so sometimes the workload balance gets tough and a bit stressful but it's doable.
The team-based learning does honestly limit the amount of the people you meet on the course because quite a bit of the time your contact is limited to just your core team and lab team - not impossible to meet more people but yeah take advantage of freshers week to get to know as many people as you can. On the flip side, you can still form friendships within your teams as some of my close friends here are also in my teams so it's still a good way to get to know some people. However if you're also more interested in the social aspect you might be better off at a uni that teaches through lecture-based learning like ucl.
Overall at the start of the course I was very apprehensive about this team-based learning though it's come to grow on me more and I'm just used to it now. The course is of course still academically challenging but honestly I've come to like it more.

Omg thank you so much. This was so helpful. If ur having to complete 3 e-modules per week, each averaging 4 hrs, thats like 12 hrs per week which is the same as A-Levels 🥲 ouch.
How often are the face to face sessions and labs compared to e-learning? I'm considering Imperial only if I don't have to go in often since I live quite far and want to commute.
Thank you!
Original post by aamina.hs
Omg thank you so much. This was so helpful. If ur having to complete 3 e-modules per week, each averaging 4 hrs, thats like 12 hrs per week which is the same as A-Levels 🥲 ouch.
How often are the face to face sessions and labs compared to e-learning? I'm considering Imperial only if I don't have to go in often since I live quite far and want to commute.
Thank you!

in first term you will complete three theoretical modules: a statistics module, a chemistry/biochemistry module, and a molecular biology module. In one week on average you will have one face-to-face session for each of these subjects so expect to be in at least three times a week. Again, try to complete the e-module for that respective week for each module so you have an idea of what's going on in the class. If you don't, from personal experience, you will be very lost in the class and yes you can still learn it's just going to be hard to fully understand, and then you'll have to make time later to complete and catch up. Stats e modules don't take long but you also have to complete coding sessions (you will be using a programme called R studio for stats so you will learn coding). In terms of your lab module, you will have 3 intro sessions (including an introduction to the lab project you'll be doing with your lab team) and one day in the lab.

In second term, you will also be in labs one day a week plus you will have at least two classes that week (for the body systems module) meaning you will also have two e-modules per week for the body systems modules in term 2.

It's honestly not worth firming Imperial if you want to commute. You will be in for maybe only 3 days a week and then it's only 3 hours in uni (just one class a day except for a handful of days where you may have an extra study skills session). except for labs in term 2 which will be 9-5 on the dot so if you want to commute you will have to wake up quite early and leave the house early, and then you'll also get back home as well obviously. Plus with the team based learning it's harder to meet people on the course as interactions can very much be limited to your core team and lab team.
If you want to come to Imperial for medical biosciences I would honestly consider getting a room in accommodation - it's not too bad and that way you can continue meeting new people. Also consider whether the commute will make it harder to keep on top of e-modules as you need to factor in how tired you can get, and how often you can actively be part of societies (if you plan on joining any which again is good to meet people)
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
in first term you will complete three theoretical modules: a statistics module, a chemistry/biochemistry module, and a molecular biology module. In one week on average you will have one face-to-face session for each of these subjects so expect to be in at least three times a week. Again, try to complete the e-module for that respective week for each module so you have an idea of what's going on in the class. If you don't, from personal experience, you will be very lost in the class and yes you can still learn it's just going to be hard to fully understand, and then you'll have to make time later to complete and catch up. Stats e modules don't take long but you also have to complete coding sessions (you will be using a programme called R studio for stats so you will learn coding). In terms of your lab module, you will have 3 intro sessions (including an introduction to the lab project you'll be doing with your lab team) and one day in the lab.
In second term, you will also be in labs one day a week plus you will have at least two classes that week (for the body systems module) meaning you will also have two e-modules per week for the body systems modules in term 2.
It's honestly not worth firming Imperial if you want to commute. You will be in for maybe only 3 days a week and then it's only 3 hours in uni (just one class a day except for a handful of days where you may have an extra study skills session). except for labs in term 2 which will be 9-5 on the dot so if you want to commute you will have to wake up quite early and leave the house early, and then you'll also get back home as well obviously. Plus with the team based learning it's harder to meet people on the course as interactions can very much be limited to your core team and lab team.
If you want to come to Imperial for medical biosciences I would honestly consider getting a room in accommodation - it's not too bad and that way you can continue meeting new people. Also consider whether the commute will make it harder to keep on top of e-modules as you need to factor in how tired you can get, and how often you can actively be part of societies (if you plan on joining any which again is good to meet people)

Ohh so ur still going in quite often then; a lot of people made it seem like u hardly make contact with other people.
Coding omg :confused:
Thank u for ur advice. I'm not too concerned about the social aspect tbf but the labs being 9-5 on the dot seems like I might have to consider whether it's a commitment i can stick to. Thank you again!
Original post by aamina.hs
Ohh so ur still going in quite often then; a lot of people made it seem like u hardly make contact with other people.
Coding omg :confused:
Thank u for ur advice. I'm not too concerned about the social aspect tbf but the labs being 9-5 on the dot seems like I might have to consider whether it's a commitment i can stick to. Thank you again!

I wouldn't worry about coding too much - everything about statistics, and tbh the chemistry module as well they just kinda teach you from the ground-up - they don't expect you to have any prior knowledge of coding or even chemistry as biology is the only a level that's actually needed (plus one from either chem physics maths). I know some people who didn't do a level chemistry, I didn't even do a level maths and I did fine in the coursework (not the exam but that's a different story). Plus teaching teams are overall very approachable and happy to help so I wouldn't let this put you off, it's hard but again they don't expect anyone to have prior knowledge.
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
I wouldn't worry about coding too much - everything about statistics, and tbh the chemistry module as well they just kinda teach you from the ground-up - they don't expect you to have any prior knowledge of coding or even chemistry as biology is the only a level that's actually needed (plus one from either chem physics maths). I know some people who didn't do a level chemistry, I didn't even do a level maths and I did fine in the coursework (not the exam but that's a different story). Plus teaching teams are overall very approachable and happy to help so I wouldn't let this put you off, it's hard but again they don't expect anyone to have prior knowledge.

Ohh thats good to know! I'm glad to hear the people are nice too, that was another one of my concerns. Good luck with the rest of ur exams :smile:

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