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    Starting a biology degree this year and i've been looking on the uni website at the course module which also has lists of books which they recommend you read. Is it worth buying any now, and also do people buy their own books or just use the uni library ones?
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    Ok thanks. I was a bit worried about spending up to £100 on a book that i may only need a few pages from.
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    Definitely don't buy them.

    Most reading lists are based on what the lecturer used during their degree, which may be umpteen years ago. Your best place for books is Amazon where you can find the latest books on a subject and then only buy them if your uni library doesn't have a copy.
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    So you think if i see a book that looks like it matches the stuff i'll be learning for certain modules to get them? I have been on Amazon and seen a few good books that isn't on the reading list.
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    Hi, I've just finished my 1st year studying Biology...we didn't get a reading list until we had actually started uni so buying beforehand was no option for us... But when we did start uni the books we were recommended to buy (general bio ones that should last for the full 4 years as a basic reference to use) were packaged together at a cheap deal at Blackwells, the uni bookshop. These textbooks were pretty much compulsary so everyone got them (from Blackwells as the deal worked out cheaper than the likes of Amazon). The other textbooks that were recommended for certain modules we were only told about during lectures for that particular module, for those ones buying them individually worked out cheaper through Amazon than the uni shop...but tbh I didn't buy them all, I only bought the one or 2 that I thought may be of some use during the rest of my course (ie I knew I wasn't going to continue with Molecular Biology, so I just got that one out of the library). The library however isn't something to rely on... the book I was using there were only 3 of in the library, and I was very lucky to get it when i needed it! The other thing is, when you get to uni there may be the possibility of buying second hand textbooks, as there will be people not needing the ones they had in 1st yr or whatever, or not continuing with Bio.

    Basically, it is better to have your own books, cos then you know you have them when you need them (which is likely to be when EVERYBODy is needing them), but it's most probably not necessary to buy them all... some of the books that hae been suggested to you on the reading list may only be needed for say 1 chapter of it or whatever, in which case it is probably best to use the library... There is probably at least one main textbook the uni will expect you to have. Our main one is Campbell and Reeces "Biology".

    Anyhoo, sorry for the essay But hope it was of some use! And any other qus about Biology at uni, or uni in general, I'd be more than happy to help!
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    (Original post by sophie_c)
    Hi, I've just finished my 1st year studying Biology...we didn't get a reading list until we had actually started uni so buying beforehand was no option for us... But when we did start uni the books we were recommended to buy (general bio ones that should last for the full 4 years as a basic reference to use) were packaged together at a cheap deal at Blackwells, the uni bookshop. These textbooks were pretty much compulsary so everyone got them (from Blackwells as the deal worked out cheaper than the likes of Amazon). The other textbooks that were recommended for certain modules we were only told about during lectures for that particular module, for those ones buying them individually worked out cheaper through Amazon than the uni shop...but tbh I didn't buy them all, I only bought the one or 2 that I thought may be of some use during the rest of my course (ie I knew I wasn't going to continue with Molecular Biology, so I just got that one out of the library). The library however isn't something to rely on... the book I was using there were only 3 of in the library, and I was very lucky to get it when i needed it! The other thing is, when you get to uni there may be the possibility of buying second hand textbooks, as there will be people not needing the ones they had in 1st yr or whatever, or not continuing with Bio.

    Basically, it is better to have your own books, cos then you know you have them when you need them (which is likely to be when EVERYBODy is needing them), but it's most probably not necessary to buy them all... some of the books that hae been suggested to you on the reading list may only be needed for say 1 chapter of it or whatever, in which case it is probably best to use the library... There is probably at least one main textbook the uni will expect you to have. Our main one is Campbell and Reeces "Biology".

    Anyhoo, sorry for the essay But hope it was of some use! And any other qus about Biology at uni, or uni in general, I'd be more than happy to help!
    Ah thanks thats brilliant advice. I am worried about the fact everyone is going to be going to the library for the same book at the same time. I will much prefer to have my own books so i know i've got them when i need them and for as long as i want.

    Yeah i've seen that Campbell Biology book on the reading list 2 or 3 times so thought that one would defo be needed.

    How have you found your first year?

    I'm really excited to start but just a bit worried about having constant work all the time as i've got 2 young kids. Obviously i know there will be loads of work but trying to do 3 essays per week or something will be a bit of a stretch haha. How many days/hours were you there on a normal week?
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    ooh ooh you should check out Abebooks.com :woo:

    It's a second-hand book platform for second hand books, so you can get £100 academic books for £20 or $20 or whatever low price.

    I don't know about biology, but I bought a first edition history book, (hardback - something like £90 on Amazon) from a bookshop in the States, and had it posted over for a grand total of peanuts.
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    As a biology graduate I can definitely recommend not buying any yet.

    In first year you should really only buy books if the module is directly relevant to your specific field (i.e. don't buy any books for zoology modules if you're studying genetics) and would come in handy for 2nd and 3rd year. But to be honest, you can easily get by first year without buying any books.

    Second year you may want to buy a few books, but you can probably get by on most courses by studying the books in the library. A lot of the time you only need to look at the book to make a few notes, so that's just as easily done in the library for free.

    In third year you shouldn't really be buying any books at all, it's all about the journals.


    I only bought 4 or 5 books through the entire 3 years, and in hindsight even some of them were unneeded. Buying every book on a reading list would be overboard.
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. Its much appreciated.
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    I've bought some on ebay. I got one that should have been £40 for £5 and another for £14 instead of £40 and both arrived still in their plastic wrapping. May be worth checking it out.
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    (Original post by seyoung1)
    Ah thanks thats brilliant advice. I am worried about the fact everyone is going to be going to the library for the same book at the same time. I will much prefer to have my own books so i know i've got them when i need them and for as long as i want.

    Yeah i've seen that Campbell Biology book on the reading list 2 or 3 times so thought that one would defo be needed.

    How have you found your first year?

    I'm really excited to start but just a bit worried about having constant work all the time as i've got 2 young kids. Obviously i know there will be loads of work but trying to do 3 essays per week or something will be a bit of a stretch haha. How many days/hours were you there on a normal week?
    Yeh it's definitely worth actually having the book if you're going to use it... most libraries will have a recall facility, so if you're desperately needing the book it is recalled back into the library and you're sent an email to collect it (this is what I did, and I had to wait a week to get it, but then it was recalled again off of me..I had just about finished it by then, but obv if you're not it would be very frustrating!)...There will be some books you'll find you never need... we were advised by our lecturer to get one for a certain module (can't remember what it was now) so my friend bought it for £40, I had a look at it and decided it wasn't worth it, and in the end it turned out she never even opened it! so it's def worth waiting till you get there to see if you really need the books, a good idea to have a flick through them if a friend has already bought it etc, and if you order them off Amazon when you know for sure, they'll be with you within a few days max!

    Yeh Campbells would be a good idea to get, I didn't use it very often but it was useful when I did, but its a generic textbook which covers practically all aspects of Biology, so obv for some areas it is very good, but there are some that aren't covered in much detail (these are the areas in which your lecturers are likely to give you other suggested reading etc).

    I found 1st year great! Absolutely loved it! The Biology I found really quite interesting, though there were certain compulsary modules I really didn't enjoy (Molecular Biology in particular ugh!)...but I really can't wait for next year, as I've gotten to choose only the ones I want to do, and they all sound so interesting! I'm also studying French, a joint degree, it's good, but I found it tough to fit everything in doing a science as well! And uni life, loved it, always loads going on, new people etc... just sad a whole year is over aready!

    Aah ok cool, well I wouldn't worry about 3 essays a week, it shouldn't be nrly that tough at all! We maybe had 2 or 3 essays max a semester, and then perhaps 4 or 5 pab reports minimum a semester, a talk, a few wee tests, and then obv the exam (and thats in 1 semester)...Obviously every uni is different, one of my best friends from home is studying Biology at a different uni from me (going into 2nd year as well), and she hasn't had to do an essay yet! :O Saying that though, there is always work to be done in a science degree, ie it is worthwhile to go over your lectures etc every night and rewrite them up so that you don't have to work out what exactly you had written when it comes to studying for exams... oh how I wished I'd done that... all my notes are a mess and hard to make out by the end of semester! But yeh basically apart from the compulsary essays/lab reports etc, uni is how much work you make it!

    Well, for Biology I had 2 hours of lectures everyday, and then two 3 hour labs a week (and then french lectures and tutorials on top). But again, it'll depend on the uni, and the modules etc... that was for 2 bio modules...

    Sorry, essay again :redface:
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    (Original post by sophie_c)
    Yeh it's definitely worth actually having the book if you're going to use it... most libraries will have a recall facility, so if you're desperately needing the book it is recalled back into the library and you're sent an email to collect it (this is what I did, and I had to wait a week to get it, but then it was recalled again off of me..I had just about finished it by then, but obv if you're not it would be very frustrating!)...There will be some books you'll find you never need... we were advised by our lecturer to get one for a certain module (can't remember what it was now) so my friend bought it for £40, I had a look at it and decided it wasn't worth it, and in the end it turned out she never even opened it! so it's def worth waiting till you get there to see if you really need the books, a good idea to have a flick through them if a friend has already bought it etc, and if you order them off Amazon when you know for sure, they'll be with you within a few days max!

    Yeh Campbells would be a good idea to get, I didn't use it very often but it was useful when I did, but its a generic textbook which covers practically all aspects of Biology, so obv for some areas it is very good, but there are some that aren't covered in much detail (these are the areas in which your lecturers are likely to give you other suggested reading etc).

    I found 1st year great! Absolutely loved it! The Biology I found really quite interesting, though there were certain compulsary modules I really didn't enjoy (Molecular Biology in particular ugh!)...but I really can't wait for next year, as I've gotten to choose only the ones I want to do, and they all sound so interesting! I'm also studying French, a joint degree, it's good, but I found it tough to fit everything in doing a science as well! And uni life, loved it, always loads going on, new people etc... just sad a whole year is over aready!

    Aah ok cool, well I wouldn't worry about 3 essays a week, it shouldn't be nrly that tough at all! We maybe had 2 or 3 essays max a semester, and then perhaps 4 or 5 pab reports minimum a semester, a talk, a few wee tests, and then obv the exam (and thats in 1 semester)...Obviously every uni is different, one of my best friends from home is studying Biology at a different uni from me (going into 2nd year as well), and she hasn't had to do an essay yet! :O Saying that though, there is always work to be done in a science degree, ie it is worthwhile to go over your lectures etc every night and rewrite them up so that you don't have to work out what exactly you had written when it comes to studying for exams... oh how I wished I'd done that... all my notes are a mess and hard to make out by the end of semester! But yeh basically apart from the compulsary essays/lab reports etc, uni is how much work you make it!

    Well, for Biology I had 2 hours of lectures everyday, and then two 3 hour labs a week (and then french lectures and tutorials on top). But again, it'll depend on the uni, and the modules etc... that was for 2 bio modules...

    Sorry, essay again :redface:
    No honestly thats great advice. It's nice to be able to get an idea of things and what it will be like. Im going as a mature student but i'm only 25 and look 18 so i'm sure i'll fit in fine too.

    God i don't know if i could manage doing 2 completely different courses. You must be good!

    Thanks again so much and i'm if i think of anything else i'll give you a shout :yes:
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    (Original post by seyoung1)
    No honestly thats great advice. It's nice to be able to get an idea of things and what it will be like. Im going as a mature student but i'm only 25 and look 18 so i'm sure i'll fit in fine too.

    God i don't know if i could manage doing 2 completely different courses. You must be good!

    Thanks again so much and i'm if i think of anything else i'll give you a shout :yes:
    Yeh, I'm sure you'll fit in absolutely fine, I mean 25 isn't old anyway there are people of all sorts of backgrounds and ages at uni!

    Haha... umm...I dunno if managing is quite the right word... the French has been somewhat neglected, I'm much preferring Biology! In 1st yr up here we have to do 3 subjects anyway!

    You're welcome, and yes I'd be very happy to help with anything Good luck for September!
 
 
 
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