#Medical & #Veterinary Science #Tripos #Cambridge: A typical day

We ask one of our students about their current day, studying for the Cambridge Medicine & Veterinary Sciences Tripos:

A typical day for me perfectly sums up what is so unique about Cambridge. My day starts with a 9am lecture, where I am taught by world class, highly influential professors and researchers. At Cambridge we do not simply learn the basics of clinical practice- we learn medicine in depth, from the intricate biochemistry of our bodily systems, building up to a level of anatomy only surgeons would be expected to know. As I am in my third year now, I get to choose exactly what subject and modules I take, which has really allowed me to explore my interest in cognitive neuroscience. The content we are being taught now is so up to date with current research, in fact a lot of what is discussed stems from evidence published only this year or last!

After my lectures, I usually head to the lab where I will work on my research project, which is looking into ion channels and neurons. Again, here I work with Professors and doctors who have redefined fields and have a vast array of publications. This can seem intimidating initially, but in reality everyone couldn’t be more supportive and helpful. We really are simply pushed and allowed to explore science for ourselves, rather than being simply instructed or mocked.

In the late afternoon, I will try to dedicate time for making lecture notes, but often I have other extracurricular responsibilities! For example, I am the publicity officer for my College’s students’ union, so I may have to create my weekly bulletin emails or attend meetings. I am also the Social Secretary for a University-wide Society, so I spend a lot of time planning events and contacting venues and companies. Extra-curricular activities are another part of Cambridge life that I think makes every day here special, I don’t think any other university could offer such a wide range of clubs, societies and teams- there truly is something here for everyone, no matter what the interest may be.

At the end of the day, I will return to my accommodation which has a large shared kitchen, and I usually cook, eat and unwind with friends. The collegiate system works so well in this respect, everyone makes friends outside their course so easily and it creates a really friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Not only that, but the fact at Cambridge we are guaranteed accommodation for all three years makes such the difference, as we can live in the city centre for reduced rates and never have to worry about landlords.

Some days, we will head out at night (as Cambridge students do have a normal social life, contrary to some applicants’ worries!), or go out for nicer formal dinners. But if not, I will head to bed, do some reading and try to get an early night ready for the next day ahead!”

#OxfordUni #BiologicalSciences – a typical week

We discuss with one of our Biological Sciences students what they are currently working on in their own studies, and how their typical daily routine looks:
What are some of your current key interest areas?
I am extremely interested in molecular cell processes with a focus on genetics and it’s commercial applications. Genetic modification has huge potential to tackle the issues the world faces today and I try to keep up to date with any new developments in gene engineering techniques, and the latest products in commercial use – in general these are crops modified for increased nutritional yield and tolerance as well as microbes capable of producing medicines (such as insulin or new antibiotics). I am also interested in the use of stem cells to grow “artificial” meat, as successful cultivation of this technology could provide a solution to the enormous damage animal farming has on the environment, whilst allowing us to keep enjoying genuine steaks!
Alongside this I am keenly interested in the effects of evolution on populations, and have taken multiple modules focusing on the wide range on ingenious adaptations found in the natural world whilst also examining the levels at which evolution works (genetic, physical and behavioural). 
How would you outline a typical day at Oxford?
A typical day: 
9am – Wake up, eat breakfast and attend two hours of lectures. 
11:30am – I normally do some emailing as part of my charity work, or furiously procrastinate until lunch.
12-12:45pm – Eat lunch in college hall with friends and lament whatever essay crisis we claim to be in. 
1-3pm – Attend labs
3:30-4:45 – Rugby training (twice a week) or charity workshops (twice a week)
5-8:30pm – Work on essays for tutorials. (tutorials occur once a week)
8:30pm –> Eat then either relax with friends in college or go out! 

Why I chose Biology at oxford #OxbridgeEntries #OxbridgeApplications

We speak to one of our tutors on why they chose to study Biology at Oxford…

Why did you choose to study Biology?

Biology has not always been a ‘passion’, I started really enjoying it in year 11, and realised it was my ‘thing’ in sixth form. I had fantastic teachers, and I think that having someone inspiring really makes a difference in any subject. I think, unlike other sciences, being able to physically observe the things I learn about- ecosystems, competition, sexual selection- is why I really love my subject, and why I chose it to study at University.

Within my degree, I am particularly interested in tropical and marine biology; I spent time abroad last year learning to dive and conducting scientific research with an International Operation, and this year will be travelling Indonesia to study palm oil as part of my Final Honour Schools project. I’m hoping to do a masters following my degree.

What does a typical day of study look like?

My typical day involves quite a few contact hours, but I’m an early riser so usually able to get some work done before lectures start. I play sport of some kind every day, squash, climbing, football and aerial dance. I find these really help with my productivity. Lunch is usually between 12 and 1, after which I’ll either work on an essay, revise, or go to a practical. I usually cook for myself in the evenings and start getting ready for bed around 9.

How did you choose which college to study at?

I admit, I haven’t always wanted to come to Oxford, and only really decided to give it a shot because I was encouraged to by a member of staff. I was at a state school where the support network was very good; I’m so grateful for those that helped me. I didn’t apply to the college that I ended up at – I actually thought my interview for my current college was much, much worse than my other one, so getting an offer letter from here was quite a shock! I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to go, wasn’t sure if Oxford was for me, but as exams approached, and began to think further into the future, I found myself really really wanting to get in. I remember how proud of myself I had felt; it’s quite a unique feeling!

Why I chose #Medicine at #Oxford?

One of our tutors explains…
Why did you choose to apply to medicine at Oxford?
I chose medicine because human life is the most important thing we have.  There are very few careers where you are at the frontier of dealing with human health every day.  The amount you have to know in order to practice is immense – and it changes all the time – and I never want to stop learning.  It’s also a very versatile career.  When I graduate I have so many career routes to choose from – and some of them involve practising abroad which would be really exciting.  People talk about how the NHS doesn’t have enough doctors, but if you look at the stats for some other places it’s far worse.
What have you enjoyed studying during your medical degree? Could you give us examples of how the Oxford cause differs?
I’m doing a lecture course on cell physiology, which is really broad.  As an illustration, I’ve been doing tutorials on G protein coupled receptors, protein folding and secretion, second messenger signalling, stress, ovulation, and I’ve got acid and oxygen sensing coming up soon.  You have the ability to study whatever you like in your 3rd year, from Science to Philosophy – I am interested in cardiac optogenetics – GM mouse hearts and shining light on them to see how it changes.  I can then explore something extremely different, for example why cancer patients get weird taste sensations. Then in your 4th year, you move on to clinics, which is very different again.

#Medicine #CambridgeMedicalSchool – Studying Medicine at Cambridge #studentexperiences

Tell us about your degree – Medicine at Cambridge

I am currently studying Medicine at the University of Cambridge because I would like to become a doctor. I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree. A typical day varies between your preclinical and clinical years at Cambridge. In the first three years, I spent most of my time in lectures and doing lab work. I really enjoyed my anatomy module in first year – we do whole body dissection which is a fantastic learning opportunity. In the final three years, it becomes more hands on. I spend most of my time on wards talking to and examining patients. We are also allowed to assist in surgery!

Medicine at Cambridge is a lot of work which is difficult, however, the knowledge I have gained over the last six years is incredible. The workload is heavier than anything I had encountered before and the learning curve is steep with a short adjustment period but the rewards are well worth it. I love having such an in-depth understanding of the human body.

What was your interview like?

The interview was very similar to a supervision and was very science based with graphs and diagrams. There was also a section on more medicine relevant topics, such as NHS and any current medical news.

#OxbridgeEngineering – Interview Experience #Oxbridgeinterview #OxbridgeApplications

One of our successful students shares their Engineering Interview experience this year:
– Meeting people in the common room was nice. Some people were a bit confident in my opinion, others the opposite.
– In the first interview I had a panic problem and a brain freeze and couldn’t answer basic questions, the interviewer was sympathetic. After recovering I was able to answer a couple of questions that (I now know) were quite hard but was brain dead before the end and wasn’t able to understand his basic questions about a cantilever with a cord. The interviewer again seemed to understand.
– The second interview was fast paced and tough, I was asked to blend things I knew from extra reading, chemistry and then to do hard maths (based off that knowledge) in my head, I was thought he was joking until I saw the guy’s face so I just did what I could and he seemed to appreciate the effort. The rest of the second interview was blank in my memory from the moment I stepped out.
– Overall I was very nervous but tried and that is all one can do.
– The room was freezing – I ended up wearing all the clothes I brought and pyjamas whilst in bed – be warned if the college is old

#OxbridgeEngineering – Approach to Engineering Applications #OxbridgeApplications

University preparation – One of our Tutor’s systematic, no nonsense approach to the Engineering Application at Oxbridge:
Having decided that the course and the university were ideal for me I tried everything I could:
– I scored as high as possible in all exams by working very hard revising.
– I read a few of the books on the CUED suggested pre-uni reading list – great reads!
– I did as many practice interviews with teachers and former students as possible
– I revised all my subject material really well before the interview by reading different text books on the topics I’d covered (I wasn’t going to learn new stuff)
– I searched online for all the past interview questions I could and did them (for maths, engineering and physics).
– I got as much engineering experience, this was mostly watching engineers for a week at a time.
– I availed of various talks and residentials on offer e.g. smallpiece.
– I scanned engineering magazines for things I was interested in.
– I looked up a load of basic tech on how stuff works e.g. combustion engines, jet engines, computers etc. just to have a rough idea (not to fully understand it all).

#OxbridgeEngineering – Course Experiences

Experience of life in Cambridge doing Engineering at Pembroke:

The engineering course was everything I had hoped for, and possibly more work than I’d hoped for (be warned). I was unusual in being fascinated by all fields of engineering so much so that in third year I continued with fields as diverse as genetic engineering and image processing whilst still covering core areas such as finite element analysis. The labs and lectures are mostly very interesting and definitely well structured. I would advise working with friends to solve the challenging homework questions set in different topics on a weekly basis.
Outside of studying I enjoyed anything active and anything anything sustainability related, In first term I tried kayaking, climbing, archery and others before settling on rowing for my college. Doing a sport is crucial for sanity in my opinion and is a good way to keep close contact with non course friends in the packed term. I got involved in the environmental consulting society and became president in my second term! this then occupied much of my extracurricular (non-rowing) time at university but the skills I developed in managing an organisation, training and marketing etc. have been of similar value to me after university as the degree itself.
The college is lovely, easy to settle into, all really nice staff. The ability to walk downstairs and sit on a bench in beautiful gardens, watching the trees or blackbirds dance around was always well appreciated.

#OxfordMedicine #OxfordUni – Clinical Medicine – A day in the life #medicalstudent #oxbridgeadmissions

A day in the life – 5th year medical student

As a 5 th year medical student my day to day is very different from in the first few years, but it is important to think beyond undergraduate when choosing where to apply. The clinical half of the course is very varied depending which rotation you are on, general medicine and surgery, paediatrics, emergency medicine, obstetrics, neurology, general practice, psychiatry and more are all squeezed into an intense 3 years. Rotations involve a combination of lectures and seminars, usually in a crash course at the start, followed by self led opportunities to experience wards, theatres, clinics.

A standard day on the wards will start with the ward round, where students are encouraged to present patients and ask questions. Following this we help with jobs on the ward, take histories and examine interesting patients, get plenty of bedside teaching and follow various members of the team. Afternoons are often spent in clinics or theatre. Your time is largely your own, but there is always someone friendly and willing to help you make the most of it. After hospital I take part in university level sport, which is definitely manageable alongside the clinical workload, in fact students are encouraged to continue with other interests throughout clinical school.