Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a while, been very busy these last few weeks. Another year done, and I’m glad this past year was my highest average to date at UBC. There was a lot that happened, including my first ever withdrawl at UBC, it was MICB 325 (probably one of my easier courses, I’ll go into why further in the post never thought the time would come, but it happens!) First of all I get a lot of emails about the ER Scribe position, I don’t want to call it luck, I made it past the interview, but just finding the opportunity was luck. I never heard of “ER Scribe” until I saw the email from Premed Society. And now I hear there’s a program starting up at St. Johns Hospital, this is great that its spreading now. Its an opportunity more available in the states, and there should be more programs available in Canada.
Now for the courses I took. I took MICB 325 (W), MICB 308, FNH 351, ISCI 330B, PHYS 102
This course: ughhh. That’s how I feel about it. I knew it was going to be my hardest course from what I heard from people who took it. I expected it to be my lowest grade, it was. Whats strange about this course is that it kind of takes you by surprise, it does not feel hard throughout the whole course. I did well on my pop quizzes, and if that’s not judging if your keeping up, what is? I thought the material was fair, it wasn’t an obscene amount, it was a lot to memorize, but thats standard for most micb courses at UBC. The midterm went well for me (the prof never told us the average -___- atleast I never heard it, and everyone I asked didn’t know, thats a first), so I just assumed/hoped that I did 5% better based on the general consensus that it was an easy midterm. The fact that I had 3 other midterms less than 24 hours before this midterm didn’t affect my grade, I kept up the whole term. Well anyways my final grade dropped like 10-15% than what I went into the final exam with. Judging that the average for the class was in the 60’s, im guessing a majority of people had the same thing. I knew the final went bad, it was just so weird because out of all my exams I was the most prepared for this one. Multiple techniques were presented in class but I don’t know how to explain it, I felt like for an exam that tests details some questions felt ‘up in the air.’ The questions that were memorization based (eg. Pap pilus assembly) I did great on. I think I gave solid answers on those technique based questions, but I know I didn’t do well on those. I’ve debated going to see my exam, and decided not to because honestly I am lazy this summer and have way too much to do with MCAT prep and travelling plans as well. And OMG i forgot something else… I honestly think this was a bit cruel. Why emphasize to students that the final exam is cumulative? I actually asked on the discussion board to make sure about a week before the exam, and was told once again that it was cumulative. 6 Questions on the final and not one question was premidterm. WHY? UGH. I was so agitated walking out of the exam cause I thought I had it figured out that 1/6 would be a pre-midterm and something not tested on the midterm (likely complement pathway). The fact that I spent half a day reviewing pre-midterm really frustrated me afterwards. What is the point of saying the final is cumulative..like at least throw a 1 bonus question pre-midterm, all those 6 questions were post-midterm specific. If next year is anything like this year, just know cumulative is code word for post midterm only. Anyways, yeah I think its safe to say this is going on my “least favourite course experience list” which is unfortunate because I actually enjoyed the material. I always enjoy MICB topics, but courses like this….Overall I am fine with the grade, I knew this class would be brutal for the final which is why I tried to do really really well on the midterm and pop quizzes to beef up my grade the most I could.
On a lighter note, I didn’t mind Physics at all. I was definitely the most scared about this course which is why it took me till 4th year to take it! I ended up doing well, and it’s one of my higher grades which is a shocker for me. Did better in PHYS 102 than PHYS 101 and it’s because I fixed a lot of bad habits. Number 1: ask for help, thats what the TA’s are there for. First year I foolishly did everything by myself, even when I didn’t understand like i wouldn’t ask for much guidance. During tutorials/labs this time around I would always get clarification when necessary, and trust me its the difference between getting a high A in lab/tutorial/homeworkassignments and getting a B. I also used Physics for Dummies for topics where I just needed a simple introduction and understanding. Like I did not learn one thing about capacitors or resistors from that textbook… The new textbook confused me for the first 2 weeks, and when I stopped following it super close, I started understanding everything a lot more. I’m also really glad i took it because Physics is on MCAT and I think this will help me have a better understanding of things I could not grasp last time I studied for MCAT. Also, for many med schools in the states 6 credits of Physics is necessary, so I had to get it out of the way. My final exam did bring my grade down a bit, but not much, I really need to figure out a better final exam strategy.
This course was great while it lasted. I honestly knew knew knew I should not have taken this course. I am doing a 5th year which is very empty in terms of courses, and it would’ve been smarter to take it then, and spread out my courses. Instead I took it this year crammed with working part-time and my horrible, horrible midterm schedule I just knew it was a disaster so I had to withdraw. I felt bad that I’d now have a W on my transcript, but I know that I’ll take it next year when I have time in my schedule. Now my time in the course wasn’t great. I would rather have dropped MICB 308, but I need MICB 308 for MICB 408 next year. The lectures are VERY important, because all you do is solve problems which is my kind of class! Little memorization, and lots of problem solving. I really liked the topics, and the courses I took in the summer set me up perfectly for this course: BIOC 302 and BIOL 234. The problem with the course is that the prof is very ambiguous a lot of the time. A lot of his problems have multiple answers, or unclear answers, and whenever someone corrects him, I get the feeling that someone probably made the same correction last year and that it was never fixed… I don’t know theres just a lot of ambiguity, which in real-life I find interesting to find flaws in science and whatnot, but when it might affect my grade, then I start feeling some kind of way. Now last year the midterm average was like mid 80s and this year it was low 72, which he said was high. Overall it was one of my favorite courses, just because of the structure, also liked how the class was dimly lit (random). I’ll be taking it next year as soon as registration opens, hopefully goes better then!
So this class is A LOT OF MEMORIZATION. I would say on a higher level than Anat, MICB and Physio courses. Seriously and this is WITH a cheat sheet. Even with a cheat sheet, its so much to memorize I think I nearly got carpal tunnel writing out my cheat sheet. Preparing for this midterm was hell, but I felt prepared, and was glad I would be getting my pre-midterm 6 hours of sleep, but then I randomly decide to look at the syllabus..and found out that for the midterm the cheat sheet is to be ONE SIDED. You can imagine the panic that went through me. WHY ME? Literally, the cheat sheet was microscopic, both sides, now I had to give one side up. I chose a side and frantically found a big eraser and started going ham on that side of the paper. Realized there were parts(headers) in pen, and I had no white out, so I was just brainstorming ideas like gluing a white paper to one side. Foolishly didn’t think scanning one side and printing it wouldn’t work because the writing was soo small, but it did, and after running to chapman learning commons the next morning and struggling to scan the page for 30 minutes (chapman scanner wasn’t working with the printer), I scanned it and sent it to the computers on the floor below, and it worked. I then crammed for the life of me the material on that one side that I got rid of. If I didn’t have my Physics exam later that night I probably wouldn’t have slept but I knew I had to, and I’m glad I did, because the midterm went really well (my best midterm out of the whole bunch) and so did Physics so it worked out. I wouldn’t take this course unless it was a requirement. I am integrating nutrition, and there are only a few FNH courses that count as Science, so that’s why I had to take it. And also if you have a gut feeling something is a bit off, go and check, because I did and the prof submitted a grade change document and my final grade went up 2%. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me at UBC, so now I am a lot more precautious every time I see a grade, I try and double check some every now and then. The final felt like twice the information of the midterm with a one sided cheat sheet, it was pretty rough but it could have went worse, overall the course was OK.
ISCI 330B Science and Culture
This is one of the required courses I have to take in ISCI, well theres a bunch of courses to choose from, I just chose this one based on the title/description. It was interesting, ISCI courses usually are, and ISCI profs tend to be my favourites as well. During the course there were many presentations, and it centered on a book wrote by an author that was actually teaching with our main prof. Overall I enjoyed it, anything would be great when you compare it to the other 4 really.
So while it was a whirlwind semester, I’m still happy how I left it, I am a far better studier today than I have ever been. How much would you guys pay to have a conversation with your first year self? Seriously! Anyways as for my plans, I am doing another year, next year will be my last! Finally! This summer is based on one thing and one thing only which is the MCAT. No summer school courses to distract me this time around, I have all my focus on MCAT. I’m following a pretty structured schedule right now and its tough but very necessary, I have high aims for this MCAT. I’m literally giving myself ~3months to focus on solely this. I have had many people tell me all I need is a month. FALSE. Definitely need more time than that, I have already found so many weaknesses, little things I need to work on, and I’m just starting. And I want to get through more than half of the AAMC Practice Finals, and to do 2 a week would already take 2 weeks (i think doing more than 2 a week might be a bit much) and thats already half a month… Unless your a walking Greys Anatomy textbook, I recommend you give yourself some time. For example, judging from SAT’s, I’m not great at Verbal Reasoning, and those kind of techniques take time. I am aiming for a 33+, and it’s a big goal I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t get it, but if I don’t I’ll sign up for the exam 1 month following it. I am using The Berkeley Review Books/ an AAMC Official Guide Book/ EK 1001 at the moment. I’ll make sure to update in a month or so how MCAT studying is going.