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When I started uni I was told not to do more than 7 hours of part time work each week. This is because uni actually takes up a lot of your time. Despite the few hours you may spend in classes, if you want to do well, you will need to put in a lot of hours of independent study. However the suggested work minimum isn’t a reality for most uni students. Many of us have moved out of home and now have to cover bills, accommodation, food, and toiletries (yep these run out too).

So how do you manage your university commitments and a part time job?

  1. First step is to make a weekly/fortnightly timetable that divides the day up into hours. This way you can see at a glance how many hours there are in a week and how much spare time you have.
  2. Put in all your uni classes first. Even those that only happen on rare occasions (when you don’t have these classes, use this time for study).
  3. Next step is to put in things like soccer practice, music lessons etc.
  4. So now we are up to ‘travel time’. A huge variable unfortunately. If you don’t drive to all these places, it’s a good time to look over some notes, listen to your lectures on an iPod/mp3 or even unwind a little by reading a book.
  5. So how many hours are left? Don’t forget to factor in things such as meals, getting dressed, and sleep. You’ll find most students will lose sleep in order to make more time for homework or end up sleeping on the train (if they can get a seat).
  6.  What still needs to fit into your timetable? Well, study, part-time work, and some down time to relax. So how much time should you give to study? Again, another huge variable. As a base line, for every hour you have a class (for uni students this is called a contact hour) you should do an (absolute) minimum of 1 hour study (during normal semester classes). If you can’t do that then you need to make some changes to your extracurricular activities.

After all that there might not be much time left so use it wisely. Having probably stressed you out a little here are a few suggestions to dealing with anxiety:

  • Many universities will offer (free) lunch time sessions in meditation, time management, and managing stress to name just a few (Melbourne certainly does so make the most of them).
  • yourself time to relax, even if it’s just half an hour a day to watch your favourite show or read a book.
  • Don’t let yourself get bogged down in e-mails e.g. try and limit yourself to checking them three times a day.
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Here are a few things about the pre-req. subjects for medicine. It’s sort of a ‘behind the handbook’ look at each of them but remember that the assessment may have changed for your year.

(1) Principles of Human Structure

  1. You might be given a PRS clicker. It means personal response system. If you complete Integrative Human Physiology in the same semester you’ll use the same clicker for each subject. In the lectures, questions will be put up, usually based on a concept that would have just been discussed. You use the clicker to answer A, B, C, D or to type in an answer. You need to answer something like 75% of the questions to get the full 5% (and they don’t need to be the correct answers). It’s a pretty easy way to get some marks and may be the difference between a H1 and H2A. Here is the down side: different lecturers will have different amounts of questions so if you’re sick one day you might miss 5 questions or 20.
  2. There were two MSTs when I did this subject. These tests were partly based on the pracs and there were true/false questions to do as practice. You also got the answers to these questions and we were told that they would be on the MSTs. Very easy marks.
  3. You might get three lectures (1 lecture on each) on endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm derivatives. Even though they are only given a small amount of time, don’t make the mistake of thinking that they will only be given a 1 or 2 mark question. We had a 10-15 mark question on mesoderm derivatives.
  4. You will have seen all the pictures for the practical exam before in your lectures, prac notes, or on Anatomedia. Review these. If they give you practice questions with certain features numbered, know these but also know what the other structures are in the image.

    Patrick J. Lynch, Human head anatomy with external and internal carotid arteries. Licensed under Creative Commons. Downloaded from http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrlynch/450142019/ on 20th May 2011.

(2) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  1. The tutorials are probably not what you are used to. There are usually around 100 kids in a lecture theatre but it’s pretty interactive with the lecturer going through some questions and students can bring up areas that they have trouble with.
  2. The exam will most likely be divided into the different sections that each lecturer took. This is great as you can do your strongest areas first.
  3. You may have 3 hours to do this exam and it will probably only take you two.

(3) Integrative Human Physiology

  1.  Similar PRS advice to Principles of Human Structure.
  2.  Either Human Structure or Human Physiology provided many practice exams. Complete these questions to get an idea of the topics covered however the formatting might be different in the final exam (for Human Physiology) e.g. we had diagrams to label, putting steps into correct orders, and your basic questions. We could choose which questions to do, something like 5/7 for section A and 1/3 for section B. Keep in mind that some questions take longer than others e.g. putting 15 steps into a correct sequence will most likely take longer than answering a few short answer questions.