Name: Verity Jackson
Subject: Natural Sciences (Biochemistry)
A-levels taken: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, French
What does your working week entail?
Now I’m in third year, I usually have between six and eight lectures a week, and will also be working on my research project (where you become part of a research group in your department and then write up a report at the end). We also have one ‘departmental supervision’ per week with several group leaders in the department and about six other students.
During part I (the first two years) I had far more scheduled lectures (usually twelve per week, including on Saturdays) and between ten and fifteen hours of practical work per week. I also had three or four supervisions a week, and each supervisor would give me a piece of work each week, which they would then mark and return (which was really helpful!).
How easy was the transition from A-level to the first year of your degree?
Really not that bad. Obviously, you will get set far more work than when you were at school, but the difficulty of the work was not a large jump from being at school. However, I did find the maths quite challenging, but my supervisor was always very helpful when I didn’t understand.
How easily can you fit social activities into your working week?
I have found plenty of time to take part in things outside of my work. I managed to fit in being on the JCR during my second year, and have been making props and costumes for the amateur dramatics society throughout my time here. There’s also lots of time to see your friends too, and the JCR puts on lots of social events during the term which I always have time to go to.
What sort of things did you talk about in your interview?
It was mainly problem-solving exercises which really weren’t too bad, essentially I just had to come up with lots and lots of ideas until I completely ran out. The interview was basically similar to a supervision. In one of my interviews, the interviewer tried to teach me something to see how well I picked it up. It was actually quite enjoyable in the end. After all, it was my first opportunity to discuss the subject I love with someone who really knew a lot about it.