Welcome to 1st Med.

No congratulations on getting here will be offered, let's be honest, pre-med was pretty easy. The craic will die slightly this year from last year (that much craic couldn't last any longer...), but don't take it too seriously either, you're still technically a first year and you should act like one! Enjoy!

Semester 1

Molecules in Medicine:

Even though the initial revision of amino acids, amongst other things from premed, might fool you into thinking this is an easy module, this module is actually very difficult.  Principles of Medical Biochemistry by  Meisenberg & Simmons is an asset when studying this module. Not only does it make things easier to understand, but a lot of the MCQs relating to Des Higgins' section is of the course required further reading from this book to be able to answer them. Another thing is to ensure that you've learnt off all of the MCQs that the lecturers have provided you with throughout the semester. A fair few of them were repeated in the final exam so there's no harm in knowing them back to front. That's easy marks and will also save you precious time in answering the rest of the MCQs. The final exam is worth 100% if the modular grade which seems quite daunting. It consists of 60 MCQs without negative marking, so if you don't have a notion what the answer is, try to give your best guess! By looking up the different sections online, you can find sample questions on them as practice for the exam, since there are few past papers available to you on sisweb. The metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids is tough going. There is so much to learn and an awful lot of it is route-learning of the different enzymatic processes. It would be wise to keep on top of these sections throughout the semester. They can be tedious and time-consuming, which you really can't afford to only start in the middle of reading week.

Cell-Cell Communication:

Don't be fooled into thinking that this module is simply a revision of Cell Bio from Pre-med. Even though it starts off with some cell structure that you've done already, the module content picks up quite quickly. While you may get away with learning off information you don't quite understand in other modules of this semester, that is not the case for Cell-Cell. The exam is really difficult and requires a lot of thinking about and applying the knowledge you have learnt to more abstract and clinical questions. Vander’s is a must for the physiology in this module and you'll need it so much in second semester that it's a good idea to buy it. The lecture slides may seem a bit bare at times so going through Vander's is a good idea for covering the basics.  This module underlies the basis of much of the physiology you'll learn later in the course so it's a good idea to know it and understand it really well.


Musculoskeletal Biology:

This module is focused on the upper limbs. Dr. Brennan's lecture notes are clear and concise and are a great study tool. They might be enough for the MCQs, but the essays in the exam will require extra reading to do well in the module. Moore's Clinically Orientated Anatomy is a great resource for this module. This is the first time you will be in the dissection room with cadavers. It can be overwhelming to some the first time, but it does get better. Respect the patients who donated the bodies to science and try and learn everything you can through the dissections. It is best to make notes using the guidelines before the class so that you're better prepared for the lab. Bringing an Anatomy Altas with you will also help you to identify the different body parts too. All of the information discussed in lectures will finally make sense when you are actually dissecting it. The general consensus was that dissection is a great time to learn Anatomy in small groups, so use full advantage of the time. Additionally, there is a 10% practical portfolio due at the end of term. These assignments might seem like a walk in the park but they are graded so putting effort into them will stand to you and put a little less pressure on the final exam.  The best way to do well in this is to just do the section of the practical after each dissection it corresponds to when it is fresh in your memory. Also, this module has formative assessments running throughout the semester to see how much you know. Don’t make the mistake of not preparing. You will feel significantly less overwhelmed if you take the time to keep up with this module and the formative assessments are a great motivation to test yourself! The final exam is worth 90%!! It is 45% MCQ and 45% essay. Definitely look back at past exam papers for the essay! The essay is a bit different because we are so used to MCQ’s but definitely a great way to earn some points if you aren’t too keen on MCQ’s! ANKI is very useful for learning anatomy. TeachMeAnatomy is also a great resource. It has a website and an app, and it summarises key points and clinical notes well.



Looking for fingerprints, wool fibres and various bodily fluids... These are just a few aspects not involved in this module whatsoever! Also when you find out it is a joint module with PCP, you should know it's not the concentrated stuff Denzel might give you in training day. Informatics, first aid, basic life support, patient visits, ethical debates and group presentations are what to expect. These provide some of the most thought provoking, entertaining lectures from a wide variety of topics, touching on some of the more controversial areas of the medical world. It's where you find or adjust your stance on issues. You will have an informatics exam of 10 questions worth 15%. One Friday evening you will have a very interesting lecture on first aid and will give you a taste of what emergency medicine will be like. One Saturday you will have a basic life support course which will certify you a community first responder. Pay attention at this course as these are skills that may save someone's life someday. This also contributes to 10% your final grade (automatic pass unless you try something one of the dummies). You will be divided into groups of 4 to research and present on a topic. Another group in your subdivision of the class will have the same topic and will present directly before or after you so make sure your presentation is better and you psych them out. You cannot rehearse enough! You will be asked questions so be comfortable on answering every part of the presentation. The time limit is tight so make sure you know exactly how long you have to talk for, and when to hand over to the next speaker. The final aspect is the seminars and the GP visit. Your group will be assigned a GP (all of whom are really nice and helpful). They'll talk to you about the ins and outs of the running of a practice and taking a patient history. An expert patient will come in, together you pop your cherry and take your first history. You never forget your first... You visit the GP's practice. Pay attention as all the details are required for your portfolio worth 40%! The other aspect of the portfolio is the patient history. After your practice session with an expert  patient, in another seminar your second expert patient will come in. The patient history that you take for them is what counts to the portfolio.  Dress smart, be polite, be punctual, be respectful and don't be afraid to let them know that you are inexperienced! Write up your portfolio while it's fresh in your head and avoid stress and a rushed effort.  The final exam is only worth 25%, but not studying for it is risky. Of course it can't be taking away from your other modules (especially since cell-cell and molecules are both worth 100%!!), but neglecting it completely isn't good either. Thankfully not much extra reading is required and the questions mainly come from the lecture slides though!

Basic Tissues and Early Development:

This module primarily comprises of the basics in histology and embryology. Histology is covered by Dr Koelle. It's a good idea to attend her lectures because, although her lecture slides are good, she gives a lot of information that isn't found on them. This module required a good bit of extra reading. In regards to histology books, Junquiera or Wheater's are great resources and there are plenty of copies of them in the library. Make sure to bring a histology book to the CALs. These CAL sessions are designed to improve your histology skills and are worth paying attention to because there will be 3 MCQ's worth 10% of the final module grade each in the CAL sessions. These basically ask to identify what is in assorted histology slides. Some of the questions can be tricky, but it's recommended to study and do well on these as the final exam (worth 70%) is rather detailed and can be overwhelming if you didn’t study well. You will be asked to keep a journal of drawings and write-ups for each CAL session. These are not graded, but they check if you have kept up with it in the last session and can help you earn a pass if you have just barely failed the final. In the last three to four weeks of the semester Dr Lynne O'Shea will give lectures in embryology.  The material is fairly tough going and keeping on top of it in the lead up to exams is important because it can take a decent amount of time to understand and you don't want it taking away from your reading week. An embryology book is a great resource to have, especially Langman's. It describes the embryological processes like a story and makes them easier to understand than bullet-pointed lecture slides. The MCQs for embryology were quite straight forward compared to the histology MCQs in the final exam, so even though it's difficult to study, it's definitely worth putting the effort into it.



Food, diet and health:

Probably the easiest module that you'll take during your time in UCD, definitely take this as an elective! It's now completely online too so you don't even have to attend lectures on campus for it! There are two online MCQs worth 20% each. There are 20 questions to do in 15 minutes. It's a good idea to do the test in groups and since so many of the class will take this module that will be easy to organise. It's quite easy to go into the final exam with 40% in the bag through this method. The final exam is more specific than the mid semester MCQs and is also negatively marked. So make sure that you know the answer rather than guessing because guessing is more likely to lower your grade. All in all, the content of the module isn't too large and all of the questions are on information which are on the lecture slides so it's a great elective to do! It's also very relevant to the course since it's a nutrition module and the information you learn will be very useful!

Semester 2

Psychology for Healthcare (Elective): 


This is a great option for an elective covering topics such as psychological theories, portrayal of health and illness in the media and the impact of illness on the individual. Dr. Sinead O'Toole runs the module and her lectures are broken up with an unlimited amount of stories that makes the two hour long lecture fly. The best part is that the final exam consists of 25% for a 'Portfolio' ie you get 25% for walking into the exam with a folder in your hand containing whatever you want! The remaining 75% is for writing two essays that you can prepare for ahead of time and bring to the exam. It's a really interesting module and is also great to help bump up your GPA!


Personal and Population Health: 

This is the one module this semester that you don't have to stress over, enjoy it! It covers a range of subjects psychology, sociology and public health.

Some of the lectures are genuinely very interesting and cover topics that you won't get full modules on such as mental health, alcohol and drugs etc .20% of assessment is made up by a group project & presentation, which will be assigned in tutorials. This is the only piece of continuous assessment you have during the semester and is fairly straight forward. Topics come from a wide range of public health issues such as obesity and tropical diseases.  

 Everyone is graded in their group as a whole based on a presentation on the project in tutorials. Final exam is worth 80% and consists of four essay questions one of which is based on the project so its worth knowing it well. 


Renal Biology:

Christine Costello was personally one of the best lecturers we have had till date. Her lecture slides are comprehensive and she is an excellent lecturer as well. This is a module that if you put in constant work throughout the semester would prove helpful during study week. It is heavy module content-wise but once you grasp the basic concepts of filtration, reabsorption, secretion, you should be fine. Vander's Renal Physiology and Vander's physiology cover most of the material and help explain the finer details a little better.  The anatomy is not too bad and builds on the basic knowledge you would have from leaving cert. However, keep an eye on embryology for this and actually all of the modules. There are several anatomy tutorials during the semester that are an extra help. The module includes a field trip to the Mater  where you learn about the clinical aspects of the module and although this isn't examinable it's very interesting and worth going to.. Like the four biology molules this semester, the exam is 100% and includes 25 % MCQ and 3 essay questions that are 25% each. One of the essays is anatomy and the other two are physiology. 


Cardiac Biology:

Cardiac is one probably the least bulky module. Anatomy is fairly straightforward and is taught by James Jones and Lynne O'Shea. Dr. Jones notes are mostly diagrams however so a decent look at Moore's helps. Stuart Bund, Katherine Howell and Albert Smoelinski deliver the physiology lectures, they are excellent and Vander's should help you through the whole module. ECG Made Easy is a great study source as this is probably the hardest aspect of the module. Again, the final exam is 25% MCQ aand 75% essays.   


Vascular Biology:

There's a massive overlap between Cardiac and Vascular, particularly for physiology. The module is divided into two main areas; anatomy and physiology. The anatomy covers all the major arteries and veins and the branches of branches of branches of branches.... Learning them is painstaking, mnemonics will definitely help as there are literally hundreds of branches to the arteries and veins that you have to know. Tom Flanagan, the lecturer for this area has unreal notes, as well as his dissection classes. Do not miss out of these dissections as they're the best way to learn the massive volume of anatomy. 

Physiology is relatively straight forward and like cardiac, is covered by Stuart Bund and Albert Smolenski. Know the autonomic control of vascular tone and everything else will fall into place. Vanders is a great help as always. Similarly to Renal there is a field trip to the Mator where you learn about vascular surgery and is well worth going along to. 



Respiratory Biology:

Resp is a challenging module to put it mildly and not one to be neglected! Jason Last, Jean O’Connor and Lynne O'Shea usually tackle the anatomy, which is a bitch to say the least (there's just a lot of it). The dissections really help with the larynx/pharynx region where there's a lot going on. Do not miss dissections as they're the best shot at getting your head anatomy!  Many people found the anatomy notes to be a bit scarce, so sit down with Netter’s and go through it. Also don't ignore embryology as there was a fair amount of it in the final. 

Katherine Howell tackles the lengthy physiology aspect. Vander's Physiology covers it well to get a good basic grasp as well as JB West for extra information.   Make sure you know differences between obstructive and restrictive diseases and especially the types of clinical tests to diagnose respiratory diseases. The tutorials cover these very well with a full one dedicated to pulmonary function tests so make sure you attend! A commmon exam question involves calculating the FEV, FEV/FVC values etc, which is what one of the tutorials was directly on. The tutorials in general are very good for this module and give a great understanding of everything they teach in lectures.  

All the above modules have a mix of associated dissection classes, tutorials and histology CALS. You can sleep through all the lectures you want but it's in these that you'll learn tips about exams, important clinical points and all that jazz... Make a good effort to go! The final exam structure is 3 essays and 30 MCQ (no negative marking) worth 100% of the final mark!