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:

This module is split into 3 sections which are each taken by a different lecturer and examined fairly evenly in the exam. For us we had an end of semester final exam worth 100%, 50% MCQs and 50% SAQs. This was definitely one of the hardest - if not the hardest - module this semester but it is manageable to pass by making sure you can understand the concepts and paying attention to what the lecturers tend to examine you on. Principles of Biochemistry by Meisenberg and Simmons is a really helpful textbook for this module, mainly for Des Higgins stuff - I didn’t use it at all for Loftus or the other guy as their lecture slides perfect. Some of the sections, such as metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids, can be learned off pretty well so with a bit of study this module can be manageable. You can find sample mcqs online which are super helpful. Also there are very good YouTube videosexplaining key pathways and processes.

Cell-Cell Communication:

Another deceivingly difficult module, cell cell signalling requires a fairly thorough understanding of the processes in order to pass or do well in this module. Unlike molecules in medicine, it will probably require more than rote learning to pass but most people enjoyed this module as, despite being hard, it is interesting and we found the lecturers were generally good (?). Vander’s is one of the best resources for this module and a lot of the lecture slides are based on it. For us the final exam was worth 85% and we had pass-fail continuous assessment/ attendance marks throughout the semester which accounted for the other 15%. That 15% makes a huge difference to the pressure you’ll be under for the exam and is very easily achieved so make sure to attend everything the module requires you to! The mechanism of muscle contraction is super important for later modules this year so it is worthwhile to learn it properly in this module. Also the cell signalling pathways will continue to come up in later modules so worth putting the time in in this semester to get the hang of them.

Musculoskeletal Biology:

This module is the anatomy of the upper limb and is definitely one of the less stressful modules this semester. There is a portfolio worth 80% done in groups and then in semester MCQs worth 20%, both of which are fairly marked. Aside from some extra reading required for the portfolio, Dr Brennan’s lecture slides are very concise and have all the information

you should need. You will also have cadaver labs in this module which are definitely worth going to as they do help with your study a lot. For these labs, it’s definitely advisable to have studied the material beforehand so that you can really make the most of them. The MCQ is all cadaver images so atlases and websites such as anatomyguy are useful when studying. Some people found ANKI very helpful for this module.


Don’t get your hopes up as this module has nothing to do with crime scene investigation, but rather clinical skills and informatics. It is still a really interesting module however, and is taught through both lectures and seminars. In the seminars you will be guided through assignments such as the portfolio (a patient history) and a group project. There is a final exam MCQ and we had to do a portfolio based on a patient history that we took in a seminar. This portfolio is a good chance to practise scientific research as they do require a few scientific references.

Basic Tissues and Early Development:

This module primarily covers histology and embryology. The CALs are worth 20% of the module and are definitely worth putting time and effort into so you can pass easier. There are some good online resources that can help explain histology as it is tricky to get you head around, such as histology guide website, shotgun histology videos, pathXL and Wheater’s functional histology. Sabine Koelle and Tom Flanagan take on embryology. Sabines notes are scarce enough so

important to pay attention in lectures.


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

Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health

This module is largely project based so it is an easy pass.30% of the module grade is based on a group project on an aspect of public health in a country and a short essay you write afterwards. (10% group presentation 10% individual performance in the presentation. 10% essay on the presentation topic). If you put in the work in the group presentation you shouldn’t find the essay too challenging. It is important to divide up the work in this presentation clearly so that everyone knows what they need to cover and study for the questions in the presentation seminar, as they can be difficult enough. The remainder comes from an end of semester MCQ on the lectures that is fairly manageable with any sort of study and the biostatistics portion is largely similar to simple leaving cert statistics. Different data and study types feature heavily in the final MCQ.

Renal Biology:

Probably the most difficult module this semester, but also Christine Costello is probably the best lecturer you will have. The content (particularly physiology) is very difficult so it’s definitely a good idea to make an effort to wrap your head around it as early as possible. People do fail this module so definitely make it a priority and it is examined by an end of year SAQ and essay based exam worth 100%. Certain topics in renal are repeated in other modules this semester so it is a good idea to find the lecture notes you prefer for these topics and study them well. There is one extra embryology lecture generally for this module so it is more likely to play a part in the final exam.

Cardiac Biology:

The anatomy portion of this module was given by Prof Tom Flanagan and there was a mid semester MCQ that accounted for 20% of the module grade. He uses a lot of cadaver images for these MCQs and websites such as anatomy guy, Geisel school of medicine and blue link anatomy are extremely useful for practicing these. Our MCQ was very difficult so I would advise putting in a good bit of work for that to take the pressure off the final exam. The

physiology part is centred largely on ECGs and there are lots of great resources online or in the library to help you with these.

Vascular Biology:

This module has a lot of crossover with cardiac biology, but definitely don’t neglect it as for us the final exam was worth 100% and everyone found it tough. The anatomy can get quite tedious as there is a lot of learning vascular branches and their branches etc. It is definitely worth making sure you have a good grasp on the final concepts of the module which are given by Prof Smolenski, such as vascular tone and the clotting cascade, as it will help with

future modules.


Respiratory Biology:

The anatomy in respiratory biology is really detailed. There are lots of diagrams in different planes which can get quite confusing so the practicals are great for helping get your head around the different parts of the respiratory tract and not to miss. Histology is an important lecture in this module and an easy exam question to answer if you

know your stuff. Respiratory physiology is very conceptual. There are several key concepts to know and they are explained very well in sample essays in the MedSoc Google drive. There are two essays to write in the final exam for physiology which is daunting enough considering for many, second semester will be their first set of exams with essays. However, once you know these concepts well you should not have difficulty adapting your knowledge to suit different essay headings. One very popular question is the FVC/FV1 question which initially seems challenging but is

very methodical and repetitive so a good one to have down before going into the exam.