After two years of dossing around you’d be wanting to warm up those neurons - iconic duo Tom and Mark are about to take you on a proper introduction to what this course really is. The module is hyped up to be incredibly difficult but in reality good ol’ T n M are there to guide you with each step of the way, and are incredibly helpful with answering all your silly little med student questions. Although they’re great, Mark can tend to introduce unnecessary detail and Tom’s anatomy can just be a bit dull - to combat this, Ninja nerd on Youtube should become your new best friend this semester. His videos are long but we’re all well able for 2.5x speed after the pandemmy. In reality the big points for this module are A) stay on top of your course material (anki is great for this), and B) ATTEND YOUR LABS - the material is just too hard to visualise without. Learn your stuff before these - beware, Tom will go around in a circle and pinpoint a question on everyone. So, if waffling neuro anatomy isn’t really a skill in your repertoire, do a bitta prep for god’s sake. Pat Felle takes a few lectures on the cranial nerves and it’s also worth revising a bit before these - he loves to ask random questions, rant about how little your year knows, and then forget what time your lecture ends at. In terms of assessment, you’ll have a project, then an exit exam with MCQs and those dreaded long questions you haven’t dealt with since the LC. Best advice for this exam is to thoroughly understand the lecture material and then practice applying your knowledge to past exam papers. A lot of them repeat/are similar, so learning off a couple might not go amiss - despite what they tell you. Don’t ignore your cranial nerves and using an MCQ book from the library such as ‘MCQs in anatomy for Undergraduates and Medical Students’ to supplement your learning is a very smart plan. This year they introduced a new group project - if you thought your art career was finished up with at last year’s Basic Tissues module, you were gravely mistaken. This semester ‘med students do mindful colouring-in’ is crossed with ‘med students play engineers’. What’s not to love. You basically have to make a physical model that can be used to demonstrate a topic (any topic from the module) in a video that you then submit on brightspace. Stick to their guidelines, listen to the advice they give you on your idea pitch submission, and try to give your idea some sort of edge - a lot of the projects overlapped this year and of course this just creates competition amongst your submissions. If all else fails, just know you’re not alone in the confusion –
MED (Mechanisms of Disease):
Bit of a random collection of topics in this module with roughly equal weighting. Basically, it's made up of 4 themes (micro, cellular responses to stress/injury, innate/adaptive immunity and general immunopathology, and finally, core principles of pharma), with a similar number of lectures for each. Cormac taylor’s back with his 160 slide long lectures filled with animations and images instead of concrete information. Pharma looks like it’s going to be tricky but is actually very straightforward. You get an intro to microbiology which will be a great foundation for POI in semester two. The assignment is interesting to do but tricky enough, as the word maximum is actually quite small. The aim is to review resources in order to create a little poster on a particular topic, with an image/figure accompanied by an informative legend. Was a little tricky to do extremely well in, but stick to the guidelines as usual and you shouldn’t have to repeat it (as some did in our year). You'll have your first round of BMJs - handy little 10% and usually quite interesting. Get them done early. Final exam is actually very forgiving and straightforward - a round of MCQs and then 2 out of 4 long questions. One of these tends to be based on a tutorial case covered during the semester, so attend these.
This may seem like an easy enough module at first, but don’t be fooled by Docherty’s uncanny charm - a good few failed this exam last year. The histology lab quizzes are very handy - actually do your prep (histologyguide website or youtube videos + junqueira’s) and you’ll have 10% in the bag. Although you have a 20% anatomy midterm that’s fairly straightforward, don’t forget your anatomy for the final. Anatomy questions with pictures are very different to MCQ style anatomy/physiology questions, which can get a bit confusing. Again recommend finding yourself a good MCQ book. The short answer questions in the final are easy enough, but don’t neglect them in your study.
Featuring James Jones, of the Coakley Fan club, this module is rote learning at its best. He breaks down the sections of the lower limb nicely, but there is a lot of info to cover. Anki once again comes in handy here. Our assessment was based totally on MCQ style questions (Jones even gives a whole lecture at the end on why this method is the BEST way to test us!). Test us indeed- while the midterm is easy enough, thorough spatial understanding and a close attention paid to timing will be needed to ‘locomote’ you through the final. Listen closely to what he says during the lecture - his slides are sparse and he has been known to throw in questions that are based on things he has said in passing. Watch out for those ‘NOT’ MCQ questions - he likes those a lot and they take a bit of extra reading. The labs are really one of the best parts of this module. Jones is super interesting in the lab and gives lots of insight into surgical and general clinical applications of your learning. So make sure you don’t miss them, despite whatever hangover your suffering.
Crossey is an interesting fellow with an interesting subject matter at hand. The man is very fair with his marking so if you follow his concrete advice of ‘explain your reasoning’ you’ll be flying (- of course explaining answers that are correct will also help you). His longer questions/case studies found on the midterm and final are a fun introduction to playing doctor, but you’ll need to really understand and know his lecture material so you can keep to the top of your explaining game. The labs/CALs aren’t compulsory but again, helpful as always. Sabine koelle returns with her funny little run off remarks but make sure to pay attention to crossey when he does his revision tutorial/lecture as he does give extra info/guidelines for her section.
Elective: Basic Principles of Trauma
Don’t be picking this elective to up your GPA - it’ll only leave you traumatised (pardon the pun but it’s alarmingly accurate). That said, it’s an incredibly interesting module with great clinical insights for this stage in the degree. Again, write down what Jones says in the lectures so you don’t miss out on any surprise MCQs that weren’t in the slides. The practicals involve really detailed and cool demonstrations of proper clinical procedures/imaging. Would recommend aiming to do well in the mid term and the project, as the online final didn't seem very cohesive with what was covered within Jones’ lectures, and certainly went outside of their scope. With the project - don’t trust him to give you a perfect case - a lot of the cases for us were littered with mistakes- make sure to catch them and state them or he’ll catch you out first!
This builds on what you learned in Semester One and introduces you to your first full modules in Pharmacology and Pathology. None of the modules are quite as difficult as Neurosciences, but some of them are even tougher in terms of material. . Our advice is to not ignore Cardiovascular and Renal, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the easiest of the five modules (Disability certainly takes this one)! Try to keep on top of the material, and go to any tutorials that are offered.
Also, if you could devise some novel way of staying on top of Oncology and Immunopathology that doesn't involve sacrificing your social life to the study gods, that’d be great.
Cardiovascular and Renal Disease
Your first proper pharmacology & pathology module, this looks at the heart and vessels for the first half, and kidney for the second, alternating between pathology and therapeutics. Most of us found the pathology lectures far more comprehensive than the pharmacology ones. The cardiovascular section is much more straight-forward than the renal section of the course, and a lot of it you already know. Holloway, who takes your renal pathology section, is a great one for packing as much information and visuals into his slides as is virtually possible. If you’re a neat freak at heart, it might be handy to start doing out your own notes before/after the lectures. This kidney section is a lot more tedious, but you need to know it all for the final exam so you should definitely stay on top of it (especially Glomerular Disease). Holloway's verbal explanation of everything is super clear - he makes it seem simple (almost). On the (sort-of) plus-side, with the lectures being so very lengthy, you don't need any background reading or extra information. And look! Another 100% final module … yipee. In all fairness, the final exam was very straightforward and based off previous years papers, so make sure to look at them on sisweb and be familiar with all the points you’d want to be striking. Overall, the abundance of information in this module that can feel overwhelming at times, however, this being said, it should all come together nicely during study week. Definitely attend the tutorials, which are similar to the kinds of cases you need to know for the paper.
Oncology and Immunopathology
The killer word in the title of this subject is 'and', which implies that you're covering two ridiculously large topics in one module. Sadly, it's true, and you should prepare for a subject that has little sympathy for your life outside of medicine. This is definitely one you want to attend the lectures for. A lot of the slide material is built on in class, and can be really confusing to read by itself. The module can be split up into sections, which makes it easier to study and revise (Introductory lectures given by Melinda Halasz, neoplasms, pharmacology, autoimmune disease, immunology). The guest lecturers are also really really good, and make you feel like you’re actually starting to study important, relevant, doctor-y stuff. Some lectures leave you jaw-dropped with their sheer amount of material and seemingly little amount of text. Some did outside reading from high yield texts (I recommend Goljan Pathology plus Robbins), but it’s certainly not necessary to get the top grades. Walking into the final exam with 10% from your BMJs is going to be absolutely necessary, so make sure to complete these early on. The MDT group project is a hefty workload - you’re put into groups of 10s for this, complete with several very earnest GEMs, so be prepared for serious knuckling down and meetings that run on for hours. It’s tricky to coordinate but an incredibly interesting experience to do. You present your case to a board of consultants and lecturers, who will absolutely give you a good grilling - therefore, you must know your facts and be up to date with all the recent technology advances etc. Pay particular attention to relevant material from the lectures in this regard, as they tended to dip into this material a good bit. The exam itself was definitely another hurdle after two years of online college. Amanda pairs a series of SAQs with some long questions, leaving no room for cutting out topics. Strong leaving cert vibes in this exam with no MCQ guessing-games on standby to save your grade, so make sure you start revising early and avoid cramming - there’s simply too much to remember. Overall it’s actually a really interesting module and was probably my favourite of the semester. The slides are most very comprehensive but for reading, a lot of the lectures are taken largely from Robbins, and it will also cover any extra material you need. For chemotherapy, I don't think the recommended text (Bennett and Brown) is any use and would try something else - Katzung or Rang and Dale are both better. A fantastic high-yield resource for oncology, immunopathology and all the pharmacology components of the module is the First Aid for USMLE Step 1.
This module has changed a lot over the years and seems to vary in difficulty from one year to the next. It is definitely surprisingly heavier in anatomy than one might expect. Once again you’ll be back in the lab - much to your delight - with podcast-voiced James Jones reminding you of all the neuro anatomy you have forgotten from last semester. Apart from the anatomy, this module is made up of many different lectures given by guest lecturers from the NRH, from patient advocates, and from some more familiar faces like Mark Pickering. There used to be a visit to the NRH, during which you would take a patient history, however they scrapped this for us. Our continuous assessment was based upon a group poster submission that summarised a case study with main focus on icf guidelines. This was pretty easy to do well in, but bear in mind there has been reported failures on this poster assignment in the past! Dr Dooley is really helpful on email for any questions you may have about the project. Our final exam was a simple 1 hour MCQ/SAQ paper and most people did really well in it. It doesn’t really require any external reading - just cover your lectures well and you’ll be grand.
Principles of Infection
One of the only subjects this semester that doesn't seem like two squashed into one, this module just covers infections, plain and simple. It takes you through the patterns of the most common infections, the microbiology of the major bacteria and viruses that cause them, and almost everything you need to know about the antibiotics used to treat them. Dr. Koon Meng Chan is brilliant, but you should be prepared for 60 minutes non-stop of medical facts (he's not a fan of the idle chatter), interspersed with the occasional photo of flowers, and other random objects (he's funny like that). The rest of the lecturers are also good, and seem to know their topics. 'Practicals' in this module are really just extra tutorials, where a lecturer will revise the culture of bacteria and viruses. They’re extremely good and tend to cover the material that will come up on exams, so pay a lot of attention to this stuff! The exam is straightforward in that you either know the answer or you don't and you'll get the marks you deserve. If anything, keep in mind one word - Chanathon. If these 3x 2hr tutorials/massive-chan-overdoses are not recorded for you, sit down in the lecture theatre and type like you’ve never typed before. Chan is very clear about his hints, so don’t miss any. This may be a 100% final, but the long questions are very straightforward and easy to predict. Keep your answers to the point and stick to relevant info - Chan isn’t a man who waits around while you skirt and waffle your way around the actual subject matter. The antibiotic lectures are hefty and tricky to learn, but doing so will secure you a good few MCQ/EMQs and usually a whole long question. A lot of Bearach’s lectures tended only to come up for us in the MCQ/EMQs, but are definitely vital ones to consider for your future medical career, so don’t skip them. As for texts, many people swear by 'Clinical Microbiology made ridiculously simple', so consider that. For antibiotics, Bennett and Brown still isn't much use, and you should try Katzung or Rang & Dale.
Genetics, Perinatal and Paediatric Diseases
This is Mechanisms of Disease all over again - three odd subjects cobbled together into one new module - but in fairness, the topics are all quite similar and very interesting. All in all the whole thing fits together pretty well. Genetics is largely a reprisal of your genetics module in premed, but most of the clinical lectures are, in fact, delivered in less detail than the original premed module. If you do still have access to your old notes, use them. That said, the lab-oriented genetics lectures - Southern Blotting and karyotyping and the like - are covered a little better in this module, and now might be a good time to go to the lectures and finally understand what FISH stands for. All the Perinatal and Paediatric ones are new material, and worthwhile going to - the lecturers are recruited from maternity hospitals such as the Rotunda, and they keep things interesting, relevant, and to-the-point. Overall, this module seemed easier to me than the rest, and you can hope to do well in exit exam. When revising, do learn your various genetic abnormalities in detail - MCQs can specifically ask which mutation causes what disease, and your best bet is to make a separate table of all the mutations from the genetics lectures and learn it off. We had an online midterm Genetics exam worth 40% in which we had to answer questions on two diseases. It was pretty easy but there seemed to be a large range of grades despite lots of similar answers. The final was just an hour’s MCQ and was definitely quite easy( given that you’d learnt your stuff). The tutorials are quite interesting but not incredibly important for the exam. Chan’s tutorial is actually a great recap for POI too, so make sure to attend.
Overall, despite the slightly increased workload, this year isn't that bad. Do not be drawn into the illusion that you must study night and day in order to achieve anything, or that this is the year that you 'finally have to start working' (that's next year, or maybe the one after…) Keep up whatever you do for fun outside Medicine including the endless 21st season, do take part in Med Day and attend Med Ball, and don't get intimidated by those people who are planning their second research session this summer.