Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Holidays

Yay Christmas was actually quite good this year!! - but then my ward decided to close out of the blue and has now left me alone in london for no reason!!!! GARRRRRRR i hate undecisive ward managers! - it means i don't go back to work until the end of the 1st week of January. Although i enjoy my time off, i wish they could have told me earlier as i could have planned something, instead of having not very much to do.

Thankfully this year my brother his girlfriend, and my cousin has decided to visit london, so its not actually been too bad, as i got to spend time at home cooking up a feast to cheesy music, watching re-runs of old films, drinking alcohol and playing stupid games. All in all, twas a very merry Christmas.

On the med application side of things... absolutely nothing! no news! de nada!

- - but from experience January is a very very horrible month - so lets just hope i manage to hold through the month without toooo many rejections!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Waiting listed

After 6 weeks of waiting from my kcl interview, i've been notified by mail today to stay waiting until march/april, as i sit on the waiting list.

I suppose i am glad its not a straight rejection, but i know my chances of staying at kcl for another 5 years is unlikely, as the chances of receiving an offer from the list is very very low. I will just have to sit and hope. The worst part being through the post-interview wait, i was thinking how i would really enjoy spending another 5 years at kcl; but alas, fate tells me to keep waiting.

My ward has a new HCA, another med applicant gapper, theres now 3 of us on the ward and it seems as if the ward sister has taken a liking to taking on gappers, as the 3 latest hcas (me included) have all been gappers.... or it could possibly be because theres a surge of gapping applicants this time of year; none the less it means i now have another person to chat to about applications and things. However, i do cringe on the idea of seeing one of them on friday, as she also had an interview at kcl last month, and i'm just going to be reminded of my unlikely chances with every shift i share with her.

Really hoping i'll hear from other unis soon, i think it would be pretty shattering to have to fail another round of applications if this year sees a similar fate to the last.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

december update

Oh was waiting for the BMAT results to arrive a nuisance, (i believe there was a mix up, and they were sending them out a tad late) but i wish i was still waiting.. as the results weren't just a tad crap..they were worst than last years!

Ok it's only 0.3 marks less than last years..but i think its almost definately means my chances at ucl have gone down the drain, and mixed in with the sudden cold weather, a bad flu, and my desktop officially dead and failing to be reformatted, the week has been pretty grim.

I don't regret taking the bmat and risking it slightly as such, at least now i won't have to live with the "what if" factor. I was slightly dissapointed with my bmat results, but the dissapointment didn't last too long; i suppose i'm just glad its something out the way.

It just goes to show... no news is good news !

on the line of news.. ucas track has remained looking the same as it did almost 2 months ago; however im sure thats going to change soon, as from last year's experience - january seems to be a popular month for bad news ~.~

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Night Shifts as a HCA..

..honestly aren't tooo bad.

Yes, the patient number does increase, with the original 45 patients on the ward between 3 HCAs on long day shifts to now between just the 2 of us; but taking into consideration that most of the patients are asleep during the night, its not really too bad.

- On a negative side it means theres suddenly a big increase in the amount of obs. needed to be done, blood sugars to be checked, and catheters and nephrostomy bags to emptied; and not forgetting how it messes up sleep patterns, with 7.45pm starts and 8.15am finishes (same hours as long day shifts, but with the am and pm swapped around).

- BUT on the positive side of things, theres extra pay (quite important for an ex-student with debts!), and more "time dedicated to you" - meaning i have nothing to do.... (this to some extent is a double edged sword.. the rest now and then can be quite nice... but occasionally can make the day/night pass by very slowly, and the end of the shift feeling miles away) .... well it also means i have the spare time to sit, and to type this blog entry summing up my last 3 nights as im currently stuck alone in one of the nurses stations.

Ahhhhhh still another 6 hours to go - tonight has definately been the slowest night of the 3!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

X'mas ward rota

The long awaited X'mas ward rota is finally out!

- GLAD i'm off on the major dates : x'mas eve, x'mas day, new year's eve and new years!
...and only having to work on the 23rd, 26th and 27th, and then im off for a week from the 28th! So i'm a happy HCA during the main Xmas period!

Sadly i can't say the same for the upcoming next 3 weeks - with 7 night shifts in short space of 21 days, mixed in with a handful of day shifts... the worst part is having a long day shift on sunday followed by a row of 4 night shifts starting.. on the monday following! AKK! i expect a backache and bad moody patches.

in terms of med applications.. my track hasn't changed basically.

Still havn't heard anything yet since the interview, and i suspect i won't hear anything anytime soon either, but that doesn't stop me from stupidly checking track at stupid times of the day "just in case" - i doubt even the most zealous of admin staff will update track in the early hours of the morning... but oh well.. it helps me sleep better.

and something random
i want a lomography fisheye 2 camera! a bit of an expensive toy, but i want one!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

bmat 2008

OK... so it wasn't as bad as last year (i risk sounding really stupid now if i do badly in comparrison to last year *.*).

I woke up early with some time to spare, and rather than studying my list of equations, i went downstairs to have a pot of baked beans..them really lazy ones in a plastic microwaveable pot... yes i had no idea why, but with the prospects of having the bmat later on in the morning, i developed a craving for baked beans.

Anyways, i got there early, stood in a que for another 15 minutes or so, went into the examination room with a 50 odd other bmat-ers, and after a few complaints about not having a clock in the room and random problems with not having enough answers sheets etc, we finally got the exam started!

Section 1 - wasn't too bad... but the questions about breast cancer probability with right handed and left handed people was quite annoying!

Section 2 - was harder this year, probably because i hadn't revised the correct material, and had to make stupid random guesses at the last few questions as i ran out of time, and had to just fill in the circles without even reading the questions... oh and i didn't like the question with cycling and travel .. or was that section 1 .. akkkk i can't remeber now

Section 3 - was really quite generous this year, it has been the only section 3 i've seen where i actually understood all 3 titles.... i did just choose essay 2 at the end; mumbling on about quality of life, patient autonomy and benificence.

So in summary:
Section 1 - ok
Section 2 - crap
section 3 - ok

Now a wait till December 1st to find out exactly how badly it went!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Post KCL-interview

So i had my interview at GKT this morning; i arrived an hour early and made myself comfortable amongst the 6 or 7 other interviewees in the small and cosy waiting room, watching others fidget, and waiting to be called in.

I tried to remain calm throughout, but i think my slightly sweaty hands gave it all away, though i did get a quick chance to dry them a tad on my trousers before the 1st and the 2nd handshake, and of course whilst they weren't looking!

I can't really talk about my experience in much detail today, as i signed a paper not to disclose information about the interview, and to be honest i think i rather not recall on today's experience, as i don't really know what to think of it - and i honestly think it can go either way.

So i'm just going to wait and see, it could be 2-3 weeks (according to the interview invitation letter), a month, or all the way til January!!! (according to my friends who had interviews last year) before i hear anything from them.

So again.. its just going to be an uncomfortable wait, constant ucas track checking, and some more time dedicated to hoping i'll hear from other medical schools soon.

Until then i have the dreaded BMAT this wednesday!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

kcl Interview - in 9 days

I had a pretty quiet day on the ward on Wednesday, so whilst the patients were having their lunch i decided to have a quick browse on the internet and check my mail; and was then pleasantly surprised ( + really happy) to find an email detailing my interview date and time from KCL admissions.

I've been waiting for their email for a while, but actually receiving the email bought a giant smile to my face, quickly followed by fear, and then the task of having to find another HCA to swap shifts with!

I had previously agreed with another HCA gap year student to swap shifts with each other if interviews came up for either of us, but as she is also sheduled to work on that day, and as the interview is very very soon ( 3rd November) i've decided not to risk leaving it too late, and decided to take annual leave on that day; afterall i doubt i'd use up all my annual leave otherwise.

Whilst really looking forward to the interview, i am also pretty nervous, especially after my ghastly interview performance at BL last year ( i really messed that one up!), i am just hoping my nerves won't get the best of me this time round - lets hope!

Monday, 20 October 2008


I received my letter from King's College London today.... hoping to find a letter detailing my interview date and time.. and then was simply a bit sad to find an acknowledgement letter.

Acknowledgement letters are the worse (see *), they give a sense of false hope, unlike acknowledgement emails which sort of tell you what to expect in the subject bar of the email before you even start reading. Whilst for the letters you have to read around 1 sentence in before you hit the "don't worry if you don't hear from us, we interview until April ..blah blah blah"!

*well acknowledgement letters are better than no acknowledgement letter i suppose.. as sometimes i fear my application may not have been received by the unis

Saturday, 18 October 2008

HCA work october update

Not too sure on the exact timetable yet, but i received a call from my ward sister yesterday to ask if i prefered working on christmas day or on new years >_<

In all honesty, preferebly i would have liked to have to choose neither of them, but weighing out the pros and cons i decided i would put myself down for a long day shift on either day; hopefully they'll be able to accomodate that, and not put me on a night shift.

Though the question did make me think about my future career and what i may be potentially letting myself in for, and although i like spending my christmas holiday with my feet up, i think my decision to apply for medicine is the correct one.

On a fun note, i finally finished my induction training, and enjoyed the adult basic life support and AED training from the resus. service. I've completed a few St John's Ambulance courses in the past, and learning how to apply the same basic principles to a clinical environment was really intersting... plus the very shiny (quite literally) card to certify passing the course is a nice bonus.

Work this week hasn't been too bad, there were some really friendly patients who were all very nice, the nurses taught me a lot more this week, and i got to work alongside student nurses. Although most of it has been well, occasionally there are a few very demanding patients, which require a lot more care and attention, and those which are just cheeky!!

Friday, 10 October 2008

UCAS 2009 - sorted

Application has actually been sent since the beginning of the week, but as i havn't heard anything from UCAS since then, i finally picked up the phone and gave them a call this morning... and i'm mighty glad i did!

Seems like my failed application to medicals schools last year ended me up in clearing (i never knew), and my application from last year is still "live" even though i'm pretty sure most unis have already started their courses. Anyhoots, after answering a few buzz questions from the nice people on the UCAS helpline, i finally managed to withdraw my old application and FINALLY i can access track, but using my ID from last year and my username and password from this year... its quite confusing.. but yep, im glad thats sorted now!

I finally made my choices (see above), i know they are a bit on the risky side, but i want a shot at those unis! Well it's just going to be a long long wait now..but hopefully not too long. ^.^

Sunday, 5 October 2008

BMAT revision

Entry deadline: 30 September 2008 (late entry 15 October 2008)
Test date: 5 November 2008
Duration of test: 2 hours
Results available: 1 December 2008

BMAT revision begins today!

Heres a few sites i found useful:

1) UCL - LAPT BMAT practice test

it's too easy in comparrison to the bmat paper i took last year, but i guess its a helpful indicator to the subject areas which needs to be revised.

2) 2007 BMAT Paper with answer key
(YES! the dreaded paper i took last year, someone from TSR kindly posted it up ^^ - not me)

3) BMAT 2008 thread on TSR - discussion on the exam and generally a helpful read for information on the bmat

4) Official BMAT specimen papers (with answer keys)

(PS - my tutor has still not sent ..or even checked my ucas form yet... its been a week already.. hopefully it won't be another week before he takes a look at it and gets it sent off for me!)

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The HCA post

Being a HCA is not the most glamorous of jobs at the hospital, and indeed the stories i've heard so far have been proven to be true. It's really hands on, the smell can sometimes be unbearable, my feet ache, and my hands are extremely dry from all the hand-washing after each and every patient; BUT it has been a great learning opportunity to work in a caring environment, and to experience the long shift hours working in the NHS.

After the first day, i seriously wanted to quit, the ward was quiet and i spent almost 4 hours sitting around hardly moving a muscle. The day was spent making beds in the morning, recording blood pressure, pulse, O2 saturation and temperature from most patients, and occasionally emptying catheters from others; and with a 7.45am start and a 20.15pm finish, i was dead tired at the end of the day, and was just glad to see my shower and bed.

On the second day the ward was full at most times, and i was running around doing all the above, but having given a lot more responsibility to look after the patients, the job was actually quite satisfying. I learnt to take out cannulas, take blood glucose readings, and the most fun came when the staff nurses and other HCAs tried to teach me how to take blood pressure readings on them using a stephoscope and a mobile sphygmomanometer. Sadly i am absolutely rubbish at it, and can't get by without using the electronic sphygmomanometer.. hopefully it will be practice makes perfect as i guess it will come in handy for future OSCEs, when i eventually get into medical school.It really is a good experience, and i've already learnt so much over the last 2 days in terms of what its like to work in a hospital, and what a caring job involves, but the pay is awful.

So being rather honest, i wouldn't say the job is AMAZING..nor is it the best option for Gappers. It does have an intersting and caring side which i enjoy, but on the other hand, the job is rather mind numbing, and i feel its a shame not being able to utilise any of my skills picked up from the Biochemistry BSc.

i am still waiting for my referee to attatch my reference and to send my ucas form.............. i may have to give him a call on monday if he still hasn't done it by then!

Monday, 29 September 2008


My UCAS form has finally been sent to my referee. So its either going to be a nice surprise tomorrow if my referee decides to be quick in sending my form off, or a nervous wait if my tutor decides to put it to the back of his mind, and i watch the deadline slowly approaching.

Although knackered from today's chores, and doing the desperately needed living room, kitchen and bedroom cleaning, the house is finally almost ready to be lived in; however, sadly my cousin, brother and his girlfriend have already moved in, and so they'll just have to make careful movement around the obstacles littered across the floors. Feeling a bit tired already, i should really go to sleep, but i have to prepare my lesson plan for my tutoring lesson tomorrow evening, and i still need to find my birth certificate for my HCA job tomorrow!

YAY full time employment as a HCA starts tomorrow, it's going to be a really early start... and i'm not looking forward to the long hours, especially when winter is just around the corner. Thankfully according to the ward sister, i'll only be doing day shifts this month just so i can get use to the running of the ward and all the procedures involved, but although its termed the day shift..the hours are pretty long, with 7.45am starts and 20.15pm finishes, with only an hours break for lunch. As i live approximately 50 minutes away from the hospital.. i'm not looking forward to the commute to work during the winter months!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Where to apply? - and work pay rant!

One week on from my previous post, i am still having trouble in deciding where to apply; but thankfully i have finally finished my personal statement and am on the final stages of tweaking, reading and re-reading it.

However, i found out today that i will be earning 12k a year working full time (37.5 hours/wk) as a HCA this year, and although its going to be a good experience, working only for 6 months, its hardly going to be enough to fund my travels + planned debt repayments next year, let alone a few years of my medical course, as originally hoped for.

To be honest, i was rather unhappy to see how much the pay differed from what was first advertised (if i remember correctly i saw something in the region on 19k/year!), and as a graduate i could be applying for slightly better paid jobs. I know its going to be a good experience, and although i'm complaining now, im pretty sure i will stick with it; i'm just unhappy that the job has bought with it a whole level of complication in terms of how i will make enough money, so i can do a spot of travelling next year, and won't have to be so reliant on my parents once at medical school.

- perhaps even more part time work will be the way to go!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Almost ready for UCAS 2009

So, application deadline is finally approaching, but rather than feeling quite excited, i'm actually feeling quite unprepared; not solely because i remain undecided as to where i want to apply, but most probably because i'm on my 13th draft of my personal statement, and its still quite considerably over the 4000 character limit!

If i had to think of something to represent my personal statement, i would probably choose my attic. As they have both become overly cluttered over the years, and are full to the brim with things i ought to have gotten rid off ages ago, but havn't done so as i am unsure of its significance, as it may come in handy again in the future. Its probably pre-mature granny syndrome kicking in, but i like to keep things -- just in case !

I was finally informed about the ward i will be working on this year, and probably shouldn't mention any specifics here, other than i'm quite excited, and look forward to getting off my bum and doing something productive!

....but until then, its the annual pre-uni party tonight at my friend's house, and though its pretty good every year, its just not going to be the same, as unlike most of the people attending, i won't be stuck in a lecture theatre next monday (though i sort of wish i was...).

Friday, 29 August 2008

August update - GSS and HCA job success ^.^

I finally received some good news in the form of an offer for the HCA job, and success with my GSS application - which guarantees an interview at KCL for 2009 entry, so long as i get my ucas form sent before 15th October (now only 3 more medical schools to decide on!).

In terms of the HCA job, i won't get to find out what sort of ward i'll be working in yet until september 1st; though to be honest, i don't really mind, as im sure the experience will be invaluable regardless to the ward speciality.

- my main concern at the moment however, is how i will go about declining my MRes offer at IC. I stupidly accepted the offer back in june, thinking i wanted to do the MRes in my gap year whilst i apply for medicine again, but now i feel that my year will be better spent gaining more work experience, and getting to learn more about working for the NHS. I shall call them tomorrow and hope for the best.


UCAS 2009 cycle is just about to start, though i think i won't be sending my application form off anytime soon. I do hope to send it in slightly earlier, but im having a lot of trouble choosing between the medical schools i want to apply to, and also i'm not too keen on my personal statement.. i think i should spend a few more days/weeks fixing it up.

I will definately be applying to KCL now, and i'm pretty sure i'll be applying to BL too, so theres 2 unis left to decide on between BSMS/Leicester/Leeds/UCL/Warwick.

UCL would be a nice option, i like the location, and enjoyed their open day; BUT applying to 3 london unis could be stretching my luck, and the BMAT is also quite a hurdle! - Its a hard choice between unis i want to go to, and unis i think i will get into.

Álthough i think i'll enjoy my gap year, having already done a 3 year degree, i don't really want to delay starting a medical degree any more, and just hope i'll have a bit more luck this year round.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Gap Year Plans - HCA interview

An unsuccesful round of medical school applications this year has left me no where closer to becoming a doctor (other than finishing my biochemistry degree), and in addition to that.. i now have to plan my unintentional gap year !!

I've never had the urge to take a gap year before, and admitedly i would rather be off to medical school this september; but seeing as i have no choice, i'm hoping to occupy myself with something challenging, productive, and of course fun!!

Current gap year plans include:
  • working as an HCA (possibly for 6 months)
  • teaching English abroad (Hopefully either in Asia or South America)
  • learning a foreign language
  • a spot of travelling + volunteering!

HCA interview

Since my last post, i've applied and had an interview for work as a HCA, and am now nervously waiting for a reply.

The assesment centre was pretty basic, and involved a 20 minute test on Maths and English. i finished the test in approximately 5 minutes, and spent the remaining 15 minutes observing the woman infront of me cheat. It was rather obvious, and i'm sure the recruitment lady was quite aware of this, but yet she allowed the woman to carry on copying out passages from her notebook to her test paper.

It wasn't a particularly taxing test.. in fact one of the questions simply asked "how many milimetres are there in a litre" and the rest were basic arithmetic. The english section involved writing a paragraph "in no more than 50 words" as to why i wanted to work there; so all in all the assesment centre gave no indications as to what the job involved.. but instead sort of put me off a little, as the job doesn't seem to be very stimulating.

However, as soon as i walked into the hospital for my interview, all my doubts were lifted, and i really hope i get the job now. The interview which was conducted by two nurses taking turns to ask questions, was actually really quite fun, and felt more like a friendly chat; but i couldn't help but notice that one of the nurses was wearing blue socks with coconut written across in silver, and the other nurse was wearing crocs...!!

I'm not too sure if i'll get the job, but it was a nice experience, and will prepare me for the next interview if i am unsuccesful this time.


I've decided to also work as a tutor in my spare time, and have a meeting and lesson with my first tutee in 2 weeks time. I'm quite nervous, as i'm not sure what she wants me to go over, and i'm also quite rusty with my gcse sciences... but i guess this will kick start my revision for the BMAT exam!

Monday, 4 August 2008

UKCAT 2008 -> where to apply?

Ok, so after my UKCAT test today (2nd time i've taken the damn exam!), the UKCAT still remains a horrible experience, with unpredictable outcomes!

VR - 620
QR - 740
AR - 640
DA - 650

average: 662.5

Although i've made an improvement on my score from last year, on a whole i am quite dissapointed with my 662.5 average. I was hoping i could be in the low 700's so i could have a fair shot at GEPs this year, but with my UKCAT score this year, i'm pretty lost as to where i should apply, and whether i should risk it and apply for a few GEPs - i previously had my eye on Barts, IC, KCL and Warwick GEPs, but im not sure if i should apply to any of these anymore.

I guess, the results of my GSS application would ultimately decide whether i apply for KCL 4year or not to KCL at all, but in terms of the others..well i guess i will just have to look into their selection process over the summer.

In terms of 5 year courses, i think i will definately apply to Barts (the atmosphere there is really unique - in a good way!).. but i think they must be pretty fed up with me by now. Back in 2005, i had a medicine offer from them at A-level, but missed my grades; i applied again last year during my BSc, had an interview and messed that up too....(i was really nervous that day!) all in all this will be my 3rd time applying to them !!!

i might also apply for BSMS again this year, its a silly reason, but staying in - or near London shouldn't be a big factor in deciding where i want to apply..but.. in reality.. it really is.

My friend had previously asked me what was more important to me... to study medicine or to stay in london?? - and whilst i really do want to study medicine, it did make me think. I'm sure if it came to that, i would choose medicine..but why can't i have both.. (ok i know about the competition), but it would be quite ideal if i could.... so that leads to my other question...

should i sit the gamsat for SGUL or even the BMAT for UCL - or just apply to a uni outside of London?

i know i really shouldn't be saying this, but if i had a lower score i would instantly settle for applying for 5 year courses, if i had a higher score i would apply for GEPs, but with a score thats neither really good or really bad, i don't really know what to apply for!

(note to self: i really ought to stop moaning so much!)

Anyways, if anyone does type in "UKCAT free practice questions" or something along those linews into google and get sent onto here (i noticed from my stats widget that people have been typing these into search engines and unluckily ended up here.. along with random questions in the past related to soya milk and cancer...) here are a few links i found really helpful in terms of UKCAT practice:


Sunday, 3 August 2008

Pubmed - Accidental condom inhalation

Throughout my BSc degree, when it came to writing essays, revising a certain topic, or doing research for a poster presentation; Pubmed was generally the first place to look for journals and related information! (Of course there are other sites, such as Sciencedirect, which i quite liked)

I don't usually post twice in a day, but when clicking on a link stolen from a friend, whos still completing the extramural year in industry, and was obviously rather bored.... i was rather amused and amazed as to how he managed to find this paper on Pubmed (!!)... which was published in The Indian Journal of Chest Diseases & Allied Sciences ...

Arya et al. (2004), Accidental condom inhalation, Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci, 46(1):55-8

"A 27-year-old lady presented with persistent cough, sputum and fever for the preceding six months. Inspite of trials with antibiotics and anti-tuberculosis treatment for the preceeding four months, her symptoms did not improve. A subsequent chest radiograph showed non-homogeneous collapse-consolidation of right upper lobe. Videobronchoscopy revealed an inverted bag like structure in right upper lobe bronchus and rigid bronchoscopic removal with biopsy forceps confirmed the presence of a condom. Detailed retrospective history also confirmed accidental inhalation of the condom during fellatio."

UKCAT tomorrow (T.T) + HCA interview

Its not been too long since my last post, but i have the UKCAT tomorrow, and following the trends of my blog, it ultimately means i have come here and moan!

I'm taking the exam at quite a central location in London, so a major concern would be having to fight my way through the traffic, and put my fate in the hands of the public transport..and of course worrying about the actual exam!

So hopefully, after my UKCAT, i will have some idea of where i will want to apply to this year and whether i will have to sit the bmat and/or gamsat this year too... i'll just leave the thinking for tomorrow!

Oh and of course..its already August, so hopefully i'll hear from my GSS application sometime soon.. i wouldn't recommend anyone to apply for an undergrad. at KCL just to have a shot at the internal selection screening for medicine..but for those who un/luckily ended up doing an undergrad here, it only takes 10 minutes to fill the form in for an extra chance!

Anyways, on a nicer and less exam and application orientated note, i have 2 job interviews this coming week, which is a nice change from the last post. 1 for a HCA job, and the other is rather unrelated so i won't bother mentioning it here.

I'm happy with an interview for the HCA job and am even really looking forward to the maths and english test they are making me sit, though im not sure how likely they will be offering the job; as i phoned them up previously and asked on the liklyhood of making it a weekend job, and it didn't sound too promising, though they told me to apply anyways and ask about it at the interview, so lets hope they need some extra weekend help (fingers crossed)!! If not, i guess i will have to then hope my application for working as a care assistant at the elderly care home will be succesful.

Random: Does anyone actually understand the Oasis cactus man advert?!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


It's already the last week of July, and although i've applied to quite a number of jobs, i remain unemployed; who said getting a degree would open up doors into the work place eh?

Not only that, but i question myself as to which box i should be ticking in future application forms.. as i am clearly no longer a student, but nor do i feel comfortable calling myself a biochemist working in the field of science (as i clearly am not), and in the face of reality i am just an unemployed graduate with no job and no secure future plans, other than wishing to apply for medical school once again (a box for this does not normally exist).

Being bored at home with little money to spend, i've resorted to being in charge of cleaning the house and i guess this makes the day go by slightly quicker, the simpsons at 6pm, and watching people arguing over silly matters on big brother at 9/10pm often helps a little too. Though i really ought to be revising or at least practising for my UKCAT exam which is coming up on monday.

I know i moan a lot about the UKCAT, but i really do hate the amount of importance placed on it, perhaps i am bias because i don't think i am suited to doing well in those tests, and particularly not the AR section which for me is perhaps the hardest section. Well i only have 6 days left to do the ukcat and find out what sort of score i'll be bringing forward with my application to medical school this October; and if indeed it does go badly, then i will have to do the even more dreaded Gamsat this September.


A bit random, but i've recently added a statistics widget to my blogger with an option to display the type of key words people have typed in google to reach my blog, and i find it quite funny or interesting to read the sort of things people have typed and ended up on my blog:

"Could i drink a lot of soya in 1 day"

i guess i can see how google may have associated that to my blog, but i don't think my blog has been very useful to the person typing that question into google.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

UKCAT 2008

i have reluctantly made a booking to sit the UKCAT on august 4th... !

i hate how much importance is placed on the UKCAT.....

its not even that much of a fair test, as everyone gets given different questions..(!) and i really can't understand how the £60 a go price can be justified - especially as they knocked out 2 of the 5 sections last year..and all they have set up is a computer, a dodgy mouse, a giant calculator (one of those i had in year 3), and a print out of the score sheet at the end of it....

..... and throughout the entire experience, the centre staff are just sitting down with a mug of tea and a biccie.

Although i didn't really excel in the BMAT test last year either, but i still think the BMAT is far fairer test of academic capabilities in comparrison to the UKCAT..which is just silly!

Ok... even with all the moaning.. i will still have to sit this test, and have to start reading through the UKCAT book again this year... and just have everything crossed i don't end up with a low score!

but in terms of good purchases.... I'm sold... epMotion is the way to go!!

official site:

A friend of mine whos currently doing the extramural year at novartis decided to send me this clip.. which had obviously been sent round...

OK..i'm quite sad for liking it, but i thought it was quite funny.. !!
... and with the prospects of 3 research projects which needs doing next year.. i'm going to make sure i find a lab with epMotion!

But on a serious note..

im not really sure if i should do the MRes or to just find a job for the year.. preferably something health related so i can boost my medical school application prospects next year...and of course earning an income would be good too!

Its quite a hard choice.. on one hand doing the MRes at IC will give me more ticks in the academic box, and i quite like doing research so i think i'll enjoy the year.. but on the other hand, with a degree in hand i already tick the academic perhaps gaining more hands on work as an HCA might be better.. ......anyone with any advice ??

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Tofu BSc (Hons) ^.^

Had a quick lunch ... ok it wasn't much of a lunch... a plate of chicken wings and nachos between 5 and the rest of the lunch was really just alcohol to numb the fear of results day!

In fact, the few drinks took longer than had expected, and by the time we got to the Franklin Wilkins building, the exam results had already been released, and there were groups of people outside the building either bearing a smile or a frown..
.................this sort of made it even worse for me, as people already knew their results, whilst i was still trying to hike up the flight of stairs to the academic centre (i do wonder how long it's going to take for me to complete the race for life: 5km run i signed up for... as i am extremely unfit, and my lungs scream at the thought of running after the bus..let alone 5km!).

I was pleasently surprised with my results for bioinformatics (this was for me one of the hardest courses ive taken at kcl in terms of having to learn a lot in a short space of time, and applying it!), cancer (i seriously thought i had messed up the 2nd essay question), and protein (i thought i had messed up the 3rd essay question in section B).

I was then not so pleasently surprised by my mark for my dissertation (i thought, well more like i seriously wanted a first for it, but ended up at 1% short of the mark..grrrr)

..and well finally... aging, and free radicals in human disease were.. well expectedly bad! Akk im just happy i managed to survive the dreaded free rad module!

So yay, i passed my degree, and with First class honours, which brought a huge smile to my face, and pretty much stayed there even in my sleep!! Couldn't quite believe my luck... an overall 'i-score' of 69.42 average, and the viva to give me the extra 0.58 marks i needed! ... all i have to say is... thank god kcl uses an "i-score" system !!

The rest of the day was just spent at Guy's campus where a small reception party was held, and my friends made use of the free drinks available, and i said good bye to a few lecturers and proffessors... and unlike the typical drinking frenzy you see in films or on tv... my celebrations with friends was just a nice hearty meal at a japanese restraunt and a drink in a cafe to end the evening.

Now, with a degree in hand.... what next (whilst re-applying for the 3rd time to medical school this october >.<).........
to work as an hca?
to get a graduate job?
to go ahead and do the MRes?
to travel?

hmm well before i plan what i get up to next year... i better book a time and place to sit the UKCAT, and start reading that dreaded book again... i really hated the abstract section last year, and was so glad it got scapped; but to my dismay..its back again AKKkkkkkkkkk!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

1 day away!

Had to settle for a nice lunch with a friend, as our plans to go to the kcl shop and get hold of the kcl monopoly board was a failure today, as we arrived at 2.05pm, and the shop had closed at 2pm!! Akkk! Though after lunch we managed to finished the day off by wondering off to the science museum and the natural history museum at south kensington.

The science museum did seem a lot better when i was younger..whether its because ive grown old now, or just its less intersting now, with the less funding they get these days.. im not sure.

The natural history museum on the other hand was actually quite good, and i really enjoyed strolling through their different themed rooms, and taking random photos with my friend; unsure if its just a girl's thing, but i particulary like the room with the different stones and crystals on display! ^.^

back onto the 1 day left until results topic... although i always like to mention how quickly 3 years have seem, but it really has seem as if the past 3 years have just flown past in a blink of an eye, and from tomorrow onwards i can call myself a graduate!

Results can go either way, and not much i can do about it now, other than to wait and see.. and of course to go in a collect them.. !

MSc/MRes applications have been slightly better than my medical school applications this year, and have an unconditional offer for the MSc course at kcl, which sorts of put my heart at rest, as in the worst circumstances i still have something to do next year..but with the fees set at almost 5k... im not sure if its really a plausable option! I have a MSc interview next month at ucl, which should be intersting.. as after having a chit chat with my friends.. im not really too sure whether i would like to do the course at ic or the one at ucl.. i guess the important factor here is cost, and really if it would increase my employability for the years to follow, as i keep trying to get into medicine.

Summer plans..well are just to relax at the moment, but am looking to apply for some voluntary work, not only for the summer, but hopefully something long term i can keep doing next year, and keep myself busy at am currently looking at either hospitals or elderly care homes in my local area, or perhaps one near my uni next year.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Viva was a bum!

Doesn't really matter what the border was... the chances are i havn't passed it.. as it went terribly badly..!! so its just a matter of waiting now ..only 7 days left and 19 hours~!!!

The viva voce really isn't something i could have revised for, and i sort of regret not going out to dinner with friends on the sunday night now, as the questions asked in the viva were just mind boggling... whilst my friend who also had a viva today had a nice easy question about alpha helices and beta sheets.. i had some guy drawing a squiggle on a piece of paper ...and telling me to pretend it was a protein, and then questions came firing in all directions, and well... it really wasn't pretty!

just as i got away from talking about antibodies, we were onto PI3 face lit up.. i was so enthusiastic.. but only for one minute or the stop clock had finish running and my time was up...akkk... why couldnt the examiner have skipped the whole crap about antibodies and jsut asked me about PI3 kinase.. i wouldn't have minded spending the whole damn time talking about that... just not his stupid questions for some of which ive never even heard of!

the thought of poly and monoclonal antibodies, how they make flourescent secondary antibodies, and continous and discontinous epitopes will now haunt me for as long as my memory still functions!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

which degree classification?

At least when we get lost, we can grab a map or look for road signs, for which the council, county and even country borders are clearly marked and visible to all those approaching..

...yet ..having received a phone call this morning, and notified of my borderline viva voce this coming tuesday, i don't even have a clue as to where i may be standing on the scale of things..!

With the borderline vivas dished out to students with either 39.5/49.5/59.5 or 69.5 ... i can take a shot and guess i should be on the 2.2/2.1 borderline with the 59.5 average.... yet i really do hope that perhaps a miracle occured during the summer examinations and i could have a shot at getting a 1st, and be sitting on 69.5 ... so its either a great chance to get a 1st..or a desperate attempt to clutch onto my chances of getting a 2.1, and hopefully applying for medical school next year..

the prospects of not getting a 2.1 is rather scary, especially with my offer confirmed and accepted for my MRes course next year, not getting a 2.1 now, could potentially mean that i will have nothing to do next year, and a frantic rush to apply for health related jobs, and perhaps the need to sit the gamsat.

Ahhh...either way, the viva voce will be my final opportunity to go up a grade ... so regardless to which borderline i may be sitting on.. im going to have to give it a shot!

(bearing in mind.. on 20% of the year get a viva, and only 2% passing and getting the higher class... goes to show that i am extremely unlucky >.< !!!!!!!)

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Post-exam relaxation

So exams are over, and its just a matter of relaxing for the next remaining 3 days until borderline viva period which runs between the 20th-25th of june, with the 18th being the first day people get notified of vivas.. so its going to be an uncomfortable week with everything crossed that i don't get viva-d, followed by silence until july the 2nd... in 17 days time!

On a happier note, my offer from IC has finally updated on their self service tracker website, and although i have not heard back from ucl or kcl yet, i have already accepted the IC offer, as i trully think its what i would like to do; even if i was lucky enough to be given offers from the other courses at the other institutions, i think i will still choose biochemical research. On a "not so happy" note, the accomodation offered for post-graduate students are either a complete rip-off.. with rooms up to 220pounds+ a week at least 4 stations from the SK campus... or... less than a 100 pound a week..but all the way in zone 3, and situated next to a cemetry with most rooms facing it.. and approximately 15 minutes bus journey from a supermarket... so i may just stay put where i am.. and live with sharing my room next year... hai...

Summer thus far has been a bit boring... i sort of wish i had something to do.. and i should really ought to sort out a summer job of some sort..but my attempt today was put off when i saw the traffic today.. so i just went to tescos to do some grocery shopping.

I took my dog for a nice walk today to kenwood, and he had a nice 30 minute swim playing with the other dogs..and even when most of the dogs had left ..he was reluctant to come out of the water.. and decided to stay in it for a lot longer.. so i just sat and watched him swim around.. he finally got bored and i managed to get him home, give him a shower, and have a sit down with a nice relaxing drink...of pimms and lemonade! one of my favourite summer classics!

I was surprised to find the canned version and couldn't help but to buy 2 cans and give it a try.. i chopped up some orange, cucumber and apples.. and struggling to find a glass large enough to fit my generous amount of fruit.. i ended up having to serve it in a oh so unsophisticated south park plastic mug, one of those old school mugs with a middle layer filled with water, so when u place the mug in the freezer, it freezes and keeps your drink cold...

......... though my second attempt using a nice tall glass did make it look a lot nicer!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Summer Plans

Well exams are now officially over, and just a horrible wait until july 2nd - 3pm!
But until then... its plenty of forms to fill in and a look around for something interesting to do over the summer!

KCL Graduate Screening Scheme for 2009 entry is up and running again.. so have downloaded the application form and have partially filled it in.. on a whole i don't really make an impressive applicant..but there is no cost in trying..and at most.. i only lose a few minutes for filling in the form.

Unsure with what i want to do next year .. although i have the offer for the MRes in Biochemical Research next year.. im not too sure if i really want to do it.. it is really interesting..and i really enjoy lab work... but im not sure if i would prefer a more laid back lecture based masters in neuroscience instead... so just to see what my other options are.. i finally managed to persuade my referees to take their words to action and actually write them references for me!

Gathered my references from my 2 referees and have my ucl and kcl applications for MSc neuroscience sent in today as i walked to the post office.. so its going to a worrying wait its very late in the application cycle.. and i only have myself to blame for not chasing my referees earlier!!

Summer will just be a laid back relaxing one, hopefully will fit in some paid summe work, the ukcat test, preparation for bmat, and just personal statement writing for UCAS application 2009.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Last exam

Viva voce examination on monday..yet... i really can't be bothered to prepare properly for it ...
i guess its going to be a big rush tomorrow afternoon again!


so after a few calls to friends who have been un/lucky enough to have an early viva date...its seems like its going to be quite a mix bag of questions which get fired at the extended research project viva voce.. and it just really depends on your luck with the supervisors you get given... so again..its going to be a matter of luck on the sort of question which get asked.....

Friend A had a nice chat with her supervisor and her lab post-doc about the project and her future plans..
..whilst Friend B of mine had to guess the substrate to the enzyme her supervisor had drawn on the board, and to then back it up by drawing the nucleophilic attack mechanism for which the enzyme carries out its function... 2 very different viva experiences (!!).. though they do have something in common... they are both going on holiday this week! (i can only dream about being in the sun somewhere far away at the moment..... BUT no... ive been ordered by my mum to walk the dog ....and i guess thats the furthest i get to be away from home until the viva is over and done with..or in fact until results are over and done with!)

updated again:

ok..i wasn't that bad! exams are now officially over ~ ! and the email has gone round confirming july 2nd as the official results day! so thats exactly 1 month away!

Friday, 30 May 2008

End of what next?

What should i do next year if i don't get a MSc/MRes place.....
this question has been repeating itself in my head ever since my last exam.. its almost sad thinking how i didn't manage to get an offer for medicine.. as it would be rather nice to start that in october this year..rather than being rather lost being an unemployed graduate with no job.. some debt and a lot of spare time.. and of course.. parents asking me what i'll be doing with my life.

MSc/MRes side of things are going slow, i finally managed to have my applications sent off... but being a pain ... one of my referees have still NOT sent in my my applications for neuroscience msc at ucl and kcl are still on hold... which is qutie worrying ..seeing that its really really really LATE in the application .. i've made a meeting with him on tuesday..hopefully i'll be able to rush him... politely. The programme supervisor at ic has sent an unofficial email saying that they'll like to make me an offer..and that they will email me later during the im rather lost.. as they have not mentioned the conditional requirements.. (i really hope the offer is a 2.1 .. i honestly don't think i can even get a 1.1 anymore)...and well.. its sort of an offer..and sort of i really have no idea what the conditions are... so again..its just going to be waiting for some update from them.... later this officially i am still clueless as to what i may be doing next year!

well.. i'm just glad that EXAMS ARE OVER!!!!!!
..but i went into a bit of a rut to update, with the fears of not being able to achieve a 2.1 hanging on my shoulders, its going to be a difficult month until results day come july 2nd!!!

Annoying thing is that they're going to have the results for each candidate printed out on a giant A2-A1 sized piece of paper and have it pinned onto the message board of the academic centre at the franklin wilkens building....and it wouldn't be too bad if they did it by candidate or even student number..but no.... being the annoying people that they are..they'll be printing each candidates final grade next to their name.... so yes.. great for those who have done well.. and just really embaressing for those who have not done as well as they have hoped....... so i really don't see the point of printing it and pinning it up in the main corridor..
...well having said that... im sure i'll be one of the earliest people there waiting for them to have the results released... im just not a very patient person.

So... Free radicals was the last exam.... like most of the other papers.. i think ive done really well in 2 of the essays, and really not too great on the last.. it seems to be an unhealthy trend in my exams. I managed to answer a question on parkinson's disease, and chucked in a few references in there, and answered a question on the Q-cycle... and the last essay..well i sort of wrote a bit around the topic of NADPH oxidase and its effects in the progression of CVDs.... so yes i just blagged on about atherosclerosis.. hopefully i didn't go too off with it.

Well theoretically Free Rads was my last written exam.. but i still have a presentation to do for monday.. slightly worried.. as its suppose to be a viva voce worth 15% of 3 units, and im not really sure what i should be expecting. My friend had hers on wednesday ..and her supervisor literally stood up and drew a molecule on the board and asked her to guess the substrate........ hopefully my supervisor would be slightly nicer and just stick with questions on my dissertation.. (as they are supposed to!).

Sunday, 18 May 2008

one more to go!

" Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. "

-> An interesting quote which caught my eye as i skimmed the free rad text book in order to find some descriptions to match these diagrams my lecturers have decided to include but provide very little information on. The free rad course is perhaps the hardest course ive taken at kcl within the last 3 years, and i have to admit.. i am not very confident for the exam coming up this thursday either! ...but on a happier note.. it will be my last written exam at kcl.. and just the nasty viva for my research project to go... for which my supervisor has yet to get back to me on the date.... hopefully it won't be early june.. although i get more time to prepare.. i rather have the exams out of sight and out of mind..

Having had a mediocre exam experience so far this year, im sort of half hoping i will even graduate with a 2.1 now.. as the exams have been less than ideal.

Biology of ageing.. well that was a bit nightmarish.. the lecturer was very nice, and the questions weren't too bad.. but after the exam i had a sit and think.... and now im worried i didn't answer the question..but went around it.. (i answered the question on diabetes mellitus type 2, and skeletal muscle and bone) im not that hopeful on doing well for aging now, and sort of hope i did enough to at least get a 2.2 ... the worst thing this year would be to average a 2.2 and pull my 2 years of consequetive 2.1s to an overall final 2.2 grade! >.< ... ok well then i just have more pressure on the upcoming exam now... !! Arhhh i hate free rad!!

Protein structure and design on the other hand was really nice to start, i zoomed through section A, not doing exceptionally well, but i think enough to get a fair bit of the marks in section A, i then had to make the annoying decision of choosing 3 essays, at least one from section b, and one from section c....

well to my dismay.. i could answer all 3 questions in section A... but struggled to choose which one of the 3 essays in section c i should attempt to answer with the little knowledge i had on the design aspects of the course. The first two questions in section A was really good "mark clenchers" one was to describe the GroEL/GroES structure, mechanism and role...which was very nice.. especially since its been featured in the protein-related module every year since year 1... so i would have to have had a big memory blank to forget it...
and the second question i answered in section A, was in regards to experiments which have been conducted in vivo, in the absence of molecular chaperones, and what they have shown, and then something along the lines of describing amyloid fibres and what we know about them...
well this was marks give away number 2.. as the essay question..basically described the lecture slide on Anfinsen's Dogma, and for once im glad i spent my time during revision reading online blogs.. as i first came across Anfinsen's Dogma through reading a blog by a Canadian biochemistry lecturer, who happended to write a post on it! Ok.. and the 3rd essay..well that was just wrong.... it went very badly.. and i hope it doesn't pull my grade down too much, as i was hoping protein was going to pull my marks slightly higher ... well will just have to wait and see now!

Ok.. so last exam to go.. and then.. some proper sleep!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Regret taking Cancer!

Cancer wouldn't be considered my worst exam at kcl, that would have to be first year physiology in which i got a tragic 43%!! (ok lets hope this doesn't jinx things.. a 42% in cancer would not be the nicest of things to a 3rd year student!), but it was no where even close to being a "good one". I went in half confident, and when i sat down and turned the "do not turn over until instructed to do so" page, and my confidence went on a rollercoaster ride... from seeing my favourite growth factor signalling pathway: the TGF-beta signalling, the lecture for which ive been mulling 2 days over last week as the second essay question... and then my confidence stooped to an all time low as i sat deciding which of the remaining horrible essay titles i should choose to babble on about... i chose the p53 pathway.

Had i spent a lot of time on it, the p53 pathway is not difficult, in fact now thinking back on it, the pathway is very clear in my head, theres the whole situation with p21 transcription and g1 arrest, and then theres expression of Bax, Bad, Bak and Bid which are pro-apototic.. i even remeber the whole "Lane et al., Nature, 1992" reference i was going to chuck in.... oh and some things on li-fraumeni syndrome........... why wasn't it so clear cut when i was sitting in the exam room ... i went on to make a mess of my p53 essay and mentioned pretty inaccurate things, such as p53 being 105kd (DOH! the 53 in p53 should have given the kDa away)..yet in the whole panic-y situation i managed to chuck in facts on Rb.... so yes...

i feel one essay went very well...the other went er... not so well ... so lets just wait and see how things go... in a way i sort of regret taking cancer now, as the alternative option would have been a buisness module with 50% coursework, and my friend whos taking it reckons she only needs 1 day to revise a few case studies and good sleep in order to babble on.... so yes... i wish i picked the latter option!

Biology of ageing exam on tuesday and protein on thursday... both of which are a bit worrying, though protein is perhaps a bit higher in terms of fear factor!

Biology of ageing is a bit of a weird one, the course is incredibly easy..but covers ageing from DNA to Bones, to how bad teeth may lead to a bad immune ( well ok its more the nutritional side of things) and a bit about how if u were underweight at birth you are doomed (ok .. not doomed just more likely) to develop a load of diseases!

Though im not sure on my exact percentage, i know i have at least 70% in the coursework already, which is a mediocre 14/20 ... so not really all that useful in terms of working out what i need to get a first.. as well if i only managed to get 70% in the coursework.. i still need to get 70% in the exam.... ~.~

Protein is slightly better, i have 27.5/30 % which is definatly a lot better that for my other courses...but then again protein is a lot harder than ageing.. (not as hard as free radical module though!)...but it means i need to achieve 63% in the exam to get a first... which is ok ...if i manage to remember everything... and there is a LOT to remember for again im not too confident on this one (actually im not confident on any of these!). The best scenario would be to get a highish mark in protein exam and hopefully that would balance out the astrocity that was my attempt at doing well in cancer...

Anyways..before my dream of even getting a 2.1 (i decided a first is just too getting 70% right now in every module has been made impossible with cancer...sigh.. and i have signed up for the race for life in order to raise money for cancer research uk on july the 19th... so i will be horrible reminded of this at least until the end of summer!) is abolished i ought to revise and make the most of what (little) time i have remaining.....

Monday, 5 May 2008


Just a quick update so i can read back on this and weep once exams are over and realise how little revision or preparation i have done.

First exam... thursday.. Biology of Cancer.. im bringing 17.9% (out of 20%) coursework mark forward to the exam, so i need to obtain 50% to secure a high 2.1 .. .but 50/80 is not easy..

...........especially when i saw "Mothers against decapentaplegic" and thought it sounded like some sort of campaign......before i read on and realised its role in TGF-beta superfamily signalling pathway... but in terms of interesting proteins involved in the signalling pathway.. "frizzled" of the Wnt signalling pathway is by far my favourite.. it always reminds me of bacon.. for no apparent reason other than sounding like sizzled, and that the text book had coloured it pink..

now its cramming for 3 days before i start weeping!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

2008 Application feedback

After my attempt last week to get feedback from the unis i applied to this year...BSMS were the first to reply.

I was really surprised by their email, as it seemed very personal, and described part by part of my application, and the guy writing the feedback even had a look at my reference and refered to it in the email. This is the second time i've applied to bsms.. and i have to admit..for 2 applications running.. bsms has provided the most personal/useful feedback!

They first described the selection process, and then went on to explain that i had a score of 22 from one assessor, and 21 from another.. giving me a final score of 21.5... which to be honest is quite an improvement from my a-level application when they gave me a grand score of 13.5 ......but then the email went on to mention that the cut-off for an interview was 22... which meant i had missed out on the opportunity of having an interview by 0.5 points..... gutted!!

UCL were second to reply with pretty much a "copy and pasted" generic reply, and mentioned i should try to get a higher score in the section 3 of the bmat.. and by the looks of it on the NMM forum..that seems to be their suggestion to every candidate asking for feedback.. well at least they replied!

BARTs and Manchester...well i'm still currently still waiting.. so will see what they say.. i am slightly worried about BARTs though.. as i know for some unis, if an applicant is rejected after interview, the medical school will not consider further applications from the student... (this is true for manchester), and i sure hope this will not be the case for barts, as it is definately a medical school i would like to apply to again next year.. but i will just have to wait till i hear back and see if i am eligible to apply again next year.


Revision is not going so well, and i have yet to hear back from my MRes application, the director of the course sent me an email asking if i will be able to support myself through the course.. i said yes..and he has never got back to me.. so i guess my application is still "being considered by the application panel".

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

UKCAT 2008 key dates update

UKCAT 2008 Key dates

UKCAT registration opens:
1 May 2008

UKCAT testing begins:
07 Jul 2008

Bursary and voucher application deadline:
26 Sept 2008

UKCAT registration deadline:
26 Sept 2008

UKCAT testing deadline:
10 Oct 2008

UCAS application deadline:
15 Oct 2008


ahhhh...the dreaded ukcat returns! now... for an early exam date or a later one... hm....


Revision started well and slowly grounded to a halt as i dossed away the weekend eating too much junk and watching too much tv..

.... though reading back on an old post of mine, from april last year... i realised its not a one-off..and infact this seems to happen this time of year... EVERY YEAR...

Hence, i decided to change my revision tactics, and opt for the same option as last year.. to go into the library and revise at night when the telly is good, thus being at the library i avoid all temptations to watch tv (i will be missing desperate housewives tonight!!!), and sleep during the day. This will definantly ruin my sleep pattern, but hey.. if it gets the work done, then its well worth it.

however...this wouldn't be possible without the presence of the fantastic 24 hour library facilities on every kcl campus! up until uni i never really felt the need to use the library other than to borrow books, and i have to admit.. i was one of them annoying immature teenage kids who used the library as a social club, with revision as a bad excuse to meet in groups at the library to work (a little), and chat (a lot).

I guess having grown up a little bit, being at the library definately sets a different atmosphere with added pressure to be working and, of course being away from temptations such as the television or the computer really helps me to settle down into working mode. Hopefully all the hard work this year will be reflected in my results, but only time will tell.


Monday, 31 March 2008

BB0333 revision

Today protein folding has officially become my favourite protein topic and i bloody well hope it comes up this summer!!

Although i've always done well in protein modules, attaining at least a high 2.1 in protein related modules during both years, its definately one of my least favourite modules, and indeed it sometimes makes me question whether i should have stuck with medical biochemistry which has a great immunology component (and no protein !!)... but then again immunology is very very hard.. and if i ever get into medical school, i know its the topic i'd be dreading most!

Today, after almost 3 years of studying biochemistry, i sat down and had a good chew through protein folding, and i'm starting to appreciate protein structure a lot more. I guess in the past years i literally passed exams by regurgitating a lot of facts and notes (i have a very good short term memory), and then forgetting it after the exams; but i think today i managed to grasp the key concepts of protein folding, and now thinking back, i regret not prioritising "learning" over "remembering facts" during the past 2 years.

though when it comes to looking up answers, i go back to my lazy way of researching online.

whilst having a dig about online for "Anfinsen's Dogma", i found a fun and interesting blog of a biochemistry lecturer i'd like to reccomend:

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Revision Day 1

Lab project was due yesterday, i was quite happy with it ..up until i saw the other projects... some student even found photos of amsterdam to stick on her front cover .. i did ask her why she had decided to stick a photo on her project cover... only to hear her tell me "i thought the photo looked quite nice".. her project was on air pollutants...

if only i knew other people were going to make fancy title pages.. i would have stuck homer simpson and a mouse on the front of mine! well.. ok perhaps just the mouse.. i don't think the examiner would have appreciated my take on "homer 1b/c" protein expression in the brain.

Final Year Revision ~!

The perfect student would have written their notes after each lecture, and have a full set of notes, articles and journals this late into the academic year... but i am not (far from) the perfect student.. in fact if making notes classifies a student...then ..well i've only become a sudent today.

The exam timetable is quite revision friendly this year, theres biology of cancer on the 8th, biology of ageing on the 13th, protein structure and design on the 15th, and a nice week before free radical in health and disease on the 22nd... so theoretically with the time left i have about a week to revise for each module during april, and then have a relax-ish may inbetween exams.. well so i hope!!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

10 days 9 hours and 13 minutes remaining!

Theoretically it's only the 1 day 19 hours and 57 minutes till my last ever lecture at KCL (!!!), and although im quite excited to finish the lectures, im not too pleased with the measly 10 days 9 hours and 13 minutes left until my dissertation is due in.

I do wonder why the biochemistry students have such an early dissertation deadline.. whilst the other biomedical health sciences have until mid-april !!

That said... i am just over half way with my dissertation now, the materials and method section was quite a nice part to write up, as i literally described the experimental procedures...BUT..the introduction was HELL! its only just over 2000 words..but it has taken every last bit of my patience, and my forehead has suffered immensly - thre are 4 visible red bumps where clear skin used to be !

A little off track, i've signed up for the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK, on the 19th of july..which should hopefully give me enough time to get into shape and adequate fitness to face the 5km run. Admittedly 5km is quite a wimpy distance, but im not exactly the fittest of people out there!... and so hopefully i'll find some time in between revision to go for a few jogs in the park.

Not heard from any post-grad applications yet, though at the moment, its on the bottum of my list, where as the long awaited exam timetable is right at the top!

2 days 17 hours 56 minutes until the exam timetable is posted

and just the...

50 days 17 hours and 55 minutes until the start of exam season !

Sunday, 9 March 2008

No more western blotting!!

After the past 3 grueling weeks of early starts and late finishes at the Wolfson CARD, i can finally say after over 100+ western blots... i have finally finished the lab based component of the project, and can sit down and work on the write up..!!

Though... after all the hard work and effort.. i managed to prove my hypothesis doesn't work.. and my experiment showed no difference what-so-ever... so im going to have to spend the next 17days writing up my 10k paper and explain and back-up why it did not work.. ! >.<

The weather picked up a few days ago, so i decided to have a walk along the river after i finished my last experiment.. well it was more a walk to visit someone.. and walking there seemed like a good idea as i had an hour to spare, but a little stroll ended up as a walking tour between the 3 main campuses at kings.

Started my walk at New Hunt's House (Guy's Campus, london bridge), made a quick stop at borough market to pick up a sarnie, then headed off along the river side, past the tate modern, then on to the royal festival hall where i got a peek at the Franklin Wilkins Builing (waterloo campus, waterloo), and finally up and across waterloo bridge where i caught sight of the london eye, big ben and the houses of parliament. At the other end of the bridge was the Strand campus (Strand)..and from then i gave up and jumped onto a bus to get to my destination..

if you are un/lucky enough to come to kcl and so happen to be an international student turning up to the induction day..this will be a walk you'll be taken remember to wear comfortable shoes ^^

sorry the photos are taken with my they are a bit out of focus >.<

Post-grad applications are sent now, so its just going to be a long wait (hopefully not toooo long) before i hear back..

17 days left until dissertation deadline.. and only 9 more days until my final lecture at KCL ..!! Graduation date has also been set for the 23rd-july-2008 ..with the new very snazzy KCL vivienne westwood designed gowns and the new kcl certificates... even though the gown sounds very nice.. i really can't imagine a gown looking any different..and if it did look very different from what gowns traditionally look like.. i may not like it.. even if it is supposidly "designer".... however.. i think i should be worrying about the final exams (less than 60 days away!) as opposed to the design of the gown!!

As for medicine application 2009.. anyone up for taking part in a BMAT revision class in london?? .. i guess its going to be quite unlikely seeing as most people taking it will already be doing 3 sciences at alevel.. whilst i'll be stuck with questions on basic gcse physics!!

Monday, 18 February 2008

A Year in study or a year in Personal statement building?


Had my last rejection after interview from Barts and the London yesterday, and with that came a lost of emotions.. wasn't very sad, just pondered on the question as to what i might get up to next year..

OK being very honest it was my last hope for 2008, and of course i am slightly unhappy that i'm going to have to at least take a year out after uni now before i get anywhere close to becoming a doctor, but the rejection isn't going to put me off applying next year, and on a positive note.. perhaps a break would be nice...

....that said i've already finished completing my application form and going to ask my tutor for a reference and have that form sent out asap for postgraduate studies.

Its silly to think.. but being out of education is something that scares me, because i don't quite know what i want to do with myself.. (i know i sound like a wuss/ a lazy student who doesnt want to face reality etc etc)

should i get a job purely to boost my voluntary work and work experience for next year..but ..what if i get faced with 4 rejections for the 2009 ucas round?

if i do a postgraduate course.. will i just be building up more debt for no reason if i do manage to get into medicine.. then the MRes will be pretty useless.... (well that is if i even get an offer for the Mres now... sigh)...


should i be a complete doss about and take everyones advice and go travelling...? (this is a nice idea.. but i would hate to think i'd be going into more debt or spending my parents money for travelling because i couldn't get into medical school, didn't want to do a postgraduate course, and didn't get a job..)

....hopefully i'll be able to balance it out and have something constructive done next year, i guess things will work out one way or another when the time comes..

Having put my failed 2008 application behind me now, my goal is to graduate with a 1.1 ..this is going to be hard as exams are very close.. but im going to give it everything it takes.. and if i dón't get it..well then im going to look very silly/stupid..but oh wells, i can only try my hardest and be positive.

i wish everyone good luck for those who are still waiting to hear from their 2008 ucas application, and for those with summer exams looming... we can do it !

Will Be Working Hard for UCAS 2009!!!!!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

After a day spent in the computer room having met up for a meeting with Dr C at the Waterloo campus, i decided to pop over to Cyber Candy at Convent Gardens to pick up a few things for my sweet (and caffeine addicted) tooth before i catch the tube home; and i think you can tell which item my dog liked best ^.^!

Its quite a pricey shop, but now and then its nice to have something different from the norm, and its definately going to be a long while before i pay another visit.
quick review of the items:
reese pieces (finished) - too sweet! i am quite a fan of reese's but this was far too sweet... so it only gets a 2/5

Penguin mints (had 3 mints so far) - surprisingly quite nice.. wouldn't expect chocolate mints to be nice.. but they will surprise you..and well the caffeine and low calories are always good too.. though the price is a big no no .. so it gets a 3.5/5

Jones Soda Carbonated Sweets (tried 2 from each packet so far) .. weren't that fizzy..and the taste is only so so .. the cream soda version wasnt very cream soda-ry and the grape one was slightly better .. only gets a 1.5/5
Mountain dew diet (1 can) - well i've had this before, not like its new, its quite a nice treat... gets a 3.5/5

Presentation has been arranged for tuesday...... (>.<) i don't particulary hate the idea of least it will get me working.. but i would just prefer it if i didn't have to do it! (i don't is not assessed...but my project supervisor wants to know how my results are going and what sort of research ive done around the topic... i wish he could just come into the lab and took a look or have just asked me instead!).

I was clearing out the cold room on friday as we were running out of petri dishes, and i had to grab my samples out anyways (they have been sitting in primary antibody overnight).. and i came across the MSc student's plates.... i was instructed to clean them out as she hasn't turned up to the lab for the last 2 weeks ...

Red goey crap was growing in two of the boxes, the milk in 3 of them had turned to the colour of mountain dew (which im drinking now), and 1 looked fine.. though taking no chances i chucked the contents into the waste bag and gave everything a good soak in a combo of hot water, bleach and fairy liquid!!

Though not the keen neuroscientist i looked on in interest whilst my lab supervisor was teaching the phD student how to disect a rat on the opposite side of my work bench. With a few props and a scalpel, the rat was clamped down with two bits poking up its nostrils, and the skull was opened with the brain in clear view. It was indeed very intersting.. though it left me questioning myself whether i would be able to do something like that if i ever had to face a similar project in the future... yet alone a part of the human body if i ever get to enter medical school.

Bioinformatics coursework is going slowly, i keep reminding myself how i should have chosen a different module, but realistically im glad i don't have to revise for another exam in the summer.

I have set myself the target to get atleast half of it done tonight so i can go out for lunch with friends tomorrow.... i am still on the first page..whilst my friend has already finished... with 34 pages.... i should feel shame.. but i feel sleepy more than anything!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Sad eventful january~ application update

Just last year i was moaning for some news, and january has not been dissapointing..or.. in some sense it has been extremely dissapointing.. !

2/1 - Manchester rejection
14/1 - Bart invite to interview
21/1 - UCL rejection
23/1 - Bart's interview
29/1 - BSMS rejection

thats some news from all my unis almost every week of january..
well at least on the bright side of things i have what i asked for, some replies.

Just waiting for the outcome of the Bart's interview now, and my confidence has hit rock bottum.. though on the other hand i am sort of excited in planning a hopefully well spent gap year/work/msc application for next year and making myself a stronger applicant for next year.

Monday, 28 January 2008


Less than 100 (in fact its 98 as of today) days left until final year exam season looms over... !!! But before i can even start connecting nose to book, i have 2 pieces of annoying coursework and my dissertation to deal with first... !!

Annoyingly my lab supervisor wants me to do a presentation to the other people in the lab in regards to my project.. this certainly will result in:

1) embaressing myself with my little knowledge infront of the phD and post-docs who have been doing the same thing for at least the last 3 years..and don't really need me to show them what they taught me how to do a few months ago..

2) wasting time i can spend put into my essays or disseration.. or even writing notes!

so i dont really want to do the presentation and neither does the intercalating medic nor the neuroscience bsc undergrad (..its not assessed.. and we all believe my supervisor just wants to see what we've been up to, as he has just left us with the post-docs)

Progressing slowly but surely with the research almost have 2 proteins finished now (Vglut1 and Synaptohpysin)...though i am more jealous than anything...
whilst i am stuck doing western blots everyday..the intercalted medical student in my lab gets to kill rats and mess around with their brains spewed all over the lab bench ..whilst i look on with my flimsy gel stuck to an electric pack.. oh and some milk spinning on a labstir.

Have still not heard from Barts yet..which means i did not perform that well, so its fingers and toes crossed for now, and hope to hear something from BSMS soon too, from the NMM forum, seems like quite a few people have heard from BSMS now... so i hope i'll be one of them (even if its a least i know!) !!

Received an email from uni in regards to application for a FREE trip to study in CHINA this easter for all English/Scottish university or higher education students (search DUI chinese easter 2008 --> click on manchester link) .. sounds amazing!! if only i was in the first/second year i would leap at the opportunity to spend 3 weeks abroad to explore china, learn some mandarin, dip into another culture and try some proper chinese food (i am a fake chinese.. i spend my time eating tuna and sweetcorn sandwiches than anything chinese)!
anyone intersted i am happy to share the link/email!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Post Interview Thoughts

i started the day waking up with a bit of a shock as i thought it was already 1pm.... so with that i jumped out of bed into the bathroom, brushed my teeth, rushed back into my room to find it only being 10am.. so i proceeded to slomp myself in front of my laptop and sat there browsing the internet in my pyjamas for the next few hours...

Had a look through on different news websites and had a good read up on possible nhs topics..which without a doubt came up! Did a fair bit of research on why barts (yep that came up too), on what sort of diseases are prevelant in the east end (yep that too!) and forgot to plan the question of all questions: .... Why medicine?

A bit silly to go to a medical school interview without a clear thoughtout crisp answer for such a question..but thats exactly what i did, and i ended up rambling a bit, and now just hoping i didn't ruin my chances with that... and for the remaining part of the interview the interwievers just sat looking bored... (the interview was meant to start at 3.30pm, and i didn't get called in until 3.50pm)

Now the constant ucas track checking starts .. and well only bsms to hear back from now after a rejection on the 21st from ucl, which put a bit of pressure on today!

Now to just do some work, and look forward to a talk tomorrow from professor Barry Halliwell at an open seminar at kcl tomorrow. Maybe i'll convince some my friends from other unis to come, as he truly is a fantastic scientist, and im finding myself burried into his text book for my biology of ageing and my free radical in health and diseases modules.

oh.. and something quite fun...
72 words

Touch Typing

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Pounds (my laptop doesn't have a pound sign) vs lbs

Finally got round to trying the trouser suit i had back from 2005, the trousers which were once a bit tight are now quite lax, and the blouse and suit jacket looks like a duvet, which is good i've been able to shed a few unwanted pounds.. but with that goes pounds from the purse too as i have to invest in something new.. and quick!!

People who know me personally will know im not exactly the smartest dresser, and feel a tad reluctant to buy a nice suit; as a girl, i really don't know when i'll be needing to wear one again ~.~ ... so to buy a nice one which will last (as my friend suggested), or something ok priced for the occasion, and will probably get ruined in the wash after a few spins?

Being the ever optimist i still want to keep up my healthy regime and lose a bit of weight, (all these lectures on biology af ageing, biology of cancer, and free radical in health and diseases, really does make you consider the state of your own health!) so splashing out on an expensive suit which may not fit well after a period of time, seems a waste.. yet i don't want to look to scruffy...

On another note.. i hope the weather is good on the day, my hair has the natural ability to go extremely static when its about to rain.. a bit like how cows know when to lie down when it's about rains.. hair tied up is not a good look for me, and so it's settled.. i shall bring a brush and use some de-fizz on the day (better to be safe than sorry)!

Bioinformatics is hardly touched..which is not thats due in on tuesday, so if i get it done asap and in on monday, i can have tuesday afternoon to revise after i scan my western blots at the research lab and rush home before the rush hour.

Research is coming along ok, finally found out what im doing now, and have 3 new undergrads joining me in the lab:
1 x neuroscience bsc final year student doing her research project (so a bit like me, jsut swap in biochemistry)
1 x Biomedical Research MRes (Something i might apply for and do if i don't get into medicine)
1 xIntercalating Medical Student who has taken neuroscience as her intercalating option.

Had a nice chat with the medical student, and questioned her on her thoughts of PBL, as Bart's are quite famous for their very pro-pbl approach, and i wanted to prepare myself for any possible questions which may pop up. Although she was a GKT medic, it was still quite nice to hear what she thought of PBL, as i think i got a very honest opinion with the pros and cons of pbl, and definately gave me a different perspective on how medical school teaching works.

Now to get on with bioinformatics... i wish i have never taken this module.. it is perhaps the worst module i have ever taken at kcl.. the lecturer is a nice guy..but he can't lecture!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Barts Invite to interview ^.^

Interview @ Barts -> 23rd january 2008 ... (A week and 2 days time!!)

This really is my 2nd and could ultimately be my last chance from Barts, having missed my offer from them in 2005.. It almost feels like they are giving me another chance to pursue my dream, though, i have a mix bag of feelings at the moment, which ranges from excited and hopeful to nervous and scared!

Excited - Because its my first interview (perhaps the only!) of this application cycle.. and being very honest, i really want to study medicine and stay in london... this is the perfect chance!

Hopeful - perhaps naieve is a better descriptor, but with every interview there is the chance of getting an offer or a rejection, and there stands my chance of getting an offer.. i just need to not mess up, and hopefully demonstrate to them how much i want to be a doctor!

Nervous - its in 9 days time! Very worrying espcially as its the day after coursework is handed i dont have much time to prepare as i ahve to get this coursework out the way first!

Scared - because i dont want to have the hope of getting an offer to then be faced with a rejection... or to have an offer and then fail to meet it AGAIN... that would really..... suck!


Thursday, 3 January 2008

NEWS!!!!!!! ............... (bad news)

2pm, woke up, switched on the laptop to get on with my coursework after having a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk, signed into gmail notifier, and woot 2 new mail, clicked onto the little taskbar icon to spring open gmail, and faced with a ucas track change update, knew it must have been bad news as i've not had an interviews, hoped it wasn't from UCL or BARTS, then realised it doesn't say anything on the email other than a change of track status, so i logged into ucas track.. scrolled no changes to ucl .... barts ... bsms .....

manchester = rejection!

ouch, and it has to be the day following new years... , though im not too disheartened by it, as i don't feel like a strong applicant this year.... just hope the next bit of news i hear will be from unis and not from ucas track!!!