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!