PRINCIPLES OF PHARMACOLOGY
Mid-Semester Test: 10%
Laboratory Test: 12.5%
Lab Reports: 17%
In-Lab MCQ: 10.5%
Official UoA Website: link.
In short, the content presented in this course was not too difficult to understand since you would have already learnt the foundation of most of the content thus understanding it was not too difficult.
The first part of this paper covered drug targets and ADME processes which, as mentioned prior, you would have learnt most if not all of this from Stage II papers particularly from MEDSCI 204. You were also expected to read over the 204 lectures relating to the content the lectures presented in this course.
The second part of this paper focused on the effects of drugs with 3 key lectures on pharmacokinetics which is almost always definitely in the test and exam. (Hint: learn these 3 lectures very well!). It paid off to be very clear on how the calculations worked and the principles behind them since they were quite fundamental to this entire paper hence to getting a good grade in this paper.
Think back to MEDSCI 205 lab reports except much harder and even stricter marking. You are expected to re-write every component of the lab in your own words and getting good resources was especially important; particularly articles - so stay away from using websites. Proof reading and good time management were really important to get the top marks. The first lab report was worth less so use it wisely and learn from any mistakes you made because future lab reports will be marked even more harshly and is worth a higher percentage. Pay attention during the lab and realise what is going on especially in the sessions involving live animals - stay calm and treat them with utmost respect. If you are unsure, always ask. In the labs, you will be working in groups of 3 so make sure you have partners you are comfortable with and can work well together because you will be writing group reports. Tip: consider using Google Docs or any other online collaborative software to make the report writing process more efficient since meeting up was not always possible. You will grade each other anonymously for the report so don't slack off!
There were no past papers provided for the lab test so it was vital to pay good attention during the labs and understanding everything that you had done. Calculations were required but knowing what you had done and why you did it was far more important. For certain labs, there were MCQs mostly post-lab. The questions were mostly simple and related to the lab and the content taught during the lab. It was important to integrate both lecture content with the lab content in order to do well in these lab tests. The test themselves took around 10 minutes and required the usage of calculators - so be sure to keep one handy!
MST and EXAM
The MST format was the same in past years so it was easier to predict. It was therefore important to do past papers in order to be familiar with the types of calculations and equations you had to use from both the labs and lectures. There were multistep calculations required and understanding why and when to use them were equally important. Remembering to use correct units were also a must. The key to this paper was also integration of multiple lectures and labs; rote learning would not get you very far in this paper.