Preparing for labs
If you are a Science or Engineering student, you may have laboratory sessions forming a core element within your course. I hope that this blogpost allows you to get some ideas about how to prepare for labs.
Within first and second year, we had prelabs as part of our departmental lab sessions. These aided us in getting a deeper understanding of the laboratory experiment before going into the lab. They also made sure that we looked at the experiment beforehand as there was usually a quiz afterwards that often needed to be passed by at least 80%.
Also in first and second year, we were required to complete risk assessments for every single experiment. This helped to gain an appreciation of the basic health and safety elements associated with the lab and know about the toxicity and dangers of the chemicals.
Often I found it extremely helpful to do some background reading using journal articles and other sources online. Mechanisms of action for organic reactions could often be understood this way. For inorganic reactions, I found it beneficial to try and predict the colour changes beforehand. I would encourage you to do so as well as these skills are advantageous for further research related prospects such as doing a year abroad in industry or becoming a research scientist.
Within the third year, my labs are designed differently. My friends and me decided amongst ourselves that we should do the preparation for the labs as a group as we can share tips and any subject knowledge between us.
These pointers relate to the Chemistry labs, however as modules are reviewed on a yearly basis, your laboratory experience may differ to the one I have mentioned above.
For any questions, please get in touch.
Hope everyone has a lovely Easter.