Third year chemistry What happens in term three?
If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you’ll know third year chemistry students take their exams in second term rather than the summer. So now its third term, while everyone else is in the library revising, I have no exams to prepare for!
In my year, third year chemists dedicate their third term to lab work, rather than exams. I think the main rationale behind this may be because in first and second term the labs are used by the first and second year chemists and there aren’t enough days in the week to fit us all in. While this means we have to start revising for our exams earlier, it does have some added benefits for us.
Because our exams are over and done with, we normally get the opportunity to do our lab hours in a number of different ways. This has been known to be through an external placement in the UK, lab work at Warwick or even a placement abroad. There are so many places you may have the opportunity to visit, and this is a perfect opportunity to go abroad for a part of your time at Warwick if you didn’t fancy a full year abroad or couldn’t get it organised.
I chose to do my lab work at Warwick, as I wanted to spend my last term as an undergrad on campus. I also thought the labs we were offered sounded really interesting! As part of the standard chemistry course all students do core labs, which are three, week-long assessed laboratories, one for organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. This year, these take place in the first four weeks of term, in which we have been given one week off. After each lab we’ve also had an assignment, which we have the following week to complete.
Weeks 5-7 are then used for the optional extended lab module, which students need to take if they want their degree to be accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Within the three weeks we do two, week-long experiments, and were able to choose which experiments we would prefer. While it’s not guaranteed that you get your first choices, the department did take this into account. I was happy to get both my preferred labs, so am really excited for extended labs to start! I have my week off from labs in between the core and extended modules, so will be able to recover from a few busy weeks in the lab and get some coursework done before I get back to work! As part of the extended labs we have also had to prepare a poster presentation, which we’re assessed on after labs finish, so I’ll probably use next week to finish that off!
On our on-lab weeks we’re in the lab from 9-5 Monday to Friday, with an assignment to complete on top of that, so term three has still been a lot of work for me despite not having any exams. But I really enjoy being in the lab, and will still be finished for summer around week 6 so I can’t really complain! Obviously this could all change year to year, but I hope it’s been interesting to find out what third year chemistry students get up to while the rest of the university is revising.