Studying Biomedical Science or any other Bioscience degree for that matter requires students to use all sorts of tools and software when completing an assignment.
Think of this as a starter pack for your life science journey. They will be your tools through easy and difficult times!
Some of these tools are readily provided by the university you attend, while others are tools that will give you an edge over your fellow student, and give your assignment a sky-high first-class grade!
These tools will be for the purpose of assisting you in completing tasks more efficiently so without further ado, let’s explore 5 Essential Tools you must Have when studying a Bioscience degree This Year!
Referencing software – Mendeley
While sometimes overlooked, having the right referencing software can make or break an assignment grade. You can drop from 80% to scoring 50% simply because you used the wrong referencing format!
At university, the single most unexpected shock a student will experience is that they have to reference every piece of writing they submit, specifically to the university’s own referencing format.
Simply plugging in a link to some reference generator website won’t cut it any longer when you reach university. You must organise your references into folders, ensuring that the right format is chosen.
When a piece of work you must hand it requires you to insert 1000 references, you will be wishing you hadn’t cheapened out when considering getting additional software.
Most universities won’t give you access to premium referencing software, only free ones like the online version of EndNote.
You may instead consider using Mendeley. It’s an incredibly powerful referencing engine, capable of integrating with any text editor you may use to write your assignments. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny as it’s entirely free to use!
Read more on Mendeley here!
External Drawing Pad
External drawing pads, also known as graphics tablets are special devices which allow you to draw on your laptop with a pen. This is especially useful for computers without touchscreens but can also be a nice contrast to computers that are touch-capable.
Having an external graphics pad isn’t a necessity however it will drastically improve your workflow when it comes to making notes and creating resources to revise from later.
An example use case would be annotating a PowerPoint document. It is often a big undertaking to create revision notes from scratch; Instead, a good strategy is to annotate PowerPoint slides delivered by the lecturer.
These slides are often missing labels and diagrams that could assist in bringing the explanation to life. You may simply enhance the slides by labelling everything using your graphics tablet and pen!
If you have a surface device or iPad then you may already be able to do this annotation with their respective pen devices however if you don’t have such a device, a cheap external drawing pad may do you good when it comes to creating useful revision material.
Avoid creating pen and paper notes, digital notes are forever!
Take a look here at some graphics tablets or here for my personal favourite!
Molecular Biology of The Cell
Often seen as the bible of all Bioscience courses, Molecular Biology of the Cell is a must-have for all who wish to study a life science course!
Students will have a designated reading list however at some point, this very book manages to find its way into every list.
The book is extremely exhaustive in its text when teaching students about cell biology and molecular biology.
The chapters and topics range from cell replication to atomic interactions within the cell! If you want a catch-all book to get you started, this is the one.
Since it’s going to be on your reading list at some point, why not jump the gun and get a head start by seeing if there are any available!
Making sure you have a good grounding in statistics is often the deciding factor for if you are able to get a first-class degree or not. Most institutions offer statistics courses, and the most important package you will use in life science is SPSS.
SPSS is a powerful statistics package for life science and it’s much better than excel.
You would think that universities will allow you to download this software onto your own device however the vast majority only have this software available on computers at university.
If you are interested in going into postgraduate study, you will eventually end up downloading this fantastic piece of software, so why not just get a head start right now?
You will familiarise yourself with the program and when it comes to doing your research project, you will easily outdo all your fellow students in the statistics and graph department.
SPSS has a learning curve associated so do yourself a favour and get yourself early access to the king of life science statistics packages!
Laptop Daily Driver
The perfect laptop will either help you through all the 3 years of your course or make it a living nightmare.
I independently put together a list of laptops that I consider the best fit for a life science course. We reviewed laptops across a range of budgets so recommend you check it out to make your choice.
The 2 big contenders are Surface Laptop and MacBook Pro. Chromebooks are recommended if your budget needs to stay low, however, if you have the cash to spare, the MacBook Pro 2020 will certainly not disappoint!
Without tools, the only thing a student has is their will to learn. Most students have a will to learn so to stand out, you must use everything you have at your disposal.
Getting a good laptop and spending the time to look for the right books is a step in the right direction.
Think ahead into the future and try and set out a road map into your dream career. Whether that is studying medicine or doing research, there are always things you can do now to make that a possibility in the future.