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Abstract Scientific writing, while an indispensable step of the scientific process, is often overlooked in undergraduate courses in favor of maximizing class time devoted to scientific concepts.However, the ability to effectively communicate research findings is crucial for success in the biological sciences.

Graduate students are encouraged to publish early and often, and professional scientists are generally evaluated by the quantity of articles published and the number of citations those articles receive The Oxford College Information Technology (OCIT) team creates a vibrant technology environment for our students, faculty, and staff.   We can assist you with: video editing   From using virtual reality in biology labs to digitally enhancing student research papers, OCIT partners with faculty to enrich the learning experience..Graduate students are encouraged to publish early and often, and professional scientists are generally evaluated by the quantity of articles published and the number of citations those articles receive.

It is therefore important that undergraduate students receive a solid foundation in scientific writing early in their academic careers.In order to increase the emphasis on effective writing in the classroom, we assembled a succinct step‐by‐Step guide to scientific writing that can be directly disseminated to undergraduates enrolled in biological science courses.The guide breaks down the scientific writing process into easily digestible pieces, providing concrete examples that students can refer to when preparing a scientific manuscript or laboratory report Best websites to get an research paper biology 48 hours A4 (British/European) American Undergrad. (yrs 3-4).The guide breaks down the scientific writing process into easily digestible pieces, providing concrete examples that students can refer to when preparing a scientific manuscript or laboratory report.By increasing undergraduate exposure to the scientific writing process, we hope to better prepare undergraduates for graduate school and productive careers in the biological sciences.

An introduction to the guide While writing is a critical part of the scientific process, it is often taught secondarily to scientific concepts and becomes an afterthought to students.How many students can you recall who worked on a laboratory assignment or class project for weeks, only to throw together the written report the day before it was due? For many, this pattern occurs because we focus almost exclusively on the scientific process, all but neglecting the scientific writing process.Scientific writing is often a difficult and arduous task for many students.It follows a different format and deviates in structure from how we were initially taught to write, or even how we currently write for English, history, or social science classes.

This can make the scientific writing process appear overwhelming, especially when presented with new, complex content.

However, effective writing can deepen understanding of the topic at hand by compelling the writer to present a coherent and logical story that is supported by previous research and new results.Clear scientific writing generally follows a specific format with key sections: an introduction to a particular topic, hypotheses to be tested, a description of methods, key results, and finally, a discussion that ties these results to our broader knowledge of the topic (Day and Gastel 2012).This general format is inherent in most scientific writing and facilitates the transfer of information from author to reader if a few guidelines are followed.Here, we present a succinct step‐by‐step guide that lays out strategies for effective scientific writing with the intention that the guide be disseminated to undergraduate students to increase the focus on the writing process in the college classroom.While we recognize that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to scientific writing, and more experienced writers may choose to disregard our suggestions these guidelines will assist undergraduates in overcoming the initial challenges associated with writing scientific papers.

This guide was inspired by Joshua Schimel's Writing Science: How to Write Papers that Get Cited and Proposals that Get Funded—an excellent book about scientific writing for graduate students and professional scientists—but designed to address undergraduate students.While the guide was written by a group of ecologists and evolutionary biologists, the strategies and suggestions presented here are applicable across the biological sciences and other scientific disciplines.Regardless of the specific course being taught, this guide can be used as a reference when writing scientific papers, independent research projects, and laboratory reports.For students looking for more in‐depth advice, additional resources are listed at the end of the guide.To illustrate points regarding each step of the scientific writing process, we draw examples throughout the guide from Kilner et al.

(2004), a paper on brown‐headed cowbirds—a species of bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species, or hosts—that was published in the journal Science.investigate why cowbird nestlings tolerate the company of host offspring during development rather than pushing host eggs out of the nest upon hatching to monopolize parental resources.While articles in the journal Science are especially concise and lack the divisions of a normal scientific paper, Kilner et al.(2004) offers plenty of examples of effective communication strategies that are utilized in scientific writing.

We hope that the guidelines that follow, as well as the concrete examples provided, will lead to scientific papers that are information rich, concise, and clear, while simultaneously alleviating frustration and streamlining the writing process.Undergraduate guide to writing in the biological sciences The before steps The scientific writing process can be a daunting and often procrastinated “last step” in the scientific process, leading to cursory attempts to get scientific arguments and results down on paper.However, scientific writing is not an afterthought and should begin well before drafting the first outline.Successful writing starts with researching how your work fits into existing literature, crafting a compelling story, and determining how to best tailor your message to an intended audience.Research how your work fits into existing literature It is important to decide how your research compares to other studies of its kind by familiarizing yourself with previous research on the topic.

If you are preparing a laboratory write‐up, refer to your textbook and laboratory manual for background information.For a research article, perform a thorough literature search on a credible search engine (e.Ask the following questions: What do we know about the topic? What open questions and knowledge do we not yet know? Why is this information important? This will provide critical insight into the structure and style that others have used when writing about the field and communicating ideas on this specific topic.

It will also set you up to successfully craft a compelling story, as you will begin writing with precise knowledge of how your work builds on previous research and what sets your research apart from the current published literature.Understand your audience (and write to them) In order to write effectively, you must identify your audience and decide what story you want them to learn.While this may seem obvious, writing about science as a narrative is often not done, largely because you were probably taught to remain dispassionate and impartial while communicating scientific findings.

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The purpose of science writing is not explaining what you did or what your audience to understand.Start by asking: Who is my audience? What are their goals in reading my writing? What message do I want them to take away from my writing? There are great resources available to help science writers answer these questions (Nisbet 2009, Baron 2010).

If you are interested in publishing a scientific paper, academic journal websites also provide clear journal mission statements and submission guidelines for prospective authors 31 Oct 2016 - Until now, reproductive behaviour was thought to be mainly linked to personal choices or social circumstances and environmental factors. However, this new research shows that genetic variants can be isolated and that there is also a biological basis for reproductive behaviour. The paper is co-authored by  .If you are interested in publishing a scientific paper, academic journal websites also provide clear journal mission statements and submission guidelines for prospective authors.

The most effective science writers are familiar with the background of their topic, have a clear story that they want to convey, and effectively craft their message to communicate that story to their audience.Introduction The Introduction sets the tone of the paper by providing relevant background information and clearly identifying the problem you plan to address .Introduction The Introduction sets the tone of the paper by providing relevant background information and clearly identifying the problem you plan to address.Think of your Introduction as the beginning of a funnel: Start wide to put your research into a broad context that someone outside of the field would understand, and then narrow the scope until you reach the specific question that you are trying to answer (Fig.Clearly state the wider implications of your work for the field of study, or, if relevant, any societal impacts it may have, and provide enough background information that the reader can understand your topic adultssale.com/paper/help-me-write-my-college-company-analysis-paper-college-junior-single-spaced-business-without-plagiarism.Clearly state the wider implications of your work for the field of study, or, if relevant, any societal impacts it may have, and provide enough background information that the reader can understand your topic.Perform a thorough sweep of the literature; however, do not parrot everything you find.Background information should only include material that is directly relevant to your research and fits into your story; it does not need to contain an entire history of the field of interest.Remember to include in‐text citations in the format of (Author, year published) for each paper that you cite and avoid using the author's name as the subject of the sentence: Figure 1 Framing a scientific paper.The structure of a paper mirrors that of an hourglass, opening broadly and narrowing to the specific question, hypothesis, methods, and results of the study.

Effective papers widen again in the discussion and conclusion, connecting the study back to the existing literature and explaining how the current study filled a knowledge gap.The structure of a paper mirrors that of an hourglass, opening broadly and narrowing to the specific question, hypothesis, methods, and results of the study.Effective papers widen again in the discussion and conclusion, connecting the study back to the existing literature and explaining how the current study filled a knowledge gap.(2004) found that cowbird nestlings use host offspring to procure more food.” Instead, use an in‐text citation: “Cowbird nestlings use host offspring to procure more food.2004) Upon narrowing the background information presented to arrive at the specific focus of your research, clearly state the problem that your paper addresses.

The problem is also known as the knowledge gap, or a specific area of the literature that contains an unknown question or problem (e.

, it is unclear why cowbird nestlings tolerate host offspring when they must compete with host offspring for food) (refer to the section “Research how your work fits into existing literature”).The knowledge gap tends to be a small piece of a much larger field of study.Explicitly state how your work will contribute to filling that knowledge gap.This is a crucial section of your manuscript; your discussion and conclusion should all be aimed at answering the knowledge gap that you are trying to fill.

In addition, the knowledge gap will drive your hypotheses and questions that you design your experiment to answer.Your hypothesis will often logically follow the identification of the knowledge gap (Table 1).Define the hypotheses you wish to address, state the approach of your experiment, and provide a 1–2 sentence overview of your experimental design, leaving the specific details for the methods section.If your methods are complicated, consider briefly explaining the reasoning behind your choice of experimental design.Here, you may also state your system, study organism, or study site, and provide justification for why you chose this particular system for your research.

Is your system, study organism, or site a good representation of a more generalized pattern? Providing a brief outline of your project will allow your Introduction to segue smoothly into your 4 section.Constructing a hypothesis A hypothesis is a testable explanation of an observed occurrence in nature, or, more specifically, why something you observed is occurring.Hypotheses relate directly to research questions, are written in the present tense, and can be tested through observation or experimentation.Although the terms “hypothesis” and “prediction” are often incorrectly used interchangeably, they refer to different but complementary concepts.

A hypothesis attempts to explain the mechanism underlying a pattern, while a prediction states an expectation regarding the results.While challenging to construct, hypotheses provide powerful tools for structuring research, generating specific predictions, and designing experiments.Example: Observation: Brown‐headed cowbird nestlings refrain from ejecting host offspring from the nest even though those offspring compete for limited parental resources.Research question: Why do nestling cowbirds tolerate the presence of host offspring in the nest? Hypothesis: The presence of host offspring causes parents to bring more food to the nest.Prediction: Cowbird nestlings will grow at a faster rate in nests that contain host offspring.

Materials and Methods The 4 section is arguably the most straightforward section to write; you can even begin writing it while performing your experiments to avoid forgetting any details of your experimental design.

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In order to make your paper as clear as possible, organize this section into subsections with headers for each procedure you describe (e.We recommend reusing these headers in your Results and Discussion to help orient your readers.The aim of the 4 section is to demonstrate that you used scientifically valid methods and provide the reader with enough information to recreate your experiment A new chapter on the fundamentals of statistical analysis in the sciences; New sections on the scientific method, scientific versus compository writing, and review and term papers; An expanded chapter on job applications, including sample resumes, cover letters, and application essays that are applicable to recent college  .The aim of the 4 section is to demonstrate that you used scientifically valid methods and provide the reader with enough information to recreate your experiment.

In chronological order, clearly state the procedural steps you took, remembering to include the model numbers and specific settings of all equipment used (e., centrifuged in Beckman Coulter Benchtop Centrifuge Model Allegra X ‐15R at 12,000 ×g for 45 minutes).

In addition to your experimental procedure, describe any statistical analyses that you performed.While the parameters you include in your 4 section will vary based on your experimental design, we list common ones in Table 2 (Journal of Young Investigators 2005) that are usually mentioned.If you followed a procedure developed from another paper, cite the source that it came from and provide a general description of the method.There is no need to reiterate every detail, unless you deviated from the source and changed a step in your procedure.However, it is important to provide enough information that the reader can follow your methods without referring to the original source.

As you explain your experiment step by step, you may be tempted to include qualifiers where sources of error occurred (e., the tube was supposed to be centrifuged for 5 minutes, but was actually centrifuged for 10).However, generally wait until the Discussion to mention these subjective qualifiers and avoid discussing them in the 4 section.Common parameters included in the 4 section • Site characterization: Description of field site or site where experiment was performed • Experimental design: Sample preparation Important equipment settings (e., temperature of incubation, speed of centrifuge) Amount of reagents used • Statistical analyses conducted (e., ANOVA, linear regression) The 4 section should be written in the past tense: “On hatch day, and every day thereafter for 9 days, we weighed chicks, measured their tibia length, and calculated the instantaneous growth constant K to summarize rates of mass gain and skeletal growth.

2004) While it is generally advisable to use active voice throughout the paper (refer to the section “Putting It All Together,” below), you may want to use a mixture of active and passive voice in the 4 section in order to vary sentence structure and avoid repetitive clauses.Results The Results section provides a space to present your key findings in a purely objective manner and lay the foundation for the Discussion section, where those data are subjectively interpreted.Before diving into this section, identify which graphs, tables, and data are absolutely necessary for telling your story.

Then, craft a descriptive sentence or two that summarizes each result, referring to corresponding table and figure numbers.

Rather than presenting the details all at once, write a short summary about each data set.If you carried out a complicated study, we recommend dividing your results into multiple sections with clear headers following the sequence laid out in the 4 section.As you relate each finding, be as specific as possible and describe your data biologically rather than through the lens of statistics.While statistical tests give your data credibility by allowing you to attribute observed differences to nonrandom variation, they fail to address the actual meaning of the data.Instead, translate the data into biological terms and refer to statistical results as supplemental information, or even in parenthetical clauses (Schimel 2012).

For example, if your dependent variable changed in response to a treatment, report the magnitude and direction of the effect, with the P‐value in parentheses.“By day 8, cowbirds reared with host young were, on average, 14% heavier than cowbirds reared alone (unpaired t 16 = −2.05 (or your other statistical tests yielded nonsignificant results), report any noticeable trends in the data rather than simply dismissing the treatment as having no significant effect (Fry 1993).By focusing on the data and leaving out any interpretation of the results in this section, you will provide the reader with the tools necessary to objectively evaluate your findings.Discussion and conclusion The Discussion section usually requires the most consideration, as this is where you interpret your results.

Your Discussion should form a self‐contained story tying together your Introduction and Results sections (Schimel 2012).One potential strategy for writing the Discussion is to begin by explicitly stating the main finding(s) of your research (Cals and Kotz 2013).Remind the reader of the knowledge gap identified in the Introduction to re‐spark curiosity about the question you set out to answer.Then, explicitly state how your experiment moved the field forward by filling that knowledge gap.After the opening paragraph of your Discussion, we suggest addressing your question and hypotheses with specific evidence from your results.

If there are multiple possible interpretations of a result, clearly lay out each competing explanation.In the cowbird example, a higher feeding rate in the presence of host offspring could indicate either (1) that the parents were more responsive to the begging behavior of their own species or (2) that the collective begging behavior of more offspring in the nest motivated the host parents to provide additional food (Kilner et al.

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Presenting and evaluating alternative explanations of your findings will provide clear opportunities for future research.However, be sure to keep your Discussion concrete by referring to your results to support each given interpretation.

Intermingled with these interpretations, reference preexisting literature and report how your results relate to previous findings (Casenove and Kirk 2016) 3 Oct 2016 - However, the ability to effectively communicate research findings is crucial for success in the biological sciences.   out strategies for effective scientific writing with the intention that the guide be disseminated to undergraduate students to increase the focus on the writing process in the college classroom..Intermingled with these interpretations, reference preexisting literature and report how your results relate to previous findings (Casenove and Kirk 2016).

Ask yourself the following questions: How do my results compare to those of similar studies? Are they consistent or inconsistent with what other researchers have found? If they are inconsistent, discuss why this might be the case.For example, are you asking a similar question in a different system, organism, or site? Was there a difference in the methods or experimental design? Any caveats of the study (e., small sample size, procedural mistakes, or known biases in the methods) should be transparent and briefly discussed 57%Over 57% of our editors catering to life sciences-related subject areas are from the US, 26% are from the UK, and the rest are from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. PhDs The proficiency of our editors, which is the underlying reason for the unconditional trust that authors have on us. All our editors hold PhDs or  .

, small sample size, procedural mistakes, or known biases in the methods) should be transparent and briefly discussed.

The conclusion, generally located in its own short section or the last paragraph of the Discussion, represents your final opportunity to state the significance of your research.Rather than merely restating your main findings, the conclusion should summarize the outcome of your study in a way that incorporates new insights or frames interesting questions that arose as a result of your research.Broaden your perspective again as you reach the bottom of the hourglass (Fig.While it is important to acknowledge the shortcomings or caveats of the research project, generally include these near the beginning of the conclusion or earlier in the Discussion.

You want your take‐home sentences to focus on what you have accomplished and the broader implications of your study, rather than your study's limitations or shortcomings (Schimel 2012).Putting it all together No matter how many boards you stack on top of each other, you still need nails to prevent the pile from falling apart.The same logic applies to a scientific paper.Little things—such as flow, structure, voice, and word choice—will connect your story, polish your paper, and make it enjoyable to read.

The reader should easily be able to move from one concept to another, either within a sentence or between paragraphs.To bolster the flow, constantly remind yourself of the overarching story; always connect new questions with resolutions and tie new concepts to previously presented ideas.As a general rule, try to maintain the same subject throughout a section and mix up sentence structure in order to emphasize different concepts.Keep in mind that words or ideas placed toward the end of a sentence often convey the most importance (Schimel 2012).

The use of active voice with occasional sentences in passive voice will additionally strengthen your writing.Scientific writing is rife with passive voice that weakens otherwise powerful sentences by stripping the subjects of action.However, when used properly, the passive voice can improve flow by strategically placing a sentence's subject so that it echoes the emphasis of the preceding sentence.Compare the following sentences: “The cowbird nestlings tolerated the host nestlings.

” (active) (passive) If host nestlings are the focus of the paragraph as a whole, it may make more sense to present the passive sentence in this case, even though it is weaker than the active version.

While passive and active voices can complement each other in particular situations, you should typically use the active voice whenever possible.Lastly, word choice is critical for effective storytelling (Journal of Young Investigators 2005).Rather than peppering your report or manuscript with overly complicated words, use simple words to lay the framework of your study and discuss your findings.Eliminating any flourish and choosing words that get your point across as clearly as possible will make your work much more enjoyable to read (Strunk and White 1979, Schimel 2012).Editing and peer review Although you have finally finished collecting data and writing your report, you are not done yet! Re‐reading your paper and incorporating constructive feedback from others can make the difference between getting a paper accepted or rejected from a journal or receiving one letter grade over another on a report.

The editing stage is where you put the finishing touches on your work.Start by taking some time away from your paper.Ideally, you began your paper early enough that you can refrain from looking at it for a day or two.However, if the deadline looms large, take an hour break at the very least.Come back to your paper and verify that it still expresses what you intended to say.

Where are the gaps in your story structure? What has not been explained clearly? Where is the writing awkward, making it difficult to understand your point? Consider reading the paper out loud first, and then print and edit a hard copy to inspect the paper from different angles.On the first run‐through of your paper, make sure you addressed all of the main ideas of the study.One way to achieve this is by writing down the key points you want to hit prior to re‐reading your paper.If your paper deviates from these points, you may need to delete some paragraphs.

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In contrast, if you forgot to include something, add it in.To check the flow of your paragraphs, verify that a common thread ties each paragraph to the preceding one, and similarly, that each sentence within a paragraph builds on the previous sentence.Finally, re‐read the paper with a finer lens, editing sentence structure and word choice as you go to put the finishing touches on your work This paper presents guidelines on how to initiate the writing process and draft each section of a research manuscript. The paper   Initially, the outline will form a structure for your paper; it will help generate ideas and formulate hypotheses.   When you create the first draft, do not succumb to the temptation of editing. Do not  .Finally, re‐read the paper with a finer lens, editing sentence structure and word choice as you go to put the finishing touches on your work.

Grammar and spelling are just as important as your scientific story; a poorly written paper will have limited impact regardless of the quality of the ideas expressed (Harley et al.After editing your own paper, ask someone else to read it.A classmate is ideal because he/she understands the assignment and could exchange papers with you Need to buy college biology research paper Bluebook Standard US Letter Size British.A classmate is ideal because he/she understands the assignment and could exchange papers with you.The editing steps described above also apply when editing someone else's paper.If a classmate is not available, try asking a family member or a friend.Having a fresh set of eyes examine your work may help you identify sections of your paper that need clarification.

This procedure will also give you a glimpse into the peer review process, which is integral to professional science writing (Guilford 2001).Don't be discouraged by negative comments—incorporating the feedback of reviewers will only strengthen your paper.Conclusion While the basics of writing are generally taught early in life, many people constantly work to refine their writing ability throughout their careers.Even professional scientists feel that they can always write more effectively.

Focusing on the strategies for success laid out in this guide will not only improve your writing skills, but also make the scientific writing process easier and more efficient.However, keep in mind that there is no single correct way to write a scientific paper, and as you gain experience with scientific writing, you will begin to find your own voice.Good luck and happy writing! Additional resources For those interested in learning more about the skill of scientific writing, we recommend the following resources.We note that much of the inspiration and concrete ideas for this step‐by‐step guide originated from Schimel's Writing Science: How to Write Papers that Get Cited and Proposals that Get Funded.Writing scientific manuscripts: a guide for undergraduates.Journal of Young Investigators, California.Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 79: 171–172.A student's guide to writing in the life sciences.The President and Fellows of Harvard University, Massachusetts.

Writing science: how to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded.Acknowledgments We thank Nichole Barger and the University of Colorado, Boulder 2016 graduate writing seminar for helpful discussions that greatly enhanced the quality of this essay.

Potential Conflicts of Interest 3-D printing and scanningWhile at Oxford, you may install the MS Office Suite (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) onto five different devices.We also offer EaglePrint installers and antivirus software for download.What to expect in class We equip our classrooms with multimedia equipment and software to make learning more interactive.From using virtual reality in biology labs to digitally enhancing student research papers, OCIT partners with faculty to enrich the learning experience.At Oxford we use Canvas as our learning management system.

Faculty and students can share, discuss and collaborate using discussion boards, live video and chat. You can access online library course reserves and online articles or books linked by your professors.Using the calendar feature and mobile Canvas app, you can receive alerts for assignment due dates, new grade postings and class announcements.It’s all fun and games Whether you need a spot to go over the latest project with your classmates or test your gaming skills, the Humanities Hotspot is the place to go.The Hotspot, located in Humanities Hall, is where you can test-drive the latest technology at Oxford.

Grab a cup of coffee and use our communal collaboration space or enjoy our modern gaming center with full HD TV and a virtual-reality headset system.We’re here to help If you have information technology issues, you can contact our staff with an AskIT form.Or, you can drop by Student Technology Support, located in the Humanities Hotspot during our normal operating hours (Monday through Friday, noon to 5:00 p.

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Contact Colleges: for more information on colleges, click hereStraight from the prospectus: "The Biological Sciences is a single honours degree course taught jointly by the Departments of Plant Sciences and Zoology.The course combines traditional, underpinning topics such as animal and plant systematics and relationships, with modern developments and techniques in all spheres of biology, from the molecular and cellular to the whole organismal and ecological.In the first year you will encounter the full range of biology while in the second and third years you will be able to specialise to a greater extent, pursuing to the forefront of the latest research findings those subjects that interest you most, while retaining a broad overview of the modern concepts of Biology The aim of the journal is to provide a forum for original research papers, reviews, commentaries, reports on practical projects, and a venue for in-depth discussion on the topics relevant to synthetic biology. Synthetic Biology follows an open-access business model where the content of the journal is freely accessible to all  .In the first year you will encounter the full range of biology while in the second and third years you will be able to specialise to a greater extent, pursuing to the forefront of the latest research findings those subjects that interest you most, while retaining a broad overview of the modern concepts of Biology.

" Teaching Teaching in Biology is split between lectures, tutorials and practical classes.

First year is by far the most lecture and practical heavy.In Michaelmas term students have daily lectures in Organisms and Cells and Genes (see below) in addition to a weekly Quantitative Methods (Statistics) lecture.They also have 2 organisms labs and up to 2 cells or genetics labs.80% of these must be passed to complete the course best websites to order a custom theological studies homework double spaced Vancouver US Letter Size.80% of these must be passed to complete the course.In Hilary term the number of labs sharply decreases, and in Trinity term the Populations field work is all carried out in a single field trip week to Orielton in Pembrokeshire.

In the 2nd and 3rd years, students pick their options, and it becomes their own responsibility to organise tutorials, which then now require longer essays and the use of primary literature (e.First year As a first year biologist at Oxford you will take three major courses (each of which is examined by a single 3 hour paper in 9th week of Trinity), as well as Statistics and Data Handling, in which there is no final exam, but instead continuous assessment.An 80% pass rate is required for all practical work.

Each week students will have a tutorial in groups of usually between 2 and 4, for which a 1500-2000 word essay is expected.Reading lists generally consist solely of textbooks, although some tutors may produce a limited list of papers from relevant journals.Tutorials generally last for an hour, and consist of discussion of the essay and of wider topics surrounding it.In some cases, especially if tutorials are carried out by members of other departments (e.Biochemistry or Medicine), the tutorials may last for more than a single hour.These tutorials are organised by the college tutor.Organisms The Organisms course (also referred to as OB - Organismal Biology) takes place in the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms (Autumn and Spring).It is split into 5 parts, which cover natural history, micro-organisms, invertebrates, vertebrates and plants.

Practical work takes the form of 4 microbe practicals (microscope work, studying how an epidemic works and fungi work), followed by a number of dissections.

These include: A platyhelminth Cells and Genes Cells and Genes covers everything from the basic structure of macromolecules (carbohydrates, proteins and lipids), their synthesis and degradation as well as the Endomembrane System, the Extracellular Matrix and organic reactions such as photosynthesis and respiration within cells to medical genetics, cancer genetics, inheritance, genetic disease and even some population genetics.In the first term there are Biochemistry practicals, which are followed up by genetics practicals using Drosophila in the second term and bacteria in the final term.The key cell biology textbook is Alberts' Molecular Biology of the Cell; although Stryer's (later editions = Berg's) Biochemistry also comes highly recommended.Key genetics texts include Hartl's Genetics, Analysis of Genes and Genomes and Hartwell's Genetics, From Genes to Genomes although these cover essentially the same material.The Hooke lending library contains tens of copies of each book so buying your own is unnecessary.

Populations The Populations course is wide reaching, covering such diverse topics as food webs, evolution of herbivory and carnivory, modelling (such as Lotka-Volterra and Hardy-Weinberg) and various parts of ecosystems.Rather than lab-based practicals, the practical side of Populations is covered in a week long field trip to Orielton in Pembrokeshire, where the Rocky Shore, Sand Dunes, Trees, STDs (of plants) and Insects are all covered in detail.Statistics and Data Handling Stats takes the form of one lecture a week, and one "lab" where the information is used to complete a series of worksheets using Minitab.These lectures and labs take place for the whole of Michaelmas term and the first 6 weeks of Hilary term.Those who have taken a Maths A-level (Maths + Stats / Statistics) are likely to be able to manage without the lectures for the first term at least.

Although they can be a useful reminder, they are based on the assumption that students haven't done advanced statistical testing (t-test, z-test, ANOVA, F-test etc) before.Following suggestions from students the current Statistics course may be restructured in the future.Second Year and Third Year Options In the second year students must choose three out of five option courses.Two of these will be continued to the third year as majors, while the third "minor" subject will be dropped at the end of the second year.Tutorials may now be carried out individually, although they will largely remain in twos or threes.

They are also supplemented by tutorial classes (in which numbers may increase from around 6-10).

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In the second year students are expected to take on responsibility for organising their own tutorials, for which the reading lists are likely to be largely paper-based.Additionally the number of lecture courses taken can vary a lot.The department recommends taking between 5 and 8 lecture courses 15 Feb 2018 - As a first year biologist at Oxford you will take three major courses (each of which is examined by a single 3 hour paper in 9th week of Trinity), as well as   Despite any discrepancies in college prospectuses each of the Oxford colleges offering this course offer Biological Sciences, and your degree will be a  .

The department recommends taking between 5 and 8 lecture courses.

2 tutorials are available for each, so obviously this means it is not possible to have tutorials in everything if you take the full work load.In the FHS exams you will need to answer 3 problem questions and 3 essays (although there will ALWAYS be a question on each lecture course, so it's not a case of "predicting" which modules will come up) so it is necessary to revise a minimum of 4 topics per course.The choices are as follows Animal Biology The second year AB course consists of 32 lectures, which cover an introduction to animal behaviour, control and physiology.(All of these lectures are compulsory) Animal Behaviour covers topics such as Group living, Eusociality, Tool Use, Conflict and Cooperation and Adaptive Hypotheses.The control topic focusses on the basics of neurobiology, and for this I strongly recommend a good textbook, since there is a lot of fact-learning involved.

Physiology covers Heat and Cold adaptation, Diving, Hypoxia, Circadian and Circannual rhythms.In the third year it is recommended that students take 4 modules out the 6 offered: Entomology Advanced Integrative Neurobiology Biology of Plant and Animal Disease In the second year 32 lectures cover Animal Disease (20 lectures) and Plant Disease (12 lectures).In the third year Pathogen Population Biology and Evolution I and II are compulsory (16 lectures) but students can then choose from two modules of case studies, mechanisms of host resistance, vectors, a further module on plant diseases and pathogen genomes.Cell Development In the second year the compulsory lectures cover "Life: the movie", Cellular components, gene expression in development and development in health and disease.In the third year it is recommended that all students take Advanced Experimental Techniques and 5 out of Animal Development I Quantitative Methods Throught 2nd year QM continues to be taught by a weekly lecture and lab class.

The exam however does not take place until 3rd year.Evolution and Systematics The Evolution and Systematics course is taught throughout the 2nd year by 2 lectures each week.Students notoriously score poorly in the module - possibly due to the feeling that everything is quite obvious, or possibly because they often have fewer tutorials, preparing to have more on their options instead.It is split loosely into three sections, which cover evolution of populations (including for instance frequency dependent selection and the problems posed by a species concept); phylogeny; and paleobiology.Students are strongly recommended (by me) to read Evolution by Mark Ridley and Fossils and Evolution by Tom Kemp (who gives the Paleo lecture and covers a lot of the material discussed in his book).

The minor subject and Evolution and Systematics are each examined by a single 3 hour paper, writing 4 essays, in Trinity term of 2nd year).The major modules (the two carried on into the third year) are examined by two 3 hour papers, one writing essays and one short-answer (based on 2nd year work) and problem solving (~data handling).It is also necessary for finalists to write one extended essay, perform a viva voce exam (effectively another extended essay but given as a mini lecture with 15 minutes of questions following it) one covering each of their major subjects, and to undertake a scientific project.Project work 30% of the final mark for Biological Sciences is in the form of pre-prepared work.This falls into two MSCAs (Major Subject Course Assignments) and one Finals Research Project MSCAs Students must prepare an MSCA for each of their finals majors - and titles must be submitted in Michaelmas term to ensure there is no overlap with the Research Project.

In previous years both of these have been essays (essentially a comprehensive literature review), but beginning in 2008 one will remain a 3000 word essay, while the other will be a viva (around 15 minutes prepared and 15 minutes questions) based upon an abstract.The two MSCAs together are worth 15% Research Project The research project can be based upon any area of science interesting the student (That means ANY area at all!!) and takes the form of an 8000 word write up, based upon lab or field work usually carried out over the summer vacation between 2nd and 3rd year.There is no longer a viva on the written project, which is worth 15%.Frequently asked questions Will I be required to get AAA at A-level? Yes.The department sets an offer of AAA and has a policy of not relaxing this.

Approximately 15 open offers are made for Biological Sciences each year, meaning that if you miss your grades, somebody holding an open offer will be offered your place.What is the difference between Biology and Biological Sciences? What will my degree be in? What if I want to study Environmental Science? Despite any discrepancies in college prospectuses each of the Oxford colleges offering this course offer Biological Sciences, and your degree will be aBA, Biological Sciences.Essentially I believe it's call Biological Sciences to point out that you will study, for instance, Statistics, which while interfacing with Biology is not in itself Biology.Whatever Biology-related courses you apply for at other universities, at Oxford this will still be considered Biological Sciences - simply if you want to do Environmental Science then you might major in Environment and Plants; if you want to do Epidemiology then you might major in Disease and Cells and so on.

Should I read up on my tutor's research interests before I come to interview? No.

Your interview will be about you, not about them.There may be some time to ask questions at the end, and if you're actually interested in their field then that could be something interesting to ask.But there is no feasible way at 17 or 18 that you can enter into an academic conversation about their research and what you are trying to do will be very obvious.Why am I going to be interviewed at two colleges? Biological Sciences admissions are centralised, which effectively means that nobody makes a decision until after a departmental meeting.

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Each candidate is examined in turn, their chosen college gets first refusal; followed by their second college.

So the second interview may be somewhat like a parachute - partly it gives you a second chance if your first interview was unsatisfactory; but also if your second college thinks you were good enough but has already filled it's quota then your first college or a completely different college may take you.What has Oxford got to offer for the Biological Sciences course that other universities do not? The tutorial system: for almost every topic covered you will be asked to write a 2000 word essay and discuss this and other aspects of the topic for an hour Writing in the Biological Sciences Oxford University Press.What has Oxford got to offer for the Biological Sciences course that other universities do not? The tutorial system: for almost every topic covered you will be asked to write a 2000 word essay and discuss this and other aspects of the topic for an hour.

That means you will have to know and understand the work long before the exam and hence you learn faster and better, and revision is nothing like so much of a challenge.An obscenely good library provision: Zoology Library, Plant Sciences Library, the Hooke lending library, and the RSL (a copywright library - i.it has first refusal on any book published in the UK) Project work: where other universities may offer you anything from a choice of 6 group projects up to one hundred individual projects to choose from, at Oxford it is literally up to you to pick whatever you like and find somebody to supervise you.If it's physically possible, you can do it.What can I do to improve my chances at interview? The only thing that will impress the tutors is your enthusiasm for the subject, and the ease with which you reason through problems.So think about what first got you interested in the subject, and how this has developed through your studies.If you want to do some background reading then the obvious two that a lot of applicants will read areThe Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and New Scientist (which incidentally is a magazine, not a journal - don't make that mistake in your Personal Statement! If your interests lie in a specific area then try to find an introductory text.

The "Instant Notes" series are a good start for complete novices.If you're interested in the Animal Behaviour modules of the course then an Introduction to Behavioural Ecology by Krebs and Davies is a wonderfully readable introduction if you can get it out from your local library.Do I need Chemistry / Maths? The standard Oxford offer states that only Biology A-level is essential.In terms of Maths and Chemistry used in the course very little correlates to A-level.The main advantages of Chemistry are in understanding the movement of polar molecules, and some practical techniques such as using burettes and colorimeters.

The only Maths used is Statistics and this is taught from the starting point of somebody with Maths A-level so neither is essential.However both will be useful; and a great number of other good universities insist upon Chemistry A-level for Biology, so abandoning it completely may restrict your choices for the other four places on your UCAS form.Extra Reading I seem to get a lot of questions about what to read before you come up, or just to prepare for interview.Here's my list of good pop-science books and things that might interest you.Genome' by Matt Ridley Ridley has written several books that are good introductions to various parts of genetics and the genome, but this is the most recent and, in my opinion, the best.

Each chapter is based upon the 'story' of one chromosome and one part of the human character.It's interesting but alsovery well written even for a pop science book.Everybody under the sun reads, or claims to read this book for Biology.I personally never did and thankfully never claimed to, but at some point during your career you "will" read it: so you might as well do it now! Make sure you properly understand it though: you should be able to state Hamilton's Rule, explain eusociality, know what genetic determinism is and so on.

Because it's such a popular read, you're likely to be asked about it if you say you've read it so make sure you're on the ball! Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane If your particular interest lies in biochemistry then this is another popular book, which you should be able to navigate with your A-level knowledge and a bit of common sense.An introduction to animal behaviour by MS Dawkins / An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology by Krebs and Davies If animal biology is more your thing then either of these two books will be a good read.The Dawkins book is the shorter of the two and covers the experiments done to investigate animal behaviour.The Animal Behaviour lecture course is based on the information contained therein.Krebs and Davies is actually a textbook, but quite a small one and very readable.

If it's in a library near you then it's definitely worth reading a chapter or two to glean some information about the weird and wonderful world of behaviour.The Rhythms of Life by Foster and Kreizmann Only attempt if you're feeling brave and like biochemistry.Circadian rhythms are the internal clocks that tell our body when to wake up, when to sleep, when to eat and even when to have sex.They have been documented in mammals, in insects and even in plants.The Rhythms of Life is about the control of the clock by the SCN (suprachiasmatic nuclei).

It's likely to be heavy going so only attempt it if you're feeling brave, but it's short, well explained, and makes for fascinating reading.