Today, Willow is going to tell you about part of the Biochemistry course at Oxford: labs.
Science subjects at Oxford have labs as part of the degree to develop techniques and see what is being studied in the rest of the course, in a practical context. As a first year Biochemist, I generally have one lab a week for around 3-5 hours. The practical is clearly laid out in the subject handbook (each subject has their own 'handbook' with all the information you need about your course!), but there are always demonstrators on hand to help and to answer any questions.
One good thing about labs is that it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, as it can often be fixed and is part of learning about the technique. Everyone joins the course with a different level of practical experience, so it is taught from a basic level, and your lab partner may know how to do one thing and in turn you can then help them with something else.
In first year and later years of the Biochemistry course, there are also computer modelling practical labs, to gain skills in using different software and to help with understanding the content of the lecture courses.
One of the highlights of the Biochemistry course at Oxford (and something that I am looking forward to) is that in our 4th year, we join a research lab, generally in Oxford, and undertake a research project led by the lab. This offers a great chance to experience and undertake real scientific research and contribute to a research groups.
Overall, labs are a key but small part of the first three years of the biochemistry degree, learning different techniques and how they link into the content covered in the rest of the course. They are also something which you can really enjoy!