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I'm almost finished my second year at St Andrews and I've been in my fair share of departments already. For anyone that doesn't know how the Scottish system works...you pick 3 subjects each semester for first and second year and then at the end of second year you pick your degree choices. Its a great system as its very flexible and you can study a wide range of subjects without committing yourself. I started first year young and optimistic, planning to do English and Psychology joint honours. I chose moral philosophy as my third subject because it sounded quite interesting. Although I had loved English at GCSE and A-Level, I HATED it at uni. The books we had to study were dire and the lecturers were mind-numbingly boring. You were supposed to understand a book after only 1 lecture and you had to read many in quick succession. I never had the chance to get in-depth knowledge of any of the books (had I even wanted to) because everything felt so rushed. Finish one book and on to the next. Some of the books we had to study included Wuthering Heights, King Lear, End Game, Hedda Gabler and Heart of Darkness. So despite all my ambitions to carry English to honours I dropped it at the end of first year. I didn't really like the English department either, as they were not especially responsive to student needs. However, I must admit that I didn't read half the books because I was too lazy and I slept through most of the lectures. I have several friends who all love English but it just wasn't for me... I really enjoyed psychology, as it was interesting and the lectures were funny and stimulating. There was a lot more work involved than in other subjects and I found the statistics almost impossible. If you are not a maths person (like me) yo u may find that stats part of psychology very hard. Psychology is also quite sciencey, all about how the brain works and things which takes ages to learn. But it is fascinating especially the social psychology bit. Psychology is a great department at St Andrews, I think its one of the top in Britain. The teaching staff are excellent and make psychology really enjoyable. Some of the lecturers like Dave Perrot are even world famous. If you ever have any problems they are always willing to help and the Mentoring system which the department runs to help new students is a great idea. And now Philosophy. Well I must have liked Philosophy as I continued it to second year although I can remember being bored out of my skull in some of the history of ethics lectures in first year. BUT I did meet my boyfriend in philosophy so I wouldn't not have done it for the world. The Philosophy department is small and friendly and most of the teaching staff are really nice. It can be a little boring sometimes but its easy to get good marks if you do any work. Its also easy to selectively revise for the exams but I don't think I should tell you that. In the middle of second year I decided to drop psychology as I didn't do very well in my exam and the stress of the stats was too much. I decided to do history instead.....having only done one first year history module this was quite a turn around but the Faculties staff and the people in history did all they could to help. So having dropped psychology and moral philosophy I took 3 history classes. One on the crusades, one on medieval Britain and one on modern Scotland. And I love them, taking up history was the best thing I've done. The departments are great and the subject is fascinating. All the lecturers and tutors I've come across have been great and de dicated to their subject. I'm doing a Single honours history degree next year, which I am really looking forward to. There is such a wide range of classes to choose from and time periods. For instance I'm doing the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust, Bruce and Plantagenat, Bolshevik Revolution and Imperial Constantinople. There is a huge selection of books in the main library and all the department libraries so you're never short of some for an essay. The only big compliant I have is that the history departments don't communicate enough. It was a nightmare filling in forms for Single honours history for exactly this reason :( In conclusion (at last) St Andrews is a great university. It has a wide variety of courses and many highly rated departments including Psychology and History. The system is also very flexible and allows you to change your mind, which is a huge advantage.
I would certainly recommend the biology of orgamisms first year module . The module provides an introduction to basic systems . Concentrating on evolution and the taxonomy of organisms , roles of plants as producers and animals as consumers in marine and terrestrial ecosystems . There is 4 lectures each an hour long , one seminar and a 3hr laboratory each week . Assessment is 50 % continuous assessment and 50% is a 2 hour examination . The laboratory work is both on plant and animal material with a variety of techniques . There is also a field trip to Tentsmeir Forest ( Leuchars) , to look at sand dune formation which is really intersting . This course is fantastic and well worth considering if you like plant and animal biology which incidently i have just graduated in .