Practical laboratory sessions | The University of Edinburgh
My name is Baber Rasheed, I’m a second year
student studying at the University of Edinburgh, and I’m studying Biological Sciences. My
degree programme is made up of lectures, tutorials, practical sessions, as well as independent
study. I will be talking about my experiences in practicals.
For our practical sessions we are given a manual beforehand, and what we’re supposed
to do is read them so that we’re in a fresh state of mind so that we know what we’re
doing in our practical or what experiment we’re conducting and how we would be conducting
it. Our practical sessions are held within laboratories.
There are about sixty to seventy students. We also have a senior demonstrator who leads
the session, and we also have lab assistants who help the students at their benches. What
we do in our practical sessions is we mainly follow and conduct experiments that reinforce
the learning that we’ve learned in our lectures. Asking questions in a practical, I feel, is
a really important aspect. For example if there’s something that I don’t understand
within the experiment protocol, or anything in general, we have a laboratory demonstrator
who is always available for us. She’s always letting us know where she is within the lab
whenever needed. We also have our lab assistants who are working on each bench with us, who
ask us, and also tell us wherever they are, and also they help us whenever needed to.
Our practical sessions enable us to learn a variety of different things. For example,
if there’s something that I don’t understand in a lecture, one ideology or a theory, the
practical gives me an opportunity to reinforce that idea, to learn it again, and also to
ask questions if it’s something that I still don’t understand. I think having practical
sessions has given me a wide variety of amazing skills. For example, I feel like I have been
learning on the go, so I’ve had independent learning skills, I’ve had critical thinking
skills, I’ve been working with other people that I’ve never worked before, so having
communication skills, group working skills, and team working skills.
At the end of our practical session our results are collected. We are normally given a sheet
just to fill in a table, for example, for our results. And then after that, what happens
is a lab demonstrator gets the class together and we go over the experiments, we talk about
the ideologies, the theories behind the experiment. We also talk about and reinforce the learning
that we’ve learned in our lectures as well. The advice I have for potential students who
are wanting to come to the University of Edinburgh to study is that within practical sessions
I would recommend that you definitely read the protocol in advance, and also definitely
ask questions. But most of all, have fun within your practical sessions.