National University Of Science & Technology

Faculty Of Medicine

Get Adobe Flash player


Congratulations on being accepted into University and into the MBBS programme. Entry is highly competitive so it is an attestation of your academic potential that you made it through the rigorous entry requirements. You are all capable of great things – you will have ample opportunity to show your lecturers that

Taking notes during lectures

  1.  It is not possible to write all that is said; there is just not enough time. Write the main points. Remember that in science, precision is important.
  2. When taking notes sentences do not have to be complete. However, when writing practical reports, assignments, examinations etc complete sentences are expected.
  3. Subdivide your notes, use 1, 2 , 3  or i, ii, iii or a, b, c etc. This makes reading, revision and completion of the notes easier.
  4. Develop a personal abbreviation system or symbols to represent words – these aid taking down information without being wordy and wasting time. examples 
Symbol interpretation
  to mean ‘equals’ or ‘this means’
  to mean ‘therefore’
   @ to mean ‘each’ or ‘per’ However, note that the slash (/) symbol also means ‘per’
   to mean ‘decrease’ Avoid the word “reduced” as it has a special  meaning in chemistry
  to mean ‘increase’
  to mean larger/greater/more than
  to mean smaller than
   or ‘approx.’ to mean approximate
  to mean ‘leads/leading to’. A double arrow would imply ‘eventually leads to’

Other personal abbreviations can be ‘aa’ for amino acids, NMJ for neuromuscular junction etc etc. Avoid too many such abbreviations as they can be confusing when you are revising.

Remember NEVER use such abbreviations in formal writing. Even standard abbreviations need to be defined when first used, eg adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

5. You may leave gaps, half-finished words or empty lines in your notebooks but these must be filled in immediately after the lecture, eg during tea break or that evening when you read through your notes, which you must do each day.

6. During any lecture do not hesitate to ASK about things that you do not understand. Do NOT be shy; those who laugh at you merely expose their own ignorance and immaturity.

7. Read through your notes each day that you take them; for revision, and/or to fill in the gaps, to check for incongruities/contradictions etc. Borrow a friend’s notes if necessary (but remember that you will understand your own notes best, people think in different ways).

8. Try to attend ALL lectures. At NUST the expected minimal attendance of lectures is 80%. The one vital exam question may come from material that was taught while you were away. If you are unable to avoid being absent from a lecture, you MUST ensure that you ‘catch up’ on the material that you missed. If you were exempted from a lecture your lecturers will be quite willing to assist.

9. Practical laboratory classes are compulsory.

How to study

Individuals have different ways of studying. Some basic guidelines are: 

  1. Always have a timetable for evening study. Devote 2-3 hrs each evening for studying 2-3 subjects. As you approach exam time these study periods should increase in length.
  2. Use the LIBRARY. If there is material that you do not understand,discuss it with your classmates, a friend in the upper years or ask your tutor or your lecturer.
  3. Do some group discussions; be practical about your group study mates, taking into account personality differences.
  4. Plan your social life such that it does not interfere with your studies. This applies especially to your parents, in-laws, siblings, wife/husband, girl/boyfriend. Social activities are secondary to the primary objective of studying. Remember studying lasts only for a few years; socializing lasts the rest of one’s life.
  5. Keep fit, play some games apart from ‘resting’ the mind by socializing. A healthy body gives a healthy mind. Exercise relieves stress and mental fatigue.

University Life 

1. University life is different from High School. At school you had teachers acting in loco parentis and giving guidance which was often enforced with rules and punishment for breaking rules. At University you are considered to be an adult, you are expected to be responsible. You are more on your own; you chart your own path. Sometimes the pace can be fast and one can feel left behind. Make friends with whom you discuss issues, discuss with students in years ahead of you or discuss with your tutors and lecturers. Ensure that your University years are responsible and successful. 

2. The University does have rules but they are not as visible as they were at school where there were prefects enforcing rules. However, for those in Halls of Residence there may be more evidence of ‘rules’. The presence of the janitors, sub-wardens and the wardens may remind you of the boarding masters/mistresses and prefects 

Ordinance 30: This ordinance describes the rules and regulations that govern students. Read the Ordinance carefully and make sure you understand it fully. If there are areas you do not understand do ASK and seek clarification. Do not worry about remembering each and every clause of the Ordinance - it is based on common sense; if you use that you will be within the broad limits of the Ordinance. 

3. Drinking & Extracurricular activities: There are no rules against drinking but there are strict rules about drunkenness. If you have to, drink moderately and at weekends. There are students Societies and Clubs which you are encouraged to join. These range widely; they can be sporting, religious or social. Budget your time wisely and balance such activities to avoid them impinging negatively on your primary mission here at University. 

4. Counselling services at the University: Within departments and faculties, limited confidential counseling services are available by way of students’ advisors who are lecturers. You should develop an acquaintance with your advisor; s/he is your first port of call when you have difficulties. Such lecturers are likely to spot changes in your academic performance which may indicate that you are having problems. They can refer you to the Dept of Student Affairs for in-depth counselling.  See your advisor at least once a semester if you have no problems but more frequently when you have problems. Peer counselling also helps, establish a friend in the upper years who can help with some of your difficulties. 

The Department of Student Affairs offer trained Counselling services and can organize a referral to a psychologist if necessary. 

6. Finance: Budget very carefully because you will invariably have limited funds. Avoid the temptation to live beyond your means and to borrow money. Avoid lending other students money; they tend to be bad debtors!


Good luck with your studies, all best wishes.