Advice for MVST 1A
Homeostasis – physiology

Homeostasis is essentially physiology and during this course you will have lectures on nerve transmission, muscle physiology, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, renal physiology and gastrointestinal physiology. There is a lot to learn and a lot of concepts to learn which lead many to consider this one of the harder subjects in IA.

The lecture notes are very good, and almost textbook chapters themselves. Initially they may seem daunting, with up to 70 pages. But, they are, mostly, very comprehensive and will have all you need to know for the exam, meaning that very little extra reading is required.

There are some suggested textbooks that are worth consulting, such as ‘Medical Physiology’. Personally, I found monographs more useful than this large text book – i.e. textbooks on the individual subjects such as renal physiology. Bear in mind though that the lecture notes are very thorough and you can prepare very well for the exams using only the lecture notes

As with all subjects, there is a practical component to the course. In homeostasis you have weekly practical sessions during the term where you will perform various experiments on aspects of physiology. There is a workbook that you required to complete, and I would recommend being diligent in completing this, as you will need to hand this book in during Easter term as part of the assessment, so make sure you have everything completed at the end of each practical. When I sat the practical exam it was in the format of an MCQ paper about various aspects of the content covered in the practical sessions.

Histology is also a part of physiology. You will have regular histology sessions throughout the year, and these are complemented with online packages that you can work through in preparation for the sessions. There are histology text books, but I would suggest that the information provided to you in the packages is more than adequate. When I sat the exam, you were provided with slides and asked various questions on them, requiring you to identify the tissue, so it is important that you work through the modules as part of your revision.

MIMS – biochemistry

MIMS is biochemistry, and during this course you will learn first about metabolism in a reasonable depth, and then in the second term about DNA and protein synthesis.

In general the lecture notes are very comprehensive and contain everything you need to know. The MCQ paper in particular requires you to be aware of every detail of the lecture content and so it is important that you read everything provided to you very carefully.

Most of the lecture notes make reference to the textbook written by Voet, Voet and Pratt. This is a very detailed text book and I would recommend caution before purchasing the book. The text in general is targeted at a higher level that you are required to learn, and so although it is helpful in some areas, it can make things less clear. There are other textbooks, again on the individual topics that could be consulted for additional information. But do bear in mind that for lectures with comprehensive lecture notes, not much additional reading would be required as long as you can remember everything in the lecture notes.

The practical component of the MIMS examination is the hardest part of first year exams. The best advice I can give for MIMS is to keep up with the practical questions. Make sure you understand everything about them and always do regular practice from the past papers, which no doubt you will do with your supervisor. The papers can be very mathematical and it is important that you have practiced many of them to be prepared for this difficult exam.

FAB – Anatomy

In anatomy, you will learn about all of the structures that make up the human body, from the muscles, through to the coronary arteries. This will be by a combination of cadaveric dissection, reviewing prosections and some medical imaging. The course requires you to learn a lot and it is important that you keep up with the material during the term as it is difficult to learn everything for the first time in the holidays.

You will have two dissection sessions a week. Each session is accompanied by a chapter in a dissection manual that you will be provided with at the start of the course. I would advise that you spend some time and read through the dissection manual and maybe write a few notes before each dissection session because it is helpful to have an idea of what is going on when you get there because if you know what you are looking for and what you are meant to be doing, it is easier to get on with it. And maybe read over it again after the session to consolidate your knowledge. There is a lot to learn for anatomy and it requires a reasonable amount of effort to learn the material well.

I would definitely advise getting a copy of an anatomy atlas, such as the McMinns Atlas because this will help you a lot to visualise the anatomy and will be very useful when it comes to revising for the steeplechase because you will be seeing basically the same things. (In the steeplechase exam you basically have multiple stations with prosections (like those in the atlas) and radiographs with pins in and you have to identify what the pin was in and maybe answer a question about the structure)

There are a lot of useful web resources that can supplement your learning, for example a good website for learning muscles is: It is very useful – it shows a picture of each muscle and tells you its attachments and actions.

The text book I used for anatomy was the clinically orientated anatomy by Moore and Dalley. (This is very useful for essays) It goes into more detail than you need to know but it has some good diagrams.

The embryology content of FAB can be tricky to understand. There are some really good websites with notes and even presentations from other universities etc that can be consulted. I would not recommend buying a developmental/embryological text book because you don’t need to learn the subject to a great depth for FAB.


Sociology is a subject that is added on to the IA course, and the exam is at the end of the second term. There are some lectures on the subject material, and also online resources. The content of the sociology course can seem dry, but it is an exam you need to pass and so you should dedicate time to preparing for it. There is a textbook on Medical Sociology by Scambler which is the recommended text. It is definitely important to obtain this book and read through it in preparation for the exam. The exam when I sat it involved writing two short essays, and so you do need to know the material to a reasonable depth.


ISBM is another short course component of IA which is examined at the same time as sociology at the end of the second term. This is essentially an introduction into medical statistics and epidemiology. There are some lectures you should attend. The exam when I sat it was a short MCQ paper. Again, you are required to pass the exam so it is important that you dedicate some time to learning the content


Homeostasis (HOM)
This is a copy of my answers for the first HOM worksheet Worksheet 1
This is a copy of my answers for the second HOM worksheet Worksheet 2
This is a copy of my answers for the third HOM worksheet Worksheet 3
This is a copy of my answers for the fourth HOM worksheet Worksheet 4
This is a table comparing the sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the ANS ANS comparison
Molecules in Medical Science (MIMS)
Essay plan for a discussion of the mitochondrial ATP synthesising enzyme F0F1 ATPase
Essay plan for a discussion of why less than 4% of DNA codes for functional genes Junk DNA
Functional Architecture of the Body (FAB)
A clinical essay based on a history of lower right quadrant pain Appendicitis
An essay discussing the development of the pancreas and other clinical details Pancreas
An essay discussing the development of the thyroid and other clinical details Thyroid gland
An essay discussing the anatomy of the inguinal canal Inguinal canal
A brief introduction to the differences between the male and female pelvic bones Pelvis
A presentation about ageing and the nervous system Ageing
An introduction to peptic ulcer disease Peptic ulcer
An introduction to peptic ulcer disease, presented as a flow diagram Peptic ulcer 2