Advice for MVST 1B
Neuroscience and Human Behaviour

The first term is about sensory and motor systems like vision, hearing, and somato-sensation. The second term is about higher functions of the brain such as emotion, language, as well as some psychology – particularly schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.

It seems like neuro has the most lectures of all the courses in the second year. Most of the lecture notes are comprehensive requiring minimal additional reading to understand the concepts. The text book I used was ‘Neuroscience’ by Bear et al. I thought that this book was very good, and it had most things in it. Especially good, I thought, was the section on vision. I think that the book would be sufficient for most of the course, and I think it was £25 which is quite cheap compared to similar books.

The exam was an hour short answer paper and a two hour essay paper. (3 out of a choice of ~9 – so it is good for choice)

The neuro course has practical sessions, similar to physiology in the first year. We had a 30 minute exam on this, with three 10 minute questions. The exam was very much based on the practical book, but I don’t think that it was that difficult if you knew the practicals.

There are also a series of neuroanatomy sessions. Similar to dissection of the first year, but much fewer demonstrators and you are basically left to look at things on your own. Again there was a 30 minute exam which took the form of a steeplechase, but the exam was based on photos rather than wet specimens.

Mechanism of Drug Action – Pharmacology

The course is separated into 4 main areas – pharmacology of: the autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular and renal system, chemotherapy and inflammation. In addition there are some medic only (and vet only) lecture series. There are also two lecture series on practical pharm – binding and pharmacokinetics – which were the first lectures of the Michaelmas and Lent terms respectively.

For the main lectures, the handouts on the whole were quite comprehensive and included all that you would be expected to know. To aid your learning of the drug names (of which there are many that need to be learnt over the year), the department publishes a list of all drugs you should learn about. For the MCQ and practical paper, you will only be expected to know the drugs on this list. Of course, to write good essays it would be wise to learn other drugs mentioned in the notes, but not on the list.

The advised text book for the course if ‘Pharmacology’ , Rang, Dale, Ritter and Moore. This is a very good book with all you need to know for all of the MODA lectures as well as the CNS pharmacology (in Neuro)

The exam is a 1 hour true false, negatively marked, MCQ test with 25 questions each with 5 parts. The essay paper gives a choice of 3 out of ~7.

The practical exam is quite difficult, and is similar to the practical MIMS paper. There are two compulsory questions, each an hour. There are three types of questions of which two are examined – binding, pharmacokinetics and trace analysis. For binding and pharmacokinetic questions there were seminars when the maths involved was introduced and example questions were demonstrated. The best advice is to make sure that you get plenty of practice at doing the questions. This should be a major part of your supervisions. If not, make sure you take the initiative to practice the questions – it is probably the hardest IB exam, and MODA is probably the subject in which the most people fail the 2nd MB.

Biology of Disease

The course is basically divided into: inflammation, immunity, virology, parasitology, bacteriology, cancer and atherosclerosis. The department produce a booklet with all of the lecture notes for the term, and you will need to go to the department to pick it up – they are not available outside the lectures. The notes are very comprehensive for almost all of the lectures.

There is not really a specific text book covering the course. However, you can find good books on each of the subjects, such as immunology. Bear in mind though that these books tend to go into a lot more detail than is required for the purpose of IB pathology and you may find yourself reading a lot of detail that you don’t need to know.

The exam is a one hour negatively marked true/false MCQ paper. The exam has about 55 questions with 5 statements in each that have to be marked true or false – over double the number of the MODA paper. The essay paper is probably the worst for choice as you need to choose 3 from 5.

There are two two hour practicals a week. They follow the lecture courses. There is histopathology (looking at slides of various pathological processes), immunology and virology practicals (involving performing experiments), bacteriology (looking at various species and tests to allow identification) and problem based learning (where there are scenarios with pictures etc… and questions to work through) These four main sections are examined in a two hour exam – four questions, one on each section, unequally weighted. NOTE: THE PARASITOLOGY PRACTICALS ARE NOT EXAMINED IN THE PRACTICAL EXAM (although obviously this may change).

Human Reproduction

This course looks at endocrinology and various aspects of reproduction, pregnancy and parturition. In addition, there are lectures on medical ethics and law.

The course starts later than the others, at the end of Michaelmas term. The handouts reference sections from the suggested text book ‘Essential reproduction’. The textbook compliments the lectures and handouts and it is worth obtaining the book for this course.

The text book suggested for the Law and ethics lectures: ‘Medical ethics and Law – the core curriculum’ Tony Hope et al, I found to be very useful to help understand some of the cases and especially the ethical theories.

The exam was a 60 question multiple choice (not negatively marked). The essay paper required 2 from 5.

There are several practicals. The first two similar to histology, and the final practical was looking at macroscopic specimens. The practical exam was a one hour ‘steeplechase’ of 20 stations each with three questions. For the exam it is important that you can recognise the histology shown in the practicals – however there are no CAL modules as for histology so unless you find a book, the only time you get to see the slides is in the practicals. I would strongly advise looking at the poster demonstrations in the third practical as there were several questions based on them in the exam. Also they advise us to look at the first year histology modules on endocrine glands. This too is important as there were a lot of questions on electron micrographs and slides from the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal gland in the exam.


Neuroscience and Human Behaviour
A list of definitions of some common neurological disorders Disorders
A drug list for Central Nervous disorders including epilepsy, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety and others CNS pharmacology
Mechanisms of Drug Action
Drug lists

I recommend that you create your own lists or drug cards to assist your own learning as this is one of the harder components of MODA. There are a lot to learn and you will not pass MODA without realising this early. Below are the lists I created when learning MODA myself, and are sometimes useful to others as a guide – but should not be relied upon unless you have a photographic memory!

A useful list of definitions of terms and equations particularly useful for binding calculations Definitions
A list of drugs from various lecture courses, but in particular the first series on binding and ion channels Miscellaneous
A list of drugs from the ANS lectures. This list describes drugs acting on both pre and postsynaptic cholinergic transmission Cholinergic
A list of drugs from the ANS lectures. This list describes drugs acting on the adrenergic transmission of the sympathetic nervous system and some central receptors Adrenergic
A list of drugs from the cardiovascular and renal lectures. Drugs used for various conditions including angina, dysrhythmias, cardiac failure, hypertension as well as diuretics Cardiovascular
A list of drugs from the Anthelmintic lectures. Drugs targeting various novel targets with the hope of being specific … Antihelminthics
A list of drugs from chemotherapy lectures. Drugs including antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiplasmodial, antitubercular and anticancer compounds Chemotherapy
A list of drugs from inflammation and immune suppression lectures. Including COX inhibitors, glucocorticoid agonists, calcineurin inhibitors and antihistamines. Inflammation
Lecture summaries
Lecture series 1 – Drug interactions, introduction to binding as well as receptor transduction Lecture series 1
Lecture series 2 – Introduction to the Autonomic system Lecture series 2
Lecture series 3 – Cardiovascular pharmacology Lecture series 3
Lecture series 4 – Renal pharmacology AND anti-helminth drugs Lecture series 4
A selection of MCQs on the drugs in first term’s lectures First term MCQs
Lecture series 6 – Chemotherapy Lecture series 6
Lecture series 7 – Pharmacology of immunosuppression and inflammation Lecture series 7
  A selection of MCQs on the drugs in second term’s lectures Second term MCQs
Biology of Disease
Useful summary of the immunological and virological techniques carried out in the practicals, examined in part two of the BOD exam Techniques
Human Reproduction
A summary of the production, release, regulation and effects of growth hormone Growth hormone