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Frequently Asked Questions



Will I be launched into labs straight away?

The first few laboratory sessions you do are taster labs designed to get you used to being in the lab and using the equipment. These are not assessed.

What do I do before labs?

Before each lab you will have to complete a pre-lab, this is a short quiz consisting of a few safety/knowledge-based questions. These contribute to your final mark and need to be passed in order for you to enter the lab. The pass mark is 80% and you get three attempts, your highest-grade counts. If you fail a prelab or do not complete the relevant prelab before the lab session, the deadline is 11pm the night before the lab, you will not be allowed to take part in the session and will gain a zero grade for that lab. 


You also need to fill in your lab book with the safety information of the chemicals you are using i.e. any hazards and the volumes of the chemicals you are using. You will also be expected to have drawn out any tables you will fill in during the lab. You may be denied access to the lab if you have not done this. You will have further instruction on what to do from the department before you do any practical work. 

What about during labs? Am I expected to make mistakes?

On the day of your lab you turn up to the lab floors slightly before you are admitted and sign in and when your demonstrator is ready you may enter the lab. All your personal belongs except what you need in labs (remember your ID card as the labs are card access) go into lockers that require £1 to lock. Always remember your lab coat and safety specs! The labs are designed to develop your practical skills in the lab; mistakes are an important part of this development but don't worry, your demonstrator is here to help you improve your experimental skills. However, you may be marked down if your fume hoods are untidy, you break several pieces of equipment or you have no idea what you're doing. There is no deposit for glassware as it is expected that accidents can and do occur. Importantly remember that the demonstrators are there to help you, so ask them for help if you have questions and this will not affect your mark. 

What if I’m late?

If you are late there is a ten-minute curfew, if you arrive outside of this you may not be allowed into the lab. Try to be on time! 

What do I do after labs?

Each lab will be assessed via a "skills-in lab" assessment whereby you will be asked a few questions an academic in a conversation style which shall be assessed. As of Oct 2018, this will be the primary assessment method for year 1 as postlabs have been removed. There are also 2 large lab reports at the end of term 1 and at the start of term 2 based on your choice of 2 research labs out of 3. 

Reports must be submitted on time as you can be docked marks depending on how late it is, unless you have acceptable reasons for lateness of non-submission such as illness etc.



Who do I go to with questions or for help?

Any questions about the course can usually be answered by the Year 1 handbook found on moodle, if not answered by the handbook they can be sent to either 

• Questions about a specific module can be directed to one of your lecturers or the module leader.

• Your personal tutor will be happy to answer any queries about the course or concerns you may have.

• For any pastoral help contact one of the senior tutors: Dr. Ann Dixon,, Dr.            David Fox,, Dr Rebecca Notman,

• Other pastoral or medical help can be found through the Student Support Services, here or the on campus health centre, here.

• Other information regarding and links regarding student wellbeing can be found on the ChemSoc Website 

• Questions regarding modules or help with the course can also be directed to your mentor 



What is moodle?

Moodle is an online system where most of the course information is kept and where most of your work is submitted. It is a first stop shop for anything you need relating to the course. It is accessed using your University login details given to you by IT services on registration.

Degree Streams


Are there differences between the degree streams?

In the first year and second years there are no differences between the Chemistry (BSc or MChem) and Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (BSc or MChem) degree streams. Third year introduces optional modules alongside core modules, more details can be found on Moodle. Some students may opt for a placement year during their third year. Alternatively students can have a sandwich year in industry between their second and third years.

Can I change degree streams?

The simple answer is yes, you will need to talk to your personal tutor and fill out a “Course Transfer Request Form” online. But for the first two years the two streams are exactly the same, so you don't have to decide until the end of year 2. 

CATS and Assessment


How am I assessed in first year?

• You are assessed in every non-intro lab across five areas on a five point scale. You must complete two lab reports at the end of term 1 and the start of term 2 (see “What do I do after labs?”).

• You are assessed at the end of the year with an exam in all of the core modules (Introduction to Organic Chemistry, Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry and Introduction to Physical Chemistry). 

• You will also complete some assessed work for the three taught modules  

You must pass every module in first year. The pass mark for the three taught modules is 40%. You must pass labs with 75%, you will not be able to continue if you do not pass labs. 

There are resits in September if you do not meet the minimum grade (40%).

What is the CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme)?

Student explanation
CATS are effectively the credit points you earn throughout your degree and are used as a way to make different degrees comparable. They are also used to weight each module and indicate how much time you should spend per module i.e. 1 CATS = 10 hours of learning (lectures, personal study etc) There are a minimum of 120 CATS in a year (any more and you are overloaded (“overCATed”)).
University explanation
Find a link to the appropriate page in the Year 1 handbook, here



What about text books and lab coats?

Three core textbooks (E-books) are given to you by the department for free:
• Organic Chemistry - Clayden
• Shriver and Atkins’ Inorganic Chemistry - Atkins
• Atkins’ Physical Chemistry - Atkins
Useful books will be mentioned throughout the year that you may want to buy or borrow from the library. Lots of books are also available as ebooks from Encore on the Library website. Each module should have a reading list or text list, you can find this either on the module proposal from on Moodle or on the library website.

A set of lab coats and safety specs are given to you by the department. A molecular modelling kit is also provided.

Do you recommend any books?
• Guidebook to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry - Sykes
• Spectroscopic Methods in Organic Chemistry - Fleming



What about accommodation?

How do I apply?  


The first step to applying for your accommodation at Warwick comes once you have selected Warwick as your firm or insurance choice. For your first year, almost all students are given on campus accommodation. If not, there are still Warwick owned and managed accommodation available in the areas surrounding the university (so don’t worry, you won’t be far off from campus!). 


What are my options? 


You are able to view all the different accommodation blocks that Warwick offer on campus online. Warwick offers a variety of different student halls, differing in let-lengths, cost, bathroom facilities, numbers of students per kitchen amongst others. Hence, it is important that you browse through all the options online, and consider which factors are most important to you. Also bear in mind that all accommodation halls at Warwick are self-catered (do not fret – campus does have restaurants and cafés on site for those days when you really don’t want to cook!).  


When can I apply? 


Late July/Early August The application form for accommodation is available for you to complete around the end of July/ beginning of August – the accommodation is not allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Instead, on the form, you select at least 5 halls of residence of your choice, in descending order of preference. You are also able to complete details like the type of people you would ideally like to live with (quiet/ loud/outgoing people) and what type of person you are. Warwick accommodation really try to take all these factors into consideration to ensure you get the best accommodation for you personally. Most people are lucky and get either their first or second choice, depending on the given availability each year. 

When will my accommodation be confirmed?

Early/Mid-September You should then hear from Warwick after Results Day, around early September, to confirm your allocated accommodation. You will receive these details via email, so keep your eyes peeled for the updates. Most accommodation blocks have their own Facebook group for you to join prior to joining Warwick to allow you to get to know the people you will be living with – it’ll also be something to keep you occupied with whilst you impatiently wait to start uni!


When can I move in/pick up keys?

You will be able to pick up your keys and move in from the Saturday before your first day of term. For the ‘move in weekend’, students are designated either the Saturday or Sunday to move in, however, if for some reason you can’t make the day you are allocated, just drop Warwick accommodation an email – they will take your reason into consideration and almost always will allow you to switch days. The location to pick up your keys varies for each hall of residence – it will be specifically mentioned on your accommodation confirmation where you will be able to pick up your keys. If on the day, you get a bit lost or confused, there will be many Welcome Tents and student ambassadors to point you in the right direction. If in doubt, you can also visit Senate House on main campus, which is the main hub for all things accommodation related. 


Can I change halls?

If you are really unhappy with the halls of residence that you have been allocated there is the possibility of being relocated after Week 3 at a cost of £35 but you need someone to swap with. However, this is only granted to students with a genuine reason causing them discomfort or unhappiness in their allocated halls. As mentioned previously, all Warwick accommodation is of great standard, and generally has pretty great facilities; most students who were not allocated their first choice accommodation grow to love their halls of residence anyway!

Mac Users


Can I use Mac or other Apple devices?

Yes, quite a lot of the academics and students use Mac based operating systems and get along just fine. 




The university provides a step-by-step guide to putting your timetable in Calendar on your Apple device using a code acquired from your Tabula (a page with all your details on).  




It is possible to set your Warwick email up on your iPhone or other Apple device. You can set your Warwick email up to forward all messages to your personal email e.g an iCloud or Gmail that is on your Apple device. 




You can partition your Mac and run windows as a separate operating system. The software recommended by some of the academics is VirtualBox and fairly easy to setup. You will require a copy of which ever operating system you want to run on either a USB or a CD. This will then allow you to use all the NMR software you will use in Year 2 on your Mac. The University also provides Microsoft-based computers on which all the required software can be found. This means you may have to put aside sometime in the library to use the required software. 




Can either be done through a University system or via mobile printing (pull printing) by converting files into PDF format. 

Useful Links


Can you recommend any useful websites?

Sigma-Aldrich - - Useful for looking up safety data in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

Web of Knowledge - - A database for most research papers and publications

Chem 605 NMR Spectroscopy - - A database for NMR data - - A 1H NMR predictor

Easy Citation Generator - - A website that will produce a citation (Mendeley and Endnote can also do this)

Mobile Printing -

What if I have other questions?

We know you are bound to have loads of questions so here are some useful links and people to contact below:
• Our Freshers Group Chat are great places to meet people in your year and ask the exec any questions you may have!
• Contact the President, Emily Williams or Vice President, Charlotte Robb
Alternatively fill out the form below and we'll put you in contact with the right person.

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