UCC Dentsoc | 1st year
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1st year


First of all, congrats on getting in to the course! You have worked hard to get here and no doubt you will continue to do so 😉

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What to expect

In first and second year your time will be mostly spent in the Brookfield Health Sciences building and main campus and you will also have a small number of lectures in the UCC Dental School and Hospital at CUH. While these years are mainly academic, it is important to remember that a strong foundation in the health sciences is paramount for the understanding of complex dental and medical diseases.

Information on the courses you will be studying can be found here.

Helpful readings

You will be expected to read the core textbooks to supplement your lecture notes. All the books are available in the Library or even online as a PDF version, so don’t rush off and buy them unless you really want to. To get access to CUH library, just go the library reception and ask them to give you a pin code. They will stick this on the back of your student card. There is usually a book sale by older years at the beginning of the year in CUH (you will be emailed about this) where you will be able to get books for much cheaper and also talk to older years on what they found useful. The book shop on main campus also has second hand books so make sure to ask for them!

Biochemistry (only starts after xmas): Blue Lippincott is great for a simplified version of the course. Lehninger is very detailed. It is great for referencing from the library.

Taking the tests

If you have come from the Leaving Cert, you probably are not used to taking MCQ or EMQ style exams. Keep an eye out for sample MCQs which will help you practice for this style of testing and which can guide your study method. It is important to understand the marking system. Many MCQ exams have negative marking, so don’t rush in and answer something if you are not sure. It is ok to say “don’t know” rather than guess, which could be detrimental to your mark.

Make sure you go through the past papers for each module, which can be found on the ucc library website via ” take me to exam papers”. Don’t try to over-predict the questions as leaving out sections of the course is never a good idea and can leave you in a tough spot if your preferred topics don’t appear on the paper.

In the oral exam you will be examined on the DS module with 2-3 members of staff. Typically you will be asked some general questions on materials {contents, uses}, cross-infection control, shown some pictures and asked what it is {ulcer, rampant caries etc.}, among other things. Make sure you know the pictures in the lectures as sometimes these show up. Practice saying answers out loud and try to get together with a small group of people to go through how you would each answer things.

In the event that you fail your summer exams and have to re-sit them in August, we definitely recommend you contact the head of that particular course to ask any questions you have or for advice. It shows that you care and they are generally more lenient during the August repeats.

Keep in mind that if you fail continuous assessments as well as the final exam, many modules will require you to do the written final again in August as well as an oral in place of the CA.

Hints from upper years

There is a printing shop on College Road opposite the main entrance. You can buy your lab coat and glasses here (The glasses you will need for 1st and 2nd year Biochemistry Labs. The lab coat you will need for the next 5 years). Lab coats are also available in Finn’s Corner in town.

Keep an eye out in your UCC emails every day! Make a habit of it, you don’t want to missing out on important information like the cancellation of lectures etc.

Once your Class Rep has been elected you should set up a private class Facebook page. This is great for sharing little bits of information, questions that anyone might have, organising parties etc.

YouTube is very useful, especially for those that prefer to study visually. “Khan Academy” on YouTube was recommended by a current 1st year which is useful for biochemistry.

First year is a great year for long weekends, so any travel bugs should take full advantage of this towards the beginning of the 1st term in particular!

Try your best in the biochem labs, easy 10%!!!

Don’t forget your online assessments, easy marks are lost every year by students who forget these.

Stay connected

Dentsoc don’t want you to feel disconnected from the dental hospital so we will be organising many academic, social and sports events throughout the year. We encourage you to come along to everything and to get to know people from all the years. Keep an eye on this site and your ucc e-mail for details.

We have set up some useful resources for you such as a you tube channel and google drive, so check these out!


Thanks to Andrea Cheung for her helpful input!