Motivational thoughts in build up to exams

March 6, 2015

LSHTM logoI hate to say it but we are moving closer to exam time, the most important part of the year for all distance learning students. No matter how big or small sacrifices have felt over the past year, the sacrifices have been made and they deserve a reward at the end. For some this is the last chance saloon where failure is not an option. So here are some thoughts to inspire you through to the end. I could have written study tips but there are enough already online.

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Epidemiology at 50: Thinking about what matters

December 16, 2014

LSHTM logoIt has been eight months since my last post, which I wrote when I was about to dive into the intense exam prep period of my second year in the MSc epidemiology distance learning program. Exams for my three classes (EPM303, epidemiology of non-communicable diseases, EPM202, Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, and EPM304, Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology) went well, helped by the fact that I’d gone through LSHTM exams once already and knew what to expect. The basics—create a realistic exam prep schedule and stick to it, do a dry run to the exam center so you know where it is and how long it takes to get there, and sleep well the night before—were no different. The only thing that had changed was that I parenthetically turned 50 the day before the first exam.

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Reactions to my return to study

December 5, 2014

New blogger Mustafa

New blogger Mustafa

Hello, Welcome to my new blog. I hope to provide you with a weekly distraction from your studies which will lift your spirits, make you laugh and think ‘he is a idiot, I won’t read his blog again’ all in a few seconds. However, you will read my blog again to see what rubbish I have written so you can complain to your friends (and of course your secretly enjoying what I say you just can’t admit it to yourself).

I currently work for a pharmaceutical company in London and it is a different experience to any I have had in the past. The key difference is that in my past jobs almost everyone I met had been an undergraduate or postgraduate student. Whereas now I work with people from a variety of backgrounds who are mainly doing the job because they need the job. As well as being a distance learning student on the MSc Epidemiology, I have fellowships and memberships to a number of institutes which I am active with. Read the rest of this entry »

Epidemiology at 49: It All Depends On What You Want to Know

April 9, 2014

LSHTM logoSo I’m gradually approaching the exam segment of the second year of my pursuit of an MSc in Epidemiology. It feels like someone has been speaking Greek to me for months (otherwise known as EPM202 and EPM304) and – all of a sudden, I can understand (at least a little more) what is being said.

How do you decide on the best strategy for answering a research question?

Newsflash: It depends on what you want to know!

I know this will come as a shock to all those epidemiologists out there…But that phrase the tutors have been patiently repeating for months is (deep breath)…true.

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Epidemiology at 49 – A bump in the road

February 13, 2014

LSHTM logoSo after Christmas I encountered my biggest bump thus far in my road to an MSc in Epidemiology. Its name is “Using Stata [a data analysis software] to Perform Conditional Logistic Regression” and it is a fearsome beast. It is closely related to the creature “Using Stata to Do Pretty Much Anything” and both of them really had me down for a while.

Warning sign: Mass Confusion AheadI am attempting to study simultaneously two statistics courses (EPM202, Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, and EPM304, Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology) that are not meant to be treated so flippantly. Indeed, one should be completed before the other is attempted. I have more or less achieved this, since I have finished the coursework and FA for EPM202—but I’m cutting it rather close, as I have still only completed three sessions of EPM304. Not to mention taking two other courses this year, and my work, and my kids. I feel the pressure! So it wasn’t great that I got stuck on my second practical for EPM304—for weeks.

So, what was so hard about the 304 Practical 2, and how is it that I find myself more or less on the other side of it today?

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Epidemiology at 49: Six tips for getting organised (and happy holidays!)

December 19, 2013

LSHTM logoI don’t know if I am kidding myself, but studying is easier this year. Perhaps it’s just that I have yet to tackle any of the assignments. I’m in the second year of what has become the pursuit of an MSc in Epidemiology, though it started out as just a one-year post-graduate certificate. I’d hoped to complete the MSc in two years but bowed to the reality of family and other non-study commitments. So I’m doing it in three instead. This year, I’m taking another quartet of classes: two required courses (EPM 202, Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, and EPM 201, Study Design: Writing a Grant Application) and two electives.

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Epidemiology at 49: Getting back on the horse — every single day

October 22, 2013

LSHTM logoSo the second year of my expected three-year course of study has officially begun. I successfully switched my registration from the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Epidemiology to the MSc, and registered for four classes this year—the same load I was able to manage last year. Due to course requirements and the due dates of various assignments, I am only working on two classes from now through mid-December: Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (EPM202) and Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases (EPM303). By the New Year I will have to add the remaining two courses.

I had a lovely month off from studies in September, which gave me time to catch up on my research (on stillbirth and neonatal death classification systems) and help my three boys with the start of the school year. Though I received all my course materials well in advance, I decided not to open them until the official start to the academic year, on October 1.

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