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If you're embarking on your first year of University study you probably have a few questions!

The AskOtago Service Portal on the University of Otago website can answer your questions about the following:

  • Application and enrolment
  • Study dates for the year
  • eVision
  • Timetables for lectures and laboratories
  • Preliminary Lectures
  • Course Approval – process and venues
  • Timetable clashes
  • Finding your way around campus

Here are a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) about starting Health Science First Year (HSFY):

How do I Course Approve?

Please read the Course Approval FAQs on the University of Otago website

What is the English Diagnostic Test?

Please refer to the Health Sciences English Diagnostic Test FAQs on the School of Arts English and Linguistics website

Do I have to keep to my preliminary lecture time?

Yes. You must keep to the preliminary lecture time you have been allocated.

The St David Lecture Theatre, where the Preliminary Lectures for HSFY take place, holds a maximum of 500 people. However, the total intake of HSFY students can be triple this number.

Do I have to go to the lecture and laboratory stream times I have been allotted?

Yes. You must keep to the lecture and laboratory times you have been streamed into, unless you have a timetable clash (please see the Enrolment FAQs above).

HSFY is a very large class, and streaming everyone into times that do not clash with other papers is a huge task.

If you discover that you have a clash with something outside the University, you will need to visit the paper's course administrator. Please note that you will need to provide a valid reason, and physical proof as to why you cannot attend at this time.

Re-streaming information will be available on Blackboard at the start of semester 1 and semester 2.

How do I find my semester 1 timetable for HSFY?

Once you have completed course approval, your timetable will be available in your eVision portal and is usually finalised on the Friday before formal lectures commence.

Study timetable information on the University of Otago website

When are the HSFY progress tests?

There are progress tests for all HSFY papers, which form part of each paper's overall grade. HSFY students receive all of these dates during the preliminary lecture, and they will also be available on Blackboard.

The tests are on the following dates:

Semester 1, 2024

  • HUBS191 Test 1, Saturday 13 April
  • CELS191 Saturday 20 April
  • PHSI191 Wednesday 24 April
  • CHEM191 Saturday 27 April
  • HUBS191 Test 2, Saturday 18 May

Semester 2, 2024

  • HUBS192 Test 1, Saturday 17 August
  • POPH192 Test 1, Essay due Friday 23 August
  • BIOC192 Saturday 14 September
  • POPH192 Test 2, Friday 27 September
  • HUBS192 Test 2, Saturday 5 October

When do I have to choose the optional eighth paper for HSFY?

HSFY students can do an optional eighth paper in semester 2.

  • You do not need to decide about this until the end of semester 1
  • You can add your optional eighth paper via the online change request form
  • A HSFY Handbook will be available via Blackboard for you to refer to throughout the year

Should I bring anything to the HSFY preliminary lecture?

Please bring a pen and paper to the preliminary lecture (as there will be important dates and names to write down).

Can I ask questions during the HSFY lectures?

Yes, you can ask questions during any HSFY lecture. However, due to the large class-size, you may feel a little embarrassed putting up your hand or interrupting the lecturer.

If you don't manage to ask a question during lecture, you can contact the course convenors/lecturers directly, or visit them during their office hours, and they will be happy to help you.

Can I buy older editions of HSFY prescribed course textbooks?

Yes, for some HSFY papers you can buy older editions of the prescribed HSFY course textbooks. However this varies from paper to paper. You will be told during the preliminary lecture which editions are allowable for each HSFY paper.

Visit the University Book Shop website for a list of the prescribed / recommended course textbooks and their editions.

How do I find a tutor for HSFY papers?

To find a tutor for HSFY papers you can:

  • Check Blackboard
  • Talk to HEDC Student Learning Development
  • Approach the Course Administrator
  • Ask your laboratory demonstrators if they do any tutoring work, or know someone else who does

Should I buy some old HSFY lecture notes I've seen for sale?

No. It is not a good idea to buy old HSFY lecture notes or study materials as they can be counter-productive to assisting with your studies.

Everything you need in order to pass HSFY is given to you in your lectures.

How do I get a lab coat?

You can purchase a lab coat from the Visitors' Centre, either in store or online at Alternatively, you can look for one second-hand (please check noticeboards for this).

I've heard that HSFY is a tough year—do you have any tips for success?

HSFY can be a busy and demanding year. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your success:

  • Remember that the preparation and study that you do outside of lectures and laboratories is crucial to your success, the following resources are useful in helping with this:
  • Get into a study routine straight away
    • Spend a bit of time before lectures and laboratories pre-reading the subject matter that will be covered
  • Take charge of your own learning and form a study group (3-6 students) with other HSFY students
    • In addition to aiding your learning, this will teach you invaluable teamwork skills
  • Make use of resources such as HEDC Student Learning Development, and Blackboard
  • If you start struggling, please get in contact with paper convenors as soon as you can—please do not wait until the end of the semester, as that may be too late

Please contact the Health Sciences Admissions Office if you have any further questions about the HSFY Programme.

What are my options for withdrawing from HSFY?

Before the last day to withdraw from semester 1 / semester 2 papers

If you wish to withdraw from HSFY before the last day to withdraw from semester 1 / semester 2 papers, you will need to complete a Change of Course.

If you are withdrawing due to exceptional circumstances, you will also need to complete an application for withdrawal under exceptional circumstances.

Please note, re-enrolment in HSFY following a withdrawal will require special permission. Applications for re-enrolment will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking account of the reasons for the withdrawal, the timing of the withdrawal, and whether any other study has been undertaken in the intervening period.

If you are considering other university study before re-enrolling in HSFY, please contact AskOtago, as you could risk your eligibility to re-enter the programme.

After the last day to withdraw from semester 1 / semester 2 papers, under exceptional circumstances

If you wish to withdraw after this date, under exceptional circumstances, there are two parts to this process:

Part one

You will need to complete an application for withdrawal under exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are generally referred to as one of the following:

  • Illness or accident
  • Bereavement
  • Other special circumstances beyond a student's control

Part two

To be admitted to the HSFY course, the applicant must not have studied any university degree-level papers that include a subject that is the same, similar to, or contains significant portions of any of the prescribed HSFY papers. Therefore, re-entry to HSFY can only be permitted in exceptional cases where evidence of serious impairment for the duration of time in the programme can be provided.

To request approval to re-enter HSFY you will need to forward a copy of your application for withdrawal under exceptional circumstances to AskOtago.

Documentation is assessed by the Director of HSFY.

What do I do if I am impaired during HSFY?

Contact Student Health Services and/or the Health Sciences Admissions Office, and let your paper coordinators know as soon as possible.

How do I apply for Special Consideration for final exams?

You may be able to apply for Special Consideration for final examinations if you have suffered unexpected and significant impairment.

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