So with my last exam just around the corner, the first year of Human Nutrition & Dietetics (BSc) at Cardiff Met is drawing to a close.
Between receiving my offer and starting the course I was really keen to find out as much as poss about the coming year, but there just wasn’t that much available. So I’ve put together this post for all you keen beans with my top tips for year one on a dietetics degree, what books to buy (and not buy) and I’ll share some of my resources and inside knowledge.
Don’t buy all the books on the reading list!
Seriously, the reading lists have books in them that your lecturers only really want you to read one chapter from and they’ll usually let you know. Don’t waste your money; especially because they’re probably available in the Library for free.
(You can search the Cardiff Met catalogue by googling ‘MetSearch’.).
If you want to get some books that you’ll get lots of use out of, I recommend the three below:
This is the first book I got when I was offered my place on the course and I cannot recommend it enough, it is fantastic. It’s not a book that you will write in depth assignments from, but it is incredibly useful to look things up quickly. I keep mine in my bag and it will definitely be coming on placement with me.
It has so many quick tools in it too, like carbohydrate exchanges and a BMI chart etc.
This is my favourite textbook (wow, never thought I’d say that..)
I just really like how the contents is laid out, it’s really easy to find things and it explains everything clearly. There are lots of other nutrition textbooks out there, and I do recommend test driving a couple from the university library. When I realised this one was best for me, I bought a hard copy because I learn best from a physical copy and I like to highlight text and make notes in the margins.
Mine is a slightly older version, which is also totally fine.
Human anatomy and physiology is a big part of year one on the Dietetics and Nutrition courses at Cardiff Met. It’s also a subject that kind of underpins everything we learn. Getting a handle on some of the key principals will be a really good use of your time over the summer.
The module picks up where A-level biology finishes and so you’ll be expected to understand things like cell membranes.
In particular familiarise yourself with
- Cells – structure and function
- Cardiovascular system
- Nerve cells and signalling
- The respiratory system
This is the one that works best for me and even though you don’t have to buy this exact book, a general anatomy and physiology textbook would be good. (You can also get them second hand which makes them much cheaper) and there are some available free as PDF online.
3. Biochemistry – Any Book
I think Biochemistry is the subject people tend to find the most difficult in term one. Once you get your head around some basic principals things really start clicking into place and it’s not so bad after all. If you prefer a hard copy of a text book I do recommend picking a biochem text book up second hand. Cardiff Met have got their own copy that is specifically designed for their modules – they will give you the info for it in the first few weeks.
Have a study plan
This one took me a while to get sorted. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just turning up to all of your lectures is the hard part! Have a strategy for note taking and make your own resources for learning.
You need to learn and understand everything that is taught in lectures so try your best to stay on top – Dietetics moves quickly and there’s lots of content.
a note on note taking…
The best way to take notes (imo) is to start BEFORE your lecture. There’s little point in trying to type or write everything that is said in the lecture because most of it is provided in a powerpoint anyway.
Personally I print off the slides the night before (4 to a page) and then jot down any little extras in the lecture. If I have my computer, I just add notes to the digital presentations and then print them out. After the lecture, I try to review the content and expand by reading the relevant textbook chapters and finding some supporting reading.
Make your own resources:
Getting into the habit of making your own resources will stand you in good stead on this course. Make simple worksheets to test your knowledge as you go; this will really cement your learning and make exams a breeze.
I’ve included some of my resources below and I do eventually plan to provide them on a separate page of the site. In the meantime, if you want copies of the worksheets then drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the BDA as a student member. It’s free for the first year and you can get loads of resources and easy access to their awesome food fact sheets.
One of the best things about dietetics is that it’s a relatively small profession, and everyone is always happy to chat. As well as joining the BDA, join your local branch (for us it’s BDA South Wales branch) and follow local dietetic departments on social media, twitter etc.
- on this note, it is worth mentioning that as an NHS student, there are rules for how you must conduct yourself online. The BDA has a guide for social media use which you can find here
Get outside and explore
My final tip for your first year as a Nutrition/Dietetics student, especially if you’re in Cardiff. There is so much to see, do and to explore around Cardiff. If you like the outdoors, you’re spoilt for choice!
If you’re new here, I usually write about adventure, outdoors and travel. If you want to see what else I get up to when I’m not in uni then check out my recent overnight cycling trip from cardiff to Brecon and back.
thanks for reading, if you have any questions let me know in the comments below.
Best of luck with your first year!