Introduction to Second Semester Modules: The Foundation of Clinical Practice

    The second semester is one of the most exciting time in your study in FMUI. In this semester you moved from the “communication and learning skills” of first semester to real medical stuff in the second semester. In the second semester, you will learn 4 modules: cell/genetics, growth/development, neuroscience and immunology. This article will discuss the 4 modules: the characteristic, tips to survive and thrive during these challenging days

    Education in FMUI try to make you understand human body from the molecular level (DNA,protein,carbohydrate) that makes up human cells (2nd semester). The knowledge of human cell that you acquire in 2nd semester will be useful in understanding the normal condition of human body and also pathological condition of the human body that you’ll learn in semester 3-6. In the last module of the pre-clinical year, you will learn how human can interact with the society and create healthy community (6th semester). Seeing that the knowledge that you’ll acquire in 2nd semester is the “foundation” in which your future study will build on, it is important that you excel in these semesters.


Cell and Genetics

    Cell and Genetics is the first module that you will encounter in the second semester. This module will study components of the human body from the building blocks of the cell to understand the characteristics of the cells, its organeles (mitochondria, nucleus etc.) and how do pathological conditions changes the property of the cells inside the human body.

    Things that you will learn in this module are: histology, the study of human microscopical anatomy. In histology, you will learn for example how do the brain looks under the microscope. Beside histology, you will also learn biology. Biology that you learn is this module is similar to those you found in high school. The emphasis of biology in this module is “cellular biology”. From the 4th until the 6th week of this module, you will learn about pathology, the study of abnormal cells in your body.

    Because this module is your first “real” module after 1st semester. From experience, many of my friends were caught off guard. They thought that you can approach it the same as the 1st semester module. No, they are different. First, there is a practical examination in the end of the 6th week of this module. Practical exam is an examination that test your ability to recognize concepts and objects from the modules practical sessions. For example, you will be pointed a structure in a microscope and you should guess what the structured pointed is. Sometimes, they will also ask the theory related to this module.


Molecular Biology

    Molecular Biology is the second module that you will face in this semester. For this year, this module will be combined with cell and genetics module. Molecular Biology is the easiest module in the second semester. Some even suggest that this is the easiest module for the whole 3 years of your study. The content of this module is similar to your high school chemistry and biology courses. You will learn about chemical bonding (covalent or ionic bonding) and how it is important in creating living molecules in the human body. In this module, you will also learn about the DNA, genetic code transcription and protein translation.

    Examination for molecular biology module is quite simple compared to the other modules. The questions will come from all of the lectures and from the practical sessions. In this module, you will meet Biochemistry subject for the first time, this subject involve a lot of memorization. So, a lot of repetition is necessary to get all of the facts correct.

    As mentioned before, many considers that this module is one of the easiest. So, great score in this module will help your GPA in the long run.



    In neuroscience, you will learn about the nervous system of the human body. You will explore from the structure of human nervous system (AKA anatomy), function of the human nervous system (physiology) and also some of the diseases associated with nervous systems. This include alzheimer disease, parkinsonism and also drug addiction.

    Many believe that this module is the hardest module in the 1st year of medical school if not your 3 years of pre-clinical years. The perception that this module is hard is mainly due to a lot of new things that you will find in this module. In this module you will be introduced to vignette case. Vignette case is a imaginary patient cases that you most solve. For example:

    Mr. A, a 36 years old suddenly cannot move his right and left hand. The strength of his left and right hand are very minimal. What is the problem that Mr.A is having? and how do you treat Mr.A problem?

    Knowing that you will face a lot of case problem in the examination. You should not only memorize the lectures but understand how it will happen in a real medical condition.

    In this module, you will have your first anatomy practical examination. A lot of people (including me) think that anatomy practical examination is one of the hardest exam that you will face in medical school. In this exam, you must guess the name of structure (pointed from a real corpse!). You have only 60 seconds to answer each questions.


Growth and Development

    Growth and Development is a module that is originally found in 3rd semester. In the new curriculum, it is moved to the second semester. This module talks about how a person can grow (physical grow) and develop (psychological change) from baby until old.

    You will find a lot of material about embryology and also child health. You will be amazed by how a single cell which is a combination of sperm and ovum can grow into a human body. Beside embryology, you will also learn about child growth and development. For example, you will learn about when a baby is expected to be able to walk? when will the baby can speak? when will he can dance and create sound? Those are the questions that you will answer from this module.

    Many complained that this module is “abstract”. The “abstractness” of this module is mainly due to many overlapping lectures. For example, development of baby-infants were covered in three lectures. This is very confusing as sometimes each of the lecture has different contents.



    Immunology is a brand new module for students undertaking 2012 curriculum. In the previous curriculum, immunology is placed in semester 6 along with infection. Immunology is one of the harder subject to study in the medical school. Why? the concept of immunology is abstract and not-real and it involve a lot of memorization. To master immunology, we must also read textbook as the lecture is very superficial. One of the recommended textbook to master immunology is “ABBAS IMMUNOLOGY”.

    Batch 2009 loves immunology module. Many loves this module because the concept of infectious disease that triggers immunological reaction is common in Indonesia. You will face diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and parasitological attack.

    In this module, the hardest thing to master is the physiology of immune system. We must understand what trigger the immune system to become active, hyperactive (such as those found in autoimmune disease) and not active (as found in patient with HIV infection).



    Excited? You should be. I hope that your first step toward greatness in Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia begins in the 2nd semester

for more information:

Aldo Ferly


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