"Getting good grades is a matter of being persistent"

Arnau Noguera Segura 'Treure bones notes s qesti de constncia'

Arnau Noguera Segura, from the Institut Antoni Torroja in Cervera, is the student to have entered the UAB with the highest mark this year, a 13.866 out of 14. He will start the bachelor's degree in Genetics next year.


Arnau Noguera enters the UAB with the highest entreance mark this year: 13.866. He will begin his studies in genetics in September. We meet him at the entrance of the faculty, and are surpised by his simplicity and humbleness, despite the fact that we know how much effort and work he must have put into studying for the entrance exams.

We chat for a few minutes before he begins the enrolment process. He likes to laugh and speaks with a strong accent from Lleida. There is no question about where he come from: Cervera, in the heart of the Lleida region.

While preparing for the entrance exams he also studied English, and in his free time he played basketball, after going to classes at the public secondary school Institut Antoni Torroja, where he was classmates with the person who also scored the highest mark in all of Catalonia in this year's entrance exams. He came in second with a score of 9.8 out of 10.

-What makes the Institut Antoni Torroja so special that it has such excellent students?
-First of all, I would say that our group was a good one in many ways. Another girl scored a 9 in the entrance exams as well. Our secondary school has prepared us and helped us a lot, offering practice tests from other years. And all the teachers are also good professionals.

-Why did you choose to study at the UAB?
-I sincerely think that it is because genetics can only be studied here. And then because I liked the campus when I visited with our school and on Family Day, so much grass and trees. I really like that it feels like a real university city.

 -You are enrolling in Genetics. Is this something you have always wanted to study?
-Not exactly. Actually, I didn't decide until after the entrance exams. I know that I wanted to do something related to biosciences, but I wasn't sure what. And why did I choose genetics? Maybe because it was something very specific... I was also doubting on whether to choose a more general field, like biochemistry, and then specialise, but finally I decided to go with genetics.

-What would you like to do in the future?
-An interesting option would be doing some type of research in a lab, but I am not sure about that yet. I am not sure if it's something that will fulfill me. It is too early, we'll see how everything goes.

-Is there a project or person doing research now in genetics that you admire?
-I do not know many genetic researchers, but I did do a project on scientist Barbara McClintock, which I found very interesting and was surprising. I found her investigations very interesting. She discovered a type of gene that could move around, something very shocking at that moment. She is a geneticist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1983 and what she discovered was very valuable. And a long time passed before she was given credit for it, I guess because she was a woman and discovered that genes could be altered; she created a groundbreaking theory.

-What aspects of genetics do you find important?
-Genetics is currently very important because curing cancer and other diseases depend on genetics. In the end, genes rule all parts of our body and are very important in many areas. But there are still so many things to be discovered! The world of genetics is not widely known to people, it is an open field we can all benefit from a lot. 

-How did you manage to score such a high mark in your entrance exams? What methods did you use?
Well, there really isn't a specific methodology or strategy. I studied like I always do, and I studied more on the week of the exams. I went out as usual, although when you have exams you have to concentrate on studying for them. What I did do was study everyday. Not leave everything for the last moment. And at school they helped us a lot to prepare, we often did exams from other years. And I concentrated on the things I knew were my weak points; in my case, history, because I was much better prepared in all the science subjects.

-What do you do in your free time?
The only extracurricular activity I do is English, and i just took the Proficiency exam, which I passed! And when I have time, I play basketball, I like playing this sport. I also like to read. 

-What book are you reading now?
-The book is called "Los cien", it is a science fiction adventure book and there is also a TV series called the same, "Los cien".

-What are you hoping to find here at university?
-I hope to learn a lot about the field I have chosen and about biosciences in general, and I also want to have lots of fun at university.

-What advice can you give a student who will be taking their exams next year?
-I would tell them to be persistent, that is the key, because when the exams are close, they will only need to review what they already know. And I would advise them to look at exams from other years. These two things combined were essential for me.


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