How do i prepare myself for second year of university?

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hemdinho
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i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
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Grizwuld
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Read, read, read.
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Escape Studios Rep
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I just finished my second year this year and heading into my third. Useful tips that I practiced during the hectic and busy second year is making a schedule for myself and keeping to it.
The amount of work you get might make you tired and stressed but make sure to stop working when its late and make time for yourself to do things you enjoy to keep your mind positive. Don't be afraid to let your tutor know when things are too much for you or need more time.
And talk with your friends or classmates and study or work together to make your work more enjoyable, and less daunting. It might even make you perform better.

hope this helps you out.
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random_matt
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Never found second year any harder to be honest.
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Ilovevirology
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(Original post by hemdinho)
i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
As a recent graduate, from my own experience I would say second year is hardest.. But please don't let that scare you! From my personal experience, make sure you are well rested over this summer (and don't feel guilty for relaxing). You are going to need to feel refreshed at the start of uni. I would recommend that going into second year that you definitely take note of feedback from your first year exams/courseworks etc as that can be really helpful with identifying weaknesses and they will help you with improving the structuring of your future work.

The work load and difficulty will definitely be a step up from first year, therefore, I advise that you stay on top of work (i.e. don't let it pile up) because if you don't, it will get insanely stressful. Just as important though, do make time to take breaks and have fun! At the end of the day I still occasionally went out partying with friends and still graduated with a First Class degree from a well-respected Russell Group University. I just made sure in the day time I got my work done beforehand and prepared for lectures the next day by quickly reading through them to briefly familiarise myself with the topic.

With respect to achieving high marks, one of the most important things is to really understand the concepts of what you're being taught...Don't just learn it! Test yourself (by making flashcards for example) and ask yourself questions about what you have learned. When you have synthesised these questions, use these to help you find out more about the topic and incorporate as wider reading. After all, to achieve the top marks you will need to show evidence of wider reading and a very good understanding of the topics you have learned.

The final thing I would like to mention is mental health, at times it will get stressful and challenging. My advise is if something is worrying you or if you're finding things hard then reach out to family, friends, or your personal tutor at uni. There is always someone to help (whether it is work-related or personal), do not bottle it inside (which is what I did ). There may be times when you're learning something and it will not make sense. If something isn't clicking after trying to understand it, I advise you leave it and come back to it the next day (sounds weird but it really worked for me), therefore, you will have a fresh mind and a fresh approach. If that still doesn't work then ask course friends if they can help, or simply just email the lecturer and ask if they can explain it differently.

I hope this helps, please take care of yourself and feel free to pm me anytime
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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(Original post by hemdinho)
i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
Hi hemdinho,

From personal experience, second year can be a jump in workload - not just from the course itself, but also from applications to companies for a placement year.

For me, I relied heavily on planning my week out on my Google Calendar to make sure that I always had time to attend lectures/seminars, apply to placements, attend societies, do coursework and also to have some time to switch off (which is super important, but so easily forgot about).

Ultimately, everything comes down to preparation - if you stay organised and give yourself enough time for everything you need to do you'll do great!

~ Mikael, UoP Student Rep
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hemdinho
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(Original post by University of Portsmouth Student Rep)
Hi hemdinho,

From personal experience, second year can be a jump in workload - not just from the course itself, but also from applications to companies for a placement year.

For me, I relied heavily on planning my week out on my Google Calendar to make sure that I always had time to attend lectures/seminars, apply to placements, attend societies, do coursework and also to have some time to switch off (which is super important, but so easily forgot about).

Ultimately, everything comes down to preparation - if you stay organised and give yourself enough time for everything you need to do you'll do great!

~ Mikael, UoP Student Rep
Thanks so much for the sound advice
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hallamstudents
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(Original post by hemdinho)
i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
Hi hemdinho,

Personally I didn't do any prep work over the summer so I'd enjoy the rest if I were you! Personally I found the jump from first to second year quite noticeable, but this motivated me to work harder so I didn't fall behind. After about a month or so I settled into it easier, so don't let it intimidate you at first if you find it difficult to begin with. It also helped that I couldn't drink due to medication at the time, so I wasn't going on nights out or dealing with hangovers or anything that could affect me being motivated for work

To do well in second year make sure that your attendance is high and that you organise your notes well. I found that pre printing lecture slides and having a vague idea of what was going to happen in the lecture before the lecture happened helped me pick out what was worth taking notes off instead of copying slides. I also tried to do as much extra reading as I could, and take as many of my references from academic journals instead of textbooks. This made my understanding of topics better and gave me lots of different viewpoints on concepts and theories, which got me more marks for critical evaluation.

If you can and you have group work assessments, choose who you work with wisely. Don't pick people who won't carry their weight in the group as it might bring the group mark down. Obviously sometimes you can't choose your groups, but if you can then choose sensibly

I would also take every chance you can get to ask tutors for feedback on assessments before the assessment deadline. Make sure you start coursework with plenty of time until the deadline so you can ask a tutor to give some feedback on drafts. This made a massive difference for me and helped me move from what would have been a 2:1 to a high first in a lot of my assessments. Sometimes tutors may say no, but there's no harm in asking just in case!

Hope this helps!

Lucy
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Stumpy1001
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(Original post by hemdinho)
i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
same way you did for the first year
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UCLan Student
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(Original post by hemdinho)
i am an international relations student; soon to be a second-year student. i always hear that the second year is harder and more difficult - with that in mind how do I meet expectations and achieve good grades in the second year? would I have to prepare myself over the summer? any tips.
Hi hemdinho

I am a student studying at UCLan and am about to go into my third year! Like most, I also didn't think about preparing too much for my second year and I did find there was a big jump from the first year to the second however this could have been highlighted due to adapting to online lessons because of the pandemic. My best advice for you would be to read some books in and around your subject - any academic writing is sure to help you with your essays in the second year! I think being organised with your timetable for the upcoming year and keeping a track of when everything is due will be a great help too, it will allow you to stay on top of time management which will elevate any extra stress. Having the knowledge that your second year is going to be harder than your first is already a good start though, it seems like you are starting to mentally prepare yourself which is great! Keep reading, staying organised and have some time to enjoy the rest of your summer so you are fully recharged when it comes back to uni life!

Hope this was helpful and good luck with your second year!

Hollie
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hemdinho
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(Original post by hallamstudents)
Hi hemdinho,

Personally I didn't do any prep work over the summer so I'd enjoy the rest if I were you! Personally I found the jump from first to second year quite noticeable, but this motivated me to work harder so I didn't fall behind. After about a month or so I settled into it easier, so don't let it intimidate you at first if you find it difficult to begin with. It also helped that I couldn't drink due to medication at the time, so I wasn't going on nights out or dealing with hangovers or anything that could affect me being motivated for work

To do well in second year make sure that your attendance is high and that you organise your notes well. I found that pre printing lecture slides and having a vague idea of what was going to happen in the lecture before the lecture happened helped me pick out what was worth taking notes off instead of copying slides. I also tried to do as much extra reading as I could, and take as many of my references from academic journals instead of textbooks. This made my understanding of topics better and gave me lots of different viewpoints on concepts and theories, which got me more marks for critical evaluation.

If you can and you have group work assessments, choose who you work with wisely. Don't pick people who won't carry their weight in the group as it might bring the group mark down. Obviously sometimes you can't choose your groups, but if you can then choose sensibly

I would also take every chance you can get to ask tutors for feedback on assessments before the assessment deadline. Make sure you start coursework with plenty of time until the deadline so you can ask a tutor to give some feedback on drafts. This made a massive difference for me and helped me move from what would have been a 2:1 to a high first in a lot of my assessments. Sometimes tutors may say no, but there's no harm in asking just in case!

Hope this helps!

Lucy
thank you lucy!
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hemdinho
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(Original post by UCLan Student)
Hi hemdinho

I am a student studying at UCLan and am about to go into my third year! Like most, I also didn't think about preparing too much for my second year and I did find there was a big jump from the first year to the second however this could have been highlighted due to adapting to online lessons because of the pandemic. My best advice for you would be to read some books in and around your subject - any academic writing is sure to help you with your essays in the second year! I think being organised with your timetable for the upcoming year and keeping a track of when everything is due will be a great help too, it will allow you to stay on top of time management which will elevate any extra stress. Having the knowledge that your second year is going to be harder than your first is already a good start though, it seems like you are starting to mentally prepare yourself which is great! Keep reading, staying organised and have some time to enjoy the rest of your summer so you are fully recharged when it comes back to uni life!

Hope this was helpful and good luck with your second year!

Hollie
thank you Hollie. much appreiated!
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