how different is uni from A levels/ what did you find hard to adjust to?

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Anonymous #1
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I'm going to uni soon and am just wondering about the transition from A levels to uni.

what do u actually do in your lectures, do you have to use your laptops ( everyone has a weird obsession with them apparently) to take notes or an ipad?

do your lectures not care about you or spoon feed you if you need any help and are struggling with your work?

is it difficult to get the hang of referencing everything?

any essentials i need for uni (I'm staying at home but anything new i could buy for uni that would be helpful?)

any advice for new uni starters that u wish you knew before starting uni would be appreciated. what surprised you about uni/ what did u find difficult having to adjust to uni? (im just nervous about starting uni and want to get things right and not be surprised or shocked when im there hahah)
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Satori Tendō
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My experience is very unique to me btw

I don't know what A levels you did but Uni things are more spread out, there's coursework and group projects that make up part of your grade and exams happen multiple times a year. For me I actually preferred the scary everything learned in 2 years squashed into one exam season A level style lol

I also stayed home when I went Uni. For me it was a lot more lonely than Sixth form/college/secondary school.
Since I only had one or two full days a week and my society barely did stuff, I didn't eat or hang out with people otherwise. I don't go clubbing. I lived a few minutes away it was easy to go home all the time lol.
So don't go home! Go to stuff on campus as much as possible like you live there.
Just when I started getting involved, COVID hit. I only went to Uni in person for one year and 2 months lol. Overall it basically didn't happen

In terms of lecture stuff. I took no notes o.o My Uni recorded lectures, I only showed up for attendance and made notes from the recording later lol. My lecturers were eager to jump at us to spoon feed if we asked a question. I only had a class of 20 though (very niche field of science)
So again all of these experiences are too specific to my circumstance that it probably isn't useful as general advice lol idk why I'm responding then
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Satori Tendō)
My experience is very unique to me btw

I don't know what A levels you did but Uni things are more spread out, there's coursework and group projects that make up part of your grade and exams happen multiple times a year. For me I actually preferred the scary everything learned in 2 years squashed into one exam season A level style lol

I also stayed home when I went Uni. For me it was a lot more lonely than Sixth form/college/secondary school.
Since I only had one or two full days a week and my society barely did stuff, I didn't eat or hang out with people otherwise. I don't go clubbing. I lived a few minutes away it was easy to go home all the time lol.
So don't go home! Go to stuff on campus as much as possible like you live there.
Just when I started getting involved, COVID hit. I only went to Uni in person for one year and 2 months lol. Overall it basically didn't happen

In terms of lecture stuff. I took no notes o.o My Uni recorded lectures, I only showed up for attendance and made notes from the recording later lol. My lecturers were eager to jump at us to spoon feed if we asked a question. I only had a class of 20 though (very niche field of science)
So again all of these experiences are too specific to my circumstance that it probably isn't useful as general advice lol idk why I'm responding then
thank you for such a detailed response! ooo a class of 20 sounds really great i wish it can be like that for me but probably not lol. i love the fact that uni records its lessons and i think ill most likely do the same thing as you for taking notes.
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Jiiny
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Hey, I’m also living at home whilst at uni. I’m in my 2nd year (:

Since I didn’t want to spend money on buying a laptop, I instead got a cheap keyboard for my iPad and found that it works GREAT for typing notes whilst in lectures. I then will go home and annotate my notes using my iPad pen on anything I might have missed. Honestly, it saves so much more time than handwriting everything. Normally I won’t lie, I have a habit of dazing off in lectures. Try to pay attention if you can though, it will allow you to have more free time when you get home.

With lecturers helping you, I find it depends. For essays and stuff, I had a lecturer who literally did 3 seminars where he pretty much told us what to write in our essays and really helped us. Other lecturers, not so helpful and pretty much leave you to do stuff yourself. Usually, discussion boards will be set up where you can ask any questions you have about lectures/coursework, it’s really useful. I don’t think it takes too long to get used to referencing, I usually just copy paste the link into citethisforme and do minor tweaks on anything they missed out.

I would highly recommend a IPad with a keyboard IF you can, but it’s not an essential. Apart from that, just make sure you have notepads and pens really. For me, I found it surprising how fast we were given exams/ coursework. I remember my first week in 1st year, my tutor set us a essay and I honestly thought he was joking (he was not) so just try and get started on coursework early (: honestly I would also really recommend making a study plan weekly.

(Sorry for the really long post btw)
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Callicious
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#5
No different to A-Levels- though the difficulty is a tiny bit harder the more years you go in. Desktop PC for notes/etc (I don't attend lectures) and the same old style as for A-Level as far as work/learning/etc goes. I do STEM though, so your experience and limitations may differ as some Uni's might require in-person attendance for lectures/mark you in/out.
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Little pecker
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A levels I could use a book and basically self teach. University I struggled a lot if I didn’t go to lectures or seminars, the logic just wasn’t easy to understand on first reading.

And obviously it’s uni so content is harder.

The other thing was coursework, had no idea how to do it, references etc. luckily I had family that had been uni and could help but man those little things really throw you off.
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Anonymous #2
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Yeah no don’t listen to those who say university is easier than A levels it’s not. That’s not to say it’s extremely difficult, just don’t expect it to be a breeze. You’re going to have to be time efficient if you don’t want to fall behind. I’m already a few weeks behind on my work and I wish I had literally started from week 1 and not 3.

I recommend going to seminars, because that’s where you’ll get the most interactions with your lecturers and you can ask questions freely etc etc. As for lectures it’s up to you whether you want to bring a laptop and iPad, no one really judges it’s just personal preference.
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Lancaster Student Ambassador
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm going to uni soon and am just wondering about the transition from A levels to uni.

what do u actually do in your lectures, do you have to use your laptops ( everyone has a weird obsession with them apparently) to take notes or an ipad?

do your lectures not care about you or spoon feed you if you need any help and are struggling with your work?

is it difficult to get the hang of referencing everything?

any essentials i need for uni (I'm staying at home but anything new i could buy for uni that would be helpful?)

any advice for new uni starters that u wish you knew before starting uni would be appreciated. what surprised you about uni/ what did u find difficult having to adjust to uni? (im just nervous about starting uni and want to get things right and not be surprised or shocked when im there hahah)
Hi there!

Personally, I found the step up to uni work quite different from a-levels because of the different way of learning (lectures/seminars) and then how much of the work is independent. As someone else mentioned, another big difference is that for most courses, there are a lot of ways you will be graded throughout the year (coursework, worksheets, group projects, presentations) until you finally do the exam!
For me, I take notes on paper for lectures and then use my laptop to write up my notes for when I need to do essays and coursework. No one cares what other people are doing in lectures, just take notes however you find easiest!
In my experience, lecturers do care about their students and the best way to get their help is to either ask questions about something you're strruggling with during a seminar or to go to their office hours and speak to them one-on-one.
Also, if you are struggling generally, you can talk to your academic advidor (a tutor assigned to you in your department for your whole time at uni) and they can help you!
Referencing is okay once you get the hang of it and in my experience, some departments tend to do an introductory lecture on how to write essays and how to reference or there will be resources be available to you if you need them!
I think in terms of essentials, I would just recommend bringing things to make your room feel like home, whether that be lots of pictures or your favourite cushion or whatever!
I think the best thing to rememember about getting to uni is that everyone is in the same boat and as nervous as you so reach out and start conversations and you will find people to get on with! Also, and this is true for the majority of people at uni, you often don't find "your people" until a few months in and that's okay!

Best of luck and don't stress too much, it'll be okay!
-Daisy (Final year Spanish and Theatre student)
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Jiiny)
Hey, I’m also living at home whilst at uni. I’m in my 2nd year (:

Since I didn’t want to spend money on buying a laptop, I instead got a cheap keyboard for my iPad and found that it works GREAT for typing notes whilst in lectures. I then will go home and annotate my notes using my iPad pen on anything I might have missed. Honestly, it saves so much more time than handwriting everything. Normally I won’t lie, I have a habit of dazing off in lectures. Try to pay attention if you can though, it will allow you to have more free time when you get home.

With lecturers helping you, I find it depends. For essays and stuff, I had a lecturer who literally did 3 seminars where he pretty much told us what to write in our essays and really helped us. Other lecturers, not so helpful and pretty much leave you to do stuff yourself. Usually, discussion boards will be set up where you can ask any questions you have about lectures/coursework, it’s really useful. I don’t think it takes too long to get used to referencing, I usually just copy paste the link into citethisforme and do minor tweaks on anything they missed out.

I would highly recommend a IPad with a keyboard IF you can, but it’s not an essential. Apart from that, just make sure you have notepads and pens really. For me, I found it surprising how fast we were given exams/ coursework. I remember my first week in 1st year, my tutor set us a essay and I honestly thought he was joking (he was not) so just try and get started on coursework early (: honestly I would also really recommend making a study plan weekly.

(Sorry for the really long post btw)
awwe thank you for the advice and yeah definatly will look into making a study plan as it will help me keep track of things
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yeah no don’t listen to those who say university is easier than A levels it’s not. That’s not to say it’s extremely difficult, just don’t expect it to be a breeze. You’re going to have to be time efficient if you don’t want to fall behind. I’m already a few weeks behind on my work and I wish I had literally started from week 1 and not 3.

I recommend going to seminars, because that’s where you’ll get the most interactions with your lecturers and you can ask questions freely etc etc. As for lectures it’s up to you whether you want to bring a laptop and iPad, no one really judges it’s just personal preference.
omg the amount of people that say uni is easier than A levels....
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Jiiny)
Hey, I’m also living at home whilst at uni. I’m in my 2nd year (:

Since I didn’t want to spend money on buying a laptop, I instead got a cheap keyboard for my iPad and found that it works GREAT for typing notes whilst in lectures. I then will go home and annotate my notes using my iPad pen on anything I might have missed. Honestly, it saves so much more time than handwriting everything. Normally I won’t lie, I have a habit of dazing off in lectures. Try to pay attention if you can though, it will allow you to have more free time when you get home.

With lecturers helping you, I find it depends. For essays and stuff, I had a lecturer who literally did 3 seminars where he pretty much told us what to write in our essays and really helped us. Other lecturers, not so helpful and pretty much leave you to do stuff yourself. Usually, discussion boards will be set up where you can ask any questions you have about lectures/coursework, it’s really useful. I don’t think it takes too long to get used to referencing, I usually just copy paste the link into citethisforme and do minor tweaks on anything they missed out.

I would highly recommend a IPad with a keyboard IF you can, but it’s not an essential. Apart from that, just make sure you have notepads and pens really. For me, I found it surprising how fast we were given exams/ coursework. I remember my first week in 1st year, my tutor set us a essay and I honestly thought he was joking (he was not) so just try and get started on coursework early (: honestly I would also really recommend making a study plan weekly.

(Sorry for the really long post btw)
Awwe , there’s no need to be sorry , that’s exactly the kind of answers I was looking for! I’m starting uni this month and am going to be doing law. Just feel a bit nervous but hopefully it will be okay !!
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Little pecker)
A levels I could use a book and basically self teach. University I struggled a lot if I didn’t go to lectures or seminars, the logic just wasn’t easy to understand on first reading.

And obviously it’s uni so content is harder.

The other thing was coursework, had no idea how to do it, references etc. luckily I had family that had been uni and could help but man those little things really throw you off.
Argh I’m worried about referencing but hopefully I’ll get the hang of it
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hallamstudents
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#13
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm going to uni soon and am just wondering about the transition from A levels to uni.

what do u actually do in your lectures, do you have to use your laptops ( everyone has a weird obsession with them apparently) to take notes or an ipad?

do your lectures not care about you or spoon feed you if you need any help and are struggling with your work?

is it difficult to get the hang of referencing everything?

any essentials i need for uni (I'm staying at home but anything new i could buy for uni that would be helpful?)

any advice for new uni starters that u wish you knew before starting uni would be appreciated. what surprised you about uni/ what did u find difficult having to adjust to uni? (im just nervous about starting uni and want to get things right and not be surprised or shocked when im there hahah)
Hey there,

University can seem really daunting during your A-Levels stage. You've got to make so many huge, life-changing decisions in such a small amount of time and before you know it, you're (hopefully) actually attending your chosen university. Hopefully, this and other replies in this thread can help ease those nerves a bit!

During my lectures, we usually learn about a certain topic and then have a go at actively demonstrating our understanding via an exercise. As I'm on a Creative Writing course, this is often learning a new form of poetry or learning how to structure our scripts properly. If it's a workshop, however, it's mostly gaining feedback on our work that allows us to shape it better. The atmosphere is much more relaxed and enjoyable as it's not in a huge lecture hall or anything. I also tend to use my laptop for note-taking, but notepads and pens haven't gone out of fashion entirely just yet.

Referencing and citing isn't as difficult as people make it sound. You will definitely get the hang of it (and sometimes forget how to do it over a long break such as Christmas!) and you'll be feeling confident about this in no time. I, for some reason, quite enjoy researching my references and making sure everything is solid.

My advice would be to try your hardest not to worry too much about it. I know it's hard, but it's never as scary as you think it will be. Enjoy the time you have there as much as possible, especially your first year. You'll meet your people, get into your own flow of things and it'll all feel normal in no time.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
Quinn - Official Student Ambassador
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