The Student Room Group
Kingston University
Kingston University
Kingston upon Thames

How I Stay Organised

University can be stressful, especially when exam season rolls around. Here’s a few ways I stay organised so I can get the best grades possible whilst still having a fun and relaxed university experience!


- Keep a diary! Until arriving at Kingston, I never realised how useful a diary is in terms of keeping track of my upcoming assignments and any changes to classrooms/homework content my lecturers might mention throughout the week. It doesn’t matter if it’s on your phone or a physical, written diary although I must admit that I personally prefer the latter!

- Don’t leave anything to the last minute. I know first-hand that there’s nothing worse than not having enough time left on an assignment to produce something that reflects the grade you’re actually capable of. Luckily, most assignments are given with several weeks’ notice, so try your best to make steady progress even if they’re not due for a little while. Your future self with thank you for it! :smile:

- Set goals and try to keep a record of your progress! Whether it’s learning a new language through the Kingston Language Scheme, playing for a KU Sports Club or just passing a difficult module, goals will look different for everyone. But measuring your progress will help you stay motivated, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. For example, my current goal is to read at least one book from the university library every month by keeping a chart of all the books I’ve already read, I realise how much I’ve been able to accomplish and feel excited to keep adding to the list!

- Create a schedule and most importantly, make time to study! Sometimes at university you can feel like you’ve a hundred things going on at once, but by drafting a rough schedule and allocating time to focus on reading or researching, you’ll feel a lot more on top of things in the long run. If you find studying a bit of a chore (like me!) why not try a different environment? Kingston University has libraries across multiple campuses, including the award-winning Townhouse on Penrhyn Road which has designated silent and group study areas.


How do you guys stay organised? Any tips for me? :biggrin:

If you’ve any questions, or want any advice about applying/studying at Kingston Uni, feel free to reply below and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Eve (First Year - BA Fine Art and Art History)
Hi Eve!

I've just received an offer for the same course you are on! I know this isn't relevant to the thread but is there any chance I could ask you questions about the modules in the degree? No worries if not :smile:

- Adam
Kingston University
Kingston University
Kingston upon Thames
Hi @UndercoverJames!

First off, big congratulations on your offer! Fine Art and Fine Art and Art History always gets a ton of applicants, so getting a place is quite the achievement. :smile:

Feel free to ask me absolutely anything about the modules/the course itself. If you would find it helpful, I could also give you a breakdown of what each module entails and how the classes/timetables are structured?

Don't worry about it being relevant to the thread - all questions are good questions!!!

- Eve.
Thank you! A breakdown would be fantastic!
I am a little worried about the writing aspect as I have not done any essay based subjects since GCSE... how do you (and your peers) find the assignments within Art History?
- Adam
Hi @UndercoverJames!

First off, a module breakdown. This is a bit long, but I always think it's good to have as much information as possible rather than not enough. :smile:

BA Fine Art and Art History is divided into four modules, each worth 30 credits: Contextualising Contemporary Practice, Introducing Studio Practice, Professional Skills I and Key Concepts: Research, Interpretation and Communication.

Contextualising Contemporary Practice

This module is usually run on a Monday morning from 10am-12pm, and includes both Fine Art and Fine Art and Art History students. The lecture size is about 100-120 people, and focuses on looking at different artworks and movements throughout time to give a greater meaning to your own practice and its relevance to the contemporary world. So far this year, themes have included gender, context, representation, modernism, colonialism and consumerism; and whilst this may seem like a lot, it's explained really well and you get a lot of support for any assignments set, so you're never left out in the dark about what to do. Honestly, I've never heard any complaints about this module - everyone on the course seems to really like it, and the lecturers are genuinely passionate and knowledgeable.


Key Concepts: Research, Interpretation and Communication

This year, this module typically runs on a Thursday afternoon from 2-4pm. Similar to Contextualising Contemporary Practice, it focuses primarily on art history - however, only Fine Art and Art History students attend this class, so class sizes are much smaller (around 20-30). Furthermore - at least from my own experience - this module places a greater focus on looking at particular artists in detail to see their relevance to a movement/time period rather than just the movement as a whole. Artists we've looked at so far have included Lee Miller, Claude Cahun, Eduoard Manet and Gustave Courbet, André Breton and René Magritte. The smaller class size works great as it allows for more open discussion, and it's a good opportunity to learn about areas of art history other people on your same course might be interested in.


Professional Skills I

Professional Skills lectures usually take place on a Wednesday morning, with an optional artist talk sometimes being offered in the afternoon. These classes are run by a range of lecturers - both from the teaching staff and from visiting artists - and prepare you for work in the professional art world by giving you tips on topics such as networking, creating an artist CV, marketing, ethical practice and disseminating your work.

Artist Talks are also incredibly useful; usually given by an artist who's had a recent exhibition, they discuss the funding opportunities/career paths 'successful' artists have pursued and allow you to have a closer look at how their practice has changed over time.


Introducing Studio Practice

This is probably the base of your course. When we're not in other classes, most students are usually working on something in the studios. At the start of the year, you're allocated your own space within the studios amongst both Fine Art and Fine Art and Art History students, where you're free to paint/draw/sculpt/generally mess about. Since you'll usually have a group of other students around you working on their own projects, it's an easy way to make friends and get to know people better, as well as become inspired by the ideas and themes of others. The studios quickly become like a second home because you spend so much time there - several students in my space have brought in their own shelving/storage units! :biggrin: Your work is entirely independent, but occasionally you'll have tutorials and critiques where you're encouraged to discuss your work and research with a small group of peers. They're nothing to be scared of though - tutorials are one of the best parts of the course, and have opened my eyes up to topics I've never even thought about before. Usually I'm in the studios on Tuesdays and Fridays, but will often slip in between these days if I want something done.

It's also important to note that you don't have to work in JUST the studios - the KSA workshops (ceramics, photography, metal, printmaking, 3D and digital media) have an open access policy and lots of students on the course spend their studio time working on projects elsewhere on campus, depending on what media of art they're exploring at that moment.
(edited 1 year ago)
@UndercoverJames,

In regards to the writing aspect of the course, I wouldn't worry about it at all. Lots of students don't have English past GCSE level, and it's not at all expected to do so. Students come into the course with all sorts of academic backgrounds, and one isn't favoured over another.

At the start of the year, you're given a lot of texts/pdf files on how to write about art history, and usually when you're set an assignment you're given several previous student examples so you can see how they're supposed to be formatted and the level of language used.

In terms of assignments: for both Contextualising Contemporary Practice and Key Concepts assignments, the lecturer will usually spend a class going through the steps of writing the assigned piece and offer any additional assistance to those who want it. Furthermore, in our first term for both modules, the KSA Fine Art librarian spent a class going through how best to find any information we would need for any particular assignment in that module and gave a step-by-step talk on how to access different valuable resources. Lecturers are always easy to contact for any additional support and from my experience usually respond quickly.

If you write something and you're still unsure whether or not it's what the module requires, Kingston University has a service called the Academic Support Centre. Here, you can send essays to a proofreader who has knowledge of the Fine Art and Art History course and what the assignment entails, and will give you tips on how to improve your writing to ensure you get the best possible grade. You're informed of assignments well in advance of their due date, so you don't have to worry about rushing anything.

All the classmates I've talked to have enjoyed the assignments, mainly because you're usually allowed to follow up on individual interests within a selection of topics. There's the usual jokey grumble of 'having to do work', but most students are proud of what they've written or researched and like discussing it with others.

Hope this helps, and if you've any more questions, just get back to me and I'd be more than happy to help. :smile:

- Eve.
Original post by Kingston Reps
@UndercoverJames,

In regards to the writing aspect of the course, I wouldn't worry about it at all. Lots of students don't have English past GCSE level, and it's not at all expected to do so. Students come into the course with all sorts of academic backgrounds, and one isn't favoured over another.

At the start of the year, you're given a lot of texts/pdf files on how to write about art history, and usually when you're set an assignment you're given several previous student examples so you can see how they're supposed to be formatted and the level of language used.

In terms of assignments: for both Contextualising Contemporary Practice and Key Concepts assignments, the lecturer will usually spend a class going through the steps of writing the assigned piece and offer any additional assistance to those who want it. Furthermore, in our first term for both modules, the KSA Fine Art librarian spent a class going through how best to find any information we would need for any particular assignment in that module and gave a step-by-step talk on how to access different valuable resources. Lecturers are always easy to contact for any additional support and from my experience usually respond quickly.

If you write something and you're still unsure whether or not it's what the module requires, Kingston University has a service called the Academic Support Centre. Here, you can send essays to a proofreader who has knowledge of the Fine Art and Art History course and what the assignment entails, and will give you tips on how to improve your writing to ensure you get the best possible grade. You're informed of assignments well in advance of their due date, so you don't have to worry about rushing anything.

All the classmates I've talked to have enjoyed the assignments, mainly because you're usually allowed to follow up on individual interests within a selection of topics. There's the usual jokey grumble of 'having to do work', but most students are proud of what they've written or researched and like discussing it with others.

Hope this helps, and if you've any more questions, just get back to me and I'd be more than happy to help. :smile:

- Eve.


Thank you! Your response is incredibly helpful. Quick last question - what times/days are studio spaces open?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Kingston Reps
University can be stressful, especially when exam season rolls around. Here’s a few ways I stay organised so I can get the best grades possible whilst still having a fun and relaxed university experience!


- Keep a diary! Until arriving at Kingston, I never realised how useful a diary is in terms of keeping track of my upcoming assignments and any changes to classrooms/homework content my lecturers might mention throughout the week. It doesn’t matter if it’s on your phone or a physical, written diary although I must admit that I personally prefer the latter!

- Don’t leave anything to the last minute. I know first-hand that there’s nothing worse than not having enough time left on an assignment to produce something that reflects the grade you’re actually capable of. Luckily, most assignments are given with several weeks’ notice, so try your best to make steady progress even if they’re not due for a little while. Your future self with thank you for it! :smile:

- Set goals and try to keep a record of your progress! Whether it’s learning a new language through the Kingston Language Scheme, playing for a KU Sports Club or just passing a difficult module, goals will look different for everyone. But measuring your progress will help you stay motivated, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. For example, my current goal is to read at least one book from the university library every month by keeping a chart of all the books I’ve already read, I realise how much I’ve been able to accomplish and feel excited to keep adding to the list!

- Create a schedule and most importantly, make time to study! Sometimes at university you can feel like you’ve a hundred things going on at once, but by drafting a rough schedule and allocating time to focus on reading or researching, you’ll feel a lot more on top of things in the long run. If you find studying a bit of a chore (like me!) why not try a different environment? Kingston University has libraries across multiple campuses, including the award-winning Townhouse on Penrhyn Road which has designated silent and group study areas.


How do you guys stay organised? Any tips for me? :biggrin:

If you’ve any questions, or want any advice about applying/studying at Kingston Uni, feel free to reply below and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Eve (First Year - BA Fine Art and Art History)

Fair enough, although for many people, organising is harder than it looks, especially those with ADHD.
Original post by UndercoverJames
Thank you! Your response is incredibly helpful. Quick last question - what times/days are studio spaces open?


No problem!

The first year studios are open from 8am - 9pm Monday to Friday, and 9am - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. :biggrin:

- Eve.
Hi @justlearning1469!

I totally agree! Organising is a lot harder than it looks for me as well, which is why I have to actively try and keep on top of it - I'm certainly not a naturally organised person. I think it's just about finding the right strategies that work for you, even if they're a bit different than normal. :smile:

- Eve.

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