The Student Room Group

What is it actually like studying at uni?

Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hi @cristalat101

Generally, during lectures powerpoints are used which are then accessed at home. For a humanities subject, it is mainly a lot of reading of books relevant to the topics you are reading usually accessed online through your university's library. It is variable for the university but for the majority of unis you study 4 modules per semester. And, in each module you may submit a few essays. Generally, you get alot of notice before the essay is due so you have alot of time to read up on it and plan.

Hope this helps,
Gulcin
2nd Year PPE Student
University of Southampton
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hey @cristalat101
Congratulations on your university offers!
It can differ between universities but hopefully it helps to share the insight of my experience having studied history and law in undergrad for 4 years.

Studying for humanities degrees includes a lot of independent studying consisting of reading both before and after classes plus prep work and assessments. There weren't mountains of essays but instead more extended assessment essays which needed more crital and deeper thought. I had tasks to complete for tutorials / seminars each week. Reading came from textbooks - some only in the library but most accessible online, journal articles and various sources all of which your guided in the direction from. I had lectures usually around an hour - most used PowerPoints and now that we are a few years post covid the majority no longer record although there may be more resources available online.

Best wishes for your choosing and hope you enjoy uni !
Catherine- Univeristy of Strathclyde Student Ambassador
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hey there πŸ˜€

Congratulations on receiving your offers! Well done!

First and foremost, it is worth noting that the university experience can vary depending on the course you choose, as each is associated with different types of teaching and assignments. Have you had a chance to review the course details on the university website? Sometimes, they provide specific information about assessments and module descriptions.

Typically, lectures are conducted using PowerPoint presentations, which are also accessible online through a learning platform. Most lecturers will recommend compulsory readings to broaden your understanding. Additionally, you may encounter practical classes such as workshops, tutorials, or seminars, which involve discussions and hands-on tasks. On average, you can expect to have around 10-15 hours of classes per week.

In terms of assessments for subjects like History or English Literature, you can surely anticipate essays, group presentations, and regular exams.

I hope it was helpful πŸ’ͺ Feel free to reach out if you have any questions πŸ˜‰ You can also chat with me or other students directly through The Ambassador Platform.

Best of luck,

Julia
Psychology student
De Montfort University
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hi there

At University, taught hours are often split into seminars and lectures. During lectures, the lecturer will deliver the course, using PowerPoint slides. Seminars will usually be group discussions based on these lectures and self-studied content.

Self-studied content will include textbook reading, journal article readings, etc. You may also be required to complete small tasks such as worksheets for each lesson. Coursework and exams will usually consist of essay writings. The number of essays you have to complete will largely depend on the modules you take.

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent
Reply 5
Original post by University of Kent
Hi there

At University, taught hours are often split into seminars and lectures. During lectures, the lecturer will deliver the course, using PowerPoint slides. Seminars will usually be group discussions based on these lectures and self-studied content.

Self-studied content will include textbook reading, journal article readings, etc. You may also be required to complete small tasks such as worksheets for each lesson. Coursework and exams will usually consist of essay writings. The number of essays you have to complete will largely depend on the modules you take.

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent


Hi. Congratulations
Reply 6
Original post by Edithado
Hi. To anyone who needs help with their homework or any kind of discussion, please reach me out
Reported as advertising!
Note that teaching and assessment methods are likely to be similar for English lit and history at degree level i.e. lectures and seminars for teaching and then predominantly essays and exams for assessment. You may also have some e.g. presentations and such at some point.

More specifically lectures tend to be "large group teaching" where one lecturer is teaching the entire cohort. This tends to be less interactive and the lecturer will be presenting material (often in the form of a powerpoint although not always) while everyone else listens and takes notes. Note that lectures are usually "introductory" in the sense that they will just give an overview or introduction to a topic, or illustrate a specific case example. They are not "maximal" in the same way school teaching is and the expectation is that you use the lecture as a jumping off point for your further study and reading independently.

Seminars tend to be the more interactive "class" like activity, as you are split into different seminar slots so only e.g. 10-25 or so students are in each seminar group. These are often run by a PhD student, and tend to be student led with the PhD facilitating the discussion. For seminars you tend to get out of them what you bring to them - just turning up with an empty head and notebook tends to be less productive for these. You usually want to have done whatever the relevant readings for that week are, whatever further reading you may have done, gone over your lecture notes, thought of questions around the material and approaches you've taken to it etc, in preparation for discussion.

Remember in terms of how the credits are laid out, it's usually expected for full time students to spend roughly 30-40 hours a week (i.e. approximately equivalent to a full time job) studying, including all your timetabled activities. Since timetabled activities tend to be only a small portion of those total hours, even after time taken to work on assignments there are more hours that you're reasonably expected to be doing further reading and studying in. Just turning up to timetabled activities and minimally doing the assignments will often not be sufficient to get a good result (it may suffice to get an ok result but if you're aiming for a high 2:1 or 1st you realistically need to be committing fully to things).

It's definitely important to bear in mind uni is very different to school and avoid approaching it as "school 2". You aren't going to have a teacher/lecturer go through everything in detail with you in a setting where you can ask questions continually. A lot of the "filling in the blanks" falls on you to do.
Hello,

Congratulations!!!

I am studying a scientific course, but from my friends' experience their course is a combination of PowerPoints, reading material, and submitting essays.

My biggest advice would be to try to find out if your university has a Unibuddy scheme, where you can speak to current students and they can give you insight on your course.

I would also advise attending an open day, where you can get a chance to meet some of your future lecturers and they can let you know what their teaching styles are.

Best of luck,
Haya- MBBS V
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hi @cristalat101,

Congratulations on your offers πŸŽ‰.

Personally, in my previous degree in psychology, studying at university was mostly reading and writing essays. I had a few exams for which I needed my notes from lecturers and textbooks. Most of the exams I had included writing essays under exam conditions. We did not know the question but were usually given one or a few topics to prepare. Each week we had assigned reading which was comprised of journal articles and textbook chapters. For some modules like statistics was mostly textbooks and for others, it was journal articles. Some of the reading was required and others were optional. The lectures were spread throughout the week and were very interactive. I spend time in the library and my desk at home while reading studies and doing literature reviews.

At the moment I am studying nursing which also includes reading journal articles, and textbooks and getting familiar with relevant materials as well as completing online learning. In both degrees, I attended lectures where the teacher went through power points. Nursing is a little bit different as we learn a lot in workshops and placements.

Have you considered attending open or offer holder days?
Hristiana (Kingston rep)
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hi there,

It's awesome that you have offers for both English Lit and History, in your courses, you can expect a mix of lectures, seminars and independent study. You can also expect to be in school 2-3 days per week. For my course, assessment is solely closed book examinations, but I found out that it's just my course as many other courses have assignment or projects so assessment would depend on your course but considering it's English lit or history, it's likely to be assignment-based. You could have to do a lot of independent study though, you might do occasional projects or group presentations, but it depends on your course, the module or even the lecturer.

My experience in a week is: Monday- 3 online lectures for an hour each.
Tuesday- a free day
Wednesday- 2 in person seminars for 2 hours each
Thursday- 1 in person seminar for 2 hours
Friday- another free day

Again, this is just for my course and the current year and term I'm in. I hope this give you an idea!
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.
Hi there,

This really depends on what you're planning to study. Do you have any ideas? For example, I study BScEcon International Relations, which is largely an essay subject, based on readings. I find myself spending most of my time reading and conducting research for essays.

I hope this helps give you a small insight. Let me know if you have any more questions.
All the best,
Jaz - Cardiff Student rep
Original post by cristalat101
Hey I have offers for both English Lit and History and I just wanted to know what its actually like studying at uni so I can choose between the two. Is it mostly PowerPoints? Textbook reading? Do you have to do lots of essays or is it other work? I'd just like a more clear picture of what uni is *actually* like lol.

Hi there,

Firstly congratulations on your offers! Teaching styles vary from uni to uni and from course to course so it depends on you university really.

In my experience, in lectures the lecturer will read off a powerpoint and also read around it and add extra bits which are usually quite useful. I can then access that powerpoint at any time which is good when I need to recap what has been said or when it comes to writing my assignments.

In seminars there is usually a powerpoint and there are also usually group or individual activities to do to enhance what we have been taught and ensure we understand it.

We then have our core textbooks which you are expected to use in your assignments which have most of the information, and you will also have to do some wider reading on your own around the topic if you want to achieve a higher mark.

I would imagine with your subjects there would be a lot of essays but there are also sometimes presentations and group projects too. You may also have exams.

I hope this helps,

Lucy -SHU student ambassador.

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