Uni life: the best university for ducks

How much time you should spend studying, what to do if you're called in to a meeting about your exam results, and does your university have enough ducks?

Is your uni in the top 5 for ducks?

The THE may have released a list of the top 200 universities in Europe this week, but if you’re concerned about the quality of your intuition then you really need to understand the “ultimate mark of a university’s prowess and brilliance” – that’s right, the amount of ducks on campus. 

If you’re panicking that this kind of information may only be known to a privileged few, calm down – the lovely people over at www.duckdensity.org have got you covered. 

Duck Density is calculated using a rigorous methodology that involves the measurement of "roods", "water resource" and "duck catchment areas" in their calculations, so you know you can trust the results. “I've been saying for years that this is the most meaningful university league table,” says Good bloke. 

“I'm at the wrong university...” mourns Plagioclase, after seeing the table.

Here are the top 5 universities in the UK according to their research:

The top 5

1) York, 14.5
2) Leeds, 6.7
3) Roehampton, 3.1
4) East Anglia, 2.8
5) Nottingham, 1.4

If you would like to contribute to this important list it is easy to get involved. All you need to do is go to your university and count the numbers of ducks. Once you've done this, you can email the data to Duck Density. You can find instructions here
If that's still a bit complicated, here’s a quick FAQ:

What is a duck? Don’t know your mallards from your moorhens? Don’t stress. According to the researchers, a duck is anything that goes on water and includes geese and seagulls. Pigeons are not ducks because they “do not go on water”, but if you happen to see one having a swim it probably counts. 

How do I count them? Basically you need to find a body of water (puddles don’t count) near your university Once you've done this, it's a simple process of counting the ducks on it. Then you need to send this information to the researchers – they will do the calculations for you. You’re allowed to attract ducks with some food but you can’t go and capture all the ducks from a rival university in a big net and bring them back with you because that’s cheating. 

Come at talk about the duck situation at you uni here.

Poll: How many hours do you study?

Our poll revealed that 10% of you work more than 50 hours a week, most do about 20-30 hours and 33% of you work less than 10 hours (we suspect some non-uni students may have sneaked in to the poll). Quack
So how many hours should you be aiming for?

This really depends on your subject and on how fast you work. “It's very subjective, as it depends how quickly you read and write essays for my subject,” explains Lucilou101. 

“I do probably about 45-50 in a typical term week,” says Plagiolase. “I do about 50-60 hours per week, but I study 3 languages and linguistics and it is very heavy at times,” says Bluffroom. 

“I have 14 hours of lectures a week, and try to study at least 9-5 every weekday,” says super_kawaii. 

“At the moment, doing my dissertation, I'm in the lab from 9am to about 7pm every day,” says TattyBoJangles.

Around 35 hours a week, including lecturers and seminars, is a good number to aim for. That’s a solid working week and means you’ll be able to get your work done without becoming over-tired. 

It’s a good idea to keep up a steady pace throughout the year. Remember that you don’t need to work to deadlines, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can slack off when you don’t have assignments due. You’ll only end up having to work extra long hours at peak times which will exhaust you. It’s much better to pace your work out evenly over the year. 

Advice: When your lecturer wants to speak to you

Desslop is first year and just scraped a pass in all his exams, which he thought would be enough to get through to second year. But now things aren't going so smoothly. “I got an email from my personal tutor that he wishes to discuss about my progression to the next year," he explains. "What is up with that? I thought that if I passed I would be 100% guaranteed progression onto the next year?” 

It can be a bit nerve wreaking when your personal tutor contacts you about something like this, but don’t worry. “He might just want to see if there is anything going on behind the scenes which is causing poor performance, and if there's anything the university can do to help you,” says SlowlorisIncognito. 

“If you've been doing the bare minimum to coast through when you ought to have been doing more, you may be in for a pep talk. You tutor might want a commitment from you that next year will be different,” explains Klix88. 

If your attendance hasn’t been great then you’re also more likely to be at risk of being withdrawn from the course, but you'll be given enough chance to improve your attendance before that happens. "That's unlikely to be the first contact you have with the uni!” says SlowlorisIncognito. 

It's much more likely that your tutor wants to check that everything is okay, that you have enough support and that you're coping with the course alright. It's great opportunity to have a chat with your lecturer and go over any problems you're having. “Try to go in with an open mind and accept any help offered,” says Klix88. 

Top conversations this week: 
What do you do when you're not studying? 
Do class clowns exist at uni? 
Should I go to a concert before my final exam?
Is uni worth it?

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