• University Study Tips

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Contents

General

  • Check your uni email account daily as departments and tutors use this for most communication. (Tip: install an app of the email in your smartphone to give you notifications when you receive emails)
  • Make sure you understand your timetable and are aware of any changes to Lecture rooms etc. Keep a copy of this with you at all times.
  • Reading lists - vital. Make sure you understand what you must read each week and how to find the material in the library or online etc.
  • Make sure you meet your Personal Tutor (responsible for your pastoral care rather than just teaching) regularly. Most will have regular meetings with you during each Term. Keep a positive image (good work habits) as well - your tutor is the one who will eventually write your job references.
  • Many Unis hold extra classes in study skills like essay writing, referencing etc. Go to them.
  • Work to deadlines. If an essay has to be handed in by a specific date, that is what it means. Late submission is often penalised and this can impact on your course grades.
  • Ask for feedback. If you don't understand why you got a poor grade for an assignment, talk to your tutor about what you could do better next time.
  • Group work is only effective if you set a plan. Set a goal and make sure you all manage your time to produce high quality work and achieve the goal required done in time.
  • Get things done early, preferably start on assignments as soon as they are given. Work first, have fun when you have finished. This goes to everything -- essays/coursework/projects, problem sheets, theory, and others. Discipline, time-management, and prioritisation are very important.
  • Do not 'pester' Tutors. They will not appreciate endless emails from you asking questions about stuff you could have found out for yourself on the Uni website or by asking a class mate. They will have an 'office hour' when you can knock on their door. Do not bother them at any other time unless it really is urgent.

Lectures

  • Go to Lectures. They aren't 'optional'. In many subjects material covered in lectures provides a basis for later classes or practical work. If you do end up missing lectures (and everyone does occasionally) then try to get the notes off someone else (or do a bit of the reading).
  • If your uni offers hand-outs online then print them off before the lecture. Some lecturers don't give out copies of their slides and this way you have something to annotate
  • If you find it hard to make notes quickly then stick to key points and go over examples and other extra information with a friend afterwards.
  • Read through your notes at the weekend after the lecture to make sure they're still legible and make sense. It's better to realise now than come exam time!
  • Look for a note-keeping application (like MS Office OneNote or Notability for iPad) to store electronic copies/scans of notes. Those coffee rings can be a real pain!
  • Organise your notes - very important. File them, or keep everything in one notebook. This makes revising much easier.

Classes

  • Prepare properly. Do the reading or whatever else has been set. Do not do this on the bus on the way to Uni that morning. The more preparation you do, the more you will enjoy the course and the better grades you will get. It really is that simple.
  • Always attempt any written tasks or exercises set. Don't leave things like problem sheets until the morning of the lecture/seminar/whatever, and always try to do all the questions. Even if you've found it difficult, do what you can and hand it in.
  • If you are baffled by a topic/issue etc, then don't be afraid to ask your tutor for help. Its what they are there for!
  • Don't be afraid to ask someone else in your class for help about a particular concept or topic. What have they read that helped them understand it?
  • Be constructive in class discussions. Listen and don't interrupt others. Don't just dismiss other people's arguments out of hand, however weak they might sound. This can be really undermining to anyone not feeling very confident.

Notes & Filing

  • When making notes in lectures put the date, module title and page number on each piece of paper. When you get back from your lecture put them into a folder straight away.
  • Typing up your notes after a lecture might help you get them into your head. Also, you’ll be able to print off neatly typed copies for revision later in the year.
  • Arrange your notes how you wish, it needs to work for you.

Coursework

  • Do not leave coursework until the last moment. Prioritise it by how big the coursework is and how far away the deadline is. Mark days in your diary for both 'reading' and 'writing essay'. Be realistic about how long something will take. Good essays are not written in an hour.
  • Read the texts on the reading list, and follow up references within those and do 'extra' reading if you have time.
  • If you can't find required reading material in the library, ask library staff for help.
  • If you are confused by any part of your coursework, ask your tutor.
  • Fulfil all the parts of the coursework requested. Marks cannot be given if you don't complete stuff.
  • If you are genuinely unable to complete an assignment on time (illness, family drama etc) tell your tutor before the deadline.
  • Check the referencing system you are supposed to use. Ensure you use it.
  • Plagiarism and all other forms of cheating are taken extremely seriously by universities. Do not be tempted to pass off anyone else's work as your own.

Stamina

  • Staying up until 4am watching TV when you have a 9am lecture is not a good way to learn.
  • Partying all week and then trying to cram a week's work into one afternoon is also not a good way to study.
  • Be realistic about the amount of paid work you can do without feeling exhausted most of the time. You came to Uni to study, not work all hours in Tescos.
  • Stamina also counts for studying. If you can't do 4 hours in one go, break it up into chunks. Don't do a solid block of work in the morning that completely tires you so that you can't do any more for the rest of the day. Make sure you pace yourself with your studying too, so that you can do more net work in total.

Exams

See 'Avoiding exam stress'.

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