Settling into Study

  • Degrees are very different from A-Levels and other forms of Further Education courses.
  • The ‘safety net’ of college and sixth form is not as apparent at university, as you are largely left to your own independent devices.
  • You will need to explore your module pages for course outlines, reading lists, assessment deadlines, assessment methods, and details of classes.
  • Don’t be daunted by this! Everyone is going through the same, and it can take you a few weeks to adjust into the rhythm of your timetable.
  • Structure your time. Many students will have a lot less hours in class compared to sixth form or college (less so for STEM students). So, it’s important that when you’re not face-to-face with your tutor or lecturer, that you try to plan out your time effectively. Plan out time to relax, go shopping, eat, meet friends, and so forth. Also, plan out appropriate amounts of time to sit down and get on with your ‘homework’.
  • Homework that you would have been used to at school and college is not the same at university. While you will have interim assessments throughout term, and exam periods, you will have to do a lot of work that you are not necessarily instructed about word-for-word, such as research and reading.
  • Make sure that you ask your tutor about upcoming deadlines for formative and summative assessments as soon as possible in term .
  • Create a group on social media or on your phone for all of your classmates to get to know each other better, share ideas, and ask questions to each other.
  • University grading works differently, so you getting a first-class degree is not dependent on someone else getting a 2.1 or 2.2. In this way, you should endeavour to help and support your peers so that you all get the most out of the experience and are not in competition with each other.
  • ‘Formative’ work means that it is unassessed and will not count towards any of your overall grades for the year or the course. ‘Summative’ means that the work is assessed in some form, and you should be instructed as to whether this will contribute to your year average or your overall degree.
  • Make use of the Library and particularly the online resources.
  • Don’t overwork yourself because you feel pressured to prove yourself as a ‘big fish’ – you can do it, and you are good enough.
  • Your lecturers and tutors will have ‘Office Hours’, which are points in the week dedicated to having an open surgery for their students’ enquiries. This is the preferred method of contact compared to just knocking on their door at random intervals – so make a note of when they are and use them!
  • Ask questions – about anything, anytime.