University work can be a bit of a shock to many, especially when it comes to time management, lectures and seminars. Here are my tips on how to make the most out of lectures, and how to get yourself organised for assignments and seminars.
During induction week (your first week at university), it will definitely feel like information overload! But this information is important for the rest of your first year, so make sure you take plenty of notes. I could not live without my academic year diary, it is my bible! We get given an assignment schedule at the beginning of the year, so I make sure to write down all my assignment deadlines in my diary.
I got this diary from The Works for £3 – they always have a great selection in there. They start selling new academic year diaries from around May, so don’t worry if you haven’t got one yet! I love this one because it has space to write your timetable and assignment deadlines, something which standard January – December diaries don’t usually have.
For each module we do, we have a module handbook which is available on Moodle, the online learning portal. Spend some time familiarising yourself with Moodle, because it’s where you will be uploading assignments and downloading lecture notes, so it’s worth getting into the habit of checking it frequently. The module handbooks contain loads of important info, such as lecture content and assignment guides. If you plan on getting ahead with your assignments then definitely make sure you read the module handbooks.
A great piece of advice was given to me by one of my lecturers with regards to assignments – give yourself three weeks to complete an essay. One week to research, one week to write it and one week to proof read and edit it. This technique has worked great for me, and I make sure to mark in my diary when it’s three weeks before an assignment is due so I know to get cracking with it!
Most lecturers will make their lecture slides available on Moodle prior to a lecture. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attend the lecture though, as a lot of lecturers will discuss topics that aren’t on their slides! I find it helpful to print the lecture slides before the lecture, then make notes on the slides. I then file these by module, so when it comes to revising for the end of year finals all my notes are in one place.
It can be daunting walking into a lecture theatre with around 100 other students, but remember that those 100 other students are in the same boat as you and are probably all just as nervous.
When taking notes in lectures, try and focus on what the lecturer is saying, not what’s on the slides. They are likely to discuss key information for exams, which is why it’s important to make sure you attend lectures – and try not to nod off!
Enjoy your induction week, but make sure you make notes of key information as even with the best intentions you probably won’t remember much of what was said as it will all be a bit of a blur (and I’m not talking about any associated hangovers)!
Your personal tutor is there to help you too, so don’t be afraid to contact them if you’re struggling.
Looking for more useful info for first years? Check out our other Fresher’s Guides.