The first few weeks of university are the time to explore the new ideas and experience different ways of thinking. For HSC leavers, here is a useful guide on how to prepare for the exciting year ahead.
LEARNING THE BASICS
Logon to your university student site and start planning your classes at least 6 weeks before semester starts. Check the subject outline to see which tutorials and lectures you will need to register for, and remember to create your timetable early so you can choose the best lecture and tutorial times before they fill up quick. It’s best to spread out your classes with breaks in between, so you can take a mini break and relax before your next class. Plus this also lets the information from the previous class sink in to your mind; there is nothing worse than an information overload!
Lectures are where students learn most of their degree content. Some students find it useful to write notes down on either their printed lecture notes (next to each slide), or on their ipad/laptop. The length of lectures varies with each subject but they usually run for more than an hour or so. Depending on how many students enrolled in your subject, lectures can take place in very large lecture theatres while others will be help in smaller rooms with only a handful of students. Make sure you are prepared for lectures ahead of time, and print out the weeks’ lecture slides to follow as the lecturer talks. You may also pick up tips and hints from lecturers on what may be in the exam, so remember not to miss a class. It is usually in the most unexpected lectures that lecturers may suddenly decide to give good exam hints or tips, and you would be kicking yourself if you missed that. Remember to turn up at your lectures at least 5 minutes prior to starting time, so you can grab a good seat, as lecture seats fill up quite quickly and you wouldn’t want to be the last one to sneak in and make those tip toeing noises
Tutorials usually take place in classrooms with up to 30 students attending. This is an opportunity for students to ask the tutor questions and clarify the course material, while also meeting new friends. Tutorials are used to go through the content of the week’s lecture. Students may also be asked to complete weekly assignments or present papers in front of the class. Attendance and preparing for tutorials is essential, as tutors usually like to take down attendance at the beginning of the tutorial and in some subjects attendance may even account for a part of a student’s final grade. Tutorials are much smaller classes than lectures, so you can definitely tell when someone is missing from class.
Contacting lecturers and tutors:
One of the most useful resources in uni is one-on-one conversations with lecturers and tutors. Consultation hours, when students can speak to their lecturer in person, are usually available in each subject outline. You can catch tutors at the end of the tutorial to talk to them one on one as well. Alternatively you can email your lecturers and tutors using the email address on the unit outline. It would be typically for a lot of students to bombard the lecturer/tutor near the end of semester to question them about what they need to study in the exam, however, there would be no real need to ask very specific question as lecturers and tutors don’t like to give it all away!
MANAGING YOUR STUDY
Lectures and tutorials only take up a fraction of your study time. Students are also expected to research and write essays and assignments, work in groups on assignments, prepare for classes and lectures, and hand in work on time.
It’s a good idea to set up some good study routines at the beginning of semester, as time flies by quick and before you know it it’s already the end of semester and you have 10 weeks of knowledge to jam back into your head. Major stress alert!
Manage your time:
An important tip is to never leave studying to the last minute. Managing your weekly notes from each weekly lecture and tutorial is important. Keep your notes organized in a filing system, and collate your lecture notes and handouts together with the notes you take from readings on similar topics. Take some time at the end of the week, or even on the weekend, to review and read through what you have learnt that week during the lecture/tutorial. It is always good to keep what you have learnt fresh in your mind, so by the time you reach the end of semester you are all prepared. Nothing is worse than a brain jam of information at the very last minute. Life could do with a lot less stress.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
Everyone needs friends in uni to keep life fun, while helping each other out with studying as well.
Here are some tips to get active in the social scene:
- Join a student club and/or society. There are all sorts of clubs to join; sports, cultural, religious, academic clubs. A lot of them hold fun social events and parties that you could attend and meet new people with similar interests. Some clubs even offer exclusive discounts for their members from eateries or retail store. This is a great way to expand your social network and its always good to keep contacts as you will never know they might come in hand in future when you enter the workforce.
- Talk to people in your classes (before and after tutorials or in the breaks and suggest to form a study group). It’s helpful to talk about the subject with students in your class, to understand it better, develop your own ideas and work together on assignments. Sharing ideas is the best way to study!