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Organisation Skills: Preparing for Academic Study

Preparing for Academic Study

Preparing for Academic Study

You will find below information on the types of teaching and learning environments you will encounter at university and the kinds of activities a university will expect you to participate in. Learning activities can vary enormously from course to course as can the individual teaching, so it's worth checking your course handbook for an outline of your specific course requirements. You may find that your expectations about learning are both challenged and expanded on your course of study.

At university you will encounter a range of teaching and learning styles - it is a good idea to investigate your own learning preferences as a way of understanding how you can best learn and benefit from your educational journey. 

Learning Services University of Suffolk run a series of workshop days for students who are about to start on a course of study at University of Suffolk. These workshops are entitled 'Get Ahead' and are designed to get you up to speed with the core academic skills that are needed by all students: researching, referencing, academic writing, using technology.

Find out more on our Get Ahead guide

Book your place by contacting Learning Services on: 01473 338700.

 

Teaching and learning at university takes place in a variety of formats:

 

Lectures

Large events that give an overview of a topic area and deliver module content. Students listen and take notes while the lecturer speaks, writes or projects information onto a screen.

 

Seminars

Smaller group discussion of materials/course content areas/set readings with a tutor present. Students will be expected to contribute to discussions and some preparation by the student will be needed for this.

 

Tutorials

These are individual meetings with your tutor or small group meetings and the focus is on discussing your progress with course assignments and to help you with study problems/course content. It is a good idea to prepare any questions you may have in advance to maximise effectiveness.

 

Group Work

Joint projects are undertaken by a group of students working together with specific roles. Sometimes this may be  subject  discussion or a mutual support group arranged by the students themselves.

 

Work Placement

You may be required to be employed or on work placement for more vocational degrees. Often this will involve writing reflectively about your learning and experiences and you will probably be assigned a mentor to look after you. Courses may also require practical work in a studio or laboratory.

 

Independent Study

You will be expected to work independently on assignments by planning, reading and researching, note making and writing (amongst other activities) to make up your study time for the rest of the week. This can be a new and challenging dimension to learning and requires good time management along with self-determination.

Don't expect to be micro-managed as a student at university. Your best character traits will include:
Independence Find the confidence to create your own work plan and make executive decisions regarding your studies and assignments. Use Learning Services for academic support and Student Services for financial support and wellbeing. Self motivation Find ways of working on your own and rewarding yourself to maintain motivation.
Willingness to work with others Although much work will be your own, it is also expected that you will become a team player and partake in group learning. Organising your time Get into the habit of creating a work schedule to keep yourself on track with your assignments and generate a sense of progression and achievement.
Ability to reflect on your learning Figure out how you work best, recognise your preferred learning style, and look at finding an environment conducive to effective study for you. Commitment to ongoing development Higher study is not just about learning new information, it's about developing your skills in order to succeed.

Adapted from: Cottrell, S. (2008) The Study Skills Handbook. 3rd edn. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Get Ahead

Learning Services University of Suffolk run a series of workshop days for students who are about to start on a course of study at University of Suffolk. These workshops are entitled 'Get Ahead' and are designed to get you up to speed with the core academic skills that are needed by all students: researching, referencing, academic writing, using technology.

Book your place by contacting Learning Services on: 01473 338700.

Where Next?

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1:1 bookable appointments can be made with your Academic Skills Advisers for your subject area.

Students from Ipswich can book two appointments per week (if you are a student from the Learning Network, please contact your library) - 

  • up to 1 hour with an Academic Skills Advisor

Appointments are scheduled in 30 minute slots.  

Schedule an Appointment