Alright, you’ve made it to uni, congrats! Now is when the hard work starts so here’s some tips for helping you get through the year.
Timetables can be a pain in the butt to understand sometimes. Sometimes it looks like you’re never going to get even a lunch break for a few days. Never fear though, usually if you take a look at it properly there’ll be multiple time slots filled with the same tutorial/lab/lecture for one class. Now, granted, if there’s multiple lecture time slots then they will be a part of the full timetable. When it comes to tutorials and labs though, chances are you will be split into groups and you will only have to attend one per class a week. Take all the items off the timetable that you aren’t meant to attend and you’ll feel a lot better about it. You don’t have to go to all the lectures/tutorials but most courses require you to attend at least a certain percent of labs over the year. If you’re not going to lectures and tutorials most of the time then it’s best to make sure that you are still looking over the material and working on questions to keep yourself up to date.
Surviving lectures. Whether or not you choose to go to all of the lectures or just one is up to you but it’s usually best to attend them. Most universities, depending on the lecturer of course, will have their powerpoint slides placed online for your own use. It’s always a good idea to have a look at these before you go to the lecture if you’re going to them, and obviously if you’re not going. It’s not a good idea to rely just on the slides though. You may be able to scrape by first year and possibly second year on 99% of what’s on the lecture slides but come third year onwards you’re going to need to be doing your own research into topic areas that you are covering. 90% of test material is covered in the slides for 1st and 2nd year though.
Tutorial and lab survival. It’s always best to keep an eye out for any material that you need to read or go over before both labs and tutorials. I’ve never known it to be a bad idea to know what you’ll be doing, especially in labs, before you get there. Sometimes there’ll be material you have to go over before you get there or you might get marked down for it. Also, it can never hurt to go over the slides from the lectures that could be relevant to any material being covered in labs or tutorials. Around 10% of what is examined is covered in tutorials and labs, mostly in labs though.
Sitting and revising for exams. Some people find sitting exams harder than revising for them while others find it more difficult to revise. It all depends on how you learn. I know that’s the most patronising sentence ever but it couldn’t be more true. Spend time finding out how you learn best and just go for it. There are many ways people revise: reading; listening to themselves speaking their results; revising one section and writing as much as they know about a topic on a blank piece of paper before revising again and writing on the other side. The list goes on. You’re best bet for reducing anxiety for sitting an exam is to find past papers if you can and practice completing them in the allocated time. A lot of anxiety about exams comes from fear of not being able to finish in time and doing this should help alleviate at least some of that anxiety.
I hope this has been helpful and keep your eyes out for the final part coming soon.