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Dealing with the step-up to university

Whether you’ve come straight from previous education, employment, or a gap year, the step-up to university can be a challenge. It’s a completely unique experience and inevitably you’ll see a change in your routine and workload. To help you get to grips with life as a university student, check out these tips for dealing with the step-up to university:

Get used to independent study

Prepare yourself for a totally different teaching environment at university. Your A Levels/alternative qualifications will have been challenging, but your teachers will have always been there to provide you with the necessary information needed for you to do well. At university, you’ll be expected to do a lot of independent work, especially if you are studying an arts, humanities or social sciences course. The best way to get used to this is to just get stuck in – don’t avoid or procrastinate researching and doing extra-reading. Getting into the habit early on will just make things easier and quicker for you as you get the hang of it.

Utilise your office hours

Your tutors will all have an allocated time slot every week for any of their students to drop-in. Making use of that time is crucial, especially for second and third year as you progress and hope to ask academic advisors for references, and final project/dissertation supervision and advice. If they never saw you in the year, it may be harder for them to know how you work and understand what kind of advice to give you. In addition, the better you know your tutors, the more likely you will get higher marks in assessments. After all, they are the ones marking your work, so they are the best people to ask for advice on how to tackle revision and coursework. Rather than asking fellow peers or friends for help, go straight to the individuals who know the most about the subject/topic you are trying to learn, you’re much more likely to gain the knowledge you hope to find. 

Work hard to learn new skills

Although for a lot of students, first year doesn’t count towards their final degree classification, or counts for only a few percentage of their final mark, this doesn’t mean you should totally ignore your studies. While you shouldn’t work so hard you are under immense pressure and stress either, and finding a balance is important, tackling your assignments and exams with the mindset of broadening your skill set for your second and third year will be hugely beneficial. Understanding how you personally work best, learning how to read quickly and effectively, navigating the way essays and assignments are best structured, and finding a way to revise efficiently are all key things to think about refining, so you have a head-start and waste less time in your second and final year when your marks are weighted more heavily.

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