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Articles > Student Life June, 23, 2022

What I’ve learnt from my first year at university

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Although my year is just coming to an end with exams looming around the corner, I can’t help thinking about all the things I could’ve done earlier in the year to make it easier.

So, I thought why not share the things I’ve learnt – aside from all the useless biochemistry knowledge – that will help freshers get adjusted to the academic side of university life! Read on for more…

Keeping on top of things is key!

It doesn’t matter how you revise, just make sure to keep on top of your work. Whether this means making flashcards after lectures or listening to recordings at the end of the week. If you manage to stay on top of your revision preparation it will make exam season SO much easier and you won’t be scrambling to finish notes/flashcards the week before the exam (oops).

Finding the place where you revise best will make exam season simple!

You might just think “oh the library is the obvious place to study” and I would’ve completely agreed with you at the beginning of the year but, trust me, there are SO many places on campus that might work better for you. I found that whilst the library was great for early mornings, it got busy around lunchtime, and I lost my focus completely. In the afternoons, I began to switch to Starbucks or my teaching building when I needed a quieter atmosphere. So, try and use your first few months to really explore your options.

Plug-ins for essay writing really speed up the process!

Grammarly. Google Scholar. BibGuru. Using added software when writing essays made my life so much easier – there was less work to do before submitting my essay because I could reference as I wrote and could have my grammar checked consistently.  Even if you don’t like to check your essay until it’s finished, I’d highly recommend implementing these into your routine, because 2,500-word essays are very different to the 8,000-word ones you’ll encounter later.

Watch the pre-recorded lectures!

I can’t express my feelings about pre-recorded lectures enough – disgust, annoyance, disenchantment – but my feelings when I turned up to lectures without having done them were even worse! I’m sure some of you know exactly what I mean, the feeling of everyone else around you (supposedly) knowing what’s going on and the lecturer droning on about a random process you can’t even spell. Even if you can’t get the whole way through the pre-work, just doing the first part will make you feel so much better when you attend the lectures.

Figure out which lectures you want to attend – and those you don’t!

I know, “why wouldn’t I attend all of my lectures?”. Trust me, there’s always one lecturer that just sends you to sleep within 10 minutes of starting the lecture. In my experience, it’s not worth going to those lectures. Conversely, if a lecturer is pretty engaging or the content seems essential – Make. Sure. You. Go. These will be the lectures you best retain, so you will have to do the least work in exam season, and the less work you have to do before exams, the better.

We’d love to hear which of these tips you’re going to try out and whether they worked for you! Let us know in the comments section below 😀

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