It's already the middle of the semester! I am sure the weeks are flying by now that you are used to your classes, tutorials, labs and other academic obligations. While you are probably comparing and contrasting the academic approaches embraced at your home institutions and the style of lectures, work and assignments here, it can be a challenge to adapt to the unfamiliar features of the British education system.
In an effort to help ease some of the challenges associated with studying in a new academic system, we thought we would offer a few tips to help you as you begin to submit mid-term papers, projects and exams.
There are only so many books available in the library, all being shared by both students on your courses and those in other years. Ensure you get to the library to start your research ahead of time in order to take out appropriate books, make photocopies, and access all the materials you need. Make sure you have a study schedule planned and that you are managing your time wisely to minimise stress and help produce high-quality work.
Make use of the various resources provided by your university. From writing centers and workshops to student counselling and de-stress events – they are here to help! Practice self-care and do not hesitate to get in touch with us, the international office at your university or the academic/health services directly to get more information.
When writing essays or sitting an exam, you have a limited time and space to develop and express an argument. Plan the structure of your argument in advance and avoid wasting your word count on superfluous details and flowery language. Choose the best evidence for your case, write concisely and address relevant aspects of the question while striving for depth of analysis. Likewise, employ formal language, avoiding colloquialisms, hyperbole, and the first person perspective.
All British universities employ methods to prevent and detect plagiarism within submitted work and will respond to academic misconduct harshly. Cite direct quotations, ideas, theories or concepts presented by others using the appropriate method, as stipulated by the style guidelines for that course.
Asking questions, letting your tutors and lecturers know if you run into trouble and talking with classmates are essential to your success. Don't hesitate to tell someone if things aren't going as planned – they will help you work it out.
Departments will have different preferences for citations and style, so you should check the handbooks for each course. Make sure that you keep to any limits on your word count and provide appropriate bibliography and references.
There may be specific requirements for what you need to submit, so check these out with plenty of time to spare. You don't want to be caught out at the last minute.
If you have a final exam in your course, make a careful note of the date, time and location. It is never too early to check out past exam question papers (if they are available). Ask your tutor/instructor, or someone at the university library as to how to access these if you cannot find them on your course learning platform, or online university library search engine. If your exam is in a location you haven't visited before, ensure you visit it before the day of the exam so you don't get lost.
These are just a few tips to help you prepare for and succeed during mid-semester and final assessments. Hopefully these are helpful, but please don't hesitate to get in touch with us or your instructors if you have questions. We are always happy to help.