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Succeeding at University

As a student, you may be thoroughly focused on studying at university, however, in this section, lecturers highlight other resources which are available to you which could contribute to your academic studies, general personal development and employable skills.

Tips on Succeeding at University
  • Students
  • Academic Staff
Make sure you ask for feedback - Francis (BSc Business Administration and International Relations)

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Transcript

I wish I had known that you can ask for feedback. Marking schemes as well, I didn't know about marking schemes until the second year, or relating to the second year. I just thought you just write and shoot away and just hope that you hit something, but there is actually something that you should be achieving. And, whatever assignment , they should always ask for the marking scheme, because it is your right to have it. You can't just write and hope that you hit somewhere, that you land somewhere. So, marking schemes are important. Even for exams they have them, so you should know what you are expected to do in the exam. You see, I wish I had known that.


Managing your time whilst at university - Francis (BSc Business Administration and International Relations)

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Transcript

Well, I had quite a lot of social activities, so societies, erm, I did joint football, I did join jujitsu, I joined some debating societies. You see, in the first year, you are quite eager to learn all these new things, so you join all these new interesting things. Then you find that you haven't got the time, so you have to start cutting back on things, and prioritise. So, think, firstly,' what's important?, it's my degree', then socialise, then these additional societies. So you start cutting out what you don't need and focusing on all the important things. So, I did that, and by the third year, I was much more relaxed. I didn't have to be rushing around, erm, running home and having a quick dinner, a quick lunch and then coming back to an event and doing this and doing that. Ok, it does help in that you meet a lot of people, and you make a lot of friends, doing that kind of thing, so, it's good for the first year, but I started focusing on the really important things, erm, which was my degree in the second year.


Things I wish I knew - Holly (BSc Human Psychology)

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I wish that someone had told me how to read. I really didn't understand that concept of 'reading'. I didn't understand, 'do I write it all down?' or 'is there any point in reading it if I don't write anything down?' I was just really confused about that. But, if you want understanding, read it, it is fine just to read it. If you want to make some notes, then make some notes. Just keep it specific. That's what I probably took a while to grasp, but it did panic me. I know it sounds really silly, but no one had taught me how to read before. I don't think anyone sort of thinks about that. But it is not something that you should know necessarily how to do. That's something, maybe quite personal, that you should get to know how to do, your own style of doing things, and then once you have done X amount of lectures, then you will start to get into the swing of things because you are doing it a fair amount. But with me, I was quite scared of it at the beginning. But I was fine after the first term or so.


Things I wish I knew - Abbey (BSc Sociology and English Language)

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I wish someone had told me that you have to be more responsible for your own learning and actually be motivated to do that. Because for the first term, I thought that what they told me was literally just all that I needed to know. And just about time management, just for someone to tell me that you actually do have to put in quite a lot more effort than what people make out.


University Life - Ruth (BSc Maths and Biology)

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I think that certainly when you first come to university, it can be quite a difficult thing. Because quite often, you have just moved out of home, you would have to cope with the demands of cooking, doing your own shopping, doing your own laundry which you may not always have been used to doing. So, you have to make sure that you can do all of the daily things and make sure that you can fit all of your work in as well, along with having a social life, because you need to have time to spend with your friends, but you also need to have time to get your work done, because no one else is going to be on your back to make you do it otherwise. It probably took me quite a few months to get into the swing of things, but I suppose that once you have got your routine sort of settled, then you figure out when you've got your lecture timetable what days would be good if you want to go out in the evening, what days you go out, what time you are going to give yourself a lot of time when you can do your work, if you are going to get a job, when you can fit that in, because it is useful to have part time work as well during university, because then you can put that on your C.V., and companies can see that you are able to manage studying and going out and having a job, which is an important thing.

Making the most out of learning opportunities - Dr Patrick Tissington

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Transcript

I have one top study tip for students and that is, as soon as you can to find a group of like minded people and study together. There's a bit of a health warning to this and make sure that this is not saying that you should copy each other's work but we find that the students who do best are those who are the ones that get together in groups to perhaps you're going to go through a particularly difficult topic and get to grips on how to understand it maybe you split up different elements of a topic and you each look at it in depth and present it back to your fellow group members. But most of all having people who are working through the same coursework as you gives you a feeling that you are being supported, you have some fellow travellers, that you're not alone in what you're doing because it can be challenging. University is supposed to be challenging and we see that student's who got together in groups of their own desire so they choose who is going to be in these study groups with. There's nothing that we as a member of staff impose on students. But if you are able to find a group of students who are on the course or on a similar course to yours, you can get together even for short amounts of time just to share your experience and chat through the things you've been talking about, that have been talked about in lectures. That is a massive help.


Top tips on getting the most out of university - Dr Patrick Tissington

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Transcript

The main point I'd like to get across to students as they start at university is that what a great opportunity this is and I really want students who come to Aston to get everything they possibly can out of the experience of being at university. There's a huge range of things that you can get from university, okay so there's dozens of clubs and societies at the student guild and there's a great social life so do that by all means but take advantage of things like the massive diversity that we have here, that is to say that you have students on your course from all over the world. My course last year, very large group of eight hundred or so students but within that there was 57 different countries represented, seek them out don't just stay in your own little groups, seek out people from different places, their insight into the world will be fabulous for you to experience. So make use of those sorts of opportunities, make use of the opportunity to learn for your own sake and I know that we are very focused and students tend to be very focussed getting through their assessments, I understand that but follow things through if they fascinate you, take every opportunity you can to steer your studies into areas which you find interesting and just take everything out if as you possibly can.


Getting the most out of your university experience - Dr Fiona Copland

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Transcript

I think academic life/learning can be very enjoyable, don't always look on the work as a chore. It can be an enjoyable thing and you can learn a lot and develop your thinking and writing skills, which will stand you in good stead for when you want to get a job. Also, at Aston, and at lots of other universities, you will find a huge range of students there, home students, overseas students, young students, mature students, students with life experience, students with not so much life experience. There is not an archetypal student anymore, and everybody's views and ideas are valuable and you can learn from them. So if you find yourself in a seminar group with not a whole bunch of 18 year olds or 20 year olds, but a group of people from different age groups, with different back grounds, with people who don't necessarily speak English as their first language: embrace that and think that this is a huge opportunity for me to learn about the world and how the world works, and not only about chemistry or about physics or English.


Skills to develop in your first year at university - Dr Fiona Copland

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Transcript

I think academic life/learning can be very enjoyable, don't always look on the work as a chore. It can be an enjoyable thing and you can learn a lot and develop your thinking and writing skills, which will stand you in good stead for when you want to get a job.

Also, at Aston, and at lots of other universities, you will find a huge range of students there, home students, overseas students, young students, mature students, students with life experience, students with not so much life experience. There is not an archetypal student anymore, and everybody's views and ideas are valuable and you can learn from them. So if you find yourself in a seminar group with not a whole bunch of 18 year olds or 20 year olds, but a group of people from different age groups, with different back grounds, with people who don't necessarily speak English as their first language: embrace that and think that this is a huge opportunity for me to learn about the world and how the world works, and not only about chemistry or about physics or English.


Making the most out of university - Dr Anne Wheeler

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Transcript

I think the first thing is to think about, you've come to university to study a subject, but university is more than studying a subject. It's about the social interactions, meeting new people, listening to new things, take advantage of everything that is out there. So the Guild can offer you clubs to join, societies to join, go to free lectures that are over and outside your subject that just spark your interest. Often things are advertised that are going on. But I think the other thing to think about is the more you put into your own learning the more that you're going to get out of it. And I would consider it an investment in your own future. The time that you put into it now will pay you back when you graduate, which I'm sure students coming to Aston will and when you graduate and want to go into employment the more you've put into your studying it will stand you in good stead once you've left university. But enjoy being at university, there's nothing like it, you'll never get that time again or any experience like it again, so come prepared to invest some time in it. But come to also enjoy it, both the learning and the other side of being at university, the social networking if you like.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research