Preparing to Study at University

Preparing to study at university may seem quite daunting if it’s something that’s unfamiliar to you. Third year History and Sociology student Lauren helps make sense of a new way of studying.

As a first-generation student, I had no idea about what to expect and how to transition from A-Level learning to university learning. After three years of studying at university, I’ve learnt some of the best tips and tricks to help prepare you for your time at Leeds.

Know the Difference Between a Lecture, Seminar and Workshop

However, a seminar is quite different. These generally take place in a smaller classroom and are made up of around 10–20 students. They are a lot smaller to encourage discussions about the set topic and readings. Although the tutor may speak for a while or help to keep the conversation going, mostly students are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions to each other.

A workshop can be a mixture of the two. The class sizes are still smaller and the tutor will typically have a presentation to go through, but the class will involve participation and likely a worksheet or other notes to be completed.

Preparing for Seminars and Lectures

Lectures require less reading however sometimes it is useful to download the lecture presentation slides before the class to see what topic you will be covering. Decide where will be best to make notes — are you going to add notes to the presentation slides? Or will you use a word document and save all the lectures from that module in one folder? Maybe you would prefer to print off the lecture slides beforehand and write notes. Sometimes a tutor or lecturer will tell you what they want or what they think is the best way to prepare for class in the introductory session but if they don’t I’d try to keep it simple.

Speaking in Seminars

Be brave enough to ask questions and share your thoughts. If you find something confusing then the chances are so do others in the class. Not only does speaking in seminars really engage you in your learning but it slowly boosts your confidence and relaxes you more in these classes.


Make the Most of the Library

Get to Grips with Online Journal Databases

At the same time, make sure of Google Scholar as this will give you a number of academic journals that are credible and have been cited often in other academic work. For many students, Google Scholar is the first port of call when looking for resources as it’s extremely easy to navigate and it also provides a function that cites the article for you!

Ask Questions

Check the Marking Criteria

Get Organised



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