Students in class

Students in class

Differences in university study

Writing assignments seems to be more important here (in the UK). I was never taught to write in an academic way and essays only play a minor role in my degree course in my country. - Kristian

Studying at university in the UK may be different from how you have studied in your home country. There may be differences in everyday academic activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, and you may find that there is quite a lot more independent study time on your course than you are used to.

In these activities you will listen to other international students and British university tutors talking about some of the differences there can be for students studying in the UK. You will also be encouraged to think about how this might affect you personally.

Activity 1Comparing academic cultures

What kind of differences do you think you might find when you start your studies in the UK? You are going to watch some international students and their tutors speaking about aspects of academic life in the UK that sometimes surprise international students.

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Watch a video in which some students and tutors speak about different academic cultures, and move any items in the list that you hear mentioned in the video into the first box. Move any items that are not mentioned in the video into the second box. You can watch the video as many times as you like. When you have finished moving all the items, check your answers and read the feedback.

Mentioned in the video
Not mentioned in the video
Changing rooms for classes
Differences in ways of being taught
Managing your own research and time
Paraphrasing and writing in your own words
Speaking out in seminars
The need to take notes in lectures
Using a wide range of sources for writing
Working with others on study tasks
Writing that is logical and clear in meaning

Video transcript (pdf, 10kb).

Watch the video extract again with the transcript above if you need to check your understanding. The parts of the transcript containing the answers to the listening task are highlighted.

Activity 2What differences will there be for you?

Now you are going to think about the differences that there might be for you when you begin your studies in the UK.

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Choose your own answer to each question and then look at the feedback to find out what differences in study you can expect.

1. How has most of your learning been done up to now?

2. How is most of the teaching done on university courses in your country?

3. How much contact do students in your country have with their tutors and lecturers?

4. What kind of contact do students have with tutors and lecturers in your country?

5. How is a student's work assessed and awarded a grade in your country?

Would you like to review the main points?