Tag Archives: studying

Study Tips for International Students

Revising and studyingThis month’s guest blogpost is provided by Daniel Sefton, a writer for Dwell Student Living:

When you choose to make the UK your home throughout your studies, you are stepping into a new culture, you are trying out a new language, and you might even be experiencing new teaching styles. Studying in the UK can be a challenge if you are not used to the way universities and colleges are structured, but there are a few things that you can do to make your studies a bit easier:

Ask Questions

Make sure you ask plenty of questions when you’re in class, especially if English is not your first language. It’s important that you take in the right information, and if you need your tutors to clarify any concepts for you, don’t hesitate to ask. Even if you think that the question might be worth asking, you should still get your tutor to explain it to you in terms that make sense to you.

Asking the right questions will help you to understand topics when you to come to study for your exams. If you don’t understand a topic and don’t ask, you may find that you have to teach yourself the concepts, which may then have an impact on how you manage your revision time.

Study with Friends

Sometimes it is better to study alone, because you can put real thought into the work that you are doing. One negative to working on your own is that when you encounter a difficult concept which you struggle to understand, you have nobody to ask for help. A solution to this problem is to study with friends.

If you revise with other people, they will be able to help you fill any gaps in your knowledge, while you will help them by explaining any concepts that you already understand. Working collaboratively with other people is a great way to quickly develop your understanding of a topic, so it is worth booking out a private study-space in your university or college library and getting together for a study session.

Practice

Practice makes perfect, so once you feel like you fully understand a topic, it will be time to put your knowledge to the test. Make use of the resources that your university or college has on offer, especially past exam papers and example answers from previous assignments. Find out from your tutor how long your examinations will last for, and recreate exam conditions when you test yourself.

Working in this way will get you used to the atmosphere of the exam hall, which means that when the actual test comes around, you will be able to perform to the best of your ability. Once you have tested yourself, take the time to mark your own work, and use this to find any gaps in your knowledge which you can then work on before your actual exam.

Plan Ahead

When you have settled into your course and have a good understanding of the syllabus (the topics you will be learning), start planning how you are going to study throughout the year. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to absorb all of the information that you are being taught. The best way to retain new information is to dedicate an hour or so each evening to revising what you have learnt throughout the day. When you do this, you should put it into your own words, because this will help to improve your understanding of any confusing concepts. This will be crucial closer to exam season, because you will not be attempting to learn new things – it will just be a case of refreshing your memory.

Use Study Apps

If you need extra help with your studies, you can make use of some of the amazing smartphone apps that are available. There is genuinely an app for everything, so if you can pinpoint what it is that you struggle with, you will be able to find an app to help you.

If you have difficulty with taking in information, you can use apps like Soundnote to record your lectures, which will help you with your revision, because you can play the lecture back at a slower pace. You should check with your lecturer first to make sure they are happy to be recorded in this way. If you struggle planning your time, you can use apps like Class Timetable to plan your time effectively. It’s just a case of finding the right app for you.

Hard Work Pays Off

It can be a challenge trying to learn in a new environment, but with careful planning and hard work, you can be capable of exam success in no time!

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

Leave a comment...

Posted in Uncategorized

Five ways to kill time without your phone

No phones!This month’s guest blogpost is provided by Oliver Long, a writer for The Student Housing Company:

Who else remembers when killing time involved exactly that; waiting for time to pass, and not doing much? No, we don’t either. Nowadays, any free moment we have is spent with our faces buried deep in our smartphones – a real 21st-century problem.

While it’s true that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even emails work great as time-killing tools, it can be good for the soul to stay off your phone every now and then. That’s why we’ve looked into five offline, productive things to do without your phone – for those who think detox retreats are too much but the Moment app is too little.

Observe Your Surroundings

If you can spare a couple minutes away from your phone everyday, you may notice something amazing that’s happening all around you – real life! Once you’re done observing, you can then get back on your phone and turn all these observations into excellent tweets…if you can condense them into 280 characters or fewer.

Explore the Real World

Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places, but you wouldn’t know unless you go out and explore the possibilities. Incidentally, taking a walk is also a great way to unwind and declutter your mind of all the study-related stress you may have. Take this opportunity to relax and recharge. You can pay a visit to a local area you’ve never been before; the park, the gallery, or the museum, where you may even learn a new thing or two. Speaking of learning…

Learn Something New

Perhaps you’ve been wanting to take up photography? This would be the time to do it. How about learning a language? Or you could just pick up a book from the library or download an ebook on your Kindle, then you wouldn’t even think about checking your phone. No matter what degree you’re studying, having new skills is only going to enhance your employability in the future. You never know, you may even enjoy it!

Catch Up Over a Coffee

Meet up with a fellow coursemate, go to a Starbucks and just chat and see where the conversation takes you. If you’re really pinching pennies, consider having a friend over for a regular coffee or tea and share ideas over your coursework or something completely unrelated to your studies. Just don’t forget to put your phones away.

Actually Get Work Done

This probably isn’t what you clicked in here for but having no distraction from your phone makes the perfect setting to get some work done. Now you may be thinking “a big part of my studies depends on my phone and the ability to access the internet!”, but if you take a step back from all the technology, you’ll find that there’s more to what you can accomplish without your gadget than you thought.

We hope you’ve found some tips and ideas helpful for next time your phone runs out of juice or when you decide that enough is enough and that the time has come for you to live your life phone-free.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

Leave a comment...

Posted in Uncategorized

Different ways of being taught on your course

Ways of being taughtThis month’s blog post considers some of the different ways you can expect to be taught during your studies in the UK.

Traditional ways of being taught on a university course in the UK include through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and possibly workshops, depending on your discipline area. Some of these may be unfamiliar to international students, especially if they have been taught in a different way in their home countries. Even a teaching method such as a ‘lecture’ may be delivered differently in different academic cultures, so it is important to know what you should expect as a student coming to study in the UK. For a basic introduction to these four ways of teaching have a look at Ways of being taught on your course first.

Lectures generally last between 30 to 50 minutes and traditionally involve students in listening and note-taking. The lecturer may use visual aids (usually presentation slides) whilst speaking. These, along with a recording of the lecture, may or may not be available afterwards for you to refer to. It is useful to take notes, even if they are available, to add to your understanding. You may find that some of your lectures in the UK are quite interactive. There will usually be an opportunity for one or two questions from the audience at the end but some lecturers also use other polling devices to engage students in the topic – these allow the student audience to participate more actively, by thinking and voting on issues or predicting the outcomes of research mentioned during the lecture itself.

Some lecturers might even ask you to watch a pre-recorded lecture and then use a seminar for discussion of the key points or extension activities to deepen your understanding. Seminars are a typical way of teaching found in most UK universities. Usually groups of up to 20 students discuss an academic paper, a presentation or a topic with their tutor. It is expected that students speak as well as the tutor, and it is an opportunity to develop your critical thinking skills as well as to explore different opinions or perspectives on a topic. Small group tutorials may also serve some of these functions.

A tutorial in many universities involves a one-to-one meeting with your tutor. The meeting might typically focus on your academic progress, feedback for an assignment or negotiation of an assignment or dissertation topic if you are a postgraduate student.
In science and applied science, lab sessions and workshops often take the place of seminars and these may involve following a practical set of instructions or carrying out an experiment.

Lastly, blended learning practices can now be found embedded across UK universities. Although much of your course will probably take place in a face-to-face context, you may also find that part of it is delivered or undertaken online. You will be expected to use a range of technologies, not only to support your independent learning but also possibly to receive some of your teaching. Technology is likely to have an impact at all levels of your study, from contacting your tutor (by email) to even doing part of a taught module online with other students.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

Leave a comment...

Posted in Uncategorized

Studying in the UK: Guidance for Indian Students

Indian students

This month’s guest blog post offers guidance to Indian students applying to study in the UK and is provided by Sophia Harris from Stunited:

Indian students who are planning to pursue studies in higher education in the UK often face a dilemma in terms of choosing the right course to suit their educational background and meeting entry requirements for the UK. Typical courses that attract Indian students include science, engineering, art and design, law, finance and business management, and help in choosing the most suitable course can be found on the British Council India Education website. The UCAS website also helps with the process of finding courses that match your profile. Most universities provide details of specific courses on their official websites, and students can also request a prospectus from them. Some local British Council offices may also be able to provide a copy of a prospectus, as well as more general information about studying in the UK.

Prospective students should try to estimate the cost of studying and living in the UK before they come. They should take into account accommodation costs (e.g. halls of residence) as well as fees for the course that they intend to study. In order to get a comprehensive idea regarding accommodation facilities, choice of course, availability of scholarships etc, students can register to use the Stunited (Students United) website. Some universities offer a guarantee of housing to international students for at least one year of study, while a few of them extend this to the full period of studies. Students must identify whether or not they qualify for such guaranteed housing from the university.

When planning to study in the UK, students must ensure they have sufficient money to pay for course fees and living costs. For the necessary financial planning, students can visit the UKCISA website to find out more about course fees, living costs and financial support. The International Student Calculator is also a useful site for this.

Students should gather enough information about the specific institution or university where they are planning to study. It is essential to know whether a student visa, i.e. UK immigration permission, will be granted for study. Before making an application for this visa it is important to check whether the chosen university is listed in the Register of Tier 4 Sponsors. Any application to an unlisted institution will be refused. Students are advised to check the university website for its policy on refund of deposits and fees in case of an immigration application being refused; the university course not running or the university losing its Tier 4 Sponsor status.

Students should note that they must not make any payment until they are clear regarding the university’s policy on refunds, and complaints handling. If a student is interested in an undergraduate degree course at a UK university, it is advisable to apply through the central admission system known as Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This website provides the necessary information for international students who wish to apply online.

If an Indian student wishes to travel to Europe whilst studying in the UK, he/she will have to apply to the Schengen Visa Scheme before travelling. This provides a permit to travel in countries belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or between countries with the use of only one visa.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

Leave a comment...

Posted in Uncategorized

Can I work in the UK?

This week’s blog post is in answer to a student’s question about doing a part-time job while studying at university in the UK. To find out whether you, specifically, are allowed to work while studying as an international student in the UK, you will need to check your own passport (or possibly identity card). This is quite complicated as there are various categories and levels of permission associated with working. It is also possible that your passport stamp will say ‘work prohibited / no work’. For the information you will need to decide whether or not you are allowed to work while studying in the UK, and to see examples of the different passport stamps relating to work permission, you are advised to look at the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website: UKCISA: Can you work?

If you are already studying at university in the UK and are wondering if you can do any part-time work or not while you are here, the Student Services department of your university or college may be able to help you find the answer.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog.

Leave a comment...

Posted in Uncategorized