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  2. Academic top tips

Academic top tips

Academic staff share their guidance on how to make the most out of your time studying at City.

With the start of term drawing ever closer, we asked our academic staff to give you their top tips to help you prepare for the start of your new journey at City University London. When you arrive at City you will be allocated a personal tutor who will be there to support you and provide academic guidance throughout your time here. These tips will also help you to settle in and make a smooth start to your degree.

Cass Business School

A group of Cass academics give their top tips to help you successfully make the transition to university study:

  1. It's fine to be overwhelmed - you get so much advice in the months before you start university that it can make you feel like you should know exactly what you're doing when you do begin. It's fine to be completely lost and there are always students and staff on hand to give you friendly and helpful advice.
  2. Embrace the university experience – take up all the opportunities that are open to you both socially and academically and be present in the moment. Three years at university flies by so you should make the most of it!
  3. Get a mentor – Apply for a CityBuddy and have a second or third year student guide you around the University, show you all City has to offer and provide a valuable insight into studying on your course.
  4. Draw up a personal study timetable and stick to it - you will find that deadlines are often close together and you will need to work on several tasks in parallel over an extended period to avoid subjecting yourself to high pressure as deadlines approach.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - if you’re having any difficulties speak about it with a staff member. There are plenty of people willing to help including your personal tutor, Course Director, subject tutor and student hub advisor.
  6. Regularly check your university email – lots of important information and opportunities will be emailed to you so makes sure you’re reading your emails so as not to miss out.
  7. Team work is important - In many subjects, especially non-quantitative ones, the most successful students are those who can work well as part of a team. Team-working skills are much valued by employers and a successful team can generally produce a piece of work which is much better than any of the team members working alone.
  8. Learn to evaluate - You will have access, through the university library, to all sorts of specialised data sources and scholarly papers in journals, but you are expected to demonstrate skill in searching through all of this information and evaluating its accuracy and authenticity in assignments.
  9. University exams are not very like the exams you take at school - University lecturers are looking for evidence that you are able to analyse and provide meaningful commentary, rather than just reproducing information which you have memorised and carrying out techniques which you have practised many times.

School of Health Sciences

A group of Health academics give their top tips to help you successfully make the transition to university study:

  1. If need any specialist equipment for your course, try and buy it at the start of the first year – ask 2nd or 3rd year students for help if you are unsure.
  2. Read the Program Handbook - for tips and information about the course/programme.
  3. Keep in contact - ensure you check your emails regularly as this is our primary mechanism of communication with you and we don’t want you to miss out on anything important.
  4. Be resourceful - take control of your learning from an early stage! Planning and preparation from the start of your course will reduce stress and anxiety later in the year. Check out the Library and great Student Support services on offer to enhance your experience at City.
  5. It's fine to be overwhelmed - you get so much advice in the months before you start university that it can make you feel like you should know exactly what you're doing when you do begin. It's fine to be completely lost and there are always students and staff on hand to give you friendly and helpful advice.
  6. Establish a social life - find out about the Students Union and how to make the most out of all of the extra curricula activities here at City, e.g. joining Health societies and City Sport.
  7. Come prepared to learn and have fun!!

The City Law School

A group of Law academics give their top tips to help you successfully make the transition to university study:

  1. Develop your time management: Plan your study around your tutorial timetable and manage your reading around the topics and questions covered. This way you’ll study step by step supported by your tutors and peers.
  2. Prepare for each tutorial: Use tutorials as an opportunity to test your knowledge by speaking and receiving feedback from the Tutor.
  3. Never “just” read: when reading always take notes; note taking helps retention and provides a ready base for revision later in the programme.
  4. Use the summer to get ahead: It's a great idea to use your summer to do some 'fun' reading before you hit the textbooks once term starts. Some excellent recommendations can be found in this Guardian article - Six of the best law books.
  5. Start looking for the law in the news stories you read: dip into legal blogs to immerse yourself in the big issues. Top recommendations are the UK Human Rights Blog (created by one of our alumni Adam Wagner), Jack of Kent (you can also read more from David Allen Green via his FT column) and Mark Elliott's Public Law for Everyone.
  6. Discuss academic issues and your understanding of topics with your fellow students: working together helps understanding and retention of knowledge.
  7. To help you memorise important court judgments, use flash cards! Put the name of the case, the year and court on the front, and a few words (maximum 5) on the back that relate to the facts, and then a few words/phrases on the decision and rationale (ratio) below it. It may also be useful to include the judge(s) and one or two phrases from a speech.
  8. Learn to multi-task: success at University depends on getting the balance right; too much academic work is not beneficial, equally too much socialising or sport are also not beneficial. You need to take and enjoy every opportunity to participate in everything but you must get the balance right. You must learn to multi-task effectively. Have a browse through the Lawbore Future Lawyer blog to get an insight into the sorts of things you may be involved in later this year!
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: if you’re having any difficulties speak about it with a staff member. There are plenty of people willing to help including your personal tutor, programme director, subject tutor and student hub advisor.

School of Arts and Social Sciences

A group of academics from the School of Arts and Social Sciences give their top tips to help you successfully make the transition to university study:

  1. Plan your time: Manage your study around your tutorial timetable and try to read around the topics and questions covered. This way you’ll study step by step supported by your tutors and peers.
  2. Tutorial preparation: Use tutorials as an opportunity to test your knowledge by speaking and receiving feedback from the Tutor.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you’re having any difficulties speak about it with a staff member. There are plenty of people willing to help including your personal tutor, programme director, subject tutor and student hub advisor.
  4. Establish a social life: It is important to make friends and build up a support network. Having friends in your classes and outside of your area of study will really help you get through some of those tough assignments.
  5. Take opportunities: think about why you are doing this degree. There are lots of events and opportunities within the University and around London so take advantage of this. If you’ve planned your degree around a career then keep this in mind, and make sure you exploit every opportunity to gain skills and experience which will help with careers.
  6. Work experience: Start planning as soon as possible to do internships & placements, work experience is vital to help you to get a job.
  7. Be pro-active: University isn't like School and College the biggest difference is the amount of independent study time and self-discipline around deadlines. Being self-sufficient and proactive will help you keep on top of your work.
  8. Get the balance right: Enjoy university life and make the most of the opportunities available to you, but make sure you can maintain a balance between academic work and social activities.

School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering

A group of academics from the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering give their top tips to help you successfully make the transition to university study:

Mathematics

  1. Note taking is key - It is a good idea to make lots of your own notes in lectures even if the lecturer gives you some notes. Try to write down the extra pieces of information and advice that the lecturer gives you as these will help you when you are revising for the exam.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the lecture because it is important that you understand the material. Directly asking the lecturer during the class will help you not fall behind with your understanding of the topic and so will help you do better in the course.
  3. Work each week on every module. If you leave a lot of the work until just before the exam then you may not realise that you don’t understand something until it is too late to access help.
  4. Develop your time-management. Ensure that you have a good balance of paid work, personal/family matters and your study to ensure that you make the most of your time studying with us.
  5. Think about your future. While at University, it is important that you start thinking about your future career from the first year of your studies. In addition to studying your course you should be aiming to get good experience on your CV otherwise you are likely to struggle to get a good graduate role. Try to think about looking for internships, join societies, and look for volunteering opportunities as all of these will give you valuable material when you need to apply for graduate jobs. Attend as many of the workshops, and other activities, on careers related topics that we run to make sure that you are in the best place to get an excellent job when you graduate.

Computer Science

  1. Download the java programming system and start learning Java now!
  2. Programming is a practical skill – the more you practice the better you become.
  3. Take care to read your notes, don’t just file them – ring-binders don’t make good Computer Scientists.
  4. Get a book on Discrete Mathematics and do the exercises - mathematics is not a spectator sport!
  5. Lectures matter – your attendance at them is important.
  6. Be resourceful – Take control of your learning from an early stage! Planning and preparation from the start of your course will reduce stress and anxiety later in the year. Check out the Library and great Student Support services on offer to enhance your experience at City.

Engineering

  1. Establish a social life – Make the most of your time at the university by making new friends, joining clubs and societies, etc. Find out about the Students Union and how to make the most out of all of the extra curricula activities here at City
  2. Develop your time-management - Plan your study time, and prepare for your lessons, coursework, labs and exams accordingly.
  3. Get into a positive routine straight away - Take control of your learning from an early stage! Planning and preparation from the start of your course will reduce stress and anxiety later in the year. Check out the Library and great Student Support services on offer to enhance your experience at City.
  4. Think about your future. While at University, it is important that you start thinking about your future career from the first year of your studies. In addition to studying your course you should be aiming to get good experience on your CV otherwise you are likely to struggle to get a good graduate role. Try to think about looking for internships, join societies, and look for volunteering opportunities as all of these will give you valuable material when you need to apply for graduate jobs. Attend as many of the workshops, and other activities, on careers related topics that we run to make sure that you are in the best place to get an excellent job when you graduate.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.