1.8 What's expected of you? Tips from students

At uni you’ll find that some of your lecturers will tell you in detail how to organise and write your assignments, while others may expect you to make some of these decisions by yourself. However, finding out what is expected isn't as complicated as you may think. Listen to the audio clips below to get tips from University of Auckland students.

Check course guides


Yi Xin, BSW (Social Work), 1st-year student
In order to ensure that your response to the essay is very relevant, you need to be very clear about what the question is asking for. And one way in which you can do that is to, firstly, attend your tutorials and lectures, and so that’s when your tutors will explain to you the key terms. And even, and if you still are unable to grasp what the key terms mean, you can go to the course guide, which should be found on the faculty website, and which your lecturers will email it to you on like the first day.


Take initiative


Shuhuan Pan, BCom, 2nd-year student
In my first semester I felt quite bogged down by everything that was bombarding me, all the change, and that was yeah it wasn’t very nice. And I think a big wake up call for me was mid-semester tests because I did not do very good in them, so I decided to change after that. I was a lot more self-motivated. I made goals and I took initiative and went to all the resources that were provided because before that I didn’t make use of all the resources. So I think it’s really important that you’re actually, that you’re actually self-motivated and you’re positive about everything.


Get to know yourself


Shuhuan Pan, BCom, 2nd-year student
I think in the first year you sort of learn how you learn best, so you find the learning style that suits you. Some people are very visual, so they’d do lots of mind maps and they’ll probably look at videos, whereas some other people prefer to read lists and stuff like that and write it down. So try out different methods and see which one works best for you because you can improve your studying efficiency by doing that. 

Yi Xin, BSW (Social Work), 1st-year student

I think the University is awesome because they provide you with so many support services: IT staff at every IT helpdesk, the library is awesome, lots of resources, and then library workshops. And your tutors and lecturers are very well educated and they’ve lots of, they have lots of knowledge, but the key thing would be your awareness of yourself. So you need to be aware of like your, your habits, and what kinds of study strategies get you ticking. And so I would say the crucial thing about success is to be self-aware and that’s actually a very exciting process because you get to know who you are as a person better during this process of like studying and getting into university life.


Ask for advice


Yi Xin, BSW (Social Work), 1st-year student
Number one, ask your friends, so maybe you have not written your topic sentences well, but your friend has, so your friend is gonna provide valuable support. Then the second thing would be to definitely go to your tutor and clarify. Because your tutors, even though they have their own research commitments, they’re really committed to supporting us as well, and they have like a time slot every week for you to drop in and ask them questions. But do know that this is not like high school, you can’t just pop in any time, you have to email them and make an appointment. 

Shuhuan Pan, BCom, 2nd-year student
If you’re going into something that you have never done before, it’s good to get it done early and then go to your tutor or lecturer and ask them to look it over for you— that would be really helpful. And I wish I had done that before because that would’ve gotten me a lot better mark. 


Manage your time


Shuhuan Pan, BCom, 2nd-year student
I think timetable everything is very important, and in the first week you’re sort of getting to know what each course will be like and to sort of understand what they expect of you. Some courses you definitely need to do the reading, so you definitely need to spend more time on that. Whereas some courses, if you have done them in high school, you can probably spend a little less time—because the recommended time is 10 hours. So maybe for one course you’ll be spending 12 hours and in some courses you’ll be spending 8 hours, so do what would work for you, because there’s no point in going over things that you know how to do already. So better to just spend your time on things that you need to learn. And timetabling sort of gives you an idea as to when you should be doing something or when you should be doing something else. 

Yi Xin, BSW (Social Work), 1st-year student

It’s really helpful to get yourself a big calendar where you can have an overview of your weeks from January to June, and then write down, OK, assignment due in April 5th, assignment due on May 12th, and so you are able to see that there are some weeks where there are three assignments concentrated within those two weeks, and then you have a break, and then another three assignments. So in order to avoid the clashes between those assignments, you have to start planning early


 

"As a student, you will have to become a kind of anthropologist, reading the culture of your particular class to understand what is said, what is not, and what is intended."

                             J. Williams and L. McEnerney


 
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