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Residential Life

High school to university: How to study differently

By bzgeorge 28 Oct 2019

Between meeting new people, learning to live independently and trying to navigate Welcome Week - you may have forgotten you are actually here to study.

Unfortunately, your time at university is not a holiday.

Lectures are ramping up and professors are already talking about your upcoming deadlines. You are now facing a new problem, how do you study at university? There is a big jump between high school and further education. Don't worry, we are here to help you out. 

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Lectures Vs. Lessons

For the most part, high school consists of smaller classes made up of people you have known for years. Walking into your first lecture theatre at university is bound to be intimidating. Suddenly, you are studying alongside two hundred people and you have only met a handful of them. 

The next hurdle is learning how to take lecture notes. As the years go on, lectures will move faster and faster. Finding an efficient way to take lecture notes is an essential skill that you will need to learn in your first year. First up, stop taking handwritten notes and bring your laptop. Trust me, you can type a lot faster than you write!

Only write down the need-to-know information. This skill will come with time. If you're struggling, remember you can always ask for help from your student support services.

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Professors Vs. Teachers

First things first, your professor will not spoon feed you like your high school teacher did. At uni, your tutors will provide you with a bank of research and it is your responsibility to sort through it. They will not tell you what to learn. You have to figure out what you need to know and how to revise for exams by yourself. 

Over time, you will learn how to spot the key information and, hopefully, save time reading in doing so. Just be patient, all good skills come with time!

Library Vs. Classrooms 

You have to be in high school from around 9am to 3pm every day. Depending on your course and contact hours, you pretty much have to manage your own time. You have to motivate yourself to go to the library on a Saturday morning and to get up at 8am most days when you would much rather be sleeping.

The best way to manage this student issue, is to form a routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. Find a study space that you enjoy - it can be your halls room, the library or a cafe. The Senate House Library is a beautiful place to study and it's open to all UoL students. Go there to study every day, and switch it up when you get bored. In your first year at uni, it can be difficult to find your academic feet. A routine is a good step in the right direction. 

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Research Papers Vs. Textbooks

Another big difference between high school and university, centres on what you are studying. Instead of memorising a textbook, you need to read research papers, books and formulate your own research plan. This all sounds very adult and maybe a little out of your depth. However, you should view this as a chance to follow your academic curiosity and to direct your degree in a way that interests you!

When studying gets overwhelming, remember why you picked this degree and all the exciting things you plan to do when university of all over...

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