Student Sundays: What To Expect From Classes

Sunday, 13 September 2015
Hello everyone! Unfortunately this is probably the last post in my Student Sundays series. At least for this summer. I've really enjoyed writing these blog posts and they're actually the most popular posts I've ever written so I'm really pleased with how well they're doing. I will write more student related posts throughout the year but I think I'll keep Student Sundays for the summer! This post is all about the different types of classes that universities offer. Before I started university one of the main things that I worried about was what I'd actually be doing at uni all day. I had no idea what was really expected of me in a tutorial etc! If there's anything you'd like to add or that you think I've missed out then leave me a comment!

Lectures - I think pretty much everyone knows what to expect from a lecture. These are held in lecture halls that can hold a few hundred people and you have a lecturer who speaks at the front and will also normally have a slide show. Everyone is supposed to take notes. These aren't actually as boring as you think they'll be, especially if you have good lecturers. It may take you a while to find your rhythm when it comes to note taking but you'll get there in the end. Personally I like to take rough notes whilst in a lecture and write up neater and more detailed notes at home.

Tutorials - Tutorial sizes can range from class to class but generally you're looking at a smaller class size of around 5 - 15. There will also be 'tutor' who leads the tutorial. Generally you are given work to do before a tutorial(usually questions or reading) and then you discuss this work in the tutorial. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask for help if there's anything you don't understand in the lectures.

Seminars - These are probably the closest thing you'll get at university to the classroom setting you're used to in high school. Generally the class size is around twenty and there is a 'teacher' who leads the seminars. Seminar is basically just a posh sounding way of saying class. These normally last 1-2 hours but not all subjects will use them. I never had any seminars for my science subjects but I took a German module last semester and the whole thing was taught in seminars. I really enjoyed them!

Labs/Practicals - If you're doing a science based subject then you are most likely going to undertake some labs. Being a chemistry student I have them on a regular basis. For my course we have one three hour lab every week for first year and six hours for second. The lab size is around 70 people which are split into smaller groups. And then within each group everyone has a lab partner. The small groups are lead by lab demonstrators(generally PhD students) who are there to help if you have any problems. 

Hopefully this will help you all out a little. Thank you to everyone who's read these posts over the summer!

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