Student Advocate tips for… in-person and recorded lectures

Seminar room in the Fry Building

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

We asked them to share their top tips for lectures and seminars, whether online or in-person. Here’s what they said…

Turn up to in-person sessions!

It sounds stupidly obvious, but you really need to turn up. Past online lectures are digestible when watching online because they were designed to be delivered that way. In person lectures are designed to work the best when you turn up and sit through it — the recording isn’t the same! Also try not to miss any lectures, when you miss one it’s so likely for you to carry on the lazy habit and not show up to lectures ever again… Carol, 3rd year Plant/Bio Science

Firstly, go to your seminar even if you have not fully done the reading. Secondly, contribute to the discussions. It does not matter if your answer is wrong. And it is better to make the mistakes now and not later in the timed assessments. Finally, don’t stress about it! You will be just fine. Allison, 2nd year Law

 

Be (a little) prepared

Arrive at the lecture theatre early and use that waiting time to flick through the PowerPoint or whatever lecture material you got given. It usually takes less than 10 minutes, but it gives you a rough idea of the structure, where to pay more attention, and saves you from scribbling down notes when it will turn up on the next slide. Carol, 3rd year Plant/Bio Science

Try to list down all the relevant ILOs (Intended Learning Outcomes) and think of relevant subheadings for your notes prior to the lecture/seminar. This will help you to be more prepared in the in-person lecture/seminar. Very often, in-person lecture is more fast-paced than a recorded lecture. We as a student have to be more prepared so that we will not miss any key content during the lecture. Thinking about the ILOs beforehand can help you to take notes more effectively by screening out the irrelevant materials taught in the lecture. In such a way, we do not need to revisit the recording after the lecture. As a result, we can maximise the efficiency of our study. Emma, 3rd year Veterinary Science

 

Don’t copy everything

Most times lecturers provide the downloadable PowerPoint for each lecture. Use this to write any additional points that were said by the lecturer in the recording but not written on the slides. By doing this, you will save time and you reduce repetition. Anaya, 3rd year Law

If you just copy what the lecturer wrote down, you are not going to absorb and digest what the lecturer’s main point is. Even worse, you wouldn’t know if the lecturer makes a mistake. Instead, pay full attention to listening to what the lecturer is saying first. After a few sentences, think about what is the main point conveyed in what is written down on the board (or presented on the slide). And then, use your own words to jot down any key points. If you can’t catch them, need not to worry! Simply watch the recorded lecture later and pause as you go. If the lecture is not recorded, it would be nice if you can email the lecturer asking for clarification on such topics. They would be happy to help!

You will be panicked by the fact that while everyone in the hall is ferociously writing, while you are sitting there, only listening. But remember, you are also paying your full attention to the lecture, and you have done nothing less than your classmates did! Ryan, 2nd year Mathematics

 

Use questions for learning

As you watch the lecture clearly flag any concepts/areas that you don’t fully understand and formulate (and write down) specific questions that you think could get you the answers you need. This habit helps provide structure and direction to your reflection/revision process after the lecture, as you know exactly what you need to follow up on talking to the lecturer or extra research/reading. I have found this makes my learning more efficient (by saving you from repeatedly covering content you know/understand in order to locate what you are less clear on) and more effective (as your learning becomes targeted to any weak points).  Emily, 3rd year Biomedical Sciences

 

Watching a recorded lecture? Pretend it’s in-person

It’s very tempting to stop every 10s to make detailed notes just because you can do that — but that’s not most effective way: it takes forever to finish watching one recording and you are not really processing the information before writing it down (you’re more like… manually typing up the captions).

Pretend it’s an in person lecture and don’t give yourself the option to stop, at least not that often. That way, it forces you to do some preparation work and to think about the material before deciding if it’s worth writing down. The recordings are always going to be there so it’s not the end of the world if your notes is missing some fine details — you can always go back and have a look as long as you know where to look! Carol, 3rd year Plant/Bio Science

What are your own top tips for making the most of lectures? Do you prefer being there in person or watching a recording? Let us know in the comments below. 

Bristol Futures Student Advocates run peer support sessions for students in their faculty. Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page to see what’s coming up.

 

 

Student Advocate tips for… revision and exams

 

Desks and chairs in a large exam hall
Photo by Akshay Chauhan on Unsplash

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

In this post, Martina and Joanne share their top tips for revising well and acing your exams …

Use your ILOs

Martina, 2nd year Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry student

Look at the intended learning outcomes (ILOs) both for the whole module and also for each lecture to make sure you’ve covered everything. If you like to rewrite your notes when revising you could try to break them down by learning outcome and if the ILOs aren’t provided you can try coming up with them yourself!

Make a plan

Joanne, 2nd year History student

When going into essay exams, make a time/word count plan beforehand and make sure you stick to it. Although you won’t know the topic beforehand, having a general plan of attack and overall structure can help a lot to stay on track!

 

Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page for more tips on Revision techniques.

 

 

Student Advocate tips for… staying motivated

 

Two students running with trees in the background

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

In this post, Martina and Anaya share their top tips for staying motivated…

Speak positively 

Martina, 2nd year Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry

My top tips are:
– Doing my best to find the topics I’m studying interesting (even if they aren’t my favourite or I don’t really like them)
– Keeping a positive mindset but most importantly speaking positively (avoid saying something is boring, a drag etc…) this makes it less hard to complete tasks (words have a huge impact on our mood/mind without us even realising!)
– Thinking of the bigger picture and working towards future plans!

Stay organised

Anaya, 2nd year Law student

My top tip is to create a study timetable and daily to-do lists. If you’re anything like me, being organised keeps you motivated and not overwhelmed.

– I usually create a weekly planner and colour code any commitments I have for the upcoming week (lectures, revision, free time etc.) It is essential to be realistic with your time and the amount of work you need to complete. Always allocate time for rest, so you do not become burned out.
– As exams are approaching, my planner outlines what topics I will be reviewing on particular days (and for how long), as well as when my courseworks are due and what days I plan to complete them. Again this is colour coded, which helps me better visualise what I need to do, and makes the process slightly more enjoyable.
– I also create daily to-do lists because I enjoy crossing off a task once completed. Therefore, I am motivated to work on the tasks during the day so that I can look at my completed list with pride at the end of the day.

Creating manageable tasks and taking reasonable breaks throughout the day will help you stay motivated and productive without it all being too overwhelming.

 

Bristol Futures Student Advocates run peer support sessions for students in their faculty. Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page to see what’s coming up.

 

 

Student Advocate tips for… time management

 

Statue of Gromit (from Wallace and Gromit) decorated with clocks

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

We asked them to share their top tips for time management. Here’s what they said…

Pretend that you’re working a 9 to 5 Job

My top tip on how to manage time is to  always work from 9-5 on your studies (if you don’t already have a 9-5 job!). How this works is that from Monday to Friday, you should do your uni work, attend classes, make notes, or revise between 9am and 5pm. This is a great tactic as if you find that you’re only in uni in the morning, then you can come home and work till 5pm and still enjoy the rest of your day! On the contrast, if you’ve been in uni straight from 9am till 5pm, then odds are that it was a pretty long and tiresome day and so you can rest assured that you’ve worked your 9-5 already and deserve to rest for the remainder of your day and recharge! I used this studying tactic for 5 years in dental school and it’s meant that all of my evenings are free, I don’t have to cram to catch-up on revision and I can spend my weekends however I like 🥳. Sina, 5th year Dental student

I agree with Sina, I started trying to pretend it’s a 9 to 5 job recently and it’s really been helping me. I still often go over time because there’s just so much to do but I still try and it’s really helpful. At least to try and work a “normal” amount of hours and not cut back on sleep. Martina, 2nd year Medical Biochemistry 

Schedule everything

I schedule societies’ activities, the time I spend with friends, work out, etc I still have a lot of online lectures so what I find useful is listing down all the ones I need to do for the week and also writing down how long they will take me (it’s even more useful if your professors give you a rough indication of how long they think it’s going to take). I then schedule it on my calendar (I like using Google Calendar because it syncs across devices really quickly) and try to stick to the plan. For example, for the readings, if my professor suggested it should take 10 minutes I try to stick to that because it probably means I don’t need to be spending more time than that on it. This way I know I don’t need to be studying it in a lot of details but just read through it to get an overall idea.
When planning I like to leave some extra time, so I either schedule online lectures as longer than planned or actually schedule in a two/three-hour slot on a Friday afternoon that I’m leaving free, this way if I fall behind I know I have some extra time without having to work on weekends and if I don’t fall behind it just means I have more free time! Martina, 2nd year Medical Biochemistry 

Make sure you are aware of all your deadlines and what to do for each one. Then make a plan based on that. Try to finish your task a few days before the hard deadline just to give yourself some extra time for any unexpected situations. Manshika, 3rd year Economics and Finance 

Take advantage of all the moments in your day

There are many brief periods over the course of your day where you are waiting around e.g. on a commute, for an event to begin, for meeting up with a friend, etc.. By adding all these up, it can result in a substantial amount of time. You can turn all these periods where you are usually just waiting around into a useful source of time if you make your work mobile and accessible at all times. I personally always have some work available offline on my phone to read, or quiz myself on, so I make the most of my time. Emma, 4th year Veterinary Science

Bristol Futures Student Advocates run peer support sessions for students in their faculty. Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page to see what’s coming up.

 

 

Student Advocate tips for… making the most of lectures

Students in a banked lecture theatre

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

We asked them to share their top tips for making the most of lectures. Here’s what they said…

Don’t copy everything!

If you just copy what the lecturer wrote down, you are not going to absorb and digest what the lecturer’s main point is. Even worse, you wouldn’t know if the lecturer makes a mistake. Instead, pay full attention to listening to what the lecturer is saying first. After a few sentences, think about what is the main point conveyed in what is written down on the board (or presented on the slide). And then, use your own words to jot down any key points. If you can’t catch them, need not to worry! Simply watch the recorded lecture later and pause as you go. If the lecture is not recorded, it would be nice if you can email the lecturer asking for clarification on such topics. They would be happy to help!

You will be panicked by the fact that while everyone in the hall is ferociously writing, while you are sitting there, only listening. But remember, you are also paying your full attention to the lecture, and you have done nothing less than your classmates did! Ryan, 2nd year Mathematics

Use questions for learning

As you watch the lecture clearly flag any concepts/areas that you don’t fully understand and formulate (and write down) specific questions that you think could get you the answers you need.

This habit helps provide structure and direction to your reflection/revision process after the lecture, as you know exactly what you need to follow up on talking to the lecturer or extra research/reading. I have found this makes my learning more efficient (by saving you from repeatedly covering content you know/understand in order to locate what you are less clear on) and more effective (as your learning becomes targeted to any weak points).  Emily, 3rd year Biomedical Sciences

 

Bristol Futures Student Advocates run peer support sessions for students in their faculty. Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page to see what’s coming up.

 

 

Student Advocate tips for… starting uni

Student wearing bright orange hoodie that reads: here to help

Our Bristol Futures Student Advocates come from every faculty in the university, and are here to support you to grow your skills and become an even better student.

With a few years’ experience under their belts, we asked them to share their top tips for starting uni. Here’s what they said…

Get organised

Check your emails regularly, they often have opportunities and helpful information that is easy to miss. It’s a great way to find out what is going on at the university and to stay in the loop. Natasha, 2nd year History

It is quite daunting to have so many course materials at the start of the term, one thing that I usually do is to download all of the lecture notes, slides, homework, and other important document to the university OneDrive, and then organize it. That way, when you are starting to work on a project / homework, you will have the required material at the tip of your hands! Ryan, 2nd Year Mathematics

Find what works for you

Try and find out what time of the day you have the most energy and motivation to do your work. For example, I know I am most productive in the morning and I am awful at working past 8pm, so I make sure to get up early in the morning to get started on work so I can have my evening off. Others however prefer to work later in the evening and get a rush of energy. Find out what works for you and use it! Breanna, 3rd year Psychology 

When starting uni, especially first year, it’s a great time to experiment with different organization and note-taking methods, different ways to approach your learning. It’s a time to try new things and then picking what you like best. This way you’ll build habits that suit you that will stick with you throughout your studies.  Martina, 2nd year Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry

Get to grips with reading and taking notes

When tackling readings, don’t expect to immediately understand it after skim reading it. I’d recommend waiting a while and then writing out the key points you remember the most to find out what stood out to you.

Don’t expect to be able to remember everything from lectures or even understand. Reading around the subject (just bits you don’t know) is normal and don’t spend millions of hours doing.
Give yourself a few weeks (& different methods) of taking lectures/seminars information! But remember different lecturers give information in different ways. I would highly recommend a tablet to take notes on- lighter in weight and I was forever losing notes!

Look after yourself

Eat well, try to get enough sleep, make sure you schedule in time for rest and maybe even exercise. You will be better off for it later in the term! Emily, 3rd year Biomedical Sciences 

Whether it is a night out, or watching a film with a friend, make you sure you treat yourself at least once a day by doing something that makes you excited for the next day. Emma, 4th year Veterinary Science

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether it’s about your wellbeing or academics (your Study Skills peers and tutors!) are always there to help. Remember, you are not alone. There are a lot of resources available waiting for you to explore. Anaya, 2nd year Law 

Try new things… and have fun!

Try getting involved with as much stuff as possible, whether that is societies, sports, extracurricular classes – say yes to as much as possible and make the most of the opportunities on offer! Jago, 3rd year Maths and Computer Science

Feeling pressured to do well and get good grades come hand-in-hand with starting university for a lot of people, but I can promise you that studying isn’t everything. University is all about learning and experiencing new things, and of course, studying is still important – there’s a lot to learn from books! But lift your head out of those books from time to time, there’s so much more you can learn when you explore and try new things outside of the classroom. Become a volunteer to teach young students, try out that new salsa dancing class, go cycling by the harbourside, these experiences will stay with you for a lifetime so don’t let them go to waste. Since university is all about learning, learn to have fun too! Sabrina, 3rd year Biochemistry

The student experience goes way beyond what is taught in the classroom and in your textbooks, and whilst that should/could be a priority, make sure you are taking advantage of everything else the student life has got to offer whether it’s volunteering, working part-time, joining a society, or a mixed combination of things. There are so many resources at your service, that you can use much or as little as you choose to. That being said, make sure you take plenty of time to rest and look after yourself when needed. Tala, 2nd year Law

 

Bristol Futures Student Advocates run peer support sessions for students in their faculty. Check out the Study Skills Blackboard page to see what’s coming up.