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Universitie Lectures (also some details on Oxford & Cambridge)

James... Avatar
7y, 11m agoPosted 7 years, 11 months ago
I've just been looking at university courses on the internet as I have to apply for some this year.

I am worried about the lectures as I find it hard to sit & listen to things & take notes, I much prefere being taught in a classroom or just reading & making notes from text. Some cources I have looked at have two tuitions per week & 12 lectures! Doesn't really sound my cup of tea.

People have said that they arent to bad & you get used to them but I cant stop thinking that I wouldnt have a clue what it goes on about, my mind drifts easily when just sitting & listening.

So I was wondering if anyone who has been to university can shed any light on the lectures, I know they will differ due to differnet lecturers at different universities but any thoughts would be welcome. Is it just a case of sitting, listening & writing notes 12 times a week for 3 years?

Also, I know the workload will be very high compared to college, but if anyone has any idea about Oxford or Cambridge then it would be welcome, I am interesed in the Mathematics course, the Economics & possible the Natural/Earth Science courses.

I'm currently studying AS Maths, Physics, Chemistry & Geology at A-Level & hoping to get A's in 3 which is why the carrers advisor mentioned Oxford & Cambridge to me. The exams have been easy up to now anyway so fingers crossed they continue like it.

But, what is Uni like? I know you are responsible for your own learning but do you end up with much free time? How long would the average lecture time take, if you had two per day would you have time throughout the day to do work or is most of it done in the evenings & weekends?

Any experiences are welcome, especially to finance type degrees, economics, accounting etc, I have quite alot of info about Geological degrees due to my sister being high up in the industry & having lots of contacts.

It's too big a choice as it will affect my whole life, trying to get some work placements set up this summer in an effort to try & find something that I could see myself doing as a career.

Thanks alot

James
James... Avatar
7y, 11m agoPosted 7 years, 11 months ago
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#1
Besides being a lot larger, lecture halls arent all that different to classrooms really?

And you will do plenty of your own researching and learning in libraries etc.

Also in my experience, you get plenty of time to enjoy the whole social side of attending university. My brother's experience of uni was a long .. uh.. drinking session! It just depends on how you approach it.

If you have the chance to go visit on an open day or are called to interview take the opportunity to get a good look round and feel for the place. You may find the atmosphere of one University very different to another, it depends what you like, really.

Think of it in terms of how lucky you are to have this opportunity!
#2
lectures are bad times (serious)
#3
The idea of the lectures is to tell you what you need to know - then in tutorials you put it into practice. Yes the lectures can be very boring, especially if it goes on for two hours - some lecturers have about as much personality as an apple.
Currently in my last year at uni and loved it - but I think you will find that it is very very easy to get a pass but a lot lot harder to get a good grade.
I believe that for Oxford and Cambridge you have to apply at AS level? not sure on this though but I believe my friend wanted to apply but found out you have to apply a year in advance or something? not sure about that though...
Good idea is to go on an open day - def get a feel for the uni and the city where you are gonna spend three years...
Anyway good luck with your exams and with picking your uni!
#4
Most people drift in lectures. Depending on your course however you still get seminar style sessions or tutorials where help can be gained. However, you can't expect and will not get small class teaching.

At Oxford and Cambridge you have a lot more 1-1 or 1-2 contact with the tutor from your college, this is in addition to departmental lectures etc.

In terms of your specific questions:
Is it just a case of sitting, listening & writing notes 12 times a week for 3 years?
I know you are responsible for your own learning but do you end up with much free time? How long would the average lecture time take, if you had two per day would you have time throughout the day to do work or is most of it done in the evenings & weekends?

Academically speaking, yes. Although it is course specific. Your learning will mainly be lecture based with tutorials in some subjects to support it. Coursework is usually set, be it questions or essays.
Free time - as much as you want to make really. A heavy course like engineering means you should be pretty much 9-4 monday-friday (though it fluctuates) whilst English may just be 8 hours a week of actual learning. It is then up to you how seriously you would like to take the other learning. Average lectures are 50-55 minutes long but can be doubled or tripled up, but you obviously have breaks. Tutorials will be the same. Working during the day is usually quite lazy as it is done around your friends. Depending on your course, many of your evening and weekends can be busy, or empty.
#5
spic
The idea of the lectures is to tell you what you need to know - then in tutorials you put it into practice. Yes the lectures can be very boring, especially if it goes on for two hours - some lecturers have about as much personality as an apple.
Currently in my last year at uni and loved it - but I think you will find that it is very very easy to get a pass but a lot lot harder to get a good grade.
I believe that for Oxford and Cambridge you have to apply at AS level? not sure on this though but I believe my friend wanted to apply but found out you have to apply a year in advance or something? not sure about that though...
Good idea is to go on an open day - def get a feel for the uni and the city where you are gonna spend three years...
Anyway good luck with your exams and with picking your uni!


No, earlier cut off time shared with medicine (possibly vets too, I have forgotten). In my day it was mid-October of your A2 year.
#6
I studied business and I had a bit of a problem with panic attacks in my first and second years so didn't attend many of the lectures but due to the way a uni course is structured I still managed to come out with a good grade because you can generally learn what you need to off your own back out of textbooks etc.... for coursework which usually make up 30%-70% of your module grade you would need to do the work primarily off your own back so lectures won't generally relate specifically and self-study will be important. A fair amount of uni work is also in groups so you will get to know other people on your course and work with them on projects in your spare time.

In my final year I tackled the panic attack problem and I have to say lectures were nowhere near as bad as I expected. It really is very similar to classroom teaching except you are in a room with more people, generally a lecture is one hour (or 50mins) long but you may get longer ones for heavily weighted modules. How interesting the lectures are depends very much on the lecturer, I have had some very boring ones where I have been falling asleep but I had one 2hour lecture a week for strategic management and the lecturer was so good I was literally glued to what he was saying (like watching a good tv prog).

Generally, for the time I was at uni, for each module (you do between 4 and 8 per year depending on how many credits they are worth) we had 1 lecture and 1 tutorial. The tutorials are the same as being in a classroom but the lectures are usually interactive as well (especially in finance modules where you would work through a calculations and compare answers), the lecturers will try and vary their teaching style (eg show video clips) and involve the students as much as possible, you will be able to ask questions and the lecturer may get you to solve a problem and walk round giving advice.

As for free time, yes you spend very little time of your week in actual lectures, my experience was that I had less than 10 hours sheduled per week on average. You will need to spend part of your week doing group work with your piers but yes, if you are focussed, you could do the majority of your work throughout the week. However at Oxford or Cambridge I believe the work load would be doubled, they do say these courses are very hard... although on the other hand you would get the very best lecturers at these universities to I doubt their lectures would be boring.

My course covered areas of finance, accounting and economics so anything you need to know just ask.
#7
I would brush up on your spelling, nothing worse than an undergraduate that can't spell.
#8
grex9101
I would brush up on your spelling, nothing worse than an undergraduate that can't spell.


They don't care about those sorts of things these days, seriously
#9
StudentJo
They don't care about those sorts of things these days, seriously


Quite possibly one of the reasons degrees ain't worth anything these days.

Might as well submit my thesis in txtspk then. :roll:
#10
grex9101
Quite possibly one of the reasons degrees ain't worth anything these days.

Might as well submit my thesis in txtspk then. :roll:


Mine did well enough ;) Some degrees are worth more than ever.
#11
grex9101
Quite possibly one of the reasons degrees ain't worth anything these days.

Might as well submit my thesis in txtspk then. :roll:


They ain't worth much that's for sure! lol, I think that's a good plan, make the lecturer work hard marking it!
#12
pghstochaj
Mine did well enough ;) Some degrees are worth more than ever.


so true.

but back on topic..
Lectures are very boring indeed, however i've found (each person is diff i suppose) is that i dont take in much in lectures, so perhaps a dictaphone to record the speaker. or web/vid cam (using a laptop if you like). If your that worried about it and willing to invest in it i believe its worthwhile even if its for archiving.

I know a friend who has a webcam with mic on his laptop to rec all his lectures plus taking notes and pictures. Reviewing and archiving them after. Very clever. lol i rmember in the 1st year he sold a copy of his notes to a student (that student asked for the notes) and he got £50 for it lol..!

Also, i've seen some laptops which doubles up as a pad which i suppose can convert into word docs etc.

Another clever idea are those A4 paper scanner things which can scan your written pad work and automatically converts them into word doc's.
#13
First question. Where do you live?

If you live anywhere class as 'north', you won't get into Oxford or Cambridge unless mummy and daddy are extremely rich, or you're not from the UK and mummy and daddy are very rich.

Some of my mates though they would be funny by filling in an application form for me for Oxford/Cambridge when I was at school. I received a letter from the head saying I had to meet with him and the head of year. I had no idea what it was about, until the head of year said to me 'Are you sure you want to apply for Oxford or Cambridge? Your current grades aren't anywhere near high enough to be able to get there.' I was like, 'Eh? I haven't even applied to go to uni yet! :w00t:'

With regards to lectures, I have no idea as I pulled out the week before I was supposed to go. I can tell you though, that the freshers weeks are brilliant :thumbsup:
#14
sorry for double post, but to add.. uni life ROCKS! :D going out lots, doing silly things! just like a kid again! but u do learn to grow up in process as many adultish things start to hit you round the face (like deadlines, competitions, diff cultures, diff people, many many life changing events). Ofc i believe you can get that without going to uni but i cant imagine now how diff my personality would be like if i didnt go to uni.
#15
uni= good times

lectures = bad times.

seminars are all good but i fell asleep a few times in lectures
#16
I went to uni for three years in my first course and only attended around 25% of lectures, and still managed to get a decent final grade. This doesn't mean I didn't revise hard or complete all the work required, because I did, but I found I could manage well without lectures (Which I find to be boring most of time, being talked through the handout). Part of the reason this part of my education was somewhat easy was the fact I had more free time, instead of running to lectures and the like.
In my second course however I found that by fully attending even the boring lectures I was picking things up much easier (and got a even better final grade) even though I wasn't really paying attention all the time. I did feel very out of my depth the whole time when I was fully attending however, as it was just so hard to complete all of the work and attend lectures at the same time.
My advice: go to as many lectures as you feel is right for you, as your gut feeling as you progress will tell you if you will not be able to cope with exams or coursework. If you find you are not understanding things, then make a greater effort attend lectures
#17
Titchimp;4023197
uni= good times

lectures = bad times.

seminars are all good but i fell asleep a few times in lectures



Ive fallen asleep too... so embarrassing when your woken up by your peers lol
#18
MoneySavingG
I went to uni for three years in my first course and only attended around 25% of lectures, and still managed to get a decent final grade. This doesn't mean I didn't revise hard or complete all the work required, because I did, but I found I could manage well without lectures (Which I find to be boring most of time, being talked through the handout). Part of the reason this part of my education was somewhat easy was the fact I had more free time, instead of running to lectures and the like.
In my second course however I found that by fully attending even the boring lectures I was picking things up much easier (and got a even better final grade) even though I wasn't really paying attention all the time. I did feel very out of my depth the whole time when I was fully attending however, as it was just so hard to complete all of the work and attend lectures at the same time.
My advice: go to as many lectures as you feel is right for you, as your gut feeling as you progress will tell you if you will not be able to cope with exams or coursework. If you find you are not understanding things, then make a greater effort attend lectures


Hmm, personally I found the lectures are more for initial understanding. They have 'perfected' the way they teach that particular course so their explaination are sharp, precise and often the most logical way (understanding them grammatically is another matter). I dont know how hardcore other courses are but I do electronics and I could pick most of the things up from the handouts and internet without an aid of a lecturer. Admittedly its stupidly harder this way but those 9am lectures are near impossible to get up for.. :whistling:
#19
i hate lectures and exams, i only like my freedom from home tbh
i love my course i just dont understand it, they dont teach you stuff they just expect you to know stuff :roll: the only thing keeping me going is that i know im gonna have a good career when im through
#20
xcookx
First question. Where do you live?

If you live anywhere class as 'north', you won't get into Oxford or Cambridge unless mummy and daddy are extremely rich, or you're not from the UK and mummy and daddy are very rich.

Some of my mates though they would be funny by filling in an application form for me for Oxford/Cambridge when I was at school. I received a letter from the head saying I had to meet with him and the head of year. I had no idea what it was about, until the head of year said to me 'Are you sure you want to apply for Oxford or Cambridge? Your current grades aren't anywhere near high enough to be able to get there.' I was like, 'Eh? I haven't even applied to go to uni yet! :w00t:'

With regards to lectures, I have no idea as I pulled out the week before I was supposed to go. I can tell you though, that the freshers weeks are brilliant :thumbsup:


I'm sorry but this is just not true, I am from quite far north and not from an incredibly rich family but am studying at Oxford at the moment. Best way to see if you would like Oxbridge is to attend one of their regional conferences or summer schools:

Regional conferences
http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/working_with_schools_and_colleges/oxford_and_cambridge.html

Summer Schools
http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/working_with_schools_and_colleges/sutton_trust_summer.html

Also have a look at Oxford's admissions website: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/index.html

I hope you are applying later on this year as the deadline for Oxbridge applications for 2010 has passed, but if you're looking for 2011 entry you will need to apply by mid-October.
Finally, the Student Room forum is an excellent resource which will have answers to a lot of the questions you have: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/
#21
I can't sit in a classroom being taught, so I have decided to do my history degree with the OU, worth the same, and it means I can learn in a way that is relevent to me, not to someone else. I am a kinetic learner, i learn by doing rather than by listening to a teacher,

maybe the ou could be an option for you?
#22
Whoaa! Thanks alot everyone. Loads of replys, where to start......

Firstly, to make it clearer, I am currently studying for my AS exams so I am looking to apply to the universitys in September/October time after I have recieved my AS results.

ClarityofMind, I am trying to get to some open days at various universitys, hopefully anyway, parents arent to sure though as we are looking at about 5 hours minimum for a round trip to some of the universitys which we have looked at. Fingers crossed that I will get chance to visit some though. :thumbsup:

The lectures don't sound overly bad, I like the idea of the dictaphone or taking videos. I would be happy to invest some money into it when I get a laptop bought closer to the time as I really think that that sort of thing would help me alot being able to go back & take better notes whilst being able to pause it & go back, The scanner which converts things into word documents sounds good as well, never heard of that sort of technology before. Would be a big benefit though.

StudentJo, I will have to drop you a PM when I get some free time about the course you are doing, somethings which I wouldnt mind knowing :thumbsup:

I don't think I could miss the lectures etc, so far in college I've only missed lessons when on holiday & found it hard catching up on the work so I definately wouldnt want to potentially go throught it again as it was hell catching up :oops:

Moody, thanks alot for the links, I'm currently applying for the Maths summer school at Oxford. Not sure if I will get into it due to my mum having gone to uni & me not recieving EMA, wont get in if I dont try though, thanks alot :thumbsup:

I'm from up north too & by no means are we a rich family, so glad you said that it isn't like that :)

May try & get to one of the seminars at Haydock Race Course as well if I can get to it.

Any more information about universitys or Economics type courses would be wecome.

Will get some reps to you soon, but should be revising for my physics exam tomorrow though so will ge some of that done first.

Thanks alot

James
#23
moody
I'm sorry but this is just not true, I am from quite far north and not from an incredibly rich family but am studying at Oxford at the moment.


You must be one of the very, very few that actually get in then. I knew a few people that receieved straight A's at A Level and GCSE, yet did not get into Oxford or Cambridge. This was despite having excellent personal statements. It wasn't just a case of them being a 'geek' so to speak, as they had a productive social life as well as a school life.

However, if the face doesn't fit....
#24
xcookx
You must be one of the very, very few that actually get in then. I knew a few people that receieved straight A's at A Level and GCSE, yet did not get into Oxford or Cambridge. This was despite having excellent personal statements. It wasn't just a case of them being a 'geek' so to speak, as they had a productive social life as well as a school life.

However, if the face doesn't fit....


Actually, there are a lot of people here who are from comprehensive schools/up north/poorer families/ethnic minorities etc. Yes, there are fewer than at other universities; but if you have the ability you have a fair chance of getting in. Figures from the university show roughly 40%+ are from comprehensive schools. There is also a massive amount of monetary support available from the university which far exceeds anything available elsewhere (except Cambridge) and it is often quoted: "No one has ever dropped out of Oxford for monetary reasons." Unfortunately having straight A's isn't a guarantee to admission, as nearly everyone who applies will have at least these grades. Entry is largely dependant on your performance at interview, at any entrance tests (if applicable) and on your personal statement.

OP, best of luck to you wherever you decide to apply. Unfortunately I'm not studying any of the subjects you're interested in but if you need any more information at all about Oxford please get in touch.
#25
I wrote you a long essay with advice but just lost it all so to sum up, it is possible to take modules with coursework sections which i would recommend as it makes it easier to learn the material when you have essays or reports to do.

I have studied maths and accounting and you need to understand the basics from the beginning as these are the foundations for the rest of the degree. Make sure you but the time and effort into the modules and don't worry about the lectures, just attend them for the notes and catch up at home by reading around the subject and doing example questions.

Maths at Uni level is a huge leap from A level but don't panic it is possible to do really well as long as i said before you work really hard from the beginning, unfortunately it is not a subject you can cram at the last minute.

I wish you all the best and just pm me if you have any questions.
#26
xcookx
You must be one of the very, very few that actually get in then. I knew a few people that receieved straight A's at A Level and GCSE, yet did not get into Oxford or Cambridge. This was despite having excellent personal statements. It wasn't just a case of them being a 'geek' so to speak, as they had a productive social life as well as a school life.

However, if the face doesn't fit....


That simply is not true. Straight As at A level and A*s at GCSE and a good personal statement are pretty standard - having those and not getting a place is also therefore pretty standard.

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