Academic differences

Some students find difficulties because of the differences between their own education system and that in the UK. You should try to take full part in discussions where appropriate. Quiet and uncommunicative students are often misunderstood by British teaching staff as being unmotivated or unable to follow a discussion. Students often have some choice in their area of research or study. Do not feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of books on the reading list (if you have one) or feel that you must read all of them. Some will be more useful than others: seek guidance from your tutor if in doubt.

Can I ask questions?

Asking questions in a tutorial session, or lecture where you have been told you may do so is perfectly acceptable. If you do not understand something, it is likely that there are others who also do not understand, but who do not like to ask.

What should I do if I do not understand or have other difficulties?

If the problem is with understanding a particular part of your course, then you should approach the lecturer who teaches that section. If you have any other problems you should first approach your personal tutor. Your tutor needs to know how you are doing because he or she has overall responsibility for you during your studies. If you have valid reasons for failing a subject or missing deadlines (e.g. you are ill) then your tutor will help represent your case. In the case of personal, health, accommodation or other problems your tutor should know the right person to go to. There will often be other people that you can go to for independent confidential advice. Look out for student counselling services, college help lines, international student services or chaplains. The chaplains will always be pleased to advise you, without any discussion of issues of faith (unless you want to).

Report presentation

It is usual to write/type up your coursework on a computer. Most colleges/universities have a computer centre or library where you can use a computer.

Software availability

If you own your own computer, you may find that other students will be prepared to sell you some of their old software that they no longer use. Look out for advertisements! However you should try to ask for proof of original purchase (disks, manuals or a receipt) if you buy in this way. Some software for sale is illegal! Remember that your computer centre may have special deals for purchasing software: ask them for details.

What is the most effective way of studying?

Different people study in different ways, so each person would answer this question differently. If you are finding studying difficult, try to work out whether you study best in the morning or evening. Also try to be methodical. Make a list of all the work that needs doing, and its priority, and fit it in around your schedule. For example, you may find it easier to read at night whereas you may find writing easier in the morning when you are fresher.

Should I give gifts to my teachers?

It is not customary to give gifts to members of staff, nor will gifts make any difference to your final result. Grades are based solely on academic achievement, not on the relationship that you have with the teacher. However, after you have finished your studies, you may wish to give a small souvenir from your country or other token of your appreciation.

How is cheating dealt with?

Cheating or copying work is normally dealt with quite severely. You will either lose marks for the piece of work, be asked to resubmit, or fail that item altogether. In the worst case you can be suspended from your course. You should remember that even if you are not caught, cheating affects you more than anyone else, because it means that you have not fully understood your course. You will therefore not have obtained all that you might from your studies. It is far better to ask for help as this results in you having the satisfaction of being successful in your area of work. If you quote from someone else’s work, e.g. book, research paper or internet, you are expected to acknowledge your source.