Studying at university

You may find it a challenge coming to university from college or sixth form. It can be particularly daunting for anyone who has not been in formal education for sometime.

There is much more of an emphasis on independent study, time management skills and actively seeking support where needed.

The transitions team are here to help. There is extensive academic and personal support available to help you get the most out of your time at DMU.

T: +44 (0)116 257 7595

Time management

Managing your time effectively is a vital skill you will need while at university. You will need to juggle your studies along with fitting in a social life, possibly a paid job and mundane activities such as grocery shopping. It is also important to realise that in most cases you will be working on more than one piece of work at a time.

At university there are often large amounts of time that are to be used for independent study. It can be easy to put off a piece of work if the deadline is some while away. Some kind of time plan can be a very useful tool for ensuring that you meet your deadlines.

The Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) runs a series of workshops during the year to help students throughout their studies.

How you are assessed

There are four types of assessment common across the university. These are essays, reports, presentations and exams. The Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) are available for any help you might need in these areas. The Kimberlin Library also holds lots of information on how to reference correctly.


Writing an essay is your opportunity to show what you know about a given subject. You will be given both a topic and a word limit. A word limit is used to make sure that you are to the point yet thorough with the information provided.

You may already be familiar with writing essays and in many ways writing an essay at university is no different. One area however that students can struggle with is citation. Citation is the referencing of any source of research you refer to in your essay. If you fail to reference or reference incorrectly you may be accused of plagiarism (passing other peoples work off as your own).


You may be asked to write a report at the end of a practical or research project. A report differs from an essay in that it usually ends with clear recommendations as a result of your findings.

A report is split in to clear sections so that the reader can gain information quickly. These sections are usually numbered and headed, any information that is not vital but in support of the report can be included in an appendix at the end.


You may be asked to give presentations in a variety of situations. You may be asked to present your findings from a research project, a piece of design work or a group project. You will be given a time limit on the presentation and may even be cut off, by the tutor, if you start to over run.


A dissertation is a final year project which takes the form of an extended essay. You will be given ample support from a tutor whilst writing and researching your dissertation.

How you are taught

You may have between 10 and 25 hours teaching time a week, depending on the practical elements of the course. You will also be required to undertake independent study through reading and making notes to aid understanding.

Information about study support available at DMU can be found at The Ask Gateway.

If you have a specific learning difference, make sure you contact disability advice and support to ensure that the right support and funding is in place for you when you start university.


A lecture is a presentation from a tutor, or guest, on a specific topic area to a large group of students. Lectures usually take place in a lecture theatre and can accommodate as many as 300 students. You will be expected to take notes and to have undertaken some reading on the topic before hand.

It can be tempting to miss lectures, especially those early morning sessions. Good attendance generally equates to good marks. Lectures often give direction to further reading and provide the foundation for further seminars and workshops.


Seminars take place in much smaller groups than a lecture and will often be timetabled to enable discussion to develop. Seminars give opportunity to ask questions, clarify areas and discuss the subject matter. You will be expected to play a part in seminars and engage with the topic under discussion. Undertaking any suggested reading will make it easier to participate in seminars and feel more confident contributing to any discussion.


Tutorials are your opportunity to discuss on a one-to-one basis with a tutor any individual essays and projects. You may find that some tutorials involve other students from your course who are working on the same assignment.

Labs, workshop and studio time

Some courses will have timetabled practical sessions based in specialised classrooms.

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