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Preparing for your studies

We asked current students what advice they have for new students beginning their studies with the School of Geography - take a look at their top tips below.

  1. Be prepared – From checking your university email at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening to familiarizing yourself with the module information and resources on QMplus, be prepared.
  2. Reach out to your lecturers – Ask a question when given the chance during the lecture or wait a few minutes after the lecture to speak to them about any doubts you have. You can even arrange to see them during office hours to have something explained or ask a question on the module forum on QMplus. Don’t be worried to be the first person to ask a question or doubt whether your question is too silly. Just ask when you’re in doubt!
  3. Read as much as you can - One of the easiest ways to grasping the lecture content is to make sure you read the specified essential readings, usually 2 to 3, for every lecture. Ask your lecturers for a comprehensive list of reading material for your module at the beginning of the semester (and borrow one or two of these from the library before all copies are taken). By completing the essential reading before the lecture, you will improve your understanding drastically.
  4. Plan, plan, plan – Plan set times in the week to spend reading, recapping lectures or researching for assessments. When you get the assessment questions, make a plan of what you need to do and get started from day 1 as time will fly by. Allow plenty of time to complete your assignments and start early! This way, you can plan, write, get feedback, and perfect your work before submitting. You’ll know without a doubt that you did your best.
  5. Be enthusiastic – Go out of your way to actively learn about topics outside of lectures, seminars and readings. Listen to podcasts and watch documentaries or relevant films which can be found on YouTube or Box of Broadcasts (available to Queen Mary students for free). Ask your lecturers for suggestions if you don’t know where to start.
  6. Use your time outside of lectures wisely - For example, complete your lecture notes, do your necessary reading, research for your assignments, take part in different roles/opportunities to develop further skills, etc. But also make sure to take time to do things you enjoy outside of your studies - perhaps join a society or sports team through Queen Mary Students' Union.
  7. Write up your notes on a laptop rather than with pen on paper as it is easier to keep up with the content being covered by lecturers (plus, you can create great-looking revision material for later by adding in presentation slides and additional notes/research).
  8. Make friends - Build a great rapport with your peers and member of staff so that you have people to discuss your studies with and get help from when you need it. You’ll feel motivated and supported.
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