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Preparing for your studies

Studying at university level may be a different learning experience than you’re used to. Whether you're an undergraduate, postgraduate or international student, it helps to know what to expect when you start your studies with us, and where to get help if you need it.

Student in library

Undergraduate students

How will you be taught?

From September 2020, courses will have a mix of face-to-face and online learning, and you’ll also be expected to conduct independent research and learning.

If you’re an international student, there’s lots of advice on preparing to study here on our International web page.

Lectures

These are delivered by an academic and held in lecture theatres, classrooms, and online. They will introduce you to the main themes of your subject and give you a framework to structure your learning around.

Seminars and workshops

These are smaller interactive sessions led by an academic, providing an opportunity for you to debate and discuss your learning in groups – both face-to-face and online.

Independent research and learning

You’ll be expected to prepare for all your lectures and seminars. Your course leader may set up study groups, while you can also discuss notes and share ideas with friends.

Specialist facilities

If your course requires access to technical support and the use of specialist facilities such as laboratories and studio spaces, you will have access to these, and your timetable will be carefully managed to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Coursework

This can vary from essays to portfolios and presentations. Your course tutors will give you essential advice on writing university-level coursework in your course induction.

Work experience

You will be provided with opportunities to experience the professional world and gain insight into business practises and behaviours. Every course will continue to have work-like experience embedded within it. Whilst that may look different this year, it’ll still be a key part of your NTU experience.

Feedback

You may find that feedback at university-level is different to what you’ve experienced before, and it’ll almost always be given after you’ve handed in an assignment. You can contact your lecturers and tutors by email, or they may run office drop-in sessions if you’d prefer face-to-face feedback.

Your Student Mentor

Your Student Mentor is a fellow student on your course, in their second or final year. Their job is to help you settle in, transition into university, and to answer any questions you may have about your course and life at NTU.

You’ll meet your Student Mentor in an online Welcome Workshop as part of your course induction.

Join your online student community

Your Student Mentor will welcome you to your online community space in Microsoft Teams, where you’ll be able to interact with other first year students with similar interests, gain support from your mentor, and join in with online events.

You'll be able to access Teams via the 'Study@Home' tile on the MyNTU dashboard from Monday 21 September. You can also download it on your phone, tablet, or desktop.

How important is your first year?

You first year is quite possibly the most important of your degree, because:

  • it introduces the essential, basic parts of your degree and the expectations of university study, and getting these right from the start will enable you to meet the demands of the following years of study
  • your first-year results may be used to assess possible option choices in your future years
  • if you choose to take a work placement opportunity, the only grades that recruiters will see are from your first year – and employers may look at these marks when you apply for graduate jobs
  • you’ll learn to develop a work-life balance that allows you to make the most of your time here, and to achieve the results you need.

You’ll find the learning resources for your course in NOW (NTU Online Workspace), a virtual learning environment that includes useful information such as timetables and reading lists.

Help manage your transition into university-level study by using the NTU Student Dashboard to keep track of your own progress. It’ll also show how engaged you are with your studies, relative to your coursemates.

PG study prep

Postgraduate students

If you're going straight into postgraduate study from your undergraduate degree, you may find the step up to be quite intuitive, as you’ll already have mastered learning independently and acclimatised to university life.

However, you may find the following helpful:

  • Most postgraduate courses are intensive, and some are studied part-time. This means that good time management skills and the ability to stay self-motivated are essential.
  • If you’re studying while holding a full-time job, or you have a family (or both), it's important that you’re disciplined about studying – and “little and often” might be your key to success.
  • You may find postgraduate study more demanding than undergraduate study, and you’ll need to demonstrate independent analytical and critical thinking. Work through all the essential reading on your list, and engage with criticism and theories. Ask your tutors lots of questions and debate ideas with your peers – be inquisitive!

You’ll find the learning resources for your course in NOW (NTU Online Workspace), a virtual learning environment where you’ll find useful information such as timetables and reading lists.

Help manage your transition into university-level study by using the NTU Student Dashboard to keep track of your own progress. It’ll also show how engaged you are with your studies, relative to your coursemates.

Returning to academic studies can be a challenge if you’ve been away from university for a while, and it might help you to brush up on your essay and report-writing skills.

Assessments

Most courses are divided into modules. Some are compulsory and form the basis of the degree, while others are optional.
You need to successfully complete a certain number of modules to progress to the next year of your degree, and to graduate.

Assessment methods include:

  • exams
  • online assessments
  • essays
  • case studies
  • projects
  • reports
  • group work
  • presentations
  • a dissertation

Help and support, and where you can find it

Academic support

If you’re struggling with your studies – whether it’s an idea, or perhaps even a whole module – talk to your course leader and they’ll make sure you get the right help from the right people, at the right time. You’ll find contact details in your course information on the NTU Online Workspace (NOW), as well as in your course handbook.

If you feel that your issue is bigger than a single module – if you’re struggling to get to grips with the whole course, for example – contact your personal tutor, academic mentor, or the year tutor. It’s important to let them know what you’re struggling with (and why) as quickly as possible, so that we can help.

Your course administration team are here to provide advice and guidance throughout your time at NTU – from enrolment to submitting assignments, and from finding work experience opportunities to graduating.

All courses have the dedicated support of a course administrator who works closely with both teaching staff and students. They are your first point of call for all administrative matters – for example, notification of absence – and can also advise on withdrawal and course transfer, assessment deadlines, and other queries or concerns related to your studies. If you are unsure where to find information, your course administrator can point you in the right direction.

If you’re looking to improve your work, there’s plenty of additional support available. In some Schools, this is provided by a team of trained student mentors – in others, by University staff. Our support provisions include academic workshops, our drop-in Study Skills Cafés, and one-to-one guidance. There’s plenty of choice, so pick the one that best suits your needs.

Language support

Nottingham Language Centre at NTU offers English language support to all international students on our degree programmes, and at no additional cost. Our lecturers – who are experienced in teaching English for Academic Purposes – will work with you to improve your English language and study skills, and will also explain UK academic conventions related to your subject. You can attend classes to improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, or book individual tutorials with our staff.

NTU Online Workspace (NOW)

NOW is the primary teaching and learning environment. You can access a wide range of course materials, information and activities, as well as making submissions and accessing support. NOW is a crucial information source containing videos of lectures, articles, and a wide range of learning resources.

NOW also contains your Student Dashboard, which tracks your engagement with your studies. It’s designed to help you reflect and plan your learning activity. Your tutors have access to this information and may use it to offer support – particularly during any one-to-one meetings.

Libraries

The library offers help to all students with information and research skills, study skills, academic writing, and maths and statistics. We offer a multitude of online and physical resources. Staff are here to help you get to know your library, at the information desk during full service hours, or you can book an online academic study skills support appointment with a member of staff or Student Mentor.

You can also chat to the library online no matter where you are, using the online chat function on our library web pages.

The library service provides access to a large range of resources, covering all of our subjects – from books and periodicals, to over two million digital texts, journals and critical essays. If we don't have what you need, we ‘ll do our best to get it for you.

Schools and subjects have their own dedicated collections, while library staff are available, in our libraries and online, to support you with all your study needs.

We’ve thought of everything to make your library experience as focused as possible, and we're here to help you brush up on your key academic skills with:

  • online workshops and bookable one-to-one Skype sessions on a range of academic study skills including referencing, essay structure, critical thinking, revision techniques and more
  • our Skills for Success portal, which provides online resources, tutorials and training.

Visit the NTU Library website to find out more.

IT resources and printing

You’ll find thousands of PCs across our campuses. Wherever you’re based, you’ll have access to Microsoft Office 365, your NTU email account, networked file storage and on-demand printing, with a free allowance for each student (plus professional on-campus print shops for any larger, specialist projects).

For more information about the University’s IT facilities and support services, visit the Library and Learning Resources and Current Students sections of our site, or visit our support forums for help and advice about the IT services available at NTU.

Student Charter

As a student at Nottingham Trent University, your expectations will be as high as your ambitions. We’re committed to delivering a high-quality student experience that meets – and looks to exceed – those expectations.

The NTU Student Charter sets out what you can expect from the University, and what the University expects from you.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418