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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?

  • Lectures – delivered by an academic and held in lecture theatres or classrooms. They will introduce you to the main themes of your subject and give you a framework to structure your learning around.
  • Seminars and workshops – smaller interactive sessions led by an academic, providing an opportunity to debate and discuss your learning in groups.
  • Independent research – you’ll be expected to prepare for all your lectures and seminars. Your course leader may set up study groups, or you could discuss notes and share ideas with friends.
  • Coursework – 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.
  • Feedback – you may find that feedback at university level is different to what you’ve experienced before; it’ll nearly 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 like face-to-face feedback.

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

Your CERT Student Mentor

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

You’ll meet your CERT Student mentor in a Welcome Workshop that you’ll find in your course induction timetable.

How important is your first year?

You first year is quite possibly the most important of your degree. Why?

  • It introduces the essential, basic parts of your degree and the expectations of university study. 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. Employers may look at marks from your first year 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 achieve the results you need.

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 to university learning by using the NTU Student Dashboard to manage your own learning and see how engaged you are with your studies.

PG study prep

Postgraduate students

If you're going straight into postgraduate study from your undergraduate degree, you may find the transition into postgraduate study 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 and self-motivation are essential.
  • If you’re studying whilst holding a full-time job, or you have a family (or both), it's important that you’re disciplined about studying – 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 list, 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 to university learning by using the NTU Student Dashboard to manage your own learning and see how engaged you are with your studies.

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.


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 or to graduate. Assessment methods include:

  • exams
  • projects
  • reports
  • group work
  • presentations
  • dissertation.
Student in Boots Library


The Library service provides access to a large range of print and electronic information covering all of our subjects – from print books and journals, to online market reports, maps, and technical standards documents. If we don’t have what you need, we’ll do our best to get it for you.

All subjects studied and researched at NTU have corresponding library materials, while staff are on hand to guide you– whether that’s exploring the Library for the first time, navigating our databases, or borrowing laptops.

We’ve thought of everything to make your library experience as convenient and focused as possible: from great Wi-Fi and 24/7 access, to a huge range of independent and collaborative learning spaces, and power outlets within an arm’s reach, wherever you work. What’s more, we’ll help you brush up on your key academic skills with:

  • Workshops and one-to-one sessions on most aspects of academic study, such as essay structure and critical thinking.
  • Staff  from the Library Learning and Teaching team, who can give guidance on how to approach studying, academic writing, maths and statistics.
  • Library Student Mentors who are second, final year, and postgraduate students that work in the Library can help you with academic skills, including writing, maths and statistics, and IT. Mentors come from subject areas taught across the University and can advise how to approach your work using their own experience as students.
  • Our Skills for Success portal, providing online resources, tutorials and training.

Get to know your Library as soon as possible. We provide tours from the moment you arrive to give you an idea of the environment, and what’s on offer. We also run workshops throughout Welcome Week – and beyond – on studying at university, getting to grips with referencing and managing your time. Visit the NTU Library website and bookings page 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.

Help, support, and where you can find it

If you’re struggling with your studies – an idea, or perhaps even a whole module – talk to your course tutor and they’ll make sure you get the right help from the right people, at the right time. You’ll find contact details for your course tutor in your course information on NOW, and 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, 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.

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.

The library offers help to all students with information and research skills, study skills, academic writing, and maths and statistics. See us in person at the Information Desk in your library during full service hours, or book an appointment with a member of staff or a 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.

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