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Self-directed study

The transition into undergraduate study can take time as it requires getting used to new ways of learning. Take a look at the definitions and questions outlined below to help you better understand your individual study needs and get you on your way to degree-level study.

How you'll study

Lectures: The majority of courses will have these subject-specific presentations delivered by academics to a large group of students that usually last between one and two hours. Students will be required to take notes during the lecture and may have the opportunity to ask questions at the end.

At UEL you’ll also benefit from guest lecturers, such as industry specialists, relevant to your field of study. Previous guest lecturers have included Martin Slark, CEO of Molex and Max Lawson, Head of Global Policy and Campaigns at Oxfam. 

Seminars: These are more intimate and interactive, with classes usually consisting of around 10–15 students. During a seminar the content of a previous lecture may be discussed in more detail, or another theme-specific topic. There is also space for presentations and group discussions. Seminars are usually longer than lectures and can last between two to four hours. 

At UEL we focus on smaller class sizes as this goes hand in hand with our practical-based learning approach. This means our academics are able to provide you with the level of support and guidance you need to achieve your goals.

Tutorials: A tutorial can take place in a small group or a one-to-one session with an academic. The purpose of a tutorial is to discuss in detail a specific piece of work, such as an essay, to help students clarify their ideas and work through any stumbling points. 

We also assign you with a designated academic advisor that can help with one-to-one guidance across all course modules. Your advisor is on hand to help with skills such as academic writing and time management.

Laboratories and studio work: Practical-based courses usually involve a share of laboratory or studio work in which they get hands-on with the relevant tools. These may be supervised by an academics, technicians, or can be self-directed depending on the facilities. 

Our state-of-the-art facilities include a Simulation Centre where healthcare and nursing students can rehearse, Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics labs for exercise sciences students and a Mooting Room for law students.

Independent learning: A large part of university study revolves around independent learning. This form of study will provide students with transferrable skills such as time keeping, setting goals and being responsible for your own learning. Our library, open 24/7 during term time, is specially designed to be able to facilitate this type of learning. 

Assessing your learning needs

Your course leader and lecturers will be able to advise you on how many hours per week of independent study your modules require. Scheduling enough time to keep up-to-date with your programme is essential to ensure you’re able to cover the relevant material in preparation for your next meeting. 
This is another way of working out whether you’re a morning or a night person. If you tend to be more productive in the morning, you can try waking up earlier and setting aside a couple of hours to work on any reading you have to do for the upcoming week. If you find yourself a more effective learner at night, you might find it useful to head to the library after an evening lecture to get some work out of the way.
Depending on your course, you may be required to complete more theory or practice-based tasks. For example, if you are studying a creative subject like art, you may need to factor in how long it will take you to gather materials for your work.
Take a moment to think about your ideal learning environment. You may learn best in complete silence or work more effectively to music. Whichever it is, set yourself up with these comforts to minimise distractions. It can often be the case that we blame external factors such as our environment for a lack of being able to study.