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In the UK, there many different ways you may be taught, with every course having many different lectures, the marking criteria and the expectations may differ significantly. So how should you manage your time effectively to more efficiently buff up your grade?

WinWin:Today I believe you’ll be talking to us about your HR courses and some of the things to look out for before, during and after the lectures you receive. Let’s begin with your advice regarding how to prepare before each lecture.

Gem:Yes, studying here is slightly different from when we were studying back in China. Before going to a lecture here, it is necessary to have some preparation done beforehand in order for things to go smoothly. And if you want to get a good grade, you’ll also need to review the lecture material afterwards too. So, the main point to raise here is first find out more information about the course. How many lectures are there in the course? When do they all begin? How long do they last? How much important information are you expecting from each one etc. These are all things to consider before going to the lectures.

Winwin: How are you able to know all this in advance?

Gem: I was able to get to know people in the years above through social media at first. Then I would meet them and I would chat to them, and I would ask questions regarding the course and obtain information about the lectures this way. I would also ask them about the teaching styles of various lecturers. For example, the lecturer in one of my first lectures here would speak very fast and teach very fast. That impacted my ability to catch all the information as well as exacerbating my existing language hindrance, that posed quite the challenge. But the good thing is that I knew all this beforehand and that he is also very demanding when it comes to exams so there were no surprises. So whatever I didn’t understand in his lectures I would make a quick note of and work on them after the lectures until I got it. I would skim read through some of the recommended reading and make some references.

If for example, there’s a lecturer who uses a lot of case studies and I don’t understand the case studies, it’s then faster to just ask people in your course after the lecture about them and normally someone would know and explain it. Also, if I know a certain lecturer is particularly demanding then I would put more effort into understanding his material so that when it comes to the exams, it’s easier (since the questions he sets will be harder).

Gem: One last thing, before beginning a lecture series, you need to understand how to effectively make use of the associated resources. For example, you explore how the essential reading relates to the lectures, as well as any internet resources that may get recommended. They can be of massive help. There’s also the upper years to seek advice from, for example understanding the different teaching styles and expectations of different lecturers. Some may take offense if you turned up late, others may not. Some may care a lot about your attitude, whether you are proactive or not and these things can really all influence your marks in the background when pieces of work are marked subjectively, let’s say when you give a presentation for example. For other course when dissertations are involved, different lectures have different preferences to how you write too. For example, one of mine is really keen on the correct referencing format in my dissertations, he checks every comma, full stop and space, they all have to be 100% accurate. If you mess up in the referencing, he will mark you down a lot and it will most definitely lower your grade. There are also others who are keen on you drawing on many different points of view from many different people’s papers too, they will say your dissertation isn’t ‘critical’ enough if you don’t. These are just some of the most common examples, so it’s important to find out about these preferences in advance, that will really help your grade.