Page 1

AUSA Academic Survival Guide

The

Academic Survival Guide

1


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

Contents Introduction Our Aim The Partnership Agreement If you have an issue with the university... Mitigating Circumstances Academic Misconduct What to expect in Misconduct Meetings Fitness to Practice Student Monitoring The CAS System Explained Getting Feedback International Students Postgraduates Get a Rep Services Available to Students A Word from the AUSA SAC Exam Guru (A Fourth Year Finalist) Useful Links Social Networking

2

3 4 4 5 8 9 10 11 13 15 17 18 18 19 20 22 25 26


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

IntroduCtIon Welcome to the ultimate Academic Survival Guide for Students. This is your very own book of advice and tips to help you steer smoothly through your programme at the University of Aberdeen. We are Aberdeen University Students’ Association, an independent body to the University which represents and serves students. If you experience any issues during your studies then we will work with you for the best result. Free and impartial Academic Advice is offered through the AUSA Student Advice Centre for all students. Here we can liaise with Schools, offer advice on procedures and provide you with representation. We also deal with private accommoda-

tion, part-time employment, employability advice, money and welfare. You can always ring, email or pop in with a query. With this guide you can find out how to get the best out of your studies through feedback, student representatives and services on offer and what action to take when you need academic advice. In fact, pretty much everything from Class Certificates to CAS marks will be explained, so sit back, grab a drink and enjoy! Contact the Student Advice Centre on 01224 274200 or ausaadvice@abdn.ac.uk for any queries or additional helpful tips!

3


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

our AIm

is to support you in the best way possible This is how we can work together to achieve this: 1.

2.

Keep in touch – We will let you know if anything changes. Keep us up-todate with any progress

3.

Give us notice – We need at least 2 working days to respond to any contact from you and at least 3 working days’ notice to attend meetings with you.

4.

5.

4

Tell us all the facts – This helps us fully understand your case so we can offer good advice.

Allow us to help – We offer a range of services and we are happy to look over your draft statements, CVs or letters. Everyone is welcome – Our service is fair, openminded and welcoming and we won’t discuss your concern with anyone else without your permission

the PArtnershIP Agreement

To ensure you get the most out of your programme at Aberdeen, the University encourages a partnership between staff and students. Every student at the University can expect a good standard of support and guidance from their teaching staff. Equally as a student, you will be expected to take advantage of the opportunities offered and show commitment to your educational experience. For the full agreement: http:// www.abdn.ac.uk/infohub/ documents/Partnership_ Agreement.pdf Also look at the Code of Practice Undergraduate Teaching www.abdn.ac.uk/quality/ appendix5x2.pdf Feedback Criteria for students http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ staffnet/teaching/aqh/ appendix7x8.pdf


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

If you hAve An Issue wIth the unIversIty...

Relax, you have options. You are strongly encouraged to deal with the issue informally by telling your School the problem and asking for support. This can be done by telephone, email or a face to face meeting. If that doesn’t work, you can appeal and the AUSA Student Advice Centre will guide you through this process. Appeals explained… An academic appeal is a process you can use to review a decision made by the University. This covers problems with… • • • • • •

Admissions Exams Essays Practical assessments Degree and module results Progression through a degree or postgraduate programme Termination of Studies

academic judgement of your teaching staff. The following points are a list of reasons for which you can appeal but remember to approach us for more advice. • •

University rules have not been followed. An individual has made a decision outside their remit. An individual has made a decision that affects you in a biased way. You will be at a material disadvantage as a result of a decision.

NB: If you are unsure whether your grounds allow for appeal you can contact the Student Advice Centre for more clarification.

If you want to appeal, you need grounds (good reason) to do so which cannot be based on a disagreement with the 5


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Here is your step by step guide: 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6

You have 10 working days to contact an ‘appropriate person’ in your School informally to deal with your issue. You should receive a response within 5 working days. If you are unhappy following their decision, you have 5 working days to fill in Part A of the appeal form, which can be downloaded from http://www.abdn. ac.uk/registry/appeals. shtml and sent to academicservices@abdn. ac.uk. Within 10 working days of submission, you will meet with your Head of School to resolve the issue. Within 3 working days you will receive a response from the Head of School. If you are still unhappy, you can submit a Part C form within 5 working days of your Head of School’s response for consideration by a Grounds to Proceed Panel. They may reject or

6.

approve this. If your appeal/complaint is approved, you will be given a final, formal hearing within 20 working days.

For the comprehensive policy, appeals leaflet and flowchart please visit: http://www.abdn. ac.uk/registry/appeals

Did You Know? You can take a Students’ Association Representative to meetings with you, just ask!


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Complaints explained…

Stage 2: Investigation

If you feel that the way you have been treated or the service you have received from the University falls short of what might be reasonably expected then you can make a complaint. The strongest complaints are cases where students can prove they are at a disadvantage as a result of the service provision from the University.

Complaints updated: There is an emphasis on early and informal resolution between students and the university.

For issues that have not been resolved at frontline or require more in depth. After a thorough investigation has taken place, a definitive response will be made within 20 working days. This will be signed off by senior management and is the final stage of internal investigation. If you are still dissatisfied, you can speak to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO).

Stage 1: Frontline Resolution •

For issues that are straight forward and easily resolved requiring little or no investigation Informally meet with person you are lodging the complaint against, where an on the spot apology / explanation or other action to resolve will be sufficient Generally will be completed within 5 working days. 7


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

mItIgAtIng CIrCumstAnCes

If you believe personal circumstances or a medical condition have affected your academic performance, the best course of action is to notify your School as soon as possible. You can also drop off medical notes at the InfoHub. It’s always useful to explain your situation so it can be taken into account on your module grades, especially during essay and examination periods.

provide support. 1st and 2nd year students only are able to self-certificate against illness for exams and course work, on the day or no later than 3 days after. There is no guarantee this will be accepted, as it will be investigated. The full University policy on Mitigating Circumstances can be found here: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/ appendix7x5.pdf

If you have been ill between 6 Urgent information: Do your and 11 days, a self certificate best to get this information in or medical note should be ASAP. You can submit evidence submitted. After 11 days only (such as a medical note) up to 7 medical notes are accepted. working days after an exam to Remember, the sooner you the University for consideration. submit this evidence, Just drop it into them the sooner your at the Hub or School Top tip: School can take Inform your school Office. your issues into of your situation as account and soon as possible as they are more likely to be able to help you.

8


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

ACAdemIC mIsConduCt This occurs when a student has taken action which gives them an unfair advantage over the rest of the student body. This is a summary but the full Code of Practice of Student Discipline can be found at: www.abdn. ac.uk/registry/quality/ appendix5x15.pdf

Cheating The penalties for cheating are high and may result in a zero grade being awarded for that assessment. In more serious cases where a student has cheated on more than one occasion, they can face exclusion. Copying, impersonation, payment for assessed work, collusion (working with another student), taking devices or unauthorized material into exams or plagiarism, are all forms of cheating.

intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment1. If you quote or use someone else’s work, you have to reference them in your essay. If you are in an Honours year or postgraduate student, the penalties for plagiarism are far more serious. There are tips on the AUSA and Student Learning Service website to help you avoid this. Library referencing guide: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/ documents/guides/gen/ uggen007.pdf

Did You Know? Over the past 5 years over 250 students have been caught for plagiarism at the University of2 Aberdeen.2

Plagiarism Plagiarism is a form of cheating and is defined as the use, without adequate acknowledgment, of the

1 Academic Quality Handbook: Appendix 5.15; P. 3 2 Press and Journal: Rebecca Buchan 18/01/2011

9


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

whAt to exPeCt In mIsConduCt meetIngs Stage One – Head of School: This meeting is

the School’s opportunity to question you to see whether you are guilty of academic misconduct. Usually the Head of School will be present in addition to a minute-taker and another academic. You will be asked if you understand the form of misconduct and if you believe you have cheated or plagiarised. You will then be able to make points and ask questions. Usually offences which do not take place in an honours year will be dealt with at this stage.

Stage two – Formal Hearing: This will only usually happen in an honours year or in the event of a repeat offence. If the School thinks there is a case for academic misconduct they will recommend that you attend a second hearing. This will be convened by an Investigating Officer who will ultimately decide, if you have committed misconduct and what the penalty would be. 10

Remember, you can bring along AUSA representation to these meetings.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

fItness to PrACtICe

For careers which lead directly into professional roles in the Schools of Education, Medicine and Dentistry, the University has a responsibility to ensure that students who qualify are fit to practise. These students must conduct themselves in a way which not only meets the expectations of the University but also, the high standards of external bodies such as the General Medical Council. Calling all Medics and Dentists! Students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry are affected by Fitness to Practise in addition to the Code of Practice on Student Discipline. These rules follow General Medical Council and General Dental Council requirements and are dealt with by the Fitness to Practise Committee: “Any health, conduct, behavior or other issue that could bear on a candidate’s suitability or fitness to practise medicine or dentistry will be considered by the Fitness to Practise Committee (Medicine or Dentistry)”3 3 Academic Quality Handbook: Appendix 5.17c, p. 4

In some cases, academic issues will be dealt with through the Code of Practice on Student Discipline and will only be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee if the allegation has been proved. Students under investigation will receive notification of their case. Two Investigating Officers will be assigned to each case and students will be invited to meet with them to defend their position. The Investigating Officers have a set of powers ranging from taking no further action to formal warnings. They can also refer students to the Fitness to Practise Committee who can ultimately terminate the studies of students who fall short of the guidelines. For more information: Guidance on Fitness to Practise Procedures: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/ appendix5x17c.pdf General Medical Council: Information for Medical Students - Education and Training section on www.gmcuk.org General Dental Council: Student 11


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Fitness to Practise Guide – Publications section on www. gdc-uk.org

Education Students

Fitness to Practise also affects students hoping to become qualified teachers. Similarly, these students may be referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee and could face serious penalties if they are found to be unfit.

Further information for Education students: General Teaching Council for Education www.gtcs.org.uk/ home/home.aspx

Students under investigation will have a meeting with their Head of School, where they can make their case. The Head of School is empowered with a range of actions which includes taking no further action (if they conclude that the student is fit) or referring the student to the Fitness to Practise Committee. This committee will decide if the student is fit to practise and have the power to terminate studies. “Any health, conduct, behaviour or other issue that could bear on a candidate’s suitability or fitness for teaching will be investigated by the Fitness to Practise Committee (Education).4 4 Academic Quality Handbook: Appendix 5.17d, p. 3

12


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

Student Monitoring What’s a C6?

If you receive a C6 email or notice one on your Portal, it means you are ‘At Risk’ of failing to meet your learning outcomes. In general, this represents the knowledge and skills you acquire throughout a programme but more specific information can be found in your module handbook. In most cases a C6 is recorded if you continually miss lectures and seminars or fail to hand in coursework . As a result of this, you will receive an ‘At Risk’ email asking you contact your School to explain. Each School does this differently, so make sure you check out http://www. abdn.ac.uk/infohub/study/ student-monitoring.phpbefore responding. You have 8 calendar days to respond.

C7s

A C7 is the result of the student monitoring process and is recorded when a student is deemed to be unable to achieve their learning outcomes and is removed from the module.

If you fail to respond to the ‘At Risk’ email or your School does not accept your explanation, you will receive a C7. If you continue to miss more classes after being issued a C6, you will also be given a C7. This means that your Class Certificate has been refused and you will not be awarded a grade for that module. However, you can appeal this decision if you feel you have grounds. You have 10 working days to respond.

Termination of Studies

If you are given 2 or more C7s, then the University may send you a letter informing you that your studies have been terminated. This may also result in the SPC asking for you to explain your situation. If you are an international student, the University will contact the UK Border Agency. At this point, you must appeal within 5 working days if you want to stay on your degree programme.

13


AUSA Academic Survival Guide The Student Progress Committee

Each year, a student has to achieve a certain number of credits to move into the following year. If undergraduate students fail to achieve the required amount of credits to progress into the next year and are facing termination, they can be asked to make a case to the Student Progress Committee. These committees largely take place at the end of Summer and are chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Programmes from the student’s School. In addition to the chair, up to two more DUPs from different Colleges will consider the case and a Registry Officer will minute. Students can bring one person to the meeting.

14

The Common Grading System Explained The University’s Common Grading System (CGS) provides a common, alpha –numeric marking scale which is used across all colleges. This means that students can compare their performance in different disciplines and courses and ensures consistency in assessment.

Did you know?

A class certificate enables you to sit an assessment for a module. You earn them by completing compulsory elements and regularly attending classes. They are valid for a year after a module is taken.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide University Assessment Scale Grade

Grade Point

PGT Award

Honours Classification

A1-A5

22-18

Distinction

First

B1-B3

17-15

Commendation

Upper Second

C1-C3

14-12

Pass

Lower Second

D1-D3

11-9

Pass

Third

E1-E3

8-6

Marginal Fail

Below Third Class Honours

F1-F3

5-3

Fail

Below Third Class Honours

G1-G3

2-0

Fail / Token / No Submission

Below Third Class Honours

The CGS in full comprises of 23 Grades grouped into 7 bands with an associated Grade Point for each grade. These Grade Points are used to determine the overall course mark from a number of components, and to determine the overall honours degree classification or progression and award within a PGT award.

How does the University calculate your grades?

The CGS has been designed so students can easily work out their degree classifications. For more comprehensive examples, check out the Academic Quality Handbook A basic example is explained in the table: A student has 2 essays each weighted at 20% and one exam weighted at 60%. The Grades are B2, A3, C1.

Grade

Grade Point

Weighting

B2

16

20%

A3

20

20%

C1

14

60%

Calculation (20% X 16) +(20% X 20) + (60% X 14) =3.2 + 4 + 8.4 =15.6 = 16 (rounding) Overall grade B2 15


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Honours Classification is determined by the calculation of an aggregated Grade Point Average. Grade Point Average

Classification

18.0 -22.0

First

17.1-17.9

Borderline First / Upper Second

15.0-17.0

Upper Second

14.1-14.9

Borderline Upper Second / Lower Second

12.0-14.0

Lower Second

11.0-11.9

Borderline Lower Second / Third

9.0- 11.0

Third

8.1-8.9

Borderline Third / Fail

0 -8.0

Fail

Honours Classification

If you are hoping for a 2:1, you need: A B3 or better in all elements consisting of half the total elements PLUS Grades at C3 or better in elements consisting of ž of the total elements PLUS normally marks at D3 or better in all elements.

16

Post Graduates

In order for students to be granted the Award of Postgraduate Diploma, normally an achievements of 120 credits with at grade of D3 or better in all elements is required. For the award of a master’s degree, normally an achievement of 180 credits with a grade of D3 or better in all elements.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

student monItorIng What’s a C6?

If you receive a C6 email or notice one on your Portal, it means you are ‘At Risk’ of failing to meet your learning outcomes. In general, this represents the knowledge and skills you acquire throughout a programme but more specific information can be found in your module handbooks. In most cases a C6 is recorded if you continually miss lectures and seminars or fail to hand in coursework and as a result, the University will send you an ‘At Risk’ email asking you to contact your School to explain. Each School does this differently, so make sure you check out www.abdn.ac.uk/ registry/SchoolMonitor before responding. You have 8 calendar days to respond.

C7s

A C7 is the end result of the student monitoring process and is recorded when a student is deemed to be unable to achieve their learning outcomes and removed from the module.

If you fail to respond to the ‘At Risk’ email or your School does not accept your explanation, you will receive a C7, this means your Class Certificate has been refused and you will not be awarded a grade for that module. However, you can appeal this decision if you feel you have grounds, such as university procedures have not been followed. You have 10 working days to respond.

Termination of Studies

If you are given two or more C7s, then the University may send you a letter informing you that your studies have been terminated. This may also result in the SPC asking for you to explain your situation. If you are an international student, the University will contact the UK Border Agency. At this point, you must appeal within 5 working days if you want to stay on your degree program.

The ‘C’ Word

The letter ‘C’ is used to record information on the Student Record System. Here’s a list of the codes: 13


AUSA Academic Survival Guide C1. You achieved a first class grade. C2. You achieved an upper second class grade. C3. You will have to make a case to the Student Progress Committee to progress to the next year. C4. You are registered for a class. (C4 also added to record if ‘at risk’ monitoring is accepted) C5. You have attended a class you are not registered for. C6. You are at risk of losing your class certificate because you have missed classes or failed to hand in coursework. C7. You have failed to respond to at risk monitoring emails and have lost your class certificate. This means you will not be able to take an exam or resit and will not receive credits for the module. C8. Your grade will consist of one assessment, usually an exam. C9. You have been formally authorised by your Adviser to leave a class or change modules. CX. You received a C7 in a first semester module and now you cannot enter a class in the second semester.

14

The Student Progress Committee

Each year a student has to achieve a certain amount of credits to move into the following year. If undergraduate students fail to achieve the required amount of credits to progress into the next year and are facing termination, they can be asked to make a case to the Student Progress Committee. These committees largely take place in September and are chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Programmes from the student’s School. In addition to the Chair, up to two more DUPs from different Colleges will consider the case and a Registry Officer will minute. Students can bring one person to the meeting.

Did you know?

A class certificate enables you to sit an assessment for a module. You earn them by completing compulsory elements and regularly attending classes. They are valid for a year after a module is taken.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

the CAs system exPlAIned If you were expecting to find percentage grades or 2.1s, the University works a little differently here. As a student you are graded on a scale of 0 – 20, with anything below 9 recorded as a fail. CAS Mark

Equivalent UG Grade

PG Grade

20-18

1st Class

Distinction

15-17

2.1

Commendation

14-12

2.2

Pass

11-9

3rd

Pass

Below 9

Fail

Fail

CAS 9 or over in all elements of your programme, half of your grades must be 15 or over and an additional quarter 12 or over and so on… In some cases, discretion will be used. The full document can be found in Appendix 7.4 of the Academic Quality Handbook (www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/ quality/appendix7x4.pdf ) It may also be useful to look at the Code of Practice on Undergraduate Teaching: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/quality/ appendix5x2.pdf Aiming for a First?

Your Final Grade… Undergraduates When deciding an undergraduate students’ final grade, the Grade Spectrum comes into play. This is a generalised overview and you should consult your handbooks and relevant staff to find out more. In general, to receive a 1st at least half of your grades must be CAS 18 or over, an additional quarter at CAS 15 or over and all of your grades must be at least CAS 12 or over. For a 2.1, you must achieve

The Minimum breakdown of marks achieve a 1st

Postgraduates The PG Grade Spectrum is split into those studying PG Diplomas and Masters Degrees. For PG Diplomas students take a total of 120 credits and an additional 60 credits for Masters 15


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Degrees, which encompasses the final project or dissertation. In general, to receive a distinction at least half of your grades must be CAS 18 or over, an additional quarter at CAS 15 or over and all of your grades must be at least CAS 12 or over (for a Masters degree the final project must be graded at a CAS 18 or over). For a commendation, you must achieve CAS 9 or over in all elements of your programme, half of your grades must be 15 or over and an additional quarter 12 or over and so on‌ In some cases, discretion will be used. The full policy can be found here: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ registry/quality/appendix7x7. pdf

16

Did you know?

Each school works slightly different, so check before assuming your degree classification


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

gettIng feedbACk

Just finished an essay? Well it’s time to get feedback so you can improve. The key principle of feedback is that ‘feedback should be timely, supportive, understandable and focused on improvement’ and should be available within 3 weeks of the assessment deadline.

Feedback to students on coursework should: 1.

2.

Inform students explicitly how well they have met specific assessment criteria. Describe how students could have improved the current piece of work and/or how they could improve future work.

3.

Improve students’ understanding of the topic of the coursework, particularly highlighting areas where misunderstanding is evident.

4.

Provide comments on technique as well as content.

5.

Encourage students to reflect critically on their work and motivate students to seek to improve performance.

6.

Act as a form of dialogue between student and tutor.

Feedback on examinations should: 1.

Be provided as soon as possible after the exam diet.

2.

Where appropriate, be offered as generic feedback.

3.

Be available to individual students upon request.

The full feedback policy can be accessed here: http:// www.abdn.ac.uk/feedback/ staff/feedback-policies/ stitutionalfeedbackframework/

17


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

InternAtIonAl students It is hard enough moving to a new country and speaking a different language, without the educational factor too! For those of you who are international, we can guide you through University procedures, offer you feedback on appeals, complaints or statements and refer you to advice about whether your visa status would be affected by academic issues. Remember, there is help available, so please do not be afraid to ask. The University’s Student Advice and Support Office based at the Hub has two dedicated International Student Advisors (details can be found in the Support Services section) and here at the AUSA Student Advice Centre we can provide information to help you settle into life in Scotland.

18

PostgrAduAtes We hope you navigate through your degree with relative ease, but if you have any issues it is important to know that some procedures are different for postgraduates and often the penalties for academic misconduct and submission lateness are higher. Code of Practice for PG Taught: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ registry/quality/appendix5x23. pdf Code of Practice for PG Research: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/ appendix5x22.pdf Academic Quality Handbook on Research Students: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/ section8.pdf


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

get A reP

Class and Programme Reps are key to making sure the University works for you. Reps are ordinary students elected to represent you on your course or degree programme, feedback to lecturers about how your courses are going and work with the Students’ Association to change the University at the highest level. Student Reps have a voice from classrooms right up to Academic Senate. If you want to make a change, get in touch with your rep or visit http://www/ausa.org.uk/ClassReps for more information. 1. Class Reps

2. 3. 4.

5.

School Convenor Education Committee Vice President for Education vp.education@abdn.ac.uk President for Education and Employability - pres. education@abdn.ac.uk

Details can be found at: http:// www.ausa.org.uk/education Note: These representatives do not deal with case specifics but can feedback problems to Schools and Colleges.

Did you know?

You can talk to your Education Representatives about problems in your School

19


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

servICes AvAIlAble to students Aberdeen Students Niteline

Niteline is a city wide student run listening and information service which operates from 8pm to 8am during term time. You can ring them on 01224 272829 for a friendly chat. niteline@abdn.ac.uk

Personal Tutors

This is a new scheme where students will be allocated an academic from their department as a figurehead. They will be there to guide you through your time at university. They will provide general support to students in matters such as achievement of the Graduate Attributes, Employability and co-curricular opportunities. For more information on what a personal

20

tutor will do visit: www.abdn. ac.uk/personaltutors

Student Learning Service

The Student Learning Service can help you develop your academic skills. The Service offers workshops on a range of topics including academic writing, critical thinking, timemanagement, presentation skills and mind-mapping. They can give you study advice, including specialist study skills advice for students with dyslexia and other learning differences and provide one-to-one support. Also available are online materials for undergraduates on the ACHIEVE site in MyAberdeen and for taught postgraduates in Academic Learning Resources, also in MyAberdeen. For information, workshop schedules, booking links and request forms for study advice sessions visit: www.abdn.ac.uk/ sls

Careers Service

At any stage of your degree, you can talk to the Careers Service about your options. You can use the online service to book a 15 minute appointment with a duty adviser or a 45 minute


AUSA Academic Survival Guide appointment tailored towards your specific programme and every Thursday morning, there is an advisor on Foresterhill Campus. www.abdn.ac.uk/ careers

Student Support Services

In addition to the advice and representation services that AUSA provide, University Student Support also offers services which deal with a range of issues. They are based at the Hub on Elphinstone Road. What’s on offer? • International Student Advisors: www.abdn. ac.uk/students/ international/ • Disability Advisors: www. abdn.ac.uk/disability/ • General Student Support and Funding Advisors: www.abdn.ac.uk/studentsupport • Language Centre: www.abdn.ac.uk/ languagecentre

The Counselling Centre This is a fully confidential, professional service with fully trained counsellors who can provide emotional support for students. Visiting the Counselling Centre will not affect your student record but will give you valuable support. www.abdn.ac.uk/counselling The University Chaplaincy The Chaplaincy offers support for all students and hosts chaplains of all faiths. Chaplains can offer a listening ear to students and can give you information on social events and meeting and prayer facilitates. www.abdn.ac.uk/ chaplaincy

21


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

A word from the AusA sAC exAm guru (A fourth yeAr fInAlIst)

Don’t panic! Don’t panic! Don’t panic!

You can choose to give that exam your best shot and get it finished OR you can run for the Highlands! Unfortunately though, if you want to graduate, even if you take the easy option you still have to come face to face with those examinations. So here a few simple tips that can help you smash those exams!

Exam Tips 1. Getting Ready Panic and stress obviously increase when you do not feel confident with your level of preparation for an exam. Therefore the best and most simple antidote is to start your revision in advance. This does not mean that your academic term should be fully focused on studying for your exams but studying with a certain degree of constancy 22

is important! Here are a few revising techniques: 2. Time to timetable First of all, make up a timetable. Get a calendar or an agenda, write down when your exams will be (it is of fundamental importance to get the correct date, time and venue, so double-check it) and figure out how much study time you will need for each exam. Then write down a day-by-day action plan, focusing on the specific topics you want to study on different days. Having daily goals to achieve will make you more likely to stick to the timetable. But don’t stress if you don’t follow it rigidly, you can try again the next day! 3. Find what you need Read your learning guides and module booklets, they offer specific information for your programme. Organise your notes in folders, download presentations and journals from the internet and get the books you need before you start studying! This will save you time during revision week and will ensure you always have those precious sources of knowledge ready to use. It will also help


AUSA Academic Survival Guide you avoid stress during study time as no one likes to deal with missing notes, impossible to access on-line journals and not-on-shelf books… Especially when they are most needed! 4. Get into an exam routine Try to get into a regular routine. You don’t have to study all the time but it is fundamental to have time to study. Divide your day into different periods (don’t forget to eat, exercise and relax) and try to stick to it day after day. Set your alarm clock for the morning, have a good breakfast and get ready for another great day of revision! Keep a positive attitude through the day: obviously it is not everyone’s favourite daily routine, but try to follow it anyway. Remember that revising as you go is an easier alternative to cramming at the last minute and the information will stay with you for longer.

things in the world. The main point here is to think positive - forget those things that you don’t know, focus and be joyful about what you do know. It’s the morning of the exam, you might as well show them how good you are at applying the knowledge that you do have! You don’t even need to share all of your vast knowledge! As a matter of fact, feel free to leave out your favourite celebrity story, and insert new groundbreaking theories of evolution for example, and you’ll be fine. The most important thing is to remain calm, in other words, chill out! You’re going to write an exam, not disarm a weapon of mass destruction! So contrary to popular belief, the world will not crumble if you don’t ace your exam.

5. Stay Cool A trip to the Caribbean may be in order, somewhere on a white sandy beach, looking up at the sky, counting the clouds as they pass by and then you wake up and go to your exam thinking about all of the wonderful 23


AUSA Academic Survival Guide Relaxation Techniques: A few easy tricks To be honest, we could go on and on and on, but here’s a few: 1.

2. 3.

4.

5.

24

Take a few minutes and do nothing. This is actually harder than it sounds but this unique, highly sought after technique can be dangerous, so be careful not to hurt yourself. The Counselling Centre offer some relaxation CDs. Exercise! It may sound absolutely horrible but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it will help you to relax. Space out your revision. Short bursts of work with regular breaks is the best way Treat yourself during exam breaks.

Top Tips 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Go to classes. Reading friends notes or even lecture notes will not be as beneficial as being there in person. Check your University email account! The University will always email a warning before taking further action, so make sure you follow the instructions and respond. Get evidence – Medical notes, death certificates or letters from Support Services will strengthen your case. Keep to the timelines! Remember - 10 working days for appeals or complaints and 5 days for terminations. The University will not consider applications made after the deadline without good reason. During the appeals process try to avoid getting angry, going on a rant, criticizing others in situations. Be honest the University are here to help you succeed in your course.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide 7.

8.

9.

Keep in touch with your Tutors, Course Coordinators, Supervisors and Advisers. Sometimes flagging an issue with them informally can give you the additional time and support you need without the stress of hearings. Very often they are more understanding if they are aware of the full situation at the time. Plagiarism is taken really seriously within the University. If you need help avoiding it, just go to www.ausa.org.uk/ plagiarism. Get advice! That’s why we are here. At the Student Advice Centre we will always give you the best advice for your case.

useful lInks Students’ Association Website: www.ausa.org.uk Infohub: http://www.abdn. ac.uk/infohub/ Credit Point Calculator: http:// www.abdn.ac.uk/student-progress/points-calculator/ University Calendar: http:// www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/ calendar/ Exam Timetable: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/registry/exams/ Student Portal: http://studportal.abdn.ac.uk Staff Directory: http://www. abdn.ac.uk/directory/ Academic Quality Handbook: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/

25


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

soCIAl networkIng The majority of the world is talking through online social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. As memorable as photos and updates can be, it is important to be aware of the implications that social networking could have for your future. Often the material you post is public and as a result, could be viewed by more people than you originally intended. In the past, students have been reported for Facebook and Twitter content and in extreme cases this has led to disciplinary action. Employers may also check social networks to investigate potential employees.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7. 8.

So here are some helpful points to get you started: 1.

2.

26

Increase your privacy settings, the less people can see, the better. For those of you studying programmes leading to professional roles, avoid posting images or text which could distress those you have a duty of care for.

9.

Assume everyone can see or read everything you post so monitor your online reputation. Assume material once posted can never be “unposted”, sometimes old comments will show up on search engines. Beware the tag, your friends may take pictures and tag them with your name. Use good judgement before accepting an individual as a “friend” as you don’t want to blur the lines of responsibility. Remember that emails can be forwarded. Try to respect confidentiality, ask people before you tag or post about them. Finally, as tempting as it may be, it’s probably best you don’t post about academic staff or the University.


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

notes

27


AUSA Academic Survival Guide

AUSA Student Advice Centre The Butchart Centre University Road Old Aberdeen AB24 3UT www.ausa.org.uk

28

AUSA Academic Survival Guide  

A handy guide to the ins and outs of the academic structure and procedures including tips and links for more information

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you