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Get Ready to Study

A collection of resources and practical advice to help you understand academic expectations and prepare for your time at Newcastle University.

Hopefully you’re excited about starting university, the opportunities it offers for learning more about your subject and the wider experience, but it’s completely natural to be apprehensive, too. Finding out more now will make it easier to adapt when you arrive on campus. This collection of resources will enable you to prepare for studying at Newcastle University.

Before you begin your programme, you can find out what studying here will be like, and how it may differ from your previous learning experiences. You can discover what being a student at Newcastle is all about along with the people and services available to support you as you get started.

Finding your feet

Going to university is about more than just studying subjects at a higher level. It’s also about learning and developing in new ways.

The structure, format and expectations of teaching at university will be very different to the lessons you had at school and college. There are many different kinds of university teaching, including lectures, seminars, labs and online materials, and the type of teaching will vary between programmes. You’ll find out more about what kind of teaching you’ll have during your induction and module introduction sessions. In the meantime, find out more about what to expect from teaching from Newcastle University students and our Academic Skills Team experts.

Becoming an independent learner

Going to university means studying more independently. This is exciting, but at first it can feel a bit daunting, too. But don’t worry – nobody expects you to become a fully independent learner straight away. Learning how to study at university takes time and practice.  

Developing your skills

Studying at university isn’t just about learning your subject. It’s also about learning how to learn more independently and effectively. As well as your subject tutors, you’ll also have a personal tutor, a school wellbeing advisor and a peer mentor. All of these people will support you to develop your skills and grow as a learner.

The Academic Skills Team are also here to help you develop your study skills and fulfil your potential. We’re here all year round, and all our support is free and confidential. You can talk to us in-person and online.

Making sense of it all

Your tutors will introduce you to the key topics and debates in your subject through lectures, timetabled sessions and online learning materials. But they won’t tell you everything you need to know. They’ll also expect you to find, evaluate and manage information for yourself.

Over time, you’ll develop the skills to find information across a range of resources. You’ll also learn to assess the quality of that information, and how to use it responsibly in your own work.

Our Skills Audit is a good place to begin to reflect on what is working well for you at the moment, and where you can improve.

Undergraduate Skills Audit

Reflect on your current information and digital skills and find advice on developing them further.

Getting ready to read

Whichever programme you study, you’ll need to read widely and regularly. Managing extensive reading is a skill that you’ll develop over the course of your studies. You’ll learn to find what you need from a range of texts, using your time effectively.

Your tutors will expect you to:

  • read the texts they suggest
  • go beyond their suggestions to read more widely and independently
  • make sense of what you read
  • evaluate the information you find
  • use it to develop your own ideas

It’s essential to base your work on good quality, authoritative and reliable information. This means using information sources recommended by your tutors on your module reading lists, and accessing materials through the University Library.

Using information at University

Expectations around what you read and how you find information will probably be different to your previous learning experience. Books will play a vital role in your studies, and you’ll be able to access the key texts through the Library. But you’ll also be expected to explore less familiar types of information, such as academic journal articles and conference proceedings. There will also be along specialist types of information that are specific to your subject.

Knowing where to start with so much information can be a little daunting. Explore the videos to find out more about reading at university, and the types of information you might need for your studies.

What will I need to read?

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How will I manage the reading?

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Start with the Library

The University Library is the best place to start looking for information for your studies, because you can be confident the resources you find there are appropriately academic. As well as the books on the shelves, the Library also provides access to key online resources for your subject. You can only access these using the Library’s subscriptions – you can’t find them openly on the internet.

Using Library Search, you can quickly access millions of high quality information sources including books, e-books, journal articles and primary sources. But learning how to navigate this amount of information can feel a little overwhelming at first.

Your module leaders will provide reading lists that point you to the core texts for each module. Most of these will be accessible through the Library, so you won’t need to buy them. However, key books are in high demand. Sometimes it makes sense to get your own copy of a text that you will rely on heavily.

As you prepare to study, you might like to get to know a little more about the Library through the self-guided tour. Or hear from two students, Prothoma and Dermot, as they show you around the University Library environment and resources.