What do students do?

Tackling Coursework

We’ve already covered exam tips, so here are some tips for the other kind of work you will be facing in your time at school, college, and university – Coursework!

Coursework comes in lots of varieties depending on the subject it is for, such as essays, projects, research, posters and portfolios. What sets them apart from exams is that you have much more time to do them.

1. Think ahead

AKA. Time management!

When is your coursework due in? You might want to plan backwards from that day – so if it is due in on a Friday, plan to finish it by the Wednesday at the very latest, so that you have a chance to read over it after a night’s sleep and spot any mistakes or last minute changes you might want to make.

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  This is a study timetable I drew up for myself while working on my dissertation, which is a massive essay I had to do this year at university. A quick google will show you loads of templates to use to plan out your work time. You can see that I don’t only plan myself working time, but also gym, meals, and free time. If you start early enough you don’t have to dedicate 100% of your time to working, you can timetable yourself a bit of a life too! Take your time, and plan your work time well so that you don’t find yourself rushing as it gets closer to the deadline. 2. Plan before you start writing Don’t just open a blank page and go wild, think about what it is you are going to be writing about! Take a look at the title, question, or aim of the coursework and write up a plan before you start. Even a short bullet pointed list will give your work some structure. You’ll probably need to refer to sources in your coursework, and its a good idea to have those prepared before you start writing, rather than trying to do research and writing at the same time. Take your time to pick out the quotes or books you want to talk about and make a note of them in your plan for easy access. 3. Ask for help Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help. They are there to help you and will always be willing to clarify anything you don’t quite understand. Just make sure you know what you are asking. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing” doesn’t really give the teacher something to work with – be specific about what it is you’re confused about. Is it the question, the books you should be using, or how to start? 4. Introduction and conclusion Make sure everything you have written is relevant to the question or point of the project! Did you actually talk about the things you said you would in the introduction? Does the conclusion nicely summarize everything you’ve argued? Most importantly – have you answered the essay question, or completed the project as you were supposed to? 5. Draft your work The best thing about coursework is that unlike exams, you can go back to it and make changes after you’re done. Check for mistakes, and ask someone else to proof-read it for you. Look over it when you’re done and think – is there anything you feel is missing? Is there more you could say? Does the third paragraph need another quote or two to prove your point? Print it out and hand write on it if that helps.  

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This is your chance to turn your work into the best you can do before you hand it in to get marked!

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Keeping it social!

Clubs and societies are an important part of student life at uni.  At the University of Portsmouth there are over 190 sports clubs, societies, media groups and volunteering opportunities.

We caught up to with Vicky, a BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science student and member of the University of Portsmouth Equestrian Society to find out what it’s all about.

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Vicky is on a work placement at the moment but will be back on campus in September to start her final year.

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Whilst at uni, Vicky is also a part of the Equestrian Society. This society offers riding, jumping and polo lessons.  Even if you haven’t ridden a horse before. Not only that, but there are socials and the chance to compete against other universities!

Check out this video of when Vicky’s team went to play at the University Nationals. Their polo tournament is know as SUPA, which is the Schools and Universities Polo Association. It runs twice a year, in the winter and summer, and takes place over four days.

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For polo, Vicky’s team travel to Guildford, where they are lucky enough to train at student prices. They usually take the train or car share, which gives them a chance to chat about the lesson and make preparations for any tournaments.

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In the Winter, Vicky went to SUPA. Their teams did really well…including the beginners team placing 1st, and their novice team placing 4th! Vicky has been to four SUPA tournaments, and here are some of her pictures, including one from her first tournament and when she received second place prize.

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Apart from tournaments, the club also organises socials and events for the team to get together and chill out. Here are some snaps of when Vicky went to the riding holiday in Sicily, and from their Christmas meal.

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Here, Vicky showed us what you need to join the club, but what you really need to get is a traditional riding helmet! The club provides kit, such as mallets, knee pads and team tops. But, the option is there to get the full gear if you want to.

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Unlike clubs run at school, sixth form or colleges, university clubs and societies are run by the students themselves, and they are helped by the students union. Each club or society has a committee, which is a group of students elected by the club. Taking on these responsibilities is a great addition for your CV and helps you to develop great skills.

Vicky put herself forward as part of the club committee for organizing the polo committee, and was elected into the role, which she’ll begin next year.

Let’s wish her lots of luck!

Not so secret life of a uni student

As it reaches May, it’s almost the end of the academic year for most of our students.

We decided it would be the perfect time to take a look back at the past year for one of our Student Ambassadors, Richard.

Richard is a final year BSc(Hons) Geography student, some of you will remember him, from his @NextStepUoP Instagram takeover.  Here he is, just after he finished his dissertation!

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Richard started this year by going off on a fieldtrip to America! The trip was lots of fun, but the most important part of the trip was to make it to the summit of Mount Washington, to potentially record some of the fastest wind speeds on Earth.

Here is the first stop of the trip, Boston!

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Richard clearly had an early start on the summit day of his climb of Mount Washington…look at that sunrise!  Here is a view of the Appalachian Mountains at dawn that Richard took before he had to jump in a jeep to ascend the mountain!

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This is a view above the clouds, facing the Atlantic Ocean. Doesn’t it look amazing? Richard and his coursemates had the opportunity to record their own data whilst up here.

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On the way back home, Richard had time to stop off at New York City after a long nine hour journey by coach. Here’s a picture of the World Trade Centre in the evening…doesn’t it look incredible?

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After the field-trip and some deadlines, it was time to go home for Christmas. After a long time away at uni, it’s always a great feeling to relax at home with your family…especially the pets! Check out Richard’s cat chilling out in all the presents!

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In January, after coming back to uni, Richard went to visit London with his girlfriend for their anniversary. One of the opportunities at university is the chance to go and check out new places, and at Portsmouth it’s very close to places like London and has great travel links via train.

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During dissertation month, it’s also important to remember to take a break! Richard and some friends decided to escape the University Library and head down to Southsea beach for some fresh air. Being outside really helps to clear your head after so much studying, and look at that sunset!

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Here is the Brighton Dome…Portsmouth is about an hour away by train to Brighton, so it’s very easy to go and visit for the day. Both cities are seaside cities, but are very different places.

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Last of all, to celebrate finishing his dissertation Richard went rock-climbing in the Fontainebleau Forest, France. A uni there are loads of opportunities to carry on with any hobbies you enjoyed before, and to try out some new ones.

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That’s all for now…there are still one more month of uni left for Richard, so let’s wish him luck with the last of his studies!