Staying Motivated!

Hi everyone,

Now that it is not long until our easter break, assignment and exam season is looming upon us once again. For some of you, including me, you may have a number of essays all due within days of each other which can be quite overwhelming meaning that many of us enter panic mode and become quite stressed. This can often lead to feeling unmotivated as you feel like everything is piling up all at once, so here is some advice I hope is helpful for you!

1. Plan ahead

Planning your assignments in advance will help ease some stress as by doing this you will already know how to tackle your essays. You can do this through many ways such as, one to one meetings with your tutors so you can discuss the details of your assessments more extensively. You could also plan your essay so that you have something to guide you when it actually comes to writing your essay. Another useful tip is to make a note of when all your deadlines are, I did this by making a poster and sticking it up in my room to keep me reminded.

2. Talk to your tutors

If you feel overwhelmed by your assessments and it all starts to get a bit too much, it might be a good idea to arrange a meeting with your module leader or even your personal tutor. These meetings can be really helpful at easing your mind. Additionally, by discussing your essay with a tutor they can help you with any queries you may have as well as making sure you are on the right track!

3. Use the library

If like me you struggle to concentrate when your friends are surrounding you, going to the library can make a huge difference. At our library there are three floors which are a key to three modes of studying. The first floor is for group study, the second floor is for quiet study and the third floor is strictly for silent study. Also, you can book an individual study room in the library if you feel like you need it, they all have a computer and you won’t be disturbed this way.

4. Don’t doubt yourself

It is so easy to doubt yourself when there is a lot of pressure on you so always try to stay positive and do everything you can to help yourself out so that you can be as stress free as possible!

Your Big Step to University

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. I have just had reading week so have been back in Manchester visiting my family. Now that I’m back at uni, it’s back to work!

When we grow up we are always told how important the next step is – primary school, high school, GCSE’s, A-levels…and now University. So I hope I can take the pressure off a bit and help you with any worries you may have!

How will your university course be different to college/sixth form?

For most courses, your lecture and seminar hours will be a lot less than you had at A-level. Some course have as little as 4 hours a week, whilst other courses like mine (Primary Education) can have up to 18 hours a week. No matter the amount of time you have timetabled, it is about what you personally get out of it. Unlike A-level when you depend on your teachers a lot, university allows you to have more freedom and initiated learning during your own time.

How formal is university?

Personally, I found my sixth form to be a lot more formal than university life. At Edge Hill, I feel I can talk to the tutors on a more personal level, rather than referring to teachers’ second names like I have done throughout school!

How many exams will you have?

The number of exams you will have depends on your course, but I suggest finding this information out as it will help you feel prepared. The university decides what is included in your modules which makes all lesson content useful. I found that A-levels were mostly centred around remembering the specific mark schemes for your exams. However, at university I believe you are taught real-life skills and necessary information that will provide you with a foundation for your next step (which may be your chosen career).

If you have any more questions like these, feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading, looking forward to speaking soon!

Anna 🙂

 

 

 

Preparing for continuous assessment at Edge Hill – You won’t have to cram the night before!


If you are a student of an education system that relies on exams for assessment you may have never even come across the term ‘Continuous Assessment’. This method of assessment is commonly used in courses throughout Edge Hill University so it is a good idea to get to know what it is and practice before you start under this type of education.


Continuous Assessment is the practice of giving you a grade based on your coursework that is submitted over the length of your course. For example you may be given an assignment every week for two months, each representing a certain percentage of your final grade. This means that you are already stacking up points towards your grade as soon as you submit work. Meaning you don’t have to worry about remembering everything at once on one particular day. If you are already prepared for this type of assessment you will slip right into the swing of things. However if you, like me, are from an education background where everything is based on exams it might take some time to adjust.


Clock with time on notepadTime management is a very important aspect of this method of study. If you don’t manage your time correctly you will miss deadlines. Unlike missing your homework, missing your deadline for coursework results in your grade being affected. You have to manage your time well in order to maximize your grade.


Notes on a4 paperKeeping notes simple and brief is also important. Unlike taking notes for something that you will not review for weeks, months or even years, continuous assessment is set on a much shorter time range. Your notes should be short but clear so that you get everything down and quickly refer to them later. Your brain will do most of the work remembering.


Concept lifestyle image of balance.Balance is possibly the most important. You need to make time and put the same amount of effort into all your coursework. You will like some more than others, and as such its easy to dismiss pieces you don’t want to complete. Work hard at it and keep your head down. Remember, it is your grade at stake.

 


Follow these steps and try to practice these skills in your every day life. A good example is taking homework as serious as your exams for a week or two to get used to putting your best into something on a weekly basis.

While not all courses at Edge Hill are fully coursework based most have elements of continuous assessment. Remember to prepare for any exams you might have also.

If you want more free and great advice email think@edgehill.ac.uk or leave a comment below and I will get back to you. If you want to suggest something to write about or want to be interviewed leave a comment below also and I will get back to you personally!

Assignment Writing Tips!

Happy new year!

Now I am back at university, I have a lot of coursework ahead of me…yey! Writing assignments can be a difficult task for everyone and it is often hard to know where to start. Here are a few handy tips I wish I knew as a fresher…

  1. Visit the library 
Edge Hill Library

After reading all of the notes provided by your tutors, you should have a clear picture of what the assignment question wants from you. Edge Hill’s library is stocked with thousands of books and journals for every course. By accessing the online library system, you can search for any specific books appropriate for your assignment question. The library codes provided will then allow you to easily find your book. They are automatically renewed every 2 weeks, unless it is reserved by other students. However, if you know a lot of students are also searching for similar topics, I advise you reserve them in advance! I really recommend referring to books or journals when writing assignments because websites are often unreliable. Although, Google Scholar is a useful tool to use.

2. Plan, plan, plan!

An obvious aspect which is important for writing assignments is the planning involved. I find it difficult to start writing without an initial outline. Even if it is a small or messy plan, it is necessary to have something to guide you and jot down your ideas. I usually take the time to gather any queries I may have to ask the appropriate tutor. However, there is usually all the information you need available on Black Board.

  1. Take breaks

Often, the most difficut part of writing an essay is thinking about how to start it. I find that once you get started, you begin to feel more confident. BUT, remember to have breaks. It depends on the person, but I personally cannot work hours straight without procrastinating! Grab a coffee, phone a friend or get some fresh air.

  1. Proof-read

I cannot stress enough how important it is to proof-read. A simple spelling mistake can affect your mark based on the grading criteria. It took me a long time after submission to realise I wrote ‘practioners’ instead of ‘practitioners’ 10 times in one essay. Try to proof-read when you’re not too tired because that is when mistakes can be easily looked over!

  1. Take advantage of Edge Hill’s resources

Edge Hill offer a wide range of student support including help with academia. Uni Skills hold regular workshops to advise on academic writing, as well as organising one-to-one support. These learning services are always there, so don’t panic and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I hope these few tips will be useful to you and I wish you the best of luck for your coursework and exams! Feel free to ask any questions, until next time! 🙂

It’s Christmas! 6 Winter ways to relax

Merry Christmas to you all- and to those who don’t celebrate- I hope you’re having a wondeful winter break!

Following on from last weeks blog on wellbeing (linked here), this week is all about ways to take a step back and chill out over the break – wether you’re on or off campus.

1. Layer up and go for a walk- you’ll see some pretty sights, and it counts as exercise for the day! (If on campus, I recommend taking a stroll around the lakes and saying hello to the ducks!)

2. Read a book- and not a text book! Take some time out to cozy up and immerse yourself in a good story. Libraries on and off campus are a great place to discover something new.

Christmas tree in the SU shop

3. Meet up with friends old and new. Share stories of the first few months of the academic year- show off your Edge Hill merch and exchange gifts.

Flat mates that buy you Edge Hill Christmas jumpers are keepers

4. Have a bath! If you’ve come home from shower-only halls, coming home to a house with a bath feels like the biggest luxury. Grab yourself a bath bomb and soak away!

5. Food! Christmas time means there will be all sorts of food to go around- and it certainly makes a change from a student diet of instant noodles, pasta and toast!

6. Get any course work done early. There’s nothing worse than trying to relax with the weight of unfinished assignments hanging over your head. Knuckle down and get them done so you can have a guilt-free rest of the break! For those of you with exams coming up in January- make yourself a time table of what you’re doing over Christmas- and slot in time to revise and stick to it, so you can feel prepared and not be worrying when you should be enjoying time with family and friends. 

For other tips and takes on the Christmas period at Edge Hill, see Anna and Ellie’s blogs about celebrating Hanukkah at uni and tips for studying over the break.

That’s all from me for now, I hope you all have a wonderful day and rest of the break!

Edge Hill’s Learning Services!

So here we are. Last week I blogged about all the different support and services Edge Hill has to offer except one: Learning services. So that is what we will be talking about today, hope you enjoy!


The learning service team is located in the library. The team can help with an array of issues. An example of help they can offer is helping you work the wifi on campus!


An important team within learning services is the disability support team!  The disability support teams provide a range of specialist study skills support, to help you develop strategies that you can use in your studies and other areas of your life.

Some areas of help they offer include planning essays, time management, organisational skills, note-taking techniques, reading strategies, referencing,  proofreading strategies, and more! The disability team can help you apply for DSA, which as someone who went through this process, I can say for certain that the team are wonderful when it comes to giving help and advice!


Learning service can also teach you how to use the library catalogue. The online library catalogue works similarly to google scholar, as you can type in keywords to find your subject, however, with this resource you have full access to the books and readings.

The catalogue has both online and physical readings, which is great in case you can’t make it down to campus as you can narrow your search to online texts and look through those.
Additionally, you can look and see if the book you want is currently available at the library and reserve books to collect later at the library! There are also computers stationed around the library dedicated solely to the catalogue.  


Learning services can also help with printing. There are printing and photocopying machines dotted around the entire library. They are all connected to one network so as soon as you click print you can log into any printer and print from there, minimising the queues of students waiting to use one printer. You can top up your printing credit at the learning services desk!


Thanks for reading this short but sweet blog post, if you have any topics you want to hear more about then make sure to comment!
Until next time!

Film /Show of the day: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Essay Tips: Referencing and Finding Readings!

As a university student, you’ve always got an essay to be handed in. Which in itself isn’t terrible, what is terrible is finding readings, and referencing. So today I’m going to be sharing with you some tricks and tips I’ve learnt while doing essays!


Referencing. It’s something that many people struggle with because if you don’t stick to the set Harvard Style, you can end up getting marked down. Fortunately, in my first year I discovered: Neil’s Toolbox, so I’ve never had an issue with my references. Neil’s toolbox is a website that helps you generator references for books, e-mails, journals and websites! All you have to do is input the information, and the rest is done for you, ready for you to copy and paste into your bibliography!


When writing an essay, reading materials are a must. They’re needed so you can construct points, support your case/argument, and most importantly so you can reference them. As I stated above, referencing is super important when it comes to writing any academic piece of work, however, you may be asking yourself: ‘where can I find academic readings to reference?’ And to that, I highly recommend: ‘The Library Catalogue’ and ‘Google Scholar’.


Google scholar is my go to when writing an essay because you can use the search engine to type in keywords to find books/readings catered towards your topic. The only downside is that sometimes they might have the whole book on there you’re looking for, and sometimes it only has a couple chapters or even pages of that book uploaded. On the other hand, if that does happen you can always see if the university library has the book you’re looking for, using the online catalogue!


The online library catalogue works similarly to google scholar, as you can type in keywords to find your subject, however, with this resource you have full access to the books and readings. The catalogue has both online and physical readings, which is great in case you can’t make it down to campus as you can narrow your search to online texts and look through those. Additionally, you can look and see if the book you want is currently available at the library and reserve books to collect later at the library!


Other quick ways to find readings for you essays are:
Checking your module’s handbook: Each week tutors recommended readings for that module, and by going through the weeks of readings you may find a book which may help you, especially if it’s a book that was recommended on the same week your topic was taught. 

Check your notes: Hopefully, through your lessons you’ve taken notes and wrote down helpful things your tutor has said. By looking through your notes you may find a quote or book that your teacher recommended that you forget about which will lead you to more readings.

And finally, the powerpoints on blackboard: as uninteresting as it may be to sit and look through loads of lecture slides on your Friday night, you may find the exact reading you’ve been looking for to complete your essay, and depending on how niche the area your essay is, that could be a massive help.


Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful or informative in some way. Hope you have a good week.
Until next time!

Film /Show of the day: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Preparing for Results Day

Results day is right around the corner and I’m sure that reminder will be met with a mixture of nerves and relief. Soon you will know for sure whether you have got a place at your chosen university and you’ll be able to make your last preparations before you start in September! However, the anticipation can make you feel a little uneasy, so I’ve compiled a few tips to help you prepare and enjoy results day.

Have a good night’s sleep

I cannot stress this enough! I know it will be difficult, you’ll be nervous and excited, but you must try to get an early night. There’s no point going to sleep at 4am and then missing your alarm to go pick your results up. That kind of stress is the last thing you need. You could try to wake up early the morning before, that way you will be so tired by the evening that you will naturally fall asleep earlier.

Keep occupied the day before

You may spend the day before worrying, it’s completely natural. Try to keep yourself occupied the day before. Maybe spend some time with your friends and family? I went paintballing for a friend’s birthday the day before I got my results. It really helped to distract us all and keep us from being too nervous – trying to avoid people shooting at you with paint has that effect.

Co-ordinate with friends

You know what they say: ‘There’s strength in numbers’ – I’m not sure who They are but it’s definitely true. Perhaps liaise with your friends so you all turn up at the same time. This way you can all support each other and share in the relief that your hard work has paid off!

Celebrate

Perhaps most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself. Make sure you find some time to relax during what will be, probably, a very busy day and recharge your batteries before celebrating. Whatever way you celebrate, whether its hardcore partying or a nice quiet meal with your family, give yourself time to have fun, you deserve it!

Good Luck everybody! 🙂

A Short Guide To Presentations

Many courses at Edge Hill University require you to present as part of your coursework. I don’t particularly enjoy presenting to an audience, but then again, I doubt many people do. However, one thing about presentations I do enjoy is the creation of the visual medium you present from. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides – these are the tools of the trade. Although my experience is primarily from scientific presentations, hopefully, these tips can transcend course boundaries and aid people from any discipline!

Text

The most common mistake when creating a presentation is to fill it to the brim with words. When this happens, you run the risk of reading directly off the screen and overloading your audience with information. I’d suggest minimal words on the slides, relying more on visual information like pictures and diagrams. However, words are still very much necessary to convey key information. Any statistics, unfamiliar names, or important facts should be highlighted by having them on screen – preferably with a related image.

Theme

An important part of a presentation is the theme. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it’s consistent. All of the previously mentioned programs have built in themes, with more available to download. I’ve found that most of the time, simple is best.

Here, the theme revolves around three main colours, orange, lime and cyan. Not exactly harmonious colours, but the contrast allows me to get the point across visually in graphs and diagrams.
A simple theme of just orange and white, but making use of bolding to highlight key points, as well as images to provide further understanding and make the slides visually interesting.

Graphics

Equally as important as the theme are the graphics in a presentation. Use of pictures to engage the audience helps break up any lengthy sections of the presentation and provide further visual information. In my two examples here, you can see how the images of four different habitats become the background of the next slide detailing the environments, and the use of a full-slide map that was used to provide context to the presentation.

In the biological sciences, graphs are very useful to display key numerical information in a visually appealing way. When using graphs, colour coding is key – as are labels. If your graph is up to scratch, then no other written information should be necessary on the slide and any further clarification should be made verbally.

I hope these tips serve you well, and I wish you luck on any future presentations you make!

Edge Hill Library- The Font of all Knowledge

Hello all, hope you have had a wonderful week and end to April!

I have done a post on places in which you can study (which you can find here) in which I mentioned Edge Hill’s very own library. I only went into brief information on the library, so I thought I’d do a post to explain what is on offer and how great it is!

The library is located in the centre of the campus, across from the Hub. One of the best things about it is that for students, it’s open 24/7! During the later hours, you need your student ID to get access, but if you work better at night like I do the fact it’s always open is perfect.

Within the library, there are three floors. The floors follow a noise-based system; for group work or if you are working with friends and want the freedom to take breaks and talk, the first floor has no noise restrictions, the second floor is a quieter floor but not silent, and the third floor is for silent study. These floors are also set up in a way that compliments the type of work you’re doing. If you’re doing silent work on the third floor, there are separate desks which allow you to focus purely on what you are doing, whereas on the first floor there are bigger tables for groups of people to sit together. There are computers on the first and second floor, however, if you bring a laptop to any of the floors there are plugs for chargers if needed!

On the first floor, there are group study rooms which are available to book on demand. These are rooms which have a bigger table in them for working on group projects, and the bigger of these rooms have access to a projector whilst the others just have a computer for your use. These rooms are great for if you need to focus more than if you were to sit in the open area on this floor.

On the second floor, there are also independent study rooms available for you to book. These are smaller than the group rooms but allow you the peace and quiet you might need to finish your assignments.

The library has a vast number of books to help you with your studies. Each degree has a section within the library where you find books to help you with your research and assignments, and a lot of the books have been requested by the course leaders or students so they are very likely to have just what you need.

If you need any help academically, there is a help desk located on the second floor. This is open 8-9 during weekdays and 11-6 on weekends, however, these times are sometimes different out of term time.

Possibly one of the coolest things about the library is the stationery vending machine by the entrance. If you run out of glue, or need a USB drive or folder, they’ve got you covered! It has more or less anything you might need to study. Also on the first floor, there are food and drinks dispensers so that if you are working for a long time you don’t start to get distracted by being thirsty or hungry.

I hope this post has given you more of an idea on what the library offers! If you want to read a little more about the library, click here to be taken to the University’s page on the library and its services.