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! 🙂

Exam time

So Christmas and New Year have been and gone which means the batteries have been recharged and it’s back to University…first up an exam!!!

If like me, you are a mature student, theres a good chance you haven’t taken an exam in a good number of years. The thought of an exam a couple of months ago filled me with dread and anxiety. Thanks to PPD (Personal Professional Development) lectures I’m feeling more at ease.

PPD lectures are not something I was aware of but I have come to find them a great help in my first semester. They give you an insight of what to expect when it comes to University life, essays and exams among other things, as-well as what is expected from yourself. Through these hour lectures (usually replacing a normal lecture, so it’s not something you have to find extra time for) I feel I have been prepared with what to expect when turning up for my exam and also what I need to bring. These may sound like little things but for someone who last took an exam over seventeen years ago I have found the information to be invaluable. The biggest help I found was the revision tips given, something I always found to be a weak point of mine back in school.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first semester of my first year of University and am really finding my course in marketing and advertising fantastic. I love the creative side of the course and am hoping thanks to PPD lectures and the help of lecturers (who are always approachable) that exams will no longer fill me with the dread they once did.

If truth be told I’m itching to get back in, even with an exam, and start my second semester…I’ve missed the place.

 

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!

Well Being at Edge Hill

It’s nearly Christmas! Whilst it’s easy to get swept up in the festivities and look forward to the break, it’s also a time to remember to look after yourself and your well-being, as it can be a stressful time – with the first set of deadlines and exams start approaching, and the second lot of student loan still a few weeks away! But fear not, the well-being service at Edge Hill is brilliant, and will help you deal with everything from the smallest of concerns to bigger matters.

Like the Careers Centre (as written about last week), the Well Being team is based in the Student Information Centre (SIC) and also in Milton House – a Uni partnered counselling service just off campus.

The well-being team can deal with issues to do with stress, anxiety, general worries, low mood/depression, sexual health, diet and exercise and course issues, amongst other things. It is also a great place to go if you feel like you just need to talk to someone for a while.

If further assistance is required, Milton House offers a confidential and professional counselling service which is available to all at Edge Hill, and is within walking distance of the Ormskirk campus.

Milton House- Just off Ormskirk Campus

Although all of the staff in the SIC are super friendly and will do anything they can to answer your questions – they understand that walking in to the centre and talking to a stranger straight away isn’t in everybody’s comfort zone – you can contact them through email, telephone, or through the Let Us Know system – which allows you to contact the team online about either yourself or someone you have concerns about. All the details are available on the Edge Hill website – linked  here.

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! 🙂

Biology Semester Two Highlights

My exams are over. Second semester is over. Second year is over. So it’s about time I take a look at my personal highlights from this term’s modules, Research Methods, Biochemistry & Metabolism, and Biogeography.

Facilities
The Biosciences building at Edge Hill

Research Methods:

Oddly enough, one of the highlights of research methods for me was the stats portfolio. This coursework section of the module tasked us to analyse datasets using the program “R” and usually produce a graphical representation of the data, as well as an explanation of the results. This piece of coursework relied on knowledge acquired from the taught sessions on statistics throughout the year. Although coding in “R” was tedious at times, especially when one singular spelling mistake threw off the whole script, it was very rewarding to have a complete portfolio of work – particularly the graphs and charts.

Another highlight was definitely research week which, if you’re a regular here, you should know about – as I wrote a whole post dedicated to it.

Biochemistry and Metabolism:

This module was a complex one, being filled to the brim with technical knowledge but featuring a highly unusual assessment – a collaboration between animators and biologists to produce a short video on a metabolic process. As well as the bio-animation, there was also an exam. This was a challenging module, since it is very content heavy and also required you to work in a team with non-biologists – a vital skill however, that practically all scientists need. There were a number of experiments – some of them stretching across a good few hours – that introduced us to more lab techniques and the practical side of biochem. Bio-animation Evening, compete with food and wine, was a nice conclusion to the module; seeing everyone else’s hard work and the different animation styles was satisfying.

Biogeography:

As well as a typical examination, the assessment for biogeography was a ~15 minute presentation on a scientific paper – randomly assigned. This was challenging, as we had two weeks to read and digest our assigned paper, create a presentation, and memorise the script for our presentations. That said, it was also a very rewarding assignment. I was particularly proud of my presentation, and although delivering the talk was stressful, the creation of the presentation itself was enjoyable (on reflection, it seems I enjoy creating visual aids, maybe I should work on my illustration skills!)

Western Campus – Partially showing the GeoSciences building

To see highlights from my first semester, click here. Also, the other modules available for second semester biology can be found on the university website. Also of interest may be my outline of this year’s marine biology field trip.

What’s So Special About Edge Hill’s Library?

The Library is an integral part of any university. It’s where the students spend hours upon hours (often in the middle of the night) studying. So, I thought, why not give you a bit of an insight into Edge Hill’s own library? Here I will tell you all about what the library has to offer and how to best use your time there. Think of this as your own virtual library tour, onwards…

The Library Catalogue

When I first came to Edge Hill I was amazed at how many books they had in the library and thought “how in the world am I going to find what I want?” You see, that’s where the library catalogue comes in. There are computers stationed around the uni dedicated solely to the catalogue (though It can be accessed from any computer or device). You go on, search the book you want, note down the number and go searching for it. The catalogue even tells you what floor the book can be found on! That’s not it though, you can also reserve items, renew them and look up ebooks. The library has so many online and hardcopy resources available and this is the best way to access them.

Study Spaces

The library has three floors of study spaces for Edge Hill Students and each have a varying degree of privacy. The ground floor has a huge open plan area with computers, tables and sofas where you can engage in work discussion without worrying about distracting others who need to work silently. On this floor, there are also group rooms, these are rooms you book out and can work privately in a group with less distractions. These are ideal for discussions or even rehearsing for a presentation as there are whiteboards and computers in these rooms. The second floor is more of a quiet study area with computers and quiet study booths where talking is limited. The top floor consists of a quiet study area with desks you can work at with your own laptop or areas with computers, as well as a silent study area. There are also individual silent study rooms that you can book the same way as group rooms if you need even less of a distraction.

Media Equipment

If you are studying a degree where you require specialist media equipment or you have a project that requires a camera or other resources, then the library has your back. You can borrow media equipment as much as you can borrow books at Edge Hill so there is no need to worry about purchasing expensive technology to complete an assignment. For more information speak to the library reception area and they can guide you and help you find the equipment you require.

Printing

There are printing and photocopying services 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. Printing only costs a small amount and you can easily top up your printed credits via the university’s Go portal online, or if you prefer at the reception desk.

Until next time! 🙂

What Do I Do Now?

As of 9th May 2017 I will officially be finished with my degree. Yes, I know, It’s scary! But what’s even scarier is that the question I’ve been asking myself for the last year will be staring me right in the face: What do I do now? Now I don’t have the cushy support of uni to help me through all the difficult adulting and now I have to actually make it in the big wide world… argh! Not to worry though, I’ve been prepared-ish and I’m willing to offer you some advice on how you can cushion the blow of finishing uni. The earlier you start the better, I know it’s worrying but if you start thinking about your future from day one you can’t go wrong can you? Right…?

Start Saving

One day your student loan will run out (the horror!). So, it’s probably best to start saving asap, for that inevitable moment when you run out of dosh but haven’t found a job yet. Start putting aside a bit every week if you can spare it and it will soon mount up and leave you with a good financial cushion post-uni. Even if you just put your spare change in a moneybox, little by little, it will build up.

Start Applying

At the beginning of third year you should start thinking about applying for jobs or further education (whatever your choice is). With jobs, the more you apply for the better. Apply for as many jobs as you can until you finally find one. Make the most of the careers centre whilst you can. They can help you with CVs and personal statements for MA or PGCEs. Ensure that you take time on your applications, if you rush them or complete them half-heartedly you’ll find you won’t get the positive results you want.

Projects

Ever wanted to write a novel? Or put on a play? Or even take up pole dancing? Now’s the best time. That sweet time between the end of your exams and assignments and having to go home for the summer and find a job is the best kind of time! Use your new-found free time to work on projects that will better your future but also make you happy and will feel rewarding. Now you don’t have exams and coursework in the way you can start doing the things you want to. My personal goal is to get writing and to finish all the books I’ve been meaning to read for the last million and a half years!

Relax

For most of us we have been in education nearly every year since we were possibly four or five, we deserve a break. Don’t stress yourself out too much, take time to relax and enjoy the short amount of time you have in your student house with your friends Go out, explore the town, have a movie marathon, do everything you wanted to do but didn’t have time to previously because of uni work.

Until next time! 🙂

Exams!

Hey everyone!

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter, and although you were probably looking forward to all the chocolate you were going to get, the Easter holidays tend to mean one very important thing: exams are just around the corner!

If you have exams coming up this summer then this post is for you. I’m going to offer a little advice about how to prep for exams and tips for revision.

Even if you are lucky enough to have no exams on the horizon (like me) then you will probably have upcoming assignments, so these tips are for you too. They definitely help me stay on track with work, and I’m hoping they can work for you too!

1. Make a Revision Timetable (and stick to it)

It’s easy to imagine exams and assignment deadlines as things far off in the future, but time can slip away quicker than you realise. Every year I make sure I have a wall calendar or a planner, which I’ll update with any upcoming deadlines.

Having things in writing helps you keep things in perspective. And if you struggle to make yourself work drawing up a revision timetable will help you manage your workload (so you don’t have to worry about stress and pulling all-nighters the week before a deadline/exam.)

Be realistic about the amount of work you think you will do, and designate some days off to just relax, there is such a thing as too much work!

A realistic timetable that you can stick to definitely helps with stress too 🙂

2. Figure Out When You Work Best

Some people will tell you to never spend all night working in the library, and while that’s generally true the night before a major deadline, some people work best at night.

If you feel like you are most productive in the middle of the night, then take advantage of it. Edge Hill’s library is open 24 hours throughout a lot of the year, so you don’t even have to worry about not having access to a space to work or the books you need.

I work best in the morning, so when I make a timetable for work I tend to utilise that. A few early mornings, working for a few hours and having the evening off to rest always works for me, and I find the work I do in the mornings is better than when I try to work during the afternoon or evening.

3. Take Breaks Regularly

This doesn’t mean scrolling through Facebook every half an hour or checking your messages constantly (I’m very guilty of this.)

Try to create a workspace with minimal distractions. If you are working at home, turn off your phone so you’re not tempted to check it throughout the day.

However, it is important to take regular breaks.

If you attempt to spend several hours revising or writing an assignment, chances are your brain will start to drift and then you’ll take in less information.

So take a break every hour or two, go for a walk, get some study snacks or just pause to take in what you’ve already achieved that day. It will definitely pay off in the long run.

Quote for the day: “If you don’t study, you shall not pass.” -Unknown 

Until next time 🙂

-Becki