Before University, I was expecting that I would be assessed on written assignments, examinations, and OSCEs. I wasn’t expecting to have to present.
Although I’ve presented numerous times in the past, I felt nervous for my first University presentation, even though it was in front of only a few people – probably because I would receive marks and feedback for the first time. Months on, I can reflect and share my experience.
Unlike other presentations I’ve given, University presentations (like other assignments) require us to cite credible academic sources. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do, but with support from my lecturers, I soon had the ball rolling. To find resources, I mainly used Google Scholar, PubMed, and the University’s online library.
With the research done, I checked BlackBoard to find a guide to making presentations. One key piece of advice given was not overloading slides with text. But how do you share all your research while keeping your slides brief and not overwhelming the viewers?
It’s about verbally expanding on bullet points, which I used as a prompt. The clearer what you say and how you say it, the more marks you get, but University doesn’t expect us to be perfect presenters, especially so early into our courses. I learnt what I wanted to say for each point, and although this was more difficult than relying on a script, I have to know the content for my career, so it helps.
With that said, it’s practically guaranteed we’ll forget something to say; even the best presenters forget but don’t get discouraged. Only you know what you planned to say!
Practice makes perfect, but I struggled to practice alone. However, a few coursemates and I booked a room in the library to rehearse together before the presentation. I found I was more confident presenting in front of them than I was by myself!
Our assessors gave us both positive feedback and areas to improve on, so I’m looking forward to doing better next time. I’m certain I’ll be more confident and improve on the score I’m already happy with. Hopefully, this anecdote puts any worries you might have at ease.