How to survive your summer course

Advice for students on pre-sessional courses

If you are doing a pre-sessional course at a university then you should take advantage of this opportunity to settle in and find your way around. Some general words of advice to help you complete your course successfully:
1. Hand in your work on time. Teachers hate it when students hand in work late! If you do this, you are more likely to get a lower mark because there will be less time to revise it and you will lose the sympathy of your teacher. Weaker students often hand in work late because they find the work hard and need more time to do it but when this happens they often miss chances to improve their work, meaning they don’t get any better! It’s a vicious circle (which means the problem goes round and round getting worse and worse). Even if you think your work is not a high standard hand it in on time so you can get feedback on it and improve on it. Your pre-sessional course is a chance for you to learn about the university systems for handing in work and it is your chance to start good habits.
2. Go to your classes. Obvious really, but there are students who drift in late, missing the occasional morning or afternoon. Your teachers put in a lot of thought in planning and teaching your classes and you are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t attend every session.
3. Ask for help! Do not suffer in silence! You have paid for your course and you are going to pay good money for your degree programme. Make sure you get your money’s worth by asking for help when you need it. Your teachers will probably be overworked, but they mean well and they will do their best to help you! I have never met an English language teacher who doesn’t care about their students (why else would they be there? It’s not for the money!!).
4. Work through the ‘Prepare for Success’ university orientation materials produced by the University of Southampton. I have only had a chance to look at the first of the videos here, but what I’ve seen so far is excellent. There are students from Japan and China talking about the differences in education in the West, and there are university staff talking too about cultural differences in education systems. This great material can be found here.
5. Sign up to receive my posts by e mail so you can follow my links to free Internet resources for improving your Academic English! You can see the subscription form at the top right of the page and of course you will only receive posts from this blog and you will not be spammed!
Good luck!

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