Your first year guide
Starting your degree can be daunting for new students, so we want to help ease your transition to study and uni life with our step-by-step study guide to your first semester at UoN.
This guide provides personal, social and academic tips to help you:
- Prepare for study.
- Belong to the university environment and settle in to life at UoN.
- Know the best ways in which you learn and prepare for exams.
- Succeed in your exams.
Use this exercise worksheet (PDF, 1.93MB) to help step you through this first year guide. Take notes to help you discover the best ways you study and learn.
Prepare yourself personally for your studies:
- Have a sense of purpose – ask yourself why you chose to study at university.
- Know your personal strengths.
- Have realistic expectations about uni - the more realistic your expectations, the easier it will be to settle in to uni life.
- Understand the transition process as a new student - take the time to get used to your new learning environment.
- Make yourself at home and explore your campus environment.
- If you're having trouble finding your way around campus during orientation, our friendly Orientation Assistants are here to help.
- For a detailed view of our campuses, see our campus maps:
- See below for further information about our campuses:
- Get your Student ID card and find out about travel concessions.
- Keep fit and healthy to keep you on top of your studies and help to maintain stress levels.
- Seek support when you need it.
- Prepare for uni costs.
- Organise your accommodation.
Find out more on preparing yourself for university during Orientation.
See below for some tips to get you socially prepared for uni life and meet friends:
Prepare yourself academically for your studies:
- Get online and know the essential online systems you'll be using on a daily basis.
- Set up a study space and desk at home.
- Stay organised and plan ahead:
- Put together a timetable of all class and study time, as well as work and sport commitments, your social agenda and free time for yourself each week. This will help you plan ahead for assessments and exams and allow sufficient preparation time.
- Make time for study:
- Most full time students study four courses per semester. As a general guide, students should allocate 10 hours of study per week for each course. This includes your time in lectures, labs or tutorials and you will need to schedule in research and reading time to support this learning.
- Take the following quizzes to help get you prepared for Uni study:
- Understand how you learn best.
- Develop your study skills.
- Get help from fellow students with our peer assisted study sessions (PASS).
- Know the level of study that is expected of you (PDF, 1.01MB).
Your attitude towards university matters and can affect how you study, your academic performance and your sense of belonging to UoN. It's normal to experience mixed emotions about starting uni - you may feel initially overwhelmed, then excited by the challenge.
Our support services are here to help you along the way:
- if you're considering postponing your studies or leaving university (PDF, 70KB) find out about your options and solutions.
- careers counselling
- During your studies, you may need to work in groups for assignments or in tutorials or labs. Groupwork can be an effective way to belong academically at uni. You may find it easier to understand tasks, and you can share your ideas and listen to different perspectives.
- Get to know your lecturers, tutors in your school and faculty. Ask your lecturers for advice if you have questions about your courses.
- Get to know other students in your classes.
- Ask questions in class and participate in discussions.
- Get familiar with Blackboard in UoNline – it's how your lecturers and tutors will communicate your course information with you.
- See ways to better belong academically at uni through the University Toolbox of Academic Survival Skills (PDF, 715KB).
- During your first semester, you will hopefully feel more comfortable with your new learning environment.
- By weeks six or seven, you've most likely received feedback on your first assessment. Whether good or bad results, take this opportunity to improve your academic and study skills, and see ways of dealing with procrastination (PDF, 73.9KB) if this is getting in the way.
- Keep your work-life balance in check. If you study full time and have a part-time job of more than 12 hours per week, or you have family commitments, reassess your study load to ensure you're keeping up with your uni work. See tips on time management.
- By mid semester you're no doubt enjoying uni life, making great new friends and finding yourself more comfortable speaking with your tutors and lecturers.
- Form a study group to share your learning experience.
- During the exam period, your friends will most likely be studying and your social life might slow down for a few weeks.
- Keep your family in the loop of your approaching exams and ask for their support.
- Join a study group to prepare for your exams.
- Prepare for your exams or final assessments by attending a study workshop, and survive your first year exams.
- Reflect on first semester after your exams and final assessments are finished. What you have learnt so far about your degree and about yourself as a learner?
- What does university success mean to you?
- Increasing ability to navigate uni.
- Friendships and peer networks at uni.
- New or modified study skills.
- Personal growth.
- Getting closer to career goals.
- What study strategies have worked best for you so far? What strategies have you changed or developed since starting uni?
- Check out more tips for success (PDF, 628KB).