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Studying in the UK

The teaching and learning methods used in the UK and how the examinations are conducted.

Teaching and learning methods


This is a large class, sometimes over 100 students, lasting just under one hour. The lecturer will give a general overview of a topic and you will need to take notes. There is usually little or no opportunity to ask questions during lectures.


This is a small class of up to 15 students. The tutor will notify you of the topic in advance and you may have to prepare a short presentation for discussion, sometimes in a group. The aim is for you to analyse the topic through debate. We encourage reasoned argument. Don't be afraid to speak out, contribute your ideas or challenge others.


This is a meeting between a tutor and an individual student or small group of students. It is an opportunity for you to discuss the progress of your work. You can also discuss any problems you are having with a topic or with study methods.

Practical work

Workshops such as laboratories give you a chance to put the theories you are learning into practice.

Independent study

This is an integral part of the UK academic culture. It helps you develop key skills such as research, critical analysis and problem solving, and to develop your own ideas.

Written work

This may include essays, a project or a dissertation, and assignment questions.


These include:

  • closed examinations where you are not allowed to refer to books or notes
  • open examinations where you can refer to books and notes
  • essays, projects and dissertations
  • group work projects
  • presentations to a seminar
  • practical assessments

Examination materials

If you take any unauthorised materials into an exam, you may face serious consequences. Read our regulations for students.

Mitigating circumstances for assessment and examinations

Exceptional circumstances, such as illness, may affect your studies or exam performance. If you feel this applies to you, you can submit a claim for mitigating circumstances. Find out more information and where to get support.

Read more about mitigating circumstances and other University regulations.

Study advice

You will have to study independently. You will need to develop a critical approach to information and to give your own opinion.

Managing your work and time

At the start of your course, you should know how much work you are expected to do and important dates for completing it.


Before beginning a piece of work be sure of the following:

  • when writing an essay or assignment, how long should it be?
  • will it be assessed or is it for practice?
  • what proportion of your overall marks does a piece of work or examination represent?


Don't write down everything the lecturer says - get the main points and important details. If there is something you don't understand, make a note and either try and ask the lecturer at the end or ask about it in a tutorial.


On most courses you will have a list of books and journals. Don't buy them all. Ask your tutor which ones you should buy and which you should borrow from the library. Before you buy any book, ask your department if they have a second-hand book exchange.


To contribute your thoughts and ideas to a seminar, make sure you know the subject and have a list of questions and ideas ready for discussion.

Using the Library

If you need any help understanding the library ask at the Information Desk on level 2. The library staff will be happy to help you with your queries.

More Information

UKCISA provides further information about studying in the UK and how it may differ from home.

Academic Skills

The Academic Skills Department provide academic skills support and enhancement to all students. Take a look at how you can develop your academic and English writing skills.


Plagiarism means presenting someone else's work as your own, which is strictly forbidden. Penalties for plagiarism can be very severe and can include failing your course.

Find out more about academic integrity training and tests. The library provides some useful information about plagiarism and referencing.


If you have any questions, please contact us.