University, contrary to popular opinion, is largely about studying and obtaining our degrees – rather than the constant partying and binge drinking that the media seems to envision (certainly not at all). I do generally tend to spend a large proportion of my time working towards my assessments, be it with seminar preparation or reading around a particular interesting subject – it is good to be proactive. As I am now a terrified third year and dual honours student, in the new redeveloped curriculum there are lots of methods the University are using to assess us…

Digital Engagement: As Rona is sticking around for the foreseeable future, the University has developed a more engaging online approach for our assessments. Whether you like it or not, our new assignments can include online discussion boards, seminars, Google Hangouts and weekly update posts just to name a few. Personally, I am enjoying the convenience so far – but just wait til it gets to week four and I completely forget to complete it.

Essay Questions: For any humanities student, these words will ring loudly in your ears – “…questions released later in the semester… research essays …. word count …”. Generally, our short and long essays are the most weighted in our assessments, a chance to develop our knowledge and research skills into a particular area of study in out course. For both English and History, this is the part I love the most. However, stressful I can find them, I love to engage with different critical debates and arguments to consolidate my opinion – it really gives me a sense of achievement. I am currently looking forward (slightly apprehensively) to my dissertation in second semester which I will be writing on the concept of ‘intersectionality’. One point to make though, PROOFREAD EVERYTHING. It is going to help you out in the long run, I should take my own advice there.

Coffee and notebook on desk

Portfolios: This is the part of assessment I am most intrigued about and it is more facilitated in my history modules this semester. These are a compilation of different assessments; this could be source analysis pieces (called gobbits, how hilarious), short essay pieces all the way to non-academic blog or article writing. Also, group projects – hooray! For my Historical Revolution Module, I am in a group to create a fun revolution inspired board game for schools – I like the unique approach that this module is making us engage with the content. Other less enjoyable items can include class presentations and student lead seminars, all nonetheless have to be completed for the assessment. Pray you get good group members.

Exams : Finally, whether you love or hate them – exams can occur in many of your module assessments. Or you can be crafty like myself and chose modules that do not include exams (if it was not clear, I am not a fan). This year I will be taking some juicy three-hour long exams at the end of the year for my historical special projects – I will reserve my judgement until a later date.

Enjoy the first semester, talk to your course mates, and discuss your ideas!

– Hannah (Third Year, English and History)

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