At higher education level, a lot more is expected of a student than in previous education systems and curriculum, and one-word undergraduates will start to hear plenty of will be the term ‘independent study’. One definition states it is an ‘educational activity undertaken by an individual with little to no supervision’, which pretty much sums it up on paper, however, what will it mean in terms of your workload and study pattern? Here are a few areas that you’ll be expected to delve into in regards to independent study whilst at university and how to get the most out of studying in your first year.
Bachelor of Science degrees, including Psychology, Mathematics and even some Humanities and Business degrees, will include a lot of research, statistics and information for you to gather, collect, and interpret for your work and/or revision. Tutors will expect you to conduct and find your own research as well as explain studies and their results, or compare them to modern day society and other research.
You might be given a general recommended reading list for your entire course, and sometimes extra reading to go supplement certain areas you are focusing in class or for coursework. Teachers expect you to do the reading, and to explore more areas surrounding those ideas and subjects. Lecturers will be highly impressed with your coursework and input in class if you do the reading and understand the text and demonstrate it clearly.
Teachers may give you a general idea of a theory, or expect you to learn it yourself during your independent study. Theories are important when it comes to university, as it is your job to state your opinion and to prove or disprove them in relation to your text, subject, or example.
Exploring the field
Your tutors expect students to take an interest in their modules and course as a whole, and that means exploring on your own terms, and this could be signing up to a society, honing your skills in something related, or just continue to stay current in the subject area. Academia and fields are constantly moving with the strain of modern day society and they want you to stay on top of that.
Independent study will make up some aspect of your university study, and you shouldn’t shy away from it. It is the opportunity for you to shine and show off your researching skills and the time that you dedicated to that piece of work.
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