What to Expect from University

Knowing what's expected of you is half the battle. This section talks you through the big 'firsts' of uni and what happens next.

First day

Your first day at uni is the first day of what will surely be one of the most memorable periods of your life. Besides the many friends to be made, social life and other uni mainstays, your time at uni will challenge you, inspire you and most of all prepare you to take on any challenge you may face. The better your start, the more you will get out of your uni time. Some things you should do on your first day (other than making friends) are:

  • Confirm your enrolment:
    Make sure you're enrolled correctly in My Student Records (MySR) and any paperwork and forms are completed and handed in at Student Services Hub.
  • Confirm your timetable:
    Check that all lectures, tutorials and other class types are showing, for all your subjects on your timetable. If something is missing, it might mean you have a clash in your schedule and you will need to check your enrolment. And make sure you include enough time for study, as well as actual class and tutorial time.
  • Find your way around:
    Get to know the university grounds and learn how the buildings are numbered. It's a big university so make sure you don't spend too much of your uni time looking for your class.
  • Familiarise yourself with the key dates for the session:
    There are lots of curricular and extracurricular activities on throughout the session that you will need to be aware of. Why not get a calendar and note all the dates relevant to you and your program?

First week

Here are a few tips for succeeding in the first week:

  • If you haven't already, get your enrolment, Tutorial Registration and timetable finalised early
  • Make sure any other admin (e.g. special requirements) is completed
  • Get to the library. Spend time familiarising yourself with its resources
  • Learn the building numbers! Stop the confusion early
  • Don't be shy. Make friends with other students from your tutorials or lectures. You could suggest lunch or coffee together before or after class as a way of connecting with them.

First library visit

The Library is much more than a book depository. It provides a huge range of services, facilities and workshops to help you in every facet of your study. The locations of all our libraries are below:

  • Bankstown: Building 9
  • Campbelltown: Building 1
  • Hawkesbury: Building G1
  • Nirimba Education Precinct: Building C21
  • Parramatta: Building EN
  • Parramatta City campus (169 Macquarie St):  First Floor
  • Penrith - Kingswood Campus: Building T

First lecture

From your first lecture to your last, it's paramount that you endeavour to attend them all. Here's a bit of info about lectures.

What is a lecture?

Lectures are the backbone of your university education; it's where you absorb all the info that you'll pull apart in the tutorials later. It's where you'll take notes furiously, where you'll bug the rest of the lecture hall with your incessant questions and where you'll sometimes find yourself completely confused and too scared to put up your hand.

What do I need to know before hand?

Check your Learning Guide to see if there are materials/resources for you to read before your lecture. You can bring your device into the lecture to take notes and access relevant learning materials.

How do I access online learning materials used in the lecture?

vUWS, our e-learning system, is where you will be able to find all your learning materials and information. Once you're in vUWS, just choose one of your subjects.

First tutorial

A 'tutorial' is a class where small groups meet with a tutor (teacher) and is usually about one or two hours in duration. They provide a forum to discuss and debate the lecture materials and have an emphasis on student-teacher interaction and class participation.

Note: for the Tutorial Registration process, tutorial can also be referring to other class types, including practicals (pracs), seminars and workshops. Depending on your subject, you might also be required to attend these other types of classes as well.

What do I need to know beforehand?

Check your Learning Guide to see if there are materials/resources for you to read before your tutorial. You can bring your device into the tutorial to take notes and access relevant learning materials.

How many tutorials do I need to attend?

Tutorial requirements differ from subject to subject, so it is important to check your Learning Guide or Subject Outline to confirm where you need to be and when. You can also check the subject site on vUWS as your lecturer might have put that information online as well.

How do I register for tutorials?

Tutorial Registration is a completely online process and is fully explained in the enrolment steps.

Registering for your tutorials is important, but there's no need to worry. The system we use is preference-based and we give you plenty of time to register your preferred class times for each subject, and plenty of time to change things if you need to.

More information about the Tutorial Registration process is available on the Enrolling webpage and a flowchart explaining the whole process is available on the Tutorial Registration webpage.

First assessment

When you get handed your first assessment, don't feel like you have to go it alone. Remember, we want you to succeed, take advantage of it! Utilise all of the resources available to you. Lose yourself in our libraries - they're vast and well-equipped. Form study groups with your lecture buddies. Seek past assessments. Definitely don't hesitate to score some one-on-one time with your teachers. Most of all don't stress. If you're unsure about anything, get in touch with your lecturers and tutors, they're here to help and get the best out of you.

Workshops, programs and online resources

There are heaps of free workshops and programs designed to help you with your assessments. Staff are available to help with your academic writing enquiries. Students can receive up to 20 minutes of academic literacy assistance including question analysis, critical analysis, essay structure, reading and academic writing style. And you don't have to register for these services - just drop in! You can find out more about them at our Free student workshops and programs page.

Services offered by schools

Go to your Learning Guide and Subject Outline. These documents will let you know all the information you will need to know about your subjects. To access these resources, go to vUWS.

Need more time to complete your assessment?

If you need more time to complete your assessment, you can apply for an extension. Just print and complete the Request for Extension form and submit it to your school.

Special consideration

There may be times when circumstances beyond your control impact on your performance, such as illness, misadventure or accident. If so, you may apply for 'Special Consideration' via the eForm.

Please note: if you need extra time to complete your assessment, do not apply for Special Consideration. Just fill out the Request for Extension form and submit it to your school.

First exam

By the time your first exam comes around, you should be settled into and hopefully enjoying university life. Don't let your first exam bring back your first day nerves. Exams can be stressful and that's pretty normal. The trick is to not let it get overwhelming, so try to prepare as much as you can. Generally, the more prepared you are, the less stressful it will be.

As with your assessments, make use of all the resources available to you - libraries, study groups, etc. If you're not sure that you're understanding your lectures, talk to your lecturer or tutor to clarify the things you're unsure of.

Quick tip: Check the exam location on your exam timetable carefully as your exam is not always held on your campus of study! Make sure you know where the venue is and how long it will take you to get there as you will not be allowed into the exam after it starts.

What is an exam?

Exams most commonly involve sitting in a room with a lot of other students and writing answers to set questions, but they do come in other shapes and sizes. Another type of exam might involve demonstrating a skill, like resuscitating a 'patient' in a simulated environment, or performing a piece of music. And if you're studying as an online student, exams will be different again. The key thing is, regardless of the type of exam, they all occur under exam conditions, which are explained below.

How do exams work?

Exams occur under special conditions so make sure you are prepared for them before you get there. Firstly, you must present your student ID card – without that, you will not be allowed to sit your exam. You cannot communicate with others during the exam and what you can take into the exam is restricted. It's also important to know that all mobile devices must be switched off during exams and if they're found to be on, you will be fined.

You will be observed while taking the exam, and any breach of exam rules may result in academic misconduct or other penalties. Get to know the exam rules before you put pen to paper.

How can I maximise my performance in an exam?

Top of the list – be prepared and try to reduce your stress as much as you can – the first will help you achieve the second. Don't think you can just spend a few hours or a day cramming just before the exam. The best way to be prepared for an end-of-session exam is to attend scheduled classes (lectures, tutorials etc) and complete readings and other activities (including online) specified in your learning guide throughout the session. The resources that you develop throughout the session will provide a valuable resource for reviewing and studying for the exam. For more info visit the Stress and wellbeing webpage.

What if my exam performance or attendance is affected because I am sick or experience an unforeseen issue?

We understand that things happen on occasion, even despite the best planning and preparation. So we've put in place a few options for you.

Deferred exams: If you are unable to attend a final exam due to a serious illness, misadventure or other exceptional circumstance beyond your control you can apply for a deferred exam.

Find out more about applying for a deferred exam.

Special Consideration: If you feel that your attendance or overall performance in a final exam or final deferred exam is affected by severe and/or grave illness, misadventure, accident, or extenuating circumstances beyond your control, then you can apply for Special Consideration for the final or deferred exam.

Find out more about applying for Special Consideration.

First results

So you've completed your first session of study and the results are in. Maybe you've nailed it or maybe you have some things to work on. Either way, results are the perfect way to make plans for the next session and identify what you're doing right and what you can improve. And we're here to help you achieve your goals and excel each teaching session.

What are results and what do they mean?

The results you receive at the end of each session are the overall grade for each subject you studied. A list of grade types and what they mean is available on the Results webpage.

How and when can I get my results?

You'll receive an email (in your student email account) with your results at the end of each session. The email is generally sent two to three weeks after exams finish and you'll also be able to see your results in MySR the week after you get your email.

Did you know? You won't be able to see your results unless you have paid or deferred your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

Can I ask for one of my grades to be reviewed?

If you think that one of your grades doesn't accurately reflect your performances, you should speak to your Academic Program Advisor or Subject Coordinator. If they aren't able to resolve the issue for you, then you can apply for a formal Review of Grade. There are strict guidelines for the Review of Grade process, so make sure you understand the process and policy.

What is 'progression'?

Progression is the way we check that you're meeting enough subjects to complete your program. It's also how we identify students that might be struggling. Every session, we check your results against the progression rules and notify you if you haven't met one or more of them. If you receive a progression email, all the information (including who to go to for help) will be in the email.

Find out more about progression.

Can I appeal a progression outcome?

Yes, you have the right to lodge an appeal against your progression status. Your appeal must be lodged in writing, within the given time frame and clearly outline the grounds for your appeal. Make sure you check the progression appeal process page for details on how to lodge an appeal.

Can anyone help me with the Review of Grade or progression appeal process?

The Counselling and Welfare staff can help you through the process from submitting the correct forms and documentation to helping understand the outcome. More information is available on the Services and facilities page.

What's next?

Once all the 'firsts' are done and dusted, your transition into uni is in its final stages. Hopefully you're feeling more comfortable, confident and at home. Below are the important things for the 'nexts'.


Reenrolment is just like enrolling for the first time. You can change or add subjects online in MySR until the end of the second week of session and will need to complete and submit an online Rule Waiver request after this time. You can also drop subjects until the session census date - 31 March for Autumn Session or 31 August for Spring Session.

Find out everything you need to know about reenrolment.

Setting yourself up for long-term success

Here are a few tips to make sure you are in the best position to succeed in the long-term:

  • Prepare for lectures and tutorials by doing the required reading
  • Attend lectures or view them online
  • Get to know others in your program to bounce ideas around and problem-solve
  • Join PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions)
  • Check and read your student email regularly
  • Ask for help when needed