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All students beginning at Western Sydney University will undergo a period of adjustment. As an international student, you will have to not only adjust to a new country, but to new learning and teaching methods as well. This section will provide information about the general academic system at the University and help to prepare you for what to expect during your study.
To be successful at university, it is important that you:
- Understand what is required of you in terms of study and assessment tasks at your university
- Attend all of your lectures, tutorial and examinations
- Do not plagiarise.
Forms of assessments can include written assignments, oral presentations and exams.
Assignments are academic tasks that you have to submit to your lecturers or tutors to show your understanding and engagement with your subject.
To produce good assignments, you should:
- Know your course outline, course objectives, important dates, and recommended readings (always seek clarification if you do not understand what you've been asked to do)
- Read the set readings (e.g. text book) as well as recommended references
- Write academically
- Manage your time well
Lectures will form a large part of your study at university. Some lectures will be held in larger lecture theatres with a large number of students, others will be in smaller surroundings.
You should try to take clear and concise notes rather than writing every word that the lecturer says. You can always compare notes with other students in your lecture, or ask the teachers themselves if you feel unsure about anything. Don't be afraid to approach your lecturers for assistance – that is what they are there for.
You may have trouble understanding a lecturer's accent or may find that some speak too quickly. Be patient, as you get used to the language, things will become easier. But also – don't hesitate to ask your teacher to speak slowly.
Tutorials, or 'tutes' as they are called, are another important part of academic life. You must attend your tutorials and you will have to register for them. Note that some units have no tutorials.
A tutorial is usually a period of class time that is in addition to the lecture. Sometimes it can be a laboratory or practical session. It consists of a tutor, who is a teacher and a small number of students (from 15 up to 35 students).
The tutorial time is spent in discussion or some problem-solving activities.
Your active participation shows that you are keen and interested in your subject, and it gives you great opportunities to discuss and debate issues and ask questions. You must attend your tutorials because:
- They provide you with the opportunity to speak to a tutor or lecturer, which can be a good time to ask about course outlines and assignments
- They will allow you to practise communicating your ideas by giving presentations
- They provide very valuable training in the purposes and dynamics of formal discussion groups.