The university year is quite different here than in England – you do more modules in a shorter amount of time and it was quite an adjustment from what I was used to in Leicester. I can’t say I prefer how it is here compared to Leicester but I had no choice and it isn’t that bad!
1. Do the reading- keep on top of it.
For real, do the reading and mostly keep on top of it. I think it’s a ‘thing’ at British universities to either not do reading at all or leaving it to the last minute. Well as I said, because the ‘periods’ (three periods within one semester) are only six weeks long, you will fall behind and have so much to catch up on – and yes, they set a lot of reading so just keep on top of it!
2. Type notes.
The lectures at the VU aren’t recorded (which really annoys me). So in order to keep up to speed with what the lecturer is saying and what is on the slide, I’d reccommend typing as it is obviously just so much faster. At Leicester, I tend to only write down what the lecturer says or even just spend time understanding the concepts because I know I can go back over the lecture for the notes!- So such luxury here.
3. Revise as you go
Similar to staying on top of reading, try to revise as you go (I have yet to achieve this because I’m always so busy reading) but the way it works out, you generally finish lectures for a module and then have the exam next weekend. So, you could finish a module on friday and have the exam monday morning.. so yeah, keep on top of revision if possible.
4. Learn to like exams
It seems that the Dutch don’t like essays. Since being here, I’ve written about two essays which is crazy compared to how many I write in Leicester! I personally prefer a combination of exams and essays but generally they seem to love exams here so yeah, I had to get used to that. The only issue now is that I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write an essay!
5. Bring a snack
As well as exams, the Dutch favour long exams. I’ve spoken about these before but generally your exam will be upto three hours – 90% of the time you won’t need half as much time as that! But it is good because it gives you the option to really do your best work. Of course, you may well need some food in that time so bring a snack!