You may have been sent a booklet from the physics department or seen online a vague description of what you will be doing in first year. From what I remember it described things such as tutorials, workshops, seminars and some other stuff, and I didn’t really understand what any of it was. So, I’ll try, to the best of my abilities, to describe all the different things you’ll be doing in the first year of your degree.
In first year you will study four physics modules, each split into four units, and you will cover a unit per week over four lectures. At the beginning of the year you will be given (for free) ‘Tipler’, this is the main text for first year. At first this very large book may seem very intimidating, and trying to read it may be stultifying at first, however, I would advise you to make use of this book because your exams are based off of it, and the questions in that book are very similar to the exams questions. Alongside this you will study a maths module in your first semester and a second maths module in the second semester. You will have about 3 maths lectures a week, and you will receive a booklet from the department which is your main text for the maths modules. You will also have two or three lectures for the optional topics each week.
At the end of each week you will have finished a physics unit, and you will be set 3-6 questions on that unit. It’s basically homework, but they don’t want to call it that. My advice would be to get it done early, though I rarely did, and also to use tipler because often very similar questions are in there. Later, you, your seminar tutor and a group of about twelve students will work out where each you went right, and more importantly, where you went wrong (so you know how to not go wrong next time). For the maths module you will get an online test every week or so.
Every week you will have one physics workshop and one maths workshop. For this you will be assigned three or four other students to work with to complete a bunch of questions. These will be similar in structure to the seminar questions so again tipler will be very helpful.
Depending on your learning technique you’ll have your own opinion on tutorials. I personally really enjoy them. The previous physics blogger wrote a blog all about tutorials which you can read here.
Once first year gets going you will have labs roughly twice a week. Each lab session last about 3 hours but you can leave early if you finish early. Before each lab session you have to complete the preparatory questions and it’s advisable to also read the lab script before hand so you know what you’re doing.
Feel free to ask any questions, and have fun in your first year at the University of Leicester!
“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”