Task 2 (10 points)
Read the text and decide whether each statement (1-10) is true (T), false (F) or not mentioned (NM), according to the text. Choose the appropriate bullet point. An example (0) has been given.
STARTING UNIVERSITY: WHAT TO EXPECT
While the freedoms that come with leaving home fill most students with excitement when it comes to their first year of university, the reality of studying at this level quickly becomes clear to many for whom the experience will be quite often a shock. The first few weeks at university are amongst the busiest of a young adult’s life, but the challenge of new learning styles and independent study can add to the anxiety for most.
While secondary school teachers both teach and ensure that work is completed with the intention of achieving a certain level of education, the role of university professors is to provide students with a framework and skills from which they can explore their academic subject. For the inexperienced, this leads to confusion about why no one tells them what to do at university.
Mr Randy Vener, Deputy Director of Admissions at The American University of Paris, reflects on how some first-year students react to the challenge of being responsible for their own study programmes and workload. “There’s a look in the eyes of many first-year students as they adjust to so many changes in their first few weeks with us. Some can’t believe their luck that there’s no one saying, ‘do this paper by tomorrow,’ or ‘read chapter three tonight.’ Such freedom can go to a student’s head, but the good students recognise that they need to set their own targets and work consistently and steadily to ensure that they keep up with the pace of university studies. It’s all about maintaining a balance between studying and living.”
Perhaps a further difference between school and university is the way in which students are taught and expected to learn. Dr David Brown, Reader of American History at the University of Manchester believes that many of the most obvious pitfalls in adjusting to studying at university can be avoided. “All universities now offer study skills support, helping students adjust from how they studied at school to what we expect in the classroom as a first year. The key is to understand that lectures offer only a basis from which to understand a particular subject, and the real heart of a topic comes in the form of independent study and the opportunity to discuss one’s views in either lectures or a tutorial.”
Another major difference is the time spent receiving face-to-face tuition. First-year students enrolled in an arts or humanities degree typically spend a maximum of 12 hours a week in class, while engineering or science students can expect no more than 20 hours a week, leaving more than enough time for life outside the classroom. But successful students will recognise that such “down time” should be at least partially invested in preparation, research and work in labs, to make the most of the academic part of their university experience.
Like many university teachers, Dr Brown has great sympathy with students new to the university environment. “I remember my first term at university – seven hours of lectures and tutorials a week, one essay for each course each term and nothing was compulsory. I thought I was in heaven after two years of secondary school. But then it dawned on me that the free time was what university was about. It allowed me to get to grips with the subjects lecturers were introducing me to.”
There is no doubt that the first semester at university is full of distractions, but being aware of what is expected of a student and how subjects are taught can make a big difference to making the most of all opportunities and settling down to a successful university career.
0. Being free from parental control is seen as an advantage by many school students. T
1. The opening paragraph states that many school students are not prepared for university studies.
2. School teachers and university professors often disagree about learning goals.
3. Finishing secondary school, students are confident about how to study independently.
4. Mr Vener supports the idea that first-year students can choose between several study programmes.
5. According to Mr Vener, good students are self-disciplined.
6. Dr Brown is sceptical about first-year university students overcoming stress.
7. Dr Brown’s ideas of how students should adjust to university are similar to those of Mr Vener’s.
8. Science subjects are more difficult than arts and humanities.
9. Successful students very quickly understand the importance of the time given for life outside the classroom.
10. Based on his experience, Dr Brown considers free time to be less effective for new students.