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Student perspectives - Aron

Aron Willis

Second year Electrical and electronic engineering



My name is Aron and I have just finished my second year of study at Sussex. I am doing the masters course in Electronics and Electrical Engineering and I've also done a foundation year.

How does learning at University differ from learning at college?

The difference between learning at college and learning at university - for me there wasn't a massive difference because my college was quite proactive in getting us in to how we would be taught at University, especially in the second year. The main difference is the practical work isn't straight after the theory you have to wait a few days or maybe a week to get to have a go at something.

Is there anything that you found difficult about studying at University?

I think the most difficult thing is when you have a really long day and you have back to back lectures, like double maths, and it can just wear you out completely and it is very hard to concentrate at the end of the day.

In a typical week, how do you balance study time with paid work?

An average week is between 20 - 25 hours study time and we are expected to make it up to 40 hours a week with homework and various assignments. So any extra time I have I'm a lifeguard at a local swimming pool.

What does studying independently mean to you?

Studying independently means you actually have to get up and learn things yourself. Lecturers will expect you to know certain things, like background things for the course, they'll always be listed in the course notes and if you don't know any of them it is your job to make sure you understand it so you can get on with the course well.

What teaching and learning methods do you come across in your degree programme?

On my course most of the time we sit in lecture theatres and we have a few hours reserved each week where we do group activities or we go and do practical work together and basically put the theory of what we have learned that week in to action.

What teaching methods do you prefer?

I prefer when, rather than just being taught verbally, I prefer when we're taught with a model and the teacher explains how something works and we can come up and have a look and go through it and check it out for ourselves.

Which assessment methods do you come across in your degree programme?

Most subjects in the foundation year were both coursework and exam based usually courses are 70% exam, 30% coursework. So we will be doing coursework throughout the year as well as homework which every week will be set for each subject. The second year, which I have been doing (which is the first year of the engineering course), has been much the same although some subjects have been purely coursework and some 80/20% exam.

What strategies do you use for effective revision?

The best way to revise is probably to open a book quite early on and flick through it and make sure you've got notes that make sense. Some lecturers will give you notes, everything you need to write down, other lecturers will only write the key things on the board and maybe sums, that kind of thing. It's always good to write down notes to explain exactly what you need.

Is it difficult to make notes during lectures?

It depends on the lecturer as to whether you can keep up with them. Some lecturers expect you to write very rough notes and read them through later and expand on them. Other lecturers will go a bit slower and allow you to write down everything that you need.

Do you have any tips for getting organised when it comes to coursework?

To get yourself organised you need to make sure you know when assignments are coming so you can get the rest of your work, your homework, done.

Do you have any advice about getting the most from your degree?

I think with engineering subjects it is always very useful to have a book on the subject unless it's a small subject, in which case borrowing a book from the library might be ok and just photocopy a few pages. Most of the time you will need a book and do some background research yourself .

Where do you find you study most effectively?

During the year I normally study best at home because I come in to uni everyday. However, for exams I find that it is best to study in the library, it's nice and quiet.

What do you enjoy most about studying your chosen subject?

I've enjoyed all the group work that we have done and the group projects. There are a fair few in electronics and when we get to work out the result, it is usually quite good and it is always quite fun.

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