Skills Hub

Student perspectives - Charlie

Charlie Refoy

Second year maths



My name is Charlie Refoy. I've just finished my first year and I study BSc Maths.

How does University life differ from being at college or sixth form?

Moving from college to University I found challenging because at college we never had lectures; we had a teacher in a workshop environment lecturing us and then followed by exercises, so I would copy down the notes off the board during the exercise time so therefore I could listen when the teacher was explaining it. However, in lectures at university that is not possible because there is no exercise time, so I print out the lecture notes in advance and annotate and highlight them with the important parts of the lecture.

Which teaching and learning methods do you encounter in a typical week?

In a week of study at University I have lectures and workshops as well as a tutorial with my Academic Advisor so in total that is 17 hours of contact time a week.

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

Maths in general is mainly exam based assessment, however, there is the odd project which we get which are a couple of word essays or a project, a computer programming project. Exams are 80% of each module.

What strategies do you use for effective revision?

To revise for my exams I summarise all of my lecture notes onto record cards and then revise from the record cards and do past papers.

How do you balance study time with paid employment?

I balance working and studying at University by working evenings so it still gives me my daytimes to do my studying and go to my lectures. When I started university I did 12 hours a week which I found too much. I found that my study was suffering so I cut down to 8 hours a week of work.

Have you taken on any student roles whilst studying at University?

In my first year of University I've been a student rep for the Maths' department which has enabled me to meet all the staff as well as organizing events for the whole faculty. The meetings we have with the Maths' reps anybody can come along to and make criticisms and suggest ideas of how things can be improved or as an alternative I'm there for my year if they want to use me.

What University resources are available to help with study?

At Sussex University there are resources all over campus such as computer clusters which all hold the computer program Matlab, which is used quite commonly on the Maths' course.

Are there any aspects of your degree that you find particularly useful?

As part of our timetable we have workshops which are PhD students who study Maths who conduct the workshop where we just carry out homework and they are there to help us.

Do you have any tips for new students about how to manage their workload?

I found it really helpful to start projects or homework in the holidays so I'm organized ready for the next term when it is due in because there'll always be something else I could be doing in the term time.

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