What I learnt in Second Year

Just gone into second year? Student Rebecca tells us how she made the most of it!


  • Utilise the Academic Tutor system

As you know from first year your tutor is there for both academic and pastoral support, although when your tutor meetings come around it can be hard to think what to say.  In first year my tutor meetings took the form of a friendly catch up on how the year was progressing, however during second year I learnt to really utilise the relationship built with my tutor. I would email my tutor to arrange meetings when an issue arose, or I needed help in a particular module – this help was absolutely invaluable. The changes to the tutor system this year has seen the introduction of academic tutors and their ability to refer pastoral issues to the student welfare team. Read more here:   http://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/_study/academic-tutors.aspx .

Similar to this, I also learnt the benefit of lecturer’s ‘office hours’, essentially a time to drop in and ask questions on areas you may be unsure on after the lecture. This is particularly useful during exam season, although possibly rather busy with other students doing the same– therefore I would recommend seeking out help during term time when the questions arise.


  • Pull on 1st year knowledge

Often the structure of a course will include introductory modules in first year to then be built on during second year.  Therefore not only is it assumed you have the knowledge of your first year modules but you may also be required to actively use said knowledge. Daunting – as I know I can forget everything I have learnt the second an exam finishes! Thus bringing your books/notes from first year to uni, and reviewing the content before building on it will be hugely beneficial.  During second year revision I actually did practice questions from my first year books, to build myself up and ensure I thoroughly understood the underlying principles.


  • Learn to Prioritise and ‘Balance’

Balance seems to be the buzz-word of our generation – too much of anything can be a bad thing, and we are constantly told you should eat, exercise, work and live in ‘moderation’.  But what does that all mean?

Second year bridges the ‘first year doesn’t count’ / ‘you only need 40% to pass’ attitude of first year, and the stresses of dissertation and final year exams in third year.

Thus now is the time to decide how much time and effort you want to allocate to studying, and socialising. Achieving your desired grade this year will alleviate some of the pressure for your final year, so do your future self a favour and work hard today. There is plenty of support advice available on Essentials: http://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/_study/study-support.aspx.


I hope these tips will provide you with a little help and guidance, good luck in second year!

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