University life is quite different from any previous experience. Although the first impression you get is that it is more relaxed because most of your work is independent, in fact, this is the main challenge.
Having your timetable with only 10-15hrs per week of lectures and seminars/classes might be quite surprising, but also misleading. The truth is that, if you want to be on top of your deadlines and assignments, a lot more effort than the 10hrs per week is needed – for every 10hrs of lectures/classes you could do another 30hrs of individual study (although, in my opinion, some weeks are better than others and you could cope with less than those 30 hrs).
Lectures are with the main professors and will provide you with the general theoretical framework. These are held in large halls, or theatre style rooms, with all students enrolled in the module, while seminars/classes will be managed by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) in smaller classes and with groups of up to 15 students. Students will have the support of GTAs and lecturers during office hours, when you can arrange private meetings for any clarification. You will also be expected to have a good attendance and to prepare yourselves for deadlines, essays and midterms – means of assessment differs from module to module.
Although achieving a first-class mark from the first year would be a stand out point on your CV, there is no need to panic; the aim of the first year is to provide students with the adequate knowledge and skills, so that they can get used to their new life and all its aspects!