The low down on Lectures and Seminars: what they are and how to prepare

Today I am going to be talking about lectures and seminars, as I know that if you have just come from school or college then you may not have not experienced them. I believe that you would have received your timetable now for the upcoming academic year and I’m sure many of you have thought… what does this mean?!

We’ll start off with Lectures

A lecture is when your lecturer (similar to a teacher) stands at the front of a lecture hall (as shown in the picture below) and speaks to you for an hour or longer about a certain topic, depending on your module. The lecturer will bring a slideshow presentation with them, which is usually available on Moodle before,  so you can access it ahead of the lecture.

Your job is to listen and write notes, or you can type notes on what they are saying. It is important to attend because the lecturer is likely to expand on the notes from the slides, so you can get more in depth information.

There can sometimes be hundreds of people in your lecture and yes, some people do get distracted and fall asleep, or start eating, or the person sitting from of you might be watching X Factor on catch up on their laptop. However, it is important that you pay attention, as it will only help you to improve your marks 🙂

Top Tip:

I find it really useful to print out the slides before the lecture and bring them with me, so that I can just add and write notes on what the lecturer is saying to the slides. This is especially useful if you feel like you are a slow writer!


Now lets move on to Seminars

Seminars are similar to a class that you might have at school or college. They take place in a classroom or lab (computer room). There is a lot more interaction between you, your class mates and tutor (unlike lectures where there is very little). These are usually some time during the week after your lecture and generally have the same topic as your last lecture. Therefore, it is a great opportunity to ask any questions that you have on that topic.

Your class is likely to be smaller than they are at school or college, which gives you more opportunity to ask questions and get to know your fellow course mates. Sometimes group work takes place, this is where a task is given to you for discussion and you share you ideas as a group at the end of the class. This is a really good way to get you thinking!

Top Tip:

Do some reading before your seminar, so you know what your tutor is talking about, also if your tutor asks a question you can answer it and have knowledge on the topic. If you turn up to a seminar and you have no idea what the tutor is talking about, you are more likely to become uninterested and switch off, so it’s worth it to do your reading beforehand!


I hope that this has given you a bit more information that you did not know before about Lectures and Seminars. Good luck with your first week! 🙂

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