Preparation for seminars, tutorials or problem solving classes

Preparation for seminars/tutorials  often involves reading and making notes on set materials or researching a particular topic.  You will need the notes for the discussion questions.  Sometimes you are given a different type of exercise each week.  It is important to do the reading and research, but remember ‘suggested reading’ is just that, a suggestion.  It is rarely necessary to read everything on the list.  Ask for clear guidance about the amount of reading you are expected to do.  You can do this by emailing the person who will be running the group.  IF it is set reading then normally you should read the part(s) of a book / paper specified.


Preparation for problem solving classes – as the title suggests you might not know what the exact problem will be.  You will know what the subject/topic is likely to be and can try to revise the work done so far in the module and be ready for any question but, remember, some of the problems will not be easy.  Sometimes the whole point is to make students practice the process of solving problems.  This includes problems you are unlikely to solve at the first attempt.  True research and investigation involves a lot of ‘failure’, (not getting things perfectly right at the first attempt) from which researchers learn what not to do / what will not work.  Remember, when you are involved in research, learning what does not work is as important as learning what does!  Failure of this sort is not really failure, it can feel bad but it is useful.  Most people call it ‘learning by trial and error’ and are not upset by it.


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