My Weekly Workload in my First Semester…

… by Katrina / from Northumberland / BSc Mathematics / 1st Year (UG)

Before starting university, one of my main concerns was the workload being unmanageable. After around 3 months off for summer I wondered if I even remembered how to schedule my life and manage my time effectively. However, I soon found that the workload could be managed easily and was helped by having weekly deadlines.

In first semester I took 3 courses, the first was ‘Introduction to Linear Algebra’ (my compulsory maths course), and then I chose to take ‘Discovering Astronomy’ and ‘Introduction to Data Science’.

Each week I had 8 hours of lectures, since this stayed consistent throughout the semester it helped me quickly establish a routine. In addition, for Linear Algebra I had a 90-minute workshop every week, a 60-minute tutorial for Discovering Astronomy and a 2-hour computer lab for Data Science. So, of timetabled learning I had 12 and a half hours per week. Then outside this, I had weekly work to complete.

In Linear Algebra I had 3 online quizzes to complete weekly, based on reading out the textbook. Of the quizzes, 2 were quite short and usually only 3 or 4 short answer questions, with one due on a Tuesday, and the other on a Thursday. Then the 3rd quiz consisted of 10 questions and was due at the end of the week once all the material had been covered. Then I had around 2-3 questions, which were more exam style, a week to hand in to our tutor in the workshop to be marked and receive feedback on. Altogether, this course had 4 things to submit per week and would usually take around 3 hours in total, including the weeks reading from the textbook.

Discovering Astronomy had a different style of assessment. Every other week we had exam style questions to hand in, which we could work on and get help in the tutorial and then hand them in later in the week. Then on the alternate week we had a worksheet to complete within the workshop, but you could work with others on this and there were tutors available to help on any questions.

Data Science set a weekly homework which was completing tasks online similar to the work we completed in computer labs. This would usually take 2-3 hours, depending on the difficulty. Then towards the end of the semester we spent time on our group project outside of class time.

The view from the desk in my room

Overall, I spent around 6-7 hours on work set by each of my courses. I would usually split this time throughout the week, having weekends off to enjoy myself! I found I ended up doing a lot of my work in my room in first semester as it was still relatively tidy! Also, the view from my window made it much easier!