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Preparing for University life

Listen to our students talk about some helpful study habits.

Give us your feedback

We want to hear your suggestions to improve your studies and the Exeter student experience. There are several ways you can submit feedback:

About your course


Log in to this system to provide feedback during or at the end of a module.

Student Staff Liaison Committees Exeter (SSLCs)

Student Staff Liaison Committees Cornwall (SSLCs)

Each subject has a group of students who work with academic staff to feedback your views and develop improvements.

About your experience

Students as Change Agents

Identify an area you want to improve, then work on it as a project with other students. 

Your voice

Give feedback to help us improve the way we work.

Postgraduate research students: quick links

Doctoral College

Training, resources and facilities to support your research. 

Research Toolkit

Online resources to help you develop and manage projects, collaborate internally and externally, share your research findings, and more. You will need to register and activate your IT account to access this.

Researcher Development

Resources, courses and careers guidance to help you develop.

Your studies

Preparing to study

How can I prepare for my course?

Your department will let you know if there are any specific tasks or pieces of work you need to complete before your course begins. If you want to do some preparation, here are a few things you could consider before or after your course begins:

  • Read any welcome emails you receive from your department, and have a look at their website to get a feel for the research going on.
  • Explore the Pre-arrival Library guide to learn about Exeter's range of academic resources and how you can access materials and specialist support for your subject area.
  • If you have received reading lists for your modules, doing some of the reading before your course starts can help you manage your work during the term. Please be aware that not all courses have reading lists available before term starts.
  • Exeter-based students: explore the study skills support and resources available from Study Zone
  • Penryn-based students: If you are studying on our Cornwall campuses, you'll also find support available from ASK (Academic Skills).

What should I bring to my first lecture?

  • A laptop or pen and paper to take notes
  • Any preparation you have been asked to do in advance

When does teaching start and finish?

Exeter: Teaching sessions may be timetabled between 8:30am and 6:30pm, Monday to Friday.

Penryn: Teaching sessions may be timetabled between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

When will I get my timetable?

You can access your personal timetable via the MyExeter app, from Welcome Week onwards (16 September). This may be later if you have not finalised your modules or registered online or your PGT course starts in October or January. 

Your timetable will show the time, location, module and type of class (lecture, seminar, etc) for each session. Visit the My Timetable help page for more information.


Study spaces

Exeter campuses:

You can view details of all our study spaces and bookable rooms on the Library website.

Penryn Campus:

You can find out about what study spaces and rooms are available on the Penryn Campus room bookings page which includes a space checker. The Library website explains what type of study spaces are available and you can book study spaces on this website too.   

You can also see what Study Spaces are on campus in the MyExeter App.

PCs and technology facilities

You will need access to a computer and the internet. Please bring your own computer (i.e. laptop) and ensure you have internet connectivity in your accommodation so that you can study remotely. 

If bringing your own computer is financially difficult, you can apply for funds to buy computer equipment through the University's Success for All Fund. If you are Disabled and need help to buy specialist equipment, we may also be able to help. The fund will be open for applications later in August. Find out more about financial help.

Support in Devon

When it comes to new technologies, our Digital Hub on the Streatham Campus is available to answer any of your questions. They can also support you via video call, group training sessions and even rapid tech support with our Tech Experts. Discover how to use and master the digital tools that support study and research at the university. You can either visit the Digital Hub Online or in person.

Support in Cornwall

The Digital Hub on Penryn Campus is a good first point of contact for any digital issues including help with registering for an IT account. They offer an in person drop-in service and are also able to signpost to IT Support.

You can find them just off the first floor of the Library towards the IT suite (ask at the Compass if you get stuck).

Once you are registered for an IT Account you can book a one-to-one appointment with the digital hub online or in person, visit Cornwall Digital Hub to find out more.

You will also be able to log IT issues (for example computer hardware or email problems) with Exeter IT.


Complete the online Library induction to learn how Library services can support you during your time at the University. 

Visit your subject guide on LibGuides for tailored support to help you make the most of the library resources for your subject. Library staff are available to help if you need guidance, get in touch with them via the links above. The libraries also have unique collections of archives, manuscripts and rare books to help with your research.

Students studying in Penryn can also find information on the Penryn Campus Library Guide pages.

A-Z database list

The University subscribes to a wide range of e-journals, databases, e-books and online newspapers, all of which are available to you via the A-Z database list.


Your learning will be supported by digital content that you can access in your own time or with fellow students via the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE 2). ELE 2 also includes more general study skills resources.

Bookshops (Exeter)

  • Our Streatham Campus bookshop, Blackwell’s, is open all year in the Great Hall Foyer and has an online store. Here you can buy all your reading list texts, often at discounted prices. Blackwell’s also buys and sells second-hand books.
  • The Students’ Guild runs a second-hand bookshop in the Print Room on Streatham Campus.


Your Academic Personal Tutor

When you arrive at university you will be allocated an Academic Personal Tutor responsible for supervising your overall progress. (For Penryn students, this is your Academic Tutor.) You will meet your tutor in the first two weeks of term and four times a year after that. You can speak to your tutor confidentially if you need urgent advice on any matter – academic, personal, financial or social. You can also ask your tutor to liaise on your behalf with other members of staff or with other sections of the University.

Study skills

Study Zone is a quiet independent and group study space in The Forum where you can get help with a wide range of study skills.

Study Zone provides learning resources, drop-ins and workshops on a range of study skills topics, including academic writing, referencing, time management, exams and revision, and digital skills. Find out more about their services and browse their resources on Study Zone Digital

Academic Liaison Librarians offer online support and 1:1 appointments to help you make the most of Library resources for learning and research. Use your online library induction for an introduction to key library resources, services and facilities.

Penryn students can also take a look at the Penryn Library Guide.

Ask Academic Skill Advisors

In Cornwall students have access to the Study Hub which includes Ask Academic Skills Advisors. The ASK team of teachers and advisors support student learning. They run workshops on writing, referencing and study skills, provide study guides and learning resources and offer individual advice through one-to-one appointments.

Peer support

Peer support is like getting a friendly helping hand from students who've been through it all before, so they know exactly what it's like. It's all about helping you form connections with current students who offer guidance and share their experiences to help you adjust to university life or excel in your studies. Take a look at our peer support.

Your department

You can contact your department if you have any questions or concerns about your course. Find your subject's homepage and contact details from the lists of departments.

Education Services Hubs or Info Point

These are located across the Exeter and Penryn Campuses and are the main teams who deal with any taught student queries relating to your academic studies, assessments and awarding. See the Info Point web pages to find out which Info Point manages your discipline enquiries.

Support for postgraduate research students

  • Doctoral College - Your main point of contact throughout your research degree. Here to help with training, resources and facilities to support your research. 

  • Pre-arrival information for Postgraduate Researchers

  • Postgraduate Research Induction- will have all the information about your induction and welcome to the PGR community. 
  • Researcher Development - Our training and development programme is here to support you at all stages of your degree. 
  • Research Toolkit - Online resources to help you develop and manage projects, collaborate internally and externally, share your research findings, and more. You will need to register and activate your IT account to access this. 

Got a question? Contact us

The Student Information Desk (SID) can help with your queries about study support. You can contact the phone line or once you have activated your IT account you can log an enquiry via SID Online.

You can also visit the support and services pages for support with all aspects of university life. 

In Cornwall

The Penryn Info. Point can help with queries about your academic studies email or call 01326 371800. You can also contact the Compass Helpdesk for help and advice on any aspect of student life.


Depending on your course, you may be involved in some or all of these types of teaching during your time at university. If you are unfamiliar with any of them, you can find further details below. 


A presentation or talk on a particular topic, delivered by one or more members of staff. Lectures can be interactive, and you should expect them to form a basis for further reading, questioning and thought.

What to bring: Laptop or pen and paper to take notes, any required preparation work.


A classroom session focused on a particular topic or project. A typical seminar involves guided, tutor-led discussion in a smaller group than a lecture. This may be either face-to-face or online via Teams or Zoom. Seminars can also be student-led.

What to bring: Any required preparation or research, copies of any required reading, laptop or pen and paper.


A one-to-one or small group meeting that involves supervision, feedback or detailed discussion on a topic, project or piece of assessed work. This may be either face-to-face or online via Teams or Zooms. Tutorials place stronger emphasis than seminars on the role of the tutor in giving direction or feedback.

What to bring: Required preparation work such as essay drafts or notes.


A virtual lecture or online seminar.


A meeting with a supervisor to plan, discuss and monitor progress on piece of work such as a dissertation or extended project.


A session in which a practical technique or skill is demonstrated. Examples include laboratory skills, clinical skills, performance art or fieldwork techniques.

Practical class or workshop

A session involving the acquisition, through practical application, of a particular skill or technique. Examples include a laboratory class, artefact handling, language conversation or sports match.

Supervised time in studio or workshop

Time in which students work independently but under supervision, in a specialist facility such as a studio, rehearsal space or workshop. It could be timetabled or take place on an ad hoc basis.


Practical work conducted at an external site. Examples include survey work, data collection, excavations and explorations.

What to bring: Waterproof clothing, suitable durable footwear, any protective equipment you are asked to bring.

External visit

A visit to a location away from the usual learning spaces, to experience a particular environment, event, or exhibition relevant to the course of study.

Work-based and placement learning

Learning that takes place in the workplace, such as a managed placement in an organisation or business. 

Key dates 2024-25 (standard taught programmes)


Undergraduate arrivals weekend 13-15 September 2024
Welcome Week 16-22 September 2024
Term 1 23 September - 13 December 2024
Term 2 6 January - 28 March 2025
Term 3 28 April - 13 June 2025
Fee payment deadlines Variable - please visit the Student Finance pages  

What does that mean?

You might come across these terms and acronyms in the course of your studies. 


The Student Information Desk. In Devon SID is your first point of contact for Student Services.

‘SID’ refers to both the online enquiry service and the physical desks in the Forum (Streatham Campus), South Cloisters (St Luke’s Campus).

On Penryn Campus for academic enquiries you can contact the Penryn Info. Point in the Peter Lanyon Building and the Compass Helpdesk in the Exchange which offers help and advice on any aspect of student life.


Often pronounced 'Ellie.' 

ELE 2 is the University’s online Virtual Learning Environment. Each module has an ELE 2 page which can include a course outline, key resources, discussion forums and other e-learning activities. 

MyExeter app

MyExeter provides all students with personalised information to get the most from your life and studies at the University of Exeter. You can access the app via MyExeter.


Your UniCard identifies you as a member of the University of Exeter, and you should keep it with you at all times. It gives you access to campus buildings, printing, the library and electronic resources, as well as discounts on buses in Exeter. It is essential that you apply for your card in advance so it is ready for you to collect when you arrive at university. 


A coursework submission system used by some departments, available via ELE 2.

Personal tutor

You will be allocated a personal tutor responsible for supervising your overall progress. For research students this person is normally referred to as your ‘mentor’. You can speak to your tutor confidentially if you need urgent advice on any matter – academic, personal, financial or social. 

Academic tutor

See Personal tutor - the name given to personal tutors on Penryn campuses. 


The leading member of academic staff on a module, who determines the syllabus and assessments. 


Formative assessment does not contribute to your final mark given for a module, but provides feedback that is an integral part of your learning.


Summative assessment contributes to your final mark for a module. It is marked according to the assessment criteria and intended learning outcomes of a module. 


A student studying towards a Bachelor’s degree such as a BA or BSc. 


A student who has completed an undergraduate degree programme and is undertaking further study, such as a Masters or PhD course. Postgraduate researchers are sometimes referred to as 'PGRs', and postgraduates on a taught programme as 'PGTs'. 

Students' Guild / Students' Union

The two students’ unions incorporate clubs and societies, student events and elected Sabbatical Officers who represent you and work with the University on your behalf. They can offer advice on any aspect of university life, and ideas for improving your university experience can be submitted through the student ideas pages.

The Exeter Students' Union is the Students’ Guild.  In Cornwall, the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union is referred to as the SU. As the name suggests it is run for students of the University of Exeter, Cornwall and Falmouth University


The National Union of Students – a confederation of 600 student unions, including the Exeter Students’ Guild and SU.