How to Study at University

Practical tips and general thoughts on how to study at a Western university

A good presentation is like dog poo

Point: Don’t deliver a boring presentation The weekend before last I went to a conference. I saw ten presentations and gave one myself. Last week I marked student presentations – 138 of them. This week I am checking other teachers’ marks for student presentations. I have had enough of presentations. Seriously. But I must say, watching so many […]

No questions?

Point: Have a strategy for answering questions in your presentation What’s wrong with this picture? (No, not this one; the one I’m about to describe!) You are standing in front of your audience at the end of your presentation. You’ve asked if there are any questions. The audience stares back at you. Nobody raises a […]

Count ums

Point: When you give a presentation, replace your ums and ahs with pauses There is something that I would advise most people not to do. But I will advise you to do it. Why? Because you are not like most people. You are a university student. At a Western-style university (or planning to go to one). Who has […]

Are you important?

Point: In presentations, forget yourself and focus on your message. I have some good news for you: you are not that important. Really. This is good news. When you are giving an academic presentation, sure, everybody is looking at you. But what they want is your message, not you. Your job Your main job in […]

Forget your memory

Point: Don’t memorise your presentation, remember it It can be frustrating. I know. When you are delivering a presentation your teachers tell you not to read your speech. “Don’t hold your notes in front of you and read from them,” they say. “It sounds boring.” So you commit your notes to memory, and what do […]

A case of heavy criteria – Part 2

Point: Use a system to evaluate alternatives Okay. Welcome back to Part 2 of this topic! You tried to understand my explanation – in a previous post – about how to evaluate various alternatives using various criteria. (Thanks for trying.) Now let’s use an example to see if that makes it any clearer. The Chocolate Shop […]

A case of heavy criteria – Part 1

Point: Use a system to evaluate alternatives Lecturers like to give students case studies. If your lecturer hasn’t given you one yet, he or she might just be waiting for the right moment. (Be careful!) Or they might have given you one but you didn’t recognise it. A case study? A case study is a […]

Fear of glossophobia

Point: Memorise the beginning and end of your presentation What kind of person are you? That’s a pretty personal question I guess. You don’t have to answer it. (Although you might like to think about it sometime when you have nothing else to do. Like after the exams.) Let me be more specific. What kind of […]

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