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Preparing for University

Build the academic skills you need for learning at university and ease your transition from school learning to higher education.

82,038 enrolled on this course

Students preparing for university
  • Duration

    7 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Develop writing, critical thinking, and analytical skills for university study

Learning at a university level requires enhanced critical thinking skills, as well as being able to hold a supported, substantive argument and critically analyse sources or data.

On this course, you’ll build the foundations of these skills, so that you can prepare yourself for the challenges of this new learning environment.

You’ll hear from university lecturers on what they value in students and get advice on the more difficult aspects of learning at university.

At the end of each week, you’ll receive a summary of key skills, which you’ll find useful to refer back to as you start your university journey.

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  • Week 1

    Asking questions

    • Introduction to the course

      This course will help you develop on appreciation of what university lecturers will be expecting of you as an undergraduate student.

    • The process of 'asking questions'

      Here you will think about when and where to ask questions and why this is important.

    • Preparing for a lecture

      Here you will consider what you could do before a lecture, how you might ask yourself questions relating to the material you are going to hear.

    • Questioning lecture material

      Here we will explore questions in relation to lectures.

    • Week 1 summary

      In this activity you will have a go at another five minute lecture, and assess yourself on how you approach the material.

  • Week 2

    Independent study

    • Introduction to independent study

      This week will concentrate on how to develop independent study skills which are crucial to success in the university learning environment.

    • Links between independent study and revision

      In this activity you will explore the process which takes you from lecture notes to revision material, through your independent study.

    • Developing reading skills

      In this activity you will consider how to approach extra reading, which you would do to supplement your notes from a lecture.

    • Reflecting on independent study and revision

      Here you will find out what lecturers think about independent study and revision.

  • Week 3

    Structuring Writing

    • Introduction to structure

      Structuring your thoughts, your writing, your ideas and your arguments are integral to higher education.

    • Having an opinion

      Here you will explore the role of your opinion in how you would structure your writing at university.

    • The importance of good paragraph structure

      Structuring paragraphs is crucial to structuring an argument. If you can master paragraph structure before you arrive at university you will find the move to a university-style essay much more approachable.

    • Structure from a university perspective

      Here you will learn about lecturer's views on structuring work at university, and think about how to work at a higher level in higher education.

    • Week 3 summary

      Here you will consider some questions on a topic and complete some exercises and then answer some questions about how you approached the task.

  • Week 4

    Persuasive writing

    • Learning what persuasive writing is all about

      An overview of persuasive writing and its fundamentals.

    • Getting started to write persuasively

      A starting point for persuasive writing.

    • Now over to you

      Time to put your learning into practice.

    • Communicating in an academic or professional environment

      How best to communicate in education and professionally.

  • Week 5

    Textual analysis

    • Introduction to textual analysis

      This week is all about analysing a text and thinking about the context in which it was written.

    • Reading the poem

      Here you will explore some questions and then read the poem.

    • Identifying a sonnet

      Here you are being asked to explore the relationship between the formal conventions of the sonnet and how our sonnet is written.

    • The idea of liberty in the poem

      Here you will be asked to think about the ideas of confinement, liberty and what a prison might be in the poem.

    • About liberty

      How to position yourself in relation to ideas around liberty

    • Studying the poem within its historical context

      In the next step we will explore the importance of the French Revolution and its aftermath.

    • Producing a dialogue

      Here you will be exploring producing a dialogue between ‘out of context’ and ‘in context’ readings.

    • Bringing the poem up to date

      Here you will be able to consider the significance of ‘too much liberty’ to your own cultural moment.

    • Week 5 summary

      Here you can reflect on the work that you have been doing this week.

  • Week 6

    The power of data

    • Introduction to the power of data

      This week you will learn about how data can be used in different subjects to support arguments, and look at your own approach to data.

    • Using data to support an argument

      In this activity you will look at the different ways data can be used to support an argument.

    • Handling basic data

      Being able to handle numbers is important in so many disciplines. Here you will revisit basic data manipulation.

    • Handling applied data

      Being able to look at a problem and work out what basic numerical processes are needed is not always straightforward. Here you will have a go at solving some applied problems.

    • Working with visual representations of data

      Graphs are used in disciplines that range from science and social sciences to humanities. In this activity you will study and create graphs.

    • Scenario: Planning your mission to Mars

      In this activity, you'll use a series of skills and assess information to plan your mission to Mars.

    • Week 6 summary

      Here you can see how quickly you can tackle the basic maths questions and think about your own response to this topic.

  • Week 7

    Academic currency

    • Introduction to academic currency

      This week is about referencing; acknowledging the work of others and why this is so important to academics.

    • Discussing when to acknowledge the work of others

      In this activity you will be thinking about the process of referencing, and have the chance to listen and comment on the views of others.

    • Thinking about referencing

      Here you are going to be thinking about what information needs a reference with it.

    • Correcting wrongly referenced work

      Correcting errors in referencing is a good way to try and understand what is good and bad practice.

    • Self assessment and summary

      Here you can think about what you have learnt and how well you have taken messages on board.

    • Summary of the Prep for Uni course

      Wrapping up.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Understand the skills needed to do well at university
  • Practice the key skills required for success at university
  • Understand what lecturers value in their students, and what skills their students excel at and struggle with
  • Locate top tips for coping with the university learning environment

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone considering studying at a university, or a similar higher education institution.

Additionally, learnings from this course can support studying for A-levels, BTECS or other post-16 courses, as well as access or foundation courses.

What do people say about this course?

"This has been so helpful in getting more of an insight into what studying at university will be like and require of you as a student. As well as really helping in knowing how to approach material you will encounter at university, Thank you!"

"This course was so good, very helpful. It helped me realize what I need to improve and also gave me some tips."

Who will you learn with?

Dr Harriet Jones is a Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a National Teaching Fellow and Director of the PreUniversity Skills Programme

Who developed the course?

UEA (University of East Anglia)

The University of East Anglia is an internationally renowned university providing top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to over 15,000 students from over 100 countries around the globe.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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