Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more


Sometimes students are very surprised when they start their course and realise that the number of contact hours is very short. Look at the timetables below and then listen to a conversation between two students, Kayo and Ahmad, in which they’re comparing their timetables. Then answer the questions below.

Biology timetable – Ahmad

Monday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. lecture/online lecture, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. practical.Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. workshop, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. practical. Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. practical. Thursday: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. drop in session, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. lecture/online lecture, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. lecture/online lecture, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. lecture/online lecture. Friday: none

English Literature – Kayo

Monday: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. lecture/online lecture, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. lecture/online lecture. Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seminar, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. seminar. Wednesday: none. Thursday: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. seminar. Friday: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. drop in session, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. lecture/online lecture

Please note: the timetables are for primarily face-to-face programmes, and that for online there would be far fewer ‘live’ (synchronous) events.

Kayo and Ahmad audio View Transcript

It’s important to build skills for effective independent learning. Here are some top tips:

• Find somewhere quiet to work with a desk or table. Try to cut down on distractions online and from others in the room.

• When you arrive, familiarise yourself with the VLE (virtual learning environment) at your university.

• Be proactive when communicating with others on your course. For example, you could set up an online study group.

• Don’t give up if you have a technical problem. Try to find a solution yourself or know where to go to ask for help. Many universities will have FAQs related to online learning or some kind of online Help Desk.

• To avoid distraction, give your phone to a member of your family or a friend while you study. One recommended app designed to keep you focused is Forest. In addition, you can find a useful list of digital study tools here.

  1. Why does Ahmad study in the library on Fridays?

  2. How does Kayo feel about the number of contact hours she has each week?

  3. What does Ahmad do on Monday afternoons?

  4. Where did Kayo go for help about writing essays?

Post your answers as a comment below.

© British Council
This article is from the free online

Study UK: Prepare to Study and Live in the UK

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now