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Lectures, tutorials, labs and peer assisted study sessions

In this video second and third-year Otago University students tell us why they think it's important to attend lectures, tutorials and labs.


Lectures are where the core information from the course comes from. Unlike high school no one will be keeping track of your attendance at these, so there can be temptation to miss a few lectures, especially as often the lecturer will place the lecture notes on Blackboard. If you rely on only using Blackboard notes for your studies you may miss out as, during the lecture, lecturers will often give additional information or emphasise information which is necessary for assignments or will be in the exam. If you are not present at the lecture you will miss out on these valuable tips. Some of the benefits of attending lectures are:

  • The topic will be properly explained to you by the lecturer
  • You will have the chance to ask questions and hear the answers to other students' questions
  • You will hear additional, important information that may not be included on the slides or in the information on Blackboard
  • You may get tips on how to complete assignments or how to study for tests and the exam
  • Lectures can help you stay on track with your study as well as keeping you motivated and interested in the topic.

Tutorials (Tutes)

Tutorials are additional to lectures and can have a range of purposes. Some are compulsory to attend, and some are optional. Tutes are where:

  • More in-depth information is explored to help you understand the topics presented in lectures
  • Some course work is set and expected to be completed as part of your assessment
  • Workshops take place to help you complete assignments
  • Practical tasks are completed to help you understand the topics and do well in your assignments and in the exam.

Laboratories (Labs)

Not all subjects have labs, but those that do usually make them compulsory. Labs have the purpose of giving a practical component to the course to help further understanding. Attendance at compulsory labs may contribute towards your final grade, so it is important that you show up.

Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

Peer Assisted Study Sessions  is a programme run by the University to assist you with your first year subjects. The weekly sessions are intended to help with the content of the actual courses, and help you to further develop independent learning skills. The programme is based on the very successful Supplemental Instruction (SI) programmes in North American universities. Research in different countries shows that students who have been part of a PASS or SI programme gain higher marks in their courses.  PASS is run through HEDC Student Learning Development for a number of first year papers. For more information on PASS, and to see if it is offered in the subjects you are studying, check out the HEDC website information on PASS. Sessions are available for registration in week 1 of the semester. PASS starts in week 2.

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