“What do I say after I say hello…?”

Whilst it is understood that the content herein will be obvious to tutors already experienced in offering support to students, it is felt that it will be of use to those new to tutoring. The content below does not relate to curricula choice, but as Personal Tutors with a pastoral role.  You are encouraged to take a note of attendance at meetings and, although not obligatory, you may wish to make a record of your meetings.  You can use this  pro forma (or in Word format).

Level 1 September

Level 1: September Initial welcome

(to be scheduled in Induction Week centrally by InfoHub Coordinators, or soon thereafter by individual PTs)

  • What the Personal Tutor System (PTS) is, and what it is not.
  • A mutual introduction and setting the scene: ask them about themselves and tell them a little about you. Encourage them to relax, be friendly and easy going and ensure they know PTs are there to help them. Set atmosphere of assistance so they will be happy to come back!
  • Direct them to Registry Officers or InfoHub staff with general course queries - queries relating to specific courses should be directed to the relevant Course Co-ordinator or Degree Programme Co-ordinator.
  • Highlight how to contact you – what your office hours are, how to contact you, and what the response time will be – recommended 3 day turn around on email contact (see FAQs).
  • Set expectations/parameters of what it means to be a student at Aberdeen University:
  1. Out of 16,000 applicants, they have been successful.
  2. Studies at university are much more student-led than they may be used to – there will be less people telling them what to do than they may have experienced to date, so they will have to manage workloads, deadlines, social life and finances themselves.
  3. There are support services available to them across the University if they need help with any matters and the PT is there to signpost this help.
  4. Much of a University career is about self-reflection and self-motivation.
  5. Their work ethic needs to remain high, and not be allowed to slip with new-found freedom.
  • General ‘housekeeping’ – check that students are happy and that they have considered:
  1. GP registration
  2. bank accounts
  3. accommodation
  4. attended academic fairs
  5. attended AUSA societies fairs
  6. the University week – when are their lectures, Weds afternoons are free for co-curricular activity
  7. free time should be used constructively
  8. any other salient points you might think of
  • Find out if they have missed anything. It is important not to overload them at this meeting; keep info brief.
  • Orientation – perhaps set tasks to link to meeting topics outlined for October and February. Give them links to online resources for these topics. This will generate student-led input into the subsequent meetings.
  • Feedback logs on MyAberdeen – encourage them to complete feedback and share with PTs at later meetings if relevant.

Introduction to Graduate Attributes

Before the meeting: the students could be asked to look through the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) and come prepared to talk about why they think we have them.

At the meeting:

  • Now that you have had time to look at the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, let’s discuss why we have them.
  • Do you have any questions about them?
  • Which skills do you think you might seek to develop during year 1 at University?
  • How can students reflect upon and develop them during their time at University?
  • What is the difference between the curriculum and the co-curriculum?
  • Where can students find resources to support them in recognising and developing these attributes?  ACHIEVE

 

Level 1 November

Meeting for Level 1 tutees focused on feedback and exam preparation, understanding exam format and formalities.

Level 1: November meeting

Exam Preparation

Across their Level 1 curriculum, students will experience a range of different types of assessment. Some courses will conclude with a traditional end-of-course unseen exam; others will have 100% coursework assessment.  Students taking a 6th-century course, for example, will have 100% coursework assessment and no exam. Some courses have exam exemption if students achieve a certain level of marks in their coursework. 

Most students, however, will have to take one or more exams in the December and May diets. It may be helpful for Level 1 students to have an opportunity to discuss revising and preparing for exams, including what is involved in the exam process. Some students worry more about the logistics of the exam process than the actual exams themselves. 

Exam Revision

Ideally, revision is a planned process! It is generally not a good idea to leave revision until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute 'cramming', it is widely accepted that for most students this is not the best way to approach an exam.

Potential discussion areas include: What does revision involve?  What works?  What might you try? What resources are there to help?

Some suggested resources for revision and exam techniques:

  • Course-specific information about the format of each exam should be given by the relevant course coordinator/team.
  • Past exam papers are available through the Exam Papers Database. These can guide students as to the type of exam questions to expect and can be used as timed practice questions before the exam. Students should check that the past papers are still a relevant example of the exam that they will be taking.
  • Revision/exam techniques sessions will be offered by courses in the Structured Revision Week.
  • ACHIEVE generic resources on Revision and Exam Skills for students include tips on planning and managing revision and exams.
  • Student Learning Service Revision and Exam Techniques Workshops will run during November-December 2014. All workshop places will be bookable in advance through the SLS website.

Some points for students to consider

  • Which of their courses have exams?
  • How long is each exam?
  • What is the format of each?  Examples: Will there be multiple-choice / short answer / essay questions? 
  • How many questions will they have to answer?
  • Will there be a choice of questions?
  • How will the exam be marked? Will there be equal weighting given to each answer?

Exams: the process

How does it work at Aberdeen?

  • Students receive their exam timetables through their Student Portal, which include the time, date and location of each exam. Students with special provisions/adjustments (extra time/use of computer/own room etc.) are informed of their particular arrangements. There is exam timetable information for students on the Infohub website:
  • Students are advised to arrive at the exam location in good time as they are normally admitted into the exam hall/room approximately 10 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Students are not allowed to join the exam after the first 30 minutes.
  • Students will be given all necessary stationery (exam booklets/graph paper) but must bring their own pens and pencils.
  • Food is not allowed; bottled water can be taken into the exam room.
  • Mobile phones must be turned off and left with bags/coats in the designated place in the exam room. Phones cannot be used as clocks / calculators or dictionaries.
  • It is sometimes possible for students, for whom English is not their first language, to take a paper copy of a dictionary into an exam but they should check in advance that this is permitted. No electronic dictionaries may be used.
  • Students are not permitted to leave the exam room during the last 30 minutes of the exam.
  • Course results, which will appear as a single Common Grading Scale (CGS) grade for each course, will be issued to students through their student portal during February. The pass grade for all courses is D3.

How can a Personal Tutor include discussion of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes in PT meetings?

First Year - November meeting

Introducing the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes

Before the meeting: the students could be asked to look through the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes and come prepared to talk about why they think we have them.

At the meeting

  • Now that you have had time to look at the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, let’s discuss why we have them
  • Do you have any questions about them?
  • Which skills do you think you might seek to develop during year 1 at University?
  • How can students reflect upon and develop them during their time at university?
  • What is the difference between the curriculum and the co-curriculum?
  • Where can students find resources to support them in recognising and developing these attributes? ACHIEVE
Level 1 January

LEVEL 1 or Direct Entry (DE) students - January meeting:

Meeting focused on exam reflection

As this will have been the first diet of exams for this cohort of students, there may well be questions in their minds as to what happens next.  At the time of your meeting, the students will not yet have received their course results.  Some of the students may not have had any formal exams but instead will have had to submit course work for their final assessment(s).

Receiving and interpreting the results

  • All course results for the December diet of exams will be delivered via the student portal. 
  • For each of the courses they took, students will receive a final course grade, which will be expressed as a single grade on the Common Grading Scale (CGS), which will be issued to students through their student portal during February. 
  • They will need to understand that a final grade of D3 or above indicates a pass and they will see noted ‘A’ (for achieved).  A final grade of E1 or below indicates that they have not passed the course and they will see noted ‘NA’(not achieved).
  • The calculation of a final course grade will take into account all marks achieved in summative (the results count toward the final grade) assessments.  Each assessment will form a percentage of the final grade (see relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Online Course Catalogue for the percentage weighting of each assessed element).

What happens if a student does not pass a course?

  • If a student does not pass a course there will be a resit opportunity, during the resit period to try to complete the course.  The prescribed resit format for each course can be found in the relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Catalogue of Courses
  • If a student was unable to sit an exam due to notified illness, or other circumstances, there will not be a final course result.  The opportunity to complete the course (in the prescribed format for that course) will be during the resit period in the summer.

Will there be feedback on exams?

The University policy on providing feedback on exams can be found in the Institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback on Assessment (page 2):

Feedback on examinations should:

  1. Be provided as soon as possible after the exam diet.
  2. Where appropriate, be offered as generic feedback.
  3. Be available to individual students upon request

feedback and feedback logs

Level 1 March

Level 1 – March meeting

You could start by asking students to complete the ISS/NSS student surveys which are advertised now - incentives may apply!

Exam reflection and assessments, self-reflection of Graduate Attributes and co-curricular opportunities

Exam reflection materials can be found under Resources

Co-curriculum - download this Co-curriculum information for Level 1 tutees to form the basis of your discussions.

This meeting might include a recap and discussion of the students’ thoughts on and experience of the Graduate Attributes thus far.

Suggested activity:

DIAMOND NINE

This can be done as an individual exercise, or in pairs or small groups.

Explore the pack of 19 Aberdeen Graduate Attributes cards. Arrange your top NINE Aberdeen Graduate Attributes into a diamond hierarchy, in which the top line (only one card) is the most important, the second line (two cards) features the next most important, the third line (three cards) the next, and then decrease through two cards to the final one card to complete the diamond. Each can then discuss why and how decisions were made to select and prioritise the final DIAMOND NINE.

 

Download

Download Graduate Attribute cards