1. It is absolutely fine to skip lectures that don’t require attendance, especially if it means you’ll be getting extra sleep. However, it is imperative that you catch up on those lectures by either watching them online or by doing extra revision at home.
2. Stay on top of your assignments and homework. Try to get as much done as soon as you can, that way you’ll have more time to review your work, and should unforeseen circumstances arise, you have either already done the assignment, or have time to finish it off.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for extensions. It is much better to have extra time that is authorised by the uni do your assignment, than it is to hand it in late and lose marks, or not hand it in at all.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for your assignments either. I honestly wish I’d asked for help during my first three years, and I don’t know why I didn’t. Don’t be afraid to look stupid, because you won’t.
5. Google Scholar will be your best friend.
6. Make sure you can back up your evidence, and try to avoid simply rephrasing the results of the study. Explain them, elaborate. Critically analyse the results. What do those results mean? What are the implications? There is always a need for further research, so make sure you touch on that.
7. When searching for articles, read the abstract only. It’s much more concise and can quickly tell you whether or not the article is relevant.
8. Don’t plagiarise. Seriously. Don’t do it. Don’t even attempt to cheat your way through, because if you get caught, it’s all over red rover.
9. Don’t listen to Tumblr when they tell you to ‘increase’ your word count by adding extra spaces or changing the font size etc. It won’t work. They are university professors for a reason.