Studying and assignments: advice for successful study

University study might be very different to any study you’ve done before. At AUT, we have plenty of resources and services to help you learn effective study skills.

Independent learning: how and when to study

A big difference between university and high school is that university students are expected to be independent learners: you are responsible for your learning.

At university you’ll spend more time studying in your own time than you will in classes or lectures. You might spend two to four hours a day in classes, and four to six hours studying.

So you’ll need to plan your workload, meet deadlines, and organise your time.

How many hours of study per paper?

Most students will have about four hours of class time (lectures, tutorials, workshops and labs) per 15 point paper, each week – but you’re expected to do 10 hours total study per 15 point paper, each week. This means you’ll do about six hours of your own study each week, per 15 point paper.

Most students will do 60 points per semester, and that usually adds up to 40 hours a week – the same as a full time job.

Time management and critical thinking tips

Check out our ‘how to’ guides on time management and critical thinking.

The time management guide includes a schedule template, and the critical thinking guide describes what critical thinking is and why it is essential for you to do it.

Download 'Time Management' how-to guide
Download 'Critical Thinking' how-to guide

Assignments, academic writing and taking notes

Most of your papers at university will involve assessments.

Check the Study Guide for each paper for details about assessments and when they’re due. You can find your Study Guide on Blackboard.

What to expect: your responsibilities

You’re expected to:

  • Take your own notes during lectures
  • Find and read journal articles and books on your own
  • Understand and use referencing
  • Apply academic integrity

If you’re unsure about any of these, check out the resources from our learning advisors or contact our peer mentors.

Learning advisors (academic writing and study skills information)

Peer mentors: study help from senior students

Our peer mentoring programme puts you in touch with a senior student who will mentor you in a specific subject or on general academic skills.

You can find out more about peer mentors and how to book one on SDW (Student Digital Workspace).

Use the Library

Using the Library is linked to getting better grades. All AUT campuses have a library where you can borrow books and journals, get help or join a workshop, and book a room for study.

Check out the Library website for details.

AUT Library website