The Ultimate Guide To Your University Timetable

Your university timetable might be a little daunting at first, but that’s what these first few days and weeks are about. Finding your feet and learning the best ways to go about each week.

You’ve rocked up at your student accommodation, you’ve got Freshers’ Week to enjoy, but first you need to work out where you need to go, when you need to be there, and how many lectures and seminars you’ll have to contend with when ‘university proper’ starts.

Carry on reading to find out everything there is to know about your university timetable! 

University timetable

What will university look like in 2022/2023? 

University life has changed in the past few years. The pandemic meant that for many students, 2020 onwards has been a strange mix of online learning and a hybrid ‘back to normal life’ approach to study.

This blended approach to academia has affected the university timetable, with a combination of face-to-face sessions, traditional lectures and seminars, and group classes. 

For most universities, 2022/2023 is back to ‘normal’ and back on campus.

When you first arrive at university, check with your department and make sure you have written down those sessions that are in person. Clearly mark any that are to be conducted online – including access protocols for online learning.

Getting all of this done as soon as possible will ease the pressure on you and ensure you hit the ground running with your studies. 

Online university

Different teaching methods 

The big difference from school to university is the different types of teaching methods. Instead of everything being a regular class, your timetable will be split into the following: 

1. Lectures

Lasting around 50 minutes per session, lectures are the starting point of information on a subject, before you add to this with your own research at the library or back at home.

Up to several hundred students could attend a single lecture, depending on the course and university. 


2. Seminars

This is where a smaller group, usually between 10-30 people, come together with an academic for discussion.

They last between one-two hours and provide a platform to dig deeper into the topics discussed in lectures.

You are expected to contribute and be active in discussion, using your own research. 


3. Practicals

Practical work or laboratory classes are hands on forms of teaching. 

They provide a place for practical guidance and assessment for certain course subjects. 

University practical

4. Supervisions

These small group discussions are the next step on again for deeper discussion after a seminar.

They often include just a few students, where you can discuss ideas, get feedback, and work collaboratively with others towards group work course work.  

University supervisions

How much time will I be at university each week? 

There is no definitive answer here because every course is different, and every university teaches in a slightly different way.

Some types of courses, such as an arts and humanities degree will have around half the amount of contact time through lectures and seminars that a medicine student would.  

This makes a lot of sense when you consider the nature of a medical degree compared with a more creative environment.  

On average, UK student spends around 14 hours in lectures and seminars each week though.  

Time spent at uni

When will I get my timetable? 

For new students, timetables are normally made available during Freshers Week, during the ‘welcome’ period. However, for returning students these are published slightly later.  

You will probably have received an email about when you can expect your timetable and where it will be published.

Nowadays, it is on an online system for your university.

Keep your eyes peeled for your timetable over this coming week, if you haven’t got it already.  

University timetable

Tips on how to plan your time effectively in university 

When you’ve found out your timetable there are a few things you can do to stay on top of your work and study. As well as to always be in the right place at the right time!   

It can be daunting at first, looking after your own schedule and making sure that you meet all the targets for the academic side of university life. 

Here’s some things you can do to help you get organised at university and build in time for you to socialise, to relax, and to just have time alone to recharge.  

Keep a diary

Buy a small notebook-sized academic diary that gives you a paper copy of your schedule and deadlines for the coming day, week, month.

It can include a daily to-do-list that you can tick off as you go about your day.

Although we know most people have everything they need on their phone, a physical diary can help to keep focused.  

Academic diary

Prioritise your time

Writing a to-do-list is a great way to prioritise different things you have to do each day.

If you have a long list to take care of it can feel daunting.

Making a list gives you perspective.

For some people, chipping away at smaller tasks first to get into a positive habit before tackling a large task. Which makes psychological sense, for others getting the big task completed first helps.

Find what works for you and stick to it.  

Time management

Learn when to say no 

It is hard when you’re first living away at university.

You want to throw yourself into everything, get to know new friends, join societies and clubs, go on every night out, and explore your new home.

Once you have your timetable though, it is the time to sit down and work out when you can and can’t go out.

It is fine to say no to things, even if you do have FOMO.

Learning when to say no and when to go with the flow is good for your mental and physical wellbeing. 


Label your study folders

You should create different folders for different modules, lectures, and seminars and clearly label them. This will help you to keep track of the different aspects of university life.

If you can quickly and easily identify a piece of work you are due to work on, the faster and more efficient you can be in your study and revision throughout the year. 

Study folders

Be methodical and don’t panic

The more organised you are, the better you can prepare and work through your task lists.

Take one thing at a time and no matter how much work you have to do, remember that you are good enough to be there.

You will make it through if you are calm, stay focussed and are methodical in what you do. 

Remember, university life is fun!

When you’ve received your university timetable and planned how to be effective with your study, you can get involved and really enjoy your time at university.

It can be a little daunting at first, but everyone is in the same boat.  

Always be prepared to ask for help. If there is anything at all you don’t understand about your university timetable, ask your course mates, your lecturers, and the admin teams in your department. They will always be happy to help.  

Read next: How To Find A Part Time Job And Stay On Top Of Your Studies.  

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