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Success as a student

How can you be successful as a student?

Your success as a student can be measured by what classification you achieve at the end of your degree. Clearly, this may determine what sort of job you may get once you leave University. To achieve a good degree (1st or 2.1) is not easy, you need to work hard and demonstrate a good understanding of the subject. This is your responsibility. It is up to you to devote the time and effort required to succeed in your degree.

Some tips to succeed are:

  • Attend all your lectures - don't just rely on the handouts! There is a strong correlation between overall attendance (not just lectures) and success for first year undergraduates.
  • Attend all your laboratory and example classes – this is where you will put all the knowledge you have gained in lectures into practice, you will also receive feedback on your work/progress.
  • Be an active learner
    • Lectures - read notes before a lecture, be proactive and ask questions, take notes and review them after the lecture.
    • Laboratories - prepare thoroughly beforehand by reading the lab manual, familiarise yourself with the exercise before the lab, use your time effectively in the lab, make use of the demonstrators, and keep to deadlines - do not rely on extensions.
    • Examples classes - prepare beforehand, make sure you attempt the questions before the class and use your time effectively in the class.
    • Tutorials - prepare beforehand (as a group) and participate - the tutorials are a group activity. Tutorials offer the chance to talk to about a member of academic staff about any academic/personal problems - make a list of any questions or problems you would like to discuss with your tutor.
  • Take responsibility for your learning – reflect on what you know and what you don’t know. If you are having problems then do something about it.
  • Structure your time effectively – make sure you find time for study and socialising. Keep to deadlines, don't let particular course units dominate your time.
  • If you get stuck, ask for help – it feels good to solve a problem on your own, but if you’re having problems ask for help from a lecturer, tutor, supervisor or lab demonstrator. Do not copy from your friends or from any other source, such as code sharing websites and forums.
  • If you are experiencing any problems that are affecting your studies then talk to someone! We are here to help.
  • Do not leave your revision until the end, just before the exmainations – keep on top of your work, identify problem areas and do something about it before the exams. Plan your revision effectively, do not cram it all in the night before the exam. Attempt past exam questions, form revision groups with friends.
  • Aviod any form of academic malpractice, such as plagiarism and collusion. If you are caught cheating then the University may take action (see later).
  • Enjoy yourself – your degree is not just about work, it is about meeting new people and doing new things (within reason!). Make the most of your time at Manchester, but be careful not to let your work suffer

What not to do ...

DO NOT cheat. Cheating is taken very seriously by the University, and may ultimately result in exclusion from your degree programme. Cheating can arise in the form of plagiarism, collusion, or falsifying results, and can be damaging to your education, to other students' education, and to the University.

The University policy on Academic Malpractice provides guidance on forms of student academic malpractice.

What is Plagiarism?

The policy defines plagiarism as "... presenting the ideas, work or words of other people without proper, clear and unambiuous aknowledgement". An example of plagiarism would be copying another students work (essay, code, report etc.) and submitting it as your own (even if you make the effort to chnage it slightly!). This also includes self-plagiarism, where work is submitted that has been assessed on a previous occasion. Plagiarism also covers taking work obtained from other sources, such as code sharing forums etc., and passing this work off as your own.

What is Collusion?

Collusion can occur, either intentionally or unintentionally, in a number of ways:

  • when students work together on an assignement that is meant to be completed individually, or
  • if you allow someone to copy your work when you know they intend to submit it as if it was their own work, or
  • in the case of a group activity when there is an agreement to hide the amount of work done by one or more students with an intention of scoring a higher mark than the student(s) might otherwise deserve.

All froms of collusion should be avoided!

Falsifying Results

If you are required to produce results or data then these should be presented as observed, using a prescribed process. You should not alter them in any way or make up results, any results should be capable of verification.

Consequences of Academic Malpractice

We use a number of techniques in the School to detect plagiarism and collusion is submitted work, including the use of an external plagiarism checker - Turnitin.

If you engage in any form of academic malpractice, then this may have a significant effect on your education and progression. If we suspect academic malpractice we will invite you to a School hearing to discuss the matter. If you are found guilty of academic malpractice then we will zero ALL marks for the work concerned, and these applies to ALL parties involved. Serious or persistant cases may result in a student being reported to Faculty where the Faculty may decide to downgrade a degree class, or it may even result in expulsion from the degree programme.

To prevent yourself fom being a victim:

  1. Do not leave your work on printers.
  2. Do not give your passwords out to other students.
  3. Restrict your data by using appropriate file permissions.
  4. Do not allow other students to access a machine that you are logged in to. Lock the screen if you need to leave it temporarily.
  5. Do not show any coursework, labwork etc to other students in any form.

Additional advice regarding what you should and should not do can be found on the School intranet Plagiarism & Cheating pages.