Your Top 3 Questions about Academics/Your Studies!

You got questions? We got Answers!  

1. Books

How do I get my textbooks? Are they necessary? When do I need to bring them with me to Uni?

Textbooks are necessary and you should get them as soon as you know which ones you need (on your electronic course profile, or “ECP”).  You rarely need to bring them to uni unless you are asked to by your lecturers, tutors, or group members.

There is a handy website to help you source textbooks.  Used textbooks are great for savings, but watch out for out-dated information. 

Pro Tip:  Have a look at the table of contents of the current text and previous versions to see what’s changed and have a look at your ECP to see what you’ll be studying and what required readings there will be for reference.  Any versions that are more than one edition past or more than 4 years old probably isn’t a great idea.


2. Lectures & Classes

1. Can I skip lectures and are they available online if I can’t make it to class?

So… university is a lot less structured than high-school.  You have a lot of autonomy and it doesn’t take long for a 10am class to feel like it’s way too early to be bothered.  And yes, your lectures are generally recorded and available for you to view online.  But here’s the thing:  You learn better in person.  Period.  Recorded lectures have some of the absolute worst results in terms of people’s retention of information, and research shows that students who spend more time on campus in general (even with friends, for clubs or work or volunteering) do better than those who don’t.  Plus… you’re paying big bucks for this (it may not feel like it now, but you’ll see it later in your hecs and after that in your taxes), so get your moneys worth!   It’s your call, and certainly sometimes you can’t let school get in the way of your education, just watch what habits you’re forming and set yourself up for success!


2. What if I’m late to class or have to leave early?

Generally speaking, it’s not a big deal – you’re a ‘grown up’ now (whatever that means) so you do you!  That said, be respectful.  Remember, your relationship with your lecturers and tutors can be really important – getting to know them can open all kinds of doors for you and you never know when you find yourself in a jam and need them to help you out.  If student A is always seen coming in late and leaving early and Student B is always there and engaged, and both A and B are in a jam and need an academic reference or are looking for leniency on an assessment… do you wanna be student A or student B?  


3. What should I do if I miss a test or exam?

You need to look into a deferred exam and you need to do it ASAP!  If you KNOW you are going to miss something, get on this beforehand, if something comes up and you miss it last minute, follow these steps:

  1. Take care of yourself immediately
  2. Get on that differed exam process ASAP.  Time can be a factor here so as soon as you’ve done #1 enough, get onto this! 

To help you, here is a great deferred exam breakdown complete with “Dos” and “Don’ts”

3. Your Degree/Programs

1. What do I do if I feel like I’m in the wrong major or degree and who do I talk to about it? Can you change degrees and/or majors? 

Short answer – Yes!  If you want to change majors, or even degrees you absolutely can.  The HOW and the consequences of doing so depend on where you are in your studies and how structured your programs are.  Some programs have room for electives, which increases the likelihood that classes you have already taken may still count toward your new program of study. 

So should you change?  That’s up to you, but if you can swing it, studying something you love almost always has a better outcome than suffering through something you’re not into.

So how do you change?  Again, myuq is your best friend here in sussing out what to do to change your program!

So who can I talk to for advice?  Your major/program convenor and your school or faculty admin teams are great people to go for to get advice and support.  Go to the academics for the ‘should I’ questions, and go to the school/faculty admin offices for the ‘how do I’ questions if you can’t find that answer on myuq.


2. Who do I talk to if I need help structuring my degree or timetable?

There are good self-help resources on myuq for timetabling, and if you’re in the HASS BA program, the BA Planner is a life-changer!

For advice, speak to the staff in the Student Centre for timetabling advice, with your major convenor for structuring your studies more broadly.


3. How does GPA work?

Basically like this.

And if you want to get more detail, here is a good resource to help you get technical about the ins-and-outs of GPA at UQ.