Third Level Education is drastically different to Secondary School Education. You are afforded a lot more independence and responsibility regarding study, and are essentially responsible for your education. In college you are not spoon fed information as you were in secondary school. It is essential that you understand the difference between the two because the ability to motivate yourself to work and study without a sadistic maniac of a teacher to prompt you, is imperative to a college education. So what should a student expect in a third level education??

Lectures & Tutorials

Lectures, lectures and more lectures. Part of the parcel of college life. Lectures are the main teaching method in college and attendance is very important. Make sure to bring any notes that will be covered in the lecture with you so you can make side notes. If you cannot attend a class try and get the notes off a reliable class mate. If you are finding the lectures to be going at too fast of a pace tutorials are a great way of going back over topics you found difficult. You might find yourself cursing a lecturer, knowing that you will never get back that last hour of your life, but in hindsight they are extremely helpful.

Continuous Assessment

Well for most courses it’s just about the most important thing you’ll do. Fail this and you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage in passing the year. Your CA can often be the best part of your degree. It’s a lot easier to get marks for a project you can go away and perfect than for an exam where you can’t consult the internet or reference books.

So don’t throw these marks away, you’ll be glad to have a certain percentage completed before you head into your exam… it definitely takes pressure off!! Remember assignments and Projects can build up fairly quickly so it’s advisable to schedule your work and prioritise using a diary. The last thing you want is to be up all hours putting the finishing touches on a project, or even worse just beginning it! It doesn’t work believe me…


This time is probably going to be the most stressful time all year, so make sure to keep your study week as free as possible from distractions from your college work. Exams take place in January (1st Semester) and late May (2nd Semester). Repeats are held in August with repeats for 1st Semester examinations held the first week and repeats for 2nd Semester examinations held the second week. Exams are usually 2 hours long and held on both Cork rd. Campus and College St. Make sure to check out my Top 10 Study tips and the Exams FAQ’s for the best preparation for your exams.

Here is some Exam Tips:
  • Practise Makes Perfect – Attempt past exam questions
  • Think about what will come up – but be careful not to trim the course down too much
  • Plan for a Revision Timetable – allow adequate space on your revision plan for relaxation and exercise
  • Live Healthy – have plenty of sleep, drink loads of water and exercise regularly
  • Bring your equipment – pens, pencils, calculators, etc.
  • Read the Questions Carefully – choose your best question and answer it first
  • Timing is everything – allocate time according to the marks per question