My experience – Speech and Language Therapy at City

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Independent Study

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Independent study is a new concept for many students when they enter the realm of university. Personally, I was unsure of, and anxious about independent study when I started. Who would be there to remind me of when my assignments were due, which books should I read and how could I cramp the content of two massive textbooks into my brain a week university starts? These are only some of the frightening questions that cluttered my mind.


Perhaps I should start with a brief introduction to independent study at university; it simply involves you taking responsibility for your education. As cliché as it sounds, you are expected to explore work that is relevant to your course, so you actually know what you are talking about (winging it only gets you so far, believe me). You will need to develop effective learning strategies in an environment where you are guided briefly on various topics. When I say ‘briefly’ I refer to the lectures, and the abundance of lecturers on hand to answer any queries you have about the work. So, do not worry, you are not all alone! Independent study can range from asking questions in lectures to writing an entire dissertation on a subject of personal interest. The quantity of independent study expected from you typically increases as you progress further in your course.


It can all sound rather daunting, but there are (believe it or not) positive benefits to independent study. You can tailor your learning to your learning style, whether that be watching YouTube videos, reading books or making posters. Often essay questions and exam dates are published months in advance so there is space for those who cram minutes before the deadline (not advised), those who create Gantt charts from the get go, or for those sensible people who do something in the middle. All this is important because independent study prepares you for the working world, as you are required to take responsibility for your own learning and manage your time effectively by balancing your social, work and university life.


To help you start thinking about independent study, here are a select few tips that I have found helpful:


  1. “Break it down.”
    When approaching that massive textbook, break it down like 90’s hip-hop. Take it chapter by chapter or even page by page – you are more likely to digest the information if it is in manageable chunks.


  1. “Practice makes perfect.”
    A bit of an obvious but important idiom. This can mean practicing exam questions or going over your lecture notes to test your knowledge. Revise topics repetitively could help reduce those ‘you know nothing Jon Snow’ panic attacks.
  2. “When will my reflection show who I am inside.”
    Learn from the words of a wise Disney princess and reflect on your feedback. What could you do more of next time? What would you add, or do less of? This can help you get higher grades for next time and make your independent study more specific (and more importantly, bring honour to us all).


  1. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Life does not have to be as glum as The Shinning. While being prepared and organised is critical, make sure you set yourself rewards to keep you motivated. A piece of candy a chapter works well for me but a healthier approach is always advisable.


  1. “We’re all in this together.”

Seek comfort in the mutual panic of independent study you and your fellow classmates endure.  You are not the only one trying to figure this all out. For most students, finding the balance between basketball and music is very challenging but if Troy Bolton can do it, so can you.

The Summer Before Starting University

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Your A-Level exams are ending soon, and the long summer awaits you before university begins. You have been anticipating these alarm-clock free mornings and that sweet satisfaction of crossing of the last exam boldly marked on your calendar. Some of your friends are off travelling, volunteering or even working. While that all sounds great, some of us are still wondering what to fill these months up with. Having an unplanned summer can make things a little anti-climactic, but do not let that get you down. We have a few tips to help make the most of your vacations.

1. Travel, obviously!

Although this is a given, planning a trip does not have to be something out of our budget. As Groupon and Wowcher taught us, we can save a whole lot on local getaways that will get our Instagram feed looking summery. Make the most of them!

2. Find a healthy balance between binge watching Netflix and going out.

While it is tempting to hibernate at home and break the world record for watching a series in a short space of time, space out those episodes. Schedule in some time to go out and enjoy the sun with friends and family, don’t just rot at home.

3. Take up a new hobby.

As cliché as it sounds, finally capitalise of this free time and take up that one hobby you always wanted to try. You might discover that you are basically Picasso. But do not be too disheartened if you paint like a two-year-old, we know it’s been awhile.

4. If you are just starting university, visit the campus!

Ideally before getting here on the first day, this would have really eased the continual mishaps involving walking in to the wrong room, or being in the wrong building!

5. Sort out your living situation.

For those living away from home, take the time to plan where you will be living in the upcoming year. Visit the accommodation and the local supermarkets to cut down on take-out costs; I highly recommend Chapel Market for your fruit and vegetables. You can find Facebook groups or forums of other students who are going to live there, which may ease any anxiety about making new friends. If you luck out, you might find someone living in the same flat as you.

Come and visit us at City, we have tours every week:

Fasting during Exam Season

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So, the blessed month of Ramadan has arrived. For those of you curious about what this month entails beyond starvations and dehydration, this month honours the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). Abstaining from food, drink and sin from sunrise to sunset (approximately 18 hours) commemorates this month with a lot of effort, but it is worth the struggle. Fasting is attached to numerous health revelations and more significantly, reaffirms one’s faith in God –bringing us to a whole new level of zen that yoga sessions touch on.


This year, Ramadan falls on one of the busiest months for students, exam season. While us Muslim students intend on making full use of the dua (supplications) privileges we gain from fasting, the struggle of revising and fasting remains very real. To get you through this time, here are 7 tips and tricks on how to make the most of this month:


  1. Eat well, sleep well.

Eating the right food for iftaar (breakfast) and sahoor (the meal at sunset) is vital for ensuring you stay fresh and energised for as much of the day as possible. Since we both know staying away from fried food is nearly impossible –because let’s face it, who has that kind of self-control? Instead, just limit it. Concentrate on consuming foods rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, fruits and vegetables.


  1. Hydration is key.

Ration your water intake between eating hours. Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres in total because the more hydrated you are the more concentrated you will be.


  1. Change up your routine.

Make use of your optimum energy highs. After sahoor or iftaar works well, so schedule study sessions of difficult topics earlier on in the day when you have more energy and brain power.


  1. Diversify your study strategy.

Use visual cues to stimulate our mind, like flashcards and mind-maps. If you can stand the sound of your own voice, recorded voice notes work well too.


  1. Friends that fast/study together, stay together.

Make the most of studying with friends and classmates to help pass the time with collective agony and banter.


  1. Reality check.

Attending every gathering and event is tempting but you need to allocate your time wisely. Set realistic goals aim to work towards them without compromise.


  1. Find strength in spirituality.

As stressful as this period is, remember this is month is a blessing. Remind yourself why you are fasting to stay motivated and remember to keep up with your prayers and make lots of dua for your exams, you got this!

Exam Tips

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The dreaded exam season has finally crept up on us, and this year I have decided to make some positive changes to help reduce stress and revise more efficiently. The days of revising last minute, having breakdowns (then realising you don’t have time for a breakdown) and rushing to remember chunks of information the night before are over. Here are 4 of my top tips:  


  1. Stay organised – plan your days out beforehand, keep your lecture notes in order and don’t forget to make use of your calendar apps
  2. Take breaks – breathe, spend time outside and have a walk around to clear your head
  3. Feel good – For me this involves taking care of my skin and hiring out bikes (like the Santander or ofo one’s you see around campus) in the evenings
  4. Move – I don’t like getting too comfortable when I study. I study with different people and in different universities (as we can as part of the University of London consortium) so I am constantly inspired by a new environment

I hope these tips help the both of us out, and good luck in your studies!  

*images taken from @zaynabtea (instagram) 

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City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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