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Tutorials

Tutorials What to expect

Tutorials are a major method of teaching and learning at Oxford in all subjects, the main method in humanities subjects and play an important part in science subjects.

A tutorial normally involves two or three students studying the same paper meeting the subject tutor for an hour or so to discuss a particular topic.  You may have tutorials every week and attendance is compulsory.  If, for any reason you are unable attend, e.g. due to a medical appointment or illness, you should notify the tutor in advance. Though tutorials may seem rather strange and daunting at first, you will soon get used to them and begin to enjoy them.

You will normally be expected to prepare written work in advance which will form the basis for discussion at the tutorial. Tutorials are not expected to be a ‘mini lecture': lecture courses provide a chance to ‘get information’. Nor is it the aim of tutorials to cover all the topics that may come up in exams. Questions in exams are set from material covered in lectures, as well as from material covered in tutorials.

The main aim of tutorials is to require you to think actively about the material being covered, dealing with the issues in a constructive and critical way, and learning through explaining your ideas to your tutor and your tutorial partner.  It is therefore essential that you go to the tutorial well-prepared and with a list of questions and points that you wish to raise.  Another aim is to help you to improve your presentational and essay-writing skills through debate and discussion about how best to structure an argument.  More generally, tutorials constitute an important feedback mechanism, which helps both you and your tutor to assess how far you have mastered the work assigned to you and to help you solve difficulties which have arisen in the course of that work.

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Students at work in the Library

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