Language study skills

So you’ve read through how to be a great student and study effectively and now it’s time to find out what it’s really like studying languages at uni.

How will I be taught?

This varies greatly depending on your uni. Most content modules are composed of a lecture and seminar, see our section on modules for more details.

Lectures can be given to a huge group of students at any one time, however as a language student, numbers are likely to be lower. During lectures you’re required to take notes and listen to the lecturer give an outline of the content and topic. Lectures normally last between one and two hours. Language classes are smaller and will probably contain no more than 20 in a class to maximise learning.

"It is really important to take an active role in seminars and do the preparation beforehand to really benefit from them"

Seminars are done in groups of around 25 students and this is your time to participate vocally and discuss questions and challenge other theories. It is really important to take an active role in seminars and do the preparation beforehand to really benefit from them. Seminars are usually shorter as students participate so expect them to be about an hour.

Modules may be taught as a double period. Depending on how the lecturer structures the module and teaching, one hour may be used for a lecture and the other for a seminar discussion.

How much will I do?

Generally speaking, you’re expected to do 10 hours independent work a week per module, so if you have a double lecture lasting two hours, you’re expected to do eight hours outside on reading and assignments.

The same applies for language classes, but your outside work for these comes in the form of grammar revision, listening exercises and reading articles. It is often left up to you to figure out what area you need to concentrate and work on. Studying at uni is all about independent learning so it is imperative you establish a routine and fit everything in, it’s only going to affect you and your future if you don’t. Look at our general study skills to learn how to work efficiently and productively.