How to make the most of seminars – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

How to make the most of seminars

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Kiera Evans | Postgraduate History (Modern) Contact Kiera

In all of my history modules this year, 10% of my mark is based on seminar contribution. While I realise that it isn’t a huge chunk of the assessment, I’m very aware that it could be the thing to increase my average mark enough to tip me into the next grade band. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few things that I do to make the most out of my seminars.

Decide whether or not you want to be with your friends

I’ve always had the opportunity to choose which seminar groups I want to be in, which means that I also have the option to choose whether to be in the same groups as my friends. (This is obviously harder in first year but it was fairly easy for me to organise this year.)

I personally like having a friend in my seminar groups. It doesn’t necessarily help me in the actual seminar, but I find it useful to have someone to talk to about what was covered afterwards.

Obviously this isn’t always possible; sometimes you might want to choose a specific tutor, or pick the seminar that works most conveniently with your routine, and sometimes you won’t be doing the same modules as your friends. Having said that, it’s definitely something that I thought about when I was picking my seminar groups this year.

Do the reading and lecture

I hate the awkward silence in seminars when the tutor asks a question and no one answers. Doing the reading and lecture really helps to prevent that from happening.

Even if you don’t feel that you don’t have much to contribute to the seminar, doing the work beforehand means that you’ll be able to keep up with what’s being discussed far more easily.

It’s also fairly common that I don’t fully understand something that comes up in the reading. The seminar is the perfect time to ask for clarification, which might help you when you do an assignment in the future.

Participate

I always try to say something in the first few minutes of a seminar because it helps me to feel a bit more comfortable, which means I’m more likely to take part in the rest of it and get as much out of it as possible.

Of course, some weeks I don’t have as much to contribute, and that’s fine – everyone will have weeks they enjoy more than others. But I always try to say something. If nothing else, an active seminar group is so much more enjoyable to be a part of.

Which brings me onto my final point: don’t be afraid to respond to something that someone else has said. My favourite seminars are the ones where the group is happy to engage with what someone else has said, whether it’s building on it or disagreeing with it. Especially for a subject like History, I think it’s really interesting to hear as many different interpretations of the content as you can.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Kiera Evans | Postgraduate History (Modern) Contact Kiera

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