Now that results are out and many of you have received confirmation that you are going to Oxford, you might be wondering what the next phase of your life consists of. One of the major changes from school will be the tutorial system. Tutorials are small classes held by a tutor, who is an expert in your subject, with two to three students (sometimes a one-to-one) where you discuss, explore and think about an essay or piece of work which you submit prior to the tutorial.
I remember feeling really scared for my first tutorial. Being a quiet person in the classroom, I had never been the kind of student to offer my opinion or to speak up in front of people and now I had to discuss a topic with an expert in the field?!
What could I possibly contribute? What if I couldn’t keep up with the group discussion? What if I had a question?
All these questions were buzzing around my head when I stepped into my first tutorial. It was difficult at first, I came out of the tutorial feeling as if I had been more of an observer than a participant in the discussion. However, as more tutorials were arranged, the easier it became to put forward a point or to ask a question. The tutor too tries to loop you into the discussion, which was very helpful.
The interview is probably the closest thing to what tutorials are like. They can be scary, but fun and are extremely rewarding.
Three top tips on handling tutorials:
1. Give it time
2. Stick with it
3. Do your reading!