How much work do I have to do?
This is the Hull model, other places are broadly similar.
There are two teaching periods each year. The first semester runs from the end of September up until Christmas. The second runs from after Christmas until just after Easter.
During the 10 week taught part of each semester you will be taking modules with a credit value of 60, i.e. three modules. Each module will usually have three lectures a week and a couple of hours of practical work as well. Add in some time for tutorials and this means that you will spend around 17 hours or so on the campus being taught.
However, this does not mean that we only expect our students to work half the time! We expect them to spend an amount of time roughly equivalent to that being taught in reading and preparation. We reckon it works best if treated like a "proper" job, i.e. each day you come into the university, spend time reading up on the subject and preparing for laboratory work. We find that students that work like this get the best grades on their work and the highest marks in exams.
At the end of the taught period you have a couple of weeks for revision and assessment, where you will prepare for examinations, and then there will be a two week exam period at the end of the first semester, and a four week period at the end of the second. In the run up to your examinations you should be working full time on revision in preparation for them. There is often assessed work due in around this time as well, which can make the time rather fraught. The best thing to do is attack coursework as soon as you get it, rather than the day before it is due in. This gives you more time to recover from problems and should make for more relaxed revision.
Again, as with most things, planning is the key. In a university you are left much more to yourself, which means that you must take responsibility for making sure that your coursework is handed in on time and you are prepared for examinations.