Learning at University will probably feel different to any education you may have had so far, so it is normal to feel slightly confused about all the different types of classes. Each department has its own style and structure of teaching to help you learn, and it will probably take you a little while to get used to each type of session.

Here’s a brief explanation of what to expect from the most common types of teaching:

Lecture- this is a talk given by a lecturer to a large group of students. Lecturers outline the main aspects of a subject, and students are usually able to ask questions during or after the lecture.

Seminar- A discussion session on a topic with a lecturer and small group of students. Seminars often follow a lecture and go into more detail on the topic. Students are usually asked to prepare for a seminar, for example, by doing some reading on the topic.

Tutorial- A meeting and teaching session between a lecturer and a small group of students.

Workshop- A practical, interactive session with a lecturer and a small group of students. The session is likely to include individual and group exercises and activities, as well as discussion.

Laboratory sessions- (also called labs) involves practical experimentation in your chosen field. They are designed to give you experience working with various equipment and can range from working in wet labs, which involves chemicals and substances to computer based labs or field work based sessions. 

Each module is made up of a selection of these sessions, and some will run across one semester only and others will run across the whole year. The academic year is broken into 2 semesters, which include approx. 10 weeks of teaching, plus an examination period. The semesters are typically September to January, and February to June.

Improving your Study Skills at Hull

As you attend introductory lecturers, and find out more about the work you will be doing over the rest of the year; it is normal to question whether you have got the skills it takes to be successful. If you feel like this, we would recommend you visit the skills team, who are dedicated to providing support to help you improve your academic skills.

More information on how to access the support can be found by visiting www.hull.ac.uk/skills

There are 4 types of study skills support available:


An interactive web resource free to University of Hull students. It has modules on academic study, reading & note making, critical thinking, writing skills, referencing & plagiarism, exam skills and projects, dissertations and reports.

Skills Guides

These are a selection of guides giving practical information on how to develop different skills. This includes how to solve mathematical problems and writing skills.


Study Skills Workshops

These are available from the Skills Team for many aspects of academic skills development. Workshops are run by our Skills Advisers and volunteer Skills Leaders.


Individuals or groups can book appointments with a Skills Adviser, this includes maths help.