A Few Useful Hints

Advising others is always a bit tricky but nevertheless I would like to give here a few suggestions for making the most of your time at our faculty. They are addressed primarily to students in their first year.

Ask questions.
As the wise old saying goes, Many things are lost for want of asking. Please do no hesitate to ask when you do not understand something - in our culture it is not considered impolite or improper to do so. Ask the lecturer during the lecture or after, ask the tutor during the class or after it, ask your classmates who (think that they) understand. Arrange a meeting with your teacher during office hours and ask there.

Many of you will learn faster and better if listening and reading is complemented by writing. These days, for many courses there are excellent written materials, often including slides prepared by the lecturer. Nevertheless, many of you will profit by taking your own notes at lectures and classes. It is important to use pen and paper during your preparation for tests and exams. Do you think that you already understand the proof of a theorem? Write it down with the book closed, making sure to include all necessary details. Finally, if you want to learn to program well, write some code.

Even if nobody makes you do so. In contrast to many secondary schools, you will not have to take a test or do homework every day. However, there will be plenty of tests and exams at the end of the semester. Be aware of that and learn as much as you can during the semester rather than later. You will learn more, you will retain it longer, and the examination period will go more smoothly for you.

This is related to the previous point. In the examination period you will rarely be able to learn well for an exam during a single day or night. Take this into account when planning the dates of your exams in the examination period. Allow yourself enough time to prepare for exams, to code programs or to solve problems for obtaining a course credit. Reserve some time for possible second attempts at failed exams. Do not postpone until the next semester or the next year what you are to do now. If you do so, most likely you will not be able to catch up.

Not everything that you read on the internet is correct. Not even everything that you hear in a lecture is always correct (we all make mistakes). Try to understand everything. Do not be content merely with answers to the questions how? and what?, but also ask why? If you have a question, try first to find an answer by yourself before searching for an answer in a textbook or on the internet.

Many of our current and past students have reported that they find study at our faculty difficult. We have seen many students with outstanding results in their previous studies who have struggled with the demands of our study programmes. Thus, don't be surprised if you start feeling lost! Instead, persist, keep going, and know that you are not alone in feeling this way. Your persistence will pay off!

Best wishes for an enjoyable and successful academic year!


Charles University, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Ke Karlovu 3, 121 16 Praha 2, Czech Republic
VAT ID: CZ00216208

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