Its about that time of year again where we find out from the students here at Sussex what they did (or didn’t do) in preparation to beginning their 2nd year studies at university, once again with particular regard to their pre-assigned reading lists and how they have utilised them.
Having received 24 responses this year (I guess 2nd years have less time on their hands now) our largest group of respondents were from the business, management and finance faculty at 50%, with the rest of the respondents coming in from a variety of faculties such as Drama English, Engineering, Psychology, History and so on (see below).
When asked if the pre arrival reading was available before their second year began, 41.7% of people responded yes, a 5% increase on last year, which can maybe be put down to people now knowing where to access everything and what they need to be doing to prepare for second year. Of the 41.7% of people who responded yes to having pre arrival reading available, 80% of them actually used it – a 16% increase on last year also.
With regard to deciding on how students decided on which books they would purchase from their reading lists, the least important factor was the price here and the most was how relevant the books were to the course. As second year counts students tend to get the books that are going to be of the most use to them throughout their course and obtain the highest grades.
For the students that did not utilise their reading lists, a variety of reasons were given, ranging between “Didn’t think it would be necessary” – “I thought I’d be able to access them online”. More than half of theses students (57.1%) tried to get the books by other means, half of which used the library an the other half purchased them.
Other than books we wanted to find out what other resources students used in the run up to starting their second year. We found that the two most utilised resources were: talking to current and previous students about the year, and watching lectures and other videos on YouTube. Sometimes actually hearing information from somebody else put in their own words is exactly what you need in place of something to read.
When asked if they had done more preparatory reading prior to beginning second year 58.3% responded Yes; however when looking at how many people purchased books after the first lecture or seminar the percentage who did not was at 62.5%. Students’ main reason for not purchasing books was once again they are too expensive. As students we are quite resourceful so if a book is not 100% essential we can find a better use for the limited money we have. Other reasons for not purchasing these books can be found below.
We also found that students that did buy books, mainly did so because they ‘really needed them for their course’ (23.7%) or their lecturer suggested we buy the books’ (31.6%)
Looking at what students have (and haven’t) purchased, we can see that 41.7% have bought 0 books, which may be a part of the 42.3% of people who thought that they were too expensive. 37.5 % of people so far have bought 1-3 books and 16.7% of people have bought 4-6 books this and all probably shop at Aldi now. There is only 1 person who responded in this survey who has so far purchased 7-10 books this year and now probably solely lives of a diet of baked beans, but if you really really need them, you’ll buy them.
We also wanted to find out what other methods student’s thought would help prepare them for second year. Take a look at the chart below to see what they thought.
Overall I think we can see the trend that is reoccurring, books are still too expensive and students would prefer not to buy them. However as second year is significantly more important than 1st more students may be reluctantly purchasing books in order to prevent them failing.