The progression from A-Levels/college/BTECs, etc to higher education can be a big step up. This step isn't just in terms of the actual content and workload of the course, but the terminology used at university can be super confusing and not something you've heard before.

Therefore, this blog breaks down all of the new words that you might encounter as a new student at university.


An assessment is one you would have heard before. This just refers to the method by which your academic progress and performance are measured. At the end of each module/ unit (see below), you will be assessed to check your knowledge and skills. There are a few ways in which you might be assessed:

  1. Examinations
  2. Coursework
  3. Presentations

At Pearson College London, you are set the assessment brief at the start of the module so that you are aware of what you are working towards the whole time.

Contact Hours

Contact hours are the hours that you are expected to attend teaching time. These are the hours that are in your timetable such as seminars, mentors and meetings with tutors, that you need to attend face-to-face.


A credit is a measure of progress in a module/unit. Each module that you study is worth a certain number of credits. Each credit equates to the number of hours of study required, for example:

1 credit = 10 hours of study

Year one in Higher Education is equivalent to Level 4, year 2 is level 5 and so on. Typically, only marks achieved in Level 5 and 6 counts towards your final degree result. Each year is worth 120 credits and you have to complete the credits from Level 4 before progressing to level 5 for example. So, you will gain a total of 360 credits for a 3-year full honours degree.


Enrolment is the process of registering to study a course. At Pearson College London, you will be invited into the 190 High Holborn campus to enrol during welcome week. After enrolling, you will then partake in a series of activities to get to know other students and build your industry connections from day one.


A lecture consists of one lecturer (person who delivers the lecture) standing at the front of the room and delivering 1 or 2 hours of content to all the people that are studying that module. This is your opportunity to make as many notes as possible that might help you for whatever assessment method you have at the end of the term.


A module is worth a certain number of credits and modules are the subjects within the main degree that you will study throughout. Some examples of modules on the Business Management Degree are:

  • Principles of Business (2 x 30 credits)
  • Introduction to Research (30 credits)
  • Contract Law (15 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing (15 credits)


A semester is the same as a term and is the total duration of the academic teaching period. For example, a 15 week semester from September to December might have one enrolment week, 10 teaching weeks, one reading week and 2 assessment weeks. Each academic year is divided into two semesters (unless you study through the summer, in which case it is three.)


A seminar is an interactive session that builds on the content that you would have learned in the lecture. It gives you a chance to work in groups, ask questions and complete exercises to increase understanding of the topic from the lecture and its application.

Often, your lecturer will set you tasks and reading during the lecture which will be due for the seminar. Make sure that you complete these individual tasks on time, otherwise it might be difficult to keep up.