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After finishing my theology finals at Harris Manchester in June 1995, I sat down and wrote a "Guide for Perplexed Students" which set down the advice (on academic matters) I'd give to my successors based on my own experiences. Several people have seen copies of the guide and have apparently found it helpful, but the opinions expressed in it remain entirely my own and do NOT represent the official views either of Oxford University or of Harris Manchester College. The comments in the Guide are nevertheless based on my having successfully completed two undergraduate degrees at Oxford (I read Engineering Science at Brasenose from 1972-1975 as well as Theology at HMC from 1992-1995). Note that the advice is aimed particularly at new (mature) students starting an undergraduate course at HMC, though much of it may well be of wider application.


  1. Introduction
  2. Time Management
    1. How hard do I need to work?
    2. How can I keep on top of my work?
    3. Is there any way of getting off the treadmill?
  3. Lectures and Tutorials
    1. How many lectures should I go to?
    2. How do I choose which Lectures to go to?
    3. What happens if the Lectures offered in any given term don't match up with what I'm studying in tutorials?
    4. What can I expect from tutorials?
    5. What happens if I don't get on with my tutor?
    6. How do I know how well I'm doing?
  4. Tutorial Essays
    1. How Long should they be?
    2. What should a good essay contain?
    3. How do I cope with an enormous reading list?
  5. Books and Libraries
    1. What Books should I buy?
    2. How do I find the books I need?
  6. Collections
    1. What is a collection?
    2. What is the purpose of collections?
    3. My collection has come back covered with Greek letters further confused with plus and minus signs. What on earth do they all mean?
  7. Choosing Options
    1. Mods and Prelims
    2. Finals
  8. Preparing for Exams
  9. Conclusion
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Last Updated by Eric Eve on 16-Sep-00