Supervisions are pretty unique to Oxbridge. They are an hour long and usually involve two students and the supervisor who may be a fellow or a postgraduate of the subject area. These are really important for your learning as this is your opportunity to have anything explained to you that you didn’t understand in the lectures or practicals.

Different supervisors will structure their supervisions in different ways but all of them will require you to hand in work a day or so in advance that the supervisor will mark and discuss with you.

It is very important to complete the work your supervisor sets as this is how they will monitor your progress and focus on the areas you find most difficult. However do not stress if you cannot do a question; as long as you have a decent try your supervisor will understand. This is actually the point of the examples sheets – they stretch and challenge you and help you develop. Don’t expect to breeze through them, but do make a list of points you want to address, and make it easy for your supervisor to help you.

Don’t be afraid to email supervisors with questions, even old supervisors (they can change during the course of a subject) and over the holidays if something comes up during revision. Some supervisors will also be happy to arrange an extra supervision if you are really stuck on a particular topic.

The Natural Sciences Society of St John's College