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The Tutorial System
an Oxford tutorial
Tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. They offer a very rare level of personalised attention from academic experts. It is the tutorial system that sets Oxford (and Cambridge) apart.
What is a 'tutorial'?

Oxford's teaching is based around conversations, normally between two or three students and their tutor, who is an expert on that topic. We call these tutorials, and it's your chance to talk in-depth about your subject and to receive individual feedback on your work.

Although this might be a daunting prospect, we find that students soon grow in confidence and develop the skills required to make this academic discussion a successful one – regardless of educational background.

How does it work?

Students are expected to work independently to prepare work for their tutorials.  As well as being a highly effective way of studying your subject, this system also helps develop many useful transferable skills, such as independent thinking, self-sufficiency, and confidence.

As well as tutorials, depending on your course you will also have a combination of seminars, lectures, lab work, and language classes each week. Students here receive a high number of contact hours with academic tutors which provides the perfect environment for an outstanding education.

Why do we have tutorials?

Tutorial teaching allows you the time and space to stretch your academic ability and direct your own learning. Equally, regular tutorials allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.

What do you think?

A tutorial relies on the exchange of ideas so you need to be ready to present and defend your opinions, accept constructive criticism, and listen to others. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn't possible through lectures alone. Tutorials are simply a fantastic way to explore ideas and gain new perspectives, allowing you the opportunity to develop your ability to think for yourself.

Continuing the conversation

There are also plenty of opportunities to meet people in other subjects and discuss a whole range of topics, not least of all during normal mealtimes in Hall when students come together from the labs and libraries.

Two other great opportunities for inter-disciplinary discovery are The Addison Society and The Queen’s College Symposium (QCS).  The Addison Society is a student-run debating society at Queen's, open to all members of the College.  Its events promote cultural and intellectual discussion in College between students of any subject.  The Queen's College Symposia are a collection of talks by graduate and senior academic members of the College. They're short and accessible, so whether it's a particular subject that takes your fancy or you simply want to sample the vast cornucopia of Queen's scholarship, you’re welcome to come along. 

‘My tutorials taught me not just how to study, but how to think and that continues to inform my approach to work to this day.’ 

Sia Marshall, Biochemistry 1990