External Services: Pros vs Cons
This post was last updated on 31/12/2015.
Let's face it. There's a large market for first year tuition due to its association with Medical entrance. What you want to know is whether it 'works'. You want to know if you should spend hundreds if not thousands on extra tuition. Those services may have financial motivation and some services are charitable services which are some people genuinely interested in others' welfare. You're quite confused. Here, we don't really have any motivation except for your wellbeing in mind. You being a fellow student who wants our advice. Let's break it down:
1. You meet more (potentially) like-minded people
Going to these services, you're bound to find other people who have similar mindsets and may form great friendships.
2. If you purchase these services, you'll know you have worked your absolute hardest to get into your desired programme.
Some people like to think that if they worked multiple jobs just to afford these services, they can be satisfied regardless of the outcome due to their heavy investment and personal satisfaction.
3. These services give you contact to with older, more mature students who've been through what you've been through.
Some people attend these services in order to have an 'elder sibling-like' figure. Some students have taken their very personal circumstances to these tutors. It's an ethically questionable reality but it happens. Please do keep in mind that here at SAMS, we're more than happy to provide advice as we aim to cater for everyone's welfare as well!
1. They can be expensive.
2. External services do not present the most up-to-date information.
The courses change from year to year and external services must adapt. Keep in mind that the lectures themselves teach the content which will be examined so relying on an external service which does not cover the course content completely may be not entirely useful.
3. Unfortunately, these external services can be a waste of time.
Just like lectures can be a waste of time, so can these external services. Granted that external services have a smaller teacher-student ratio, similar ratio numbers are aimed for in laboratory sessions at the university where you can ask similar questions as well.
1. They may remove the independent aspect of learning at University
At University, it's intended that you begin to find your own learning styles and become more independent. Relying on these services may leave you severely handicapped from 2nd year onwards where no such services exist!
2. They can be distracting
Generally, revising for a topic involves 'constructive' learning where you attempt to compile all the information into your own set of notes. With too many different resources available with external services and other free notes that are undoubtedly being distributed throughout first year, you may feel overwhelmed in the sense that you will need to construct your notes from too many different sources. It may be better to take a reductionist approach and just focus on the lecture and the lecture content. Definitely do email lecturers for clarification of concepts and ask your lab demonstrators if you have further questions instead. Leaving the 'constructive' step of revision to external services to provide you 'comprehensive notes' can severely hamper your own revision!