Study: University vs Highschool

So, you’re in your final year of high school cruising along in your subjects. You’ve had similar assignments since grade 8 and you have a good idea of what you’re doing. Then, you hit uni.

For the lazy who won’t read the wall of text: you might be given little weekly quizzes, weekly readings, daunting assignments, and an easy-ish exam (in my opinion)! Just make sure you seek help if it’s needed and revise.

Depending on what you decide to study, things could be vastly different. At START QUT I had a great insight into how different Information Technology at university is to my high school classes.

A simple difference is the type of work you need to do. In high school, you’ll have a few weeks of learning about a topic, before getting assessed on that topic. At uni it’s a bit different. Week one and two of new units are pretty relaxed, especially if you are very familiar with the topic (thank you high school). But it’s after this period when weekly tests might be given out to you. Sure they could be worth 2%, but, as lecturers make it clear, those tests add up! So pay attention!

Along with weekly tests, you’ll have weekly readings! Although my particular subject I took did not have weekly readings (yay) this is not a universal trait. Out of the subjects you do, you will more than likely have set readings, so you know what the hell is happening the following week.

Then, there are the assignments. I’ve found that these are not too different to my high school IT projects, except their difficulty. High school will hold your hand more than you realise when it comes to assessment. My first assignment looked so daunting I didn’t even want to attempt it at first. Don’t listen to this feeling. Talk to the people doing your course, and if they’re freaking out, great! You have a friend now. If they aren’t panicking, great! You have a friend who knows what they’re doing. As soon as I found someone that could explain it to me, I was able to get the rest done without too much trouble.

Finally, exams. The final exam I was given was a multiple choice test… which was fairly easy. But don’t be fooled, don’t rely on the old “ABAB ooooh haven’t done C in awhile” method!


The random guess method! Don’t do it unless it’s right.

You need to know your stuff if you want to do well. If you do know what you’re doing and revise, then you might find your first uni exam easier than your high school exams (no joke).

Although this all seems a bit much, the biggest difference between university and high school is it’s practical. It’s never boring, and if you like doing something instead of learning about something, you’re going to love uni.

These are the main differences between studying at uni vs studying at high school! Don’t be afraid of it, look forward to it. It’s a much needed change after 5 years of constant essays on things you aren’t passionate about. QUT is a great place for this if you love practical work instead of just theory. If you want a glimpse into what the QUT campus looks like, and what it’s all about, come to the QUT Open Day at Gardens Point and get ready for an adventure!

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