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Studying at NCI

As an international student you may find certain ways of studying, as well as the way we deliver our teaching, somewhat different to your own country. Below is a summary of the types of study sessions you will be expected to participate in, whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student.


In most cases, your lecturers will last between one to two hours. During a lecturer, your teacher will present the topic that are central to your module and provide you with an overview of the most important themes and key areas.

It is expected that students will take their own notes during a lecture, even if these are also provided. Very often teachers will direct students to use online learning resources connected to the topic of the lecture. You can also email the teacher or post a question or comment on the on-line discussion boards.

You will be given a list of books at the beginning of the semester and you are expected to do extra reading on certain topics. You will not be told the exact chapters/pages to read, and you will not be tested on the weekly reading. It is up to you to establish your own study pattern.

It is highly recommended that you attend all lectures because:

  • attendance is compulsory (International student must maintain a least 80% attendance)
  • certain aspects of the topic will be talked about in greater depth, including aspects that may be part of the exams
  • experiencing this academic set-up gives you insight into how things are taught and how Irish students learn – a valuable insight which can only enhance your international experience
  • you are paying for your education – take advantage of every part of it


Typically, tutorials are used to discuss the content of a lecture more deeply and to explore some group works. During the tutorial, the lecturer or tutor will be able to delve more deeply into student questions and take more time to ensure that each person has grasped the topic.

Laboratory Session

Laboratory session are designed to enable you to develop your skills and knowledge of key technologies and software crucial to your module and programme. During the session, you may be given a problem to solve, be guided through functionality or required to follow step-by-step instructions. Laboratories are very much about a practical experience and you may be working on your own or as part of a team.

Working in small groups/teamwork

We encourage our students to work in groups/teams to solve problems, work on a presentation or carry out a project. This is helpful in developing your social and team skills, which are important qualities to many employers. It is therefore very important that you try your hardest to contribute fully to the work of the group you are in. Do not sit back and let others do all the work just because you are shy about speaking or expressing your ideas. Some of your group work will be given marks as part of the college assessment so it is important that you participate fully in the task required.

Private study

We cannot stress enough the importance of self-study in NCI. We encourage you to be an independent and active learner. As well as the formal hours of your timetable, you will be expected to devote a lot of time to reading, researching, revising and making notes on your own and you must be self-disciplined enough to devote a large part of your time to this, particularly if you are a postgraduate student. You can get advice about this from your tutor or lecturer if you are finding self-study difficult; it is an important skill to learn if you are to be successful during your time with us.

Academic problems

If you encounter problems with your studies it is essential that you meet with your tutor or lecturer to discuss the problem. Do not ignore the problem – try to deal with it by asking for help at an early stage. If you are feeling overwhelmed or course work is getting on top of you, remember that there are a variety of support services available to you at NCI. For full details on student support, please see Student Support section in this handbook.

  • Learning support
  • Maths support
  • Computing support
  • English language support Assessments

At NCI, you will experience a range of different assessments as part of your course. Some of these modules are compulsory while some degree programmes offer a choice of optional modules. Each module has its own assessment method. This can take the form of exams, essays, presentations and group work.

End of semester exam

There are three main semester examination periods each academic year:

  • Semester One examinations (January)
  • Semester Two examinations (May)
  • Semester Three examination/ Re-sit examination (August)

End of semester exams can take place either in a lab or in a class setting. These are usually time-constrained exams and can be designed to include multiple choice questions (MCQ’s), online assessments, short written questions and/or essay style questions. Some end of semester exams are categorised as “Open Book” exams, where a student builds up their knowledge and notes over a number of weeks prior to the exam and then brings these with them to the exam.


The word ‘plagiarise’ means to copy work from another person or source without acknowledging or referencing it. NCI takes this very seriously and if a student is guilty of plagiarism they can expect to be disciplined, which may include suspension or expulsion from the college. For example, it is not acceptable to copy pieces of work from the Internet or books into a piece of academic work. Rules on this may be different in your home country so please consult with your academic school upon arrival.

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