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  • Writer's pictureSAMS UoA

External Services - Pros vs Cons

Updated: Jan 27, 2020



Let's face it. There's a large market for first year tuition due to its association with Medical entrance. But you're not here to listen to us tell you that; what you want to know is:

  • Do they 'work'? How 'successful' are these services?

  • Should you spend hundreds, if not, thousands on extra tuition?

It can be difficult to determine whether these services are genuine or have other intentions. Here, we don't really have any motivations except for you; a fellow student who wants our advice, and wants to ensure their welfare. Thus, let's break it down and get to discussing, shall we?


You meet more (potentially) like-minded people

Going to these services, you're bound to find other people who have similar mindsets and interests, leading to endless possibilities & long-lasting friendships.

You'll know you would've done your absolute best for entry

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.

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!


They can be expensive.

More often than not, these 'personalised' packages can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, essentially defeating the purpose of 'first year free'.

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 not be entirely useful.

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!

So, should you take up these services? Well, that's very much up to you. Whilst these services bring up some good points, the red flags associated with such services are often not seen until it's too late. Do the research, and keep these points in mind when doing so.

For more information regarding this topic, please refer to the following:

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