Study Skills – Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Published by University of Bedfordshire

The StudyHub is your one-stop-shop for any academic, resourcing or general IT assistance to create the best assignments you can.

We help University of Bedfordshire students develop the skills required to succeed in Higher Education and beyond. 

In this article, we’ve collated a series of our most frequently asked questions.


What IT skills do I need to get started? 

Competent computer use is an essential skill in today’s world, and is something that employers seek. 

Regardless of your course you will need to produce assignments using a computer, Our Study Hub team has therefore produced a range of workbooks that you can use to practice using features of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint: 

Use of specific specialist software and hardware will also be required within certain courses. You will be taught how to use this as part of your studies. 


I have other commitments alongside my studies, how am I going to manage my time?

During your time at University you are likely to be juggling academic work with other demands such as paid employment, family commitments and having fun! You can improve your chances of a successful balance if you plan ahead. 

One effective way of managing these demands, whatever your level of study, is to draw up a list of tasks you need to carry out in order to complete your academic work successfully (attending classes, collecting information, reading, note taking, writing and so on). Then, plot these on a weekly timetable working backwards from assignment deadlines (these can be found in the unit sites).

You will need to construct this timetable in such a way as to accommodate the other demands on your time, always allowing extra time to cope with unexpected matters, such as not being able to find the right book or journal when you want it, computer malfunctions, extra shifts at work or family illness.

For more guidance check out the Study Hub guides on time management.


Note taking

Your approach to taking notes will differ depending on what you need them for. When taking notes in class it is important to capture the points that aren’t covered in the slides/handouts. You will need to practice being selective and make sure to write down questions that you need answers to – to help prompt you to fill the gaps in your knowledge at a later time. 

When taking notes for an assignment, you will need to note key information about the source so you can reference this appropriately and avoid plagiarism. You will also need to consider the context that the information was written in and how reliable or useful you judge the source to be.

The Study Hub has created some helpful guides on different approaches to taking notes. Take a look and see which method suits you.


What is independent learning?

This is a crucial part of developing as a learner. You will be required to read, study and prepare work outside the class/lecture contact time and should regard this in the same way as preparation and research towards any assignment. The practice of developing an independent, self-motivated approach to learning and delivery of your work is essential to your success and to achieving good marks.

Successful independent learning involves a range of academic skills (including time management, prioritising, researching and writing). To enhance your skills, check out the A-Z of guides provided by the Study Hub.


Reading Lists

Every unit you will study for your course will have a reading list put together by your lecturers to help you develop your knowledge and understanding of the topics you’ll be covering in lecturers and seminars. You’ll be asked to read from books and journals, society webpages government publications and professional bodies (Law Society, NHS for example), or to watch videos or listen to webinars or radio programmes.

You can find your unit reading lists on your BREO unit or browse the reading list website by your course or unit name or code. 


Academic reading

At university you are expected to read and engage with a wide variety of material, including books, scholarly journal articles, reports, and other resources, some of which may not be already familiar to you. Academic reading involves you reading something in depth to build a clear understanding of subject matter. This requires different strategies compared to reading a newspaper or novel. 

Find out more: Top tips to get the most out of your reading


Planning and writing assignments

You will encounter different types of assessment during your course. Regardless of format is essential that you can effectively communicate your knowledge. Effective writing skills is therefore crucial to success at university.

A range of academic and assignment writing guides are provided by the Study Hub.


Researching

Your reading list will get you started on developing knowledge and understanding of topics on your course, but you will be expected to read wider and find additional information. Learning how to research effectively will save you time and find the best quality academic / scholarly information. These skills are known as “information literacy skills”.

Your Academic Liaison Librarian will help you develop these skills as part of your lecture programme and you can use the guides on Study Hub Online.


Referencing

Referencing is a vital academic skill you will need to learn when writing assignments too avoid plagiarism and demonstrate the scholarly research and theories you are using to support your arguments and opinions in your assignments.

Referencing isn’t hard and you can find out more on the Guide to Referencing pages on Study Hub Online.


Additional Study Skills advice for students coming from overseas (EU and International)

We appreciate that students new to studying in the UK may have to adapt to a completely new style of education. Rest assured that studying at university level is also a lot different to what UK students would have experienced previously!

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has some useful information for international students. Additionally, Prepare for Success has plenty of useful resources and quizzes made specifically for international students that you can interact with before coming to the UK.


Discover more

To find more helpful resources and information of study skills, visit the Study Hub.

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