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Academic Support: Resources

Here you will find useful directions to the variety of study support services available to you..


This page provides links to websites aimed at students for whom English is a second language or anyone who wants to brush up on their English language skills.

A range of interactive tests and quizzes designed to help with grammar, vocabulary and reading.

The Antimoon method of efffective English. These tips and resources are aimed at improving your written English and spoken English.


A site aimed at people who have English as a second language with resources to help with written and spoken English.

AskOxford online dictionary

Check the meanings of the words you read and write and extend your vocabulary, with the Oxford English Online Dictionary.

Online thesaurus

Is your writing getting repetitious? Do you need an alternative word that means the same thing?

This page provides links to useful websites that will help you to improve your basic maths skills, for use in your courses and assignments.

Mathematical Study Skills (Open University)

This site, provided by the Open University, gives help and advice on:

  • Reading mathematics
  • Writing mathematics
  • Solving problems
  • Mathematical modelling
  • It also provides links to other useful maths related resources.
  • Explore the OU Mathematical Study Skills web site.

Maths Centre

Maths Centre has a range of maths related resources for various subjects such as Business, Health, Economics and Engineering :

  • Teach-yourself booklets
  • Revision booklets
  • Video tutorials (online, podcast and mobile clips)
  • Facts and formulae leaflets
  • It also provides links to other useful maths related resources.

Explore the Mathcentre web site.

BBC Bitesize

BBC Bitesize is a GCSE revision site which is none-the-less a useful place to brush up on your maths skills. It has a number of sections dealing with:

  • Algebra
  • Data handling
  • Number
  • Shape, space and measures
  • Explore the BBC Bitesize web site.

At the start of every year, new students come to the Study Skills Centres worried about how they will keep up in lectures. This page provides fact sheets that will help you improve your listening and note taking skills, to make sure you get the best out of lectures and other similar situations.

10 bad listening habits

This fact sheet taken from Ralph Nicholl's The Supervisor's Handbook provides tips for avoiding 10 bad listening habits:

  • Calling the subject dull
  • Criticising the speaker
  • Getting over stimulated
  • Listening only for facts
  • Trying to outline everything
  • Faking attention
  • Tolerating distraction
  • Choosing only what is easy
  • Letting loaded words get in the way
  • Wasting the differential between thought and word-speed

Download and read 10 bad listening habits

Learning by listening

Some more tips, in list form, for getting the most from your lectures such as:

  • Determining why, what the speaker is saying, is important to you
  • Looking for structure - how is the speaker getting to the main pint of the lecture?
  • Stopping your mind from wandering

For more information, download Learning from listening

Symbols and abbreviations

The art of making notes in a lecture is to note down only the important facts (see the fact sheets above). You can also speed you note-making up by using symbols and abbreviations such as:

  • = (equals)
  • < (smaller than)
  • > (larger than)
  • � (leads to/results in/causes)
  • e.g. and i.e. ('for example' and 'that is')
  • c.f. (compare)

Download the Symbols and Abbreviations sheet below for more details to make your note making faster and consistent

This page provides fact sheets and also links to useful websites that will help you to improve your reading skills and your note-making from reading.

BBC Skillswise - Reading

This site, provided by the BBC, has modules, designed to help you in your reading skills, on subjects such as:

  • The difference between fact and opinion
  • How to tell if a text is descritptive, informative, instructional or persuasive
  • Skimming and scanning
  • Summarising
  • Explore the BBC Skillswise - Reading web site.

SQ3R: A deep reading/deep study/note-making system

This fact sheet will introduce you to SQ3R - a system for deep reading and note-making. This is ideal for preparing for assignments, revising or just getting to know your subjects well. SQ3R stands for:

This system really helps you to understand and retain what you read.

  • Survey - gather information from the text to formulate goals (questions) for your reading
  • Questions - assume a questioning attitude and engage with your reading
  • Read - fill in the gaps your questions have created
  • Recall - retrain your mind to concentrate - a great way of note-making
  • Review - using the above steps again, review your notes or understanding

Referencing checklist

When using sources to make notes of material be included in an assignment, it is important to record the information for in-text citations and the reference list entries. This will save a lot of work later on, when you may find yourself trying to find the information you need to complete your referencing. You can carry this checklist with you as a reminder. It covers the six most common sources and can be used in conjunction with the main referencing systems:

  • Books
  • Chapters from books
  • Journal articles
  • Electronic journal articles
  • Websites
  • Newspaper articles

This page provides information, useful links to websites and resources to help you improve your research skills.


iPROGRESS is a set of online tutorials and downloadable guides to help you in the following research skills areas:

  • Using the Library Catalogue
  • Information for academic study
  • Finding quality information on the internet
  • Using electronic journal databases for finding journal articles
  • Referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Locating information for a project
  • Using other libraries and archives
  • The communication of information

To find out more and to access the tutorials and guides, log on to the portal and go to the My learning page. You will find iProgress in the Library support portlet.​

At university, time is perhaps the most precious commodity. These fact sheets and work sheets will help you to manage your time more efficiently.

Time management suggestions

This fact sheet makes suggestions for keeping:

  • A visible wall chart for immovable commitments such as deadlines, weddings or holiday etc.
  • An intermediate list of tasks (perhaps weekly) whilst keeping an eye on your wall chart
  • A daily list of tasks

Download Time management suggestions below.

Time management - how do you spend your time?

Use this work sheet to explore how you use your time:

  • Use the grid to find out what you actually do in a week. Are your important tasks always becoming urgent? Are you in the quadrant of deception? Do you leave time for emergencies?
  • Getting the balance right. When are you wasting time? What should you do more of? What should you do less of?
  • Includes some tips for getting the most out of your time

Download Time management - how do you spend your time? below.

Time management key points

This is a condensed list of the key time management tips:

  • Managing your time
  • Defining tasks
  • Setting up a place to study
  • Ensuring you have what you need to hand

Download Time management key points below.

These fact sheets and guides will help you to develop your exam techniques, from managing stress and worry, through exam preparation to the exam istself.

Coping succesfully with exams

This fact sheet offers exam advice on the following areas:

  • The run up to the exam - avoiding last minute hitches, having the righ equipment, knowing where you are supposed to be
  • Pre exam knowledge - how much time and how many questions?
  • In the exam - which question to work on first, planning, and managing the stress
  • After the exam - avoiding 'post-mortems' and then after a decent interval reflecting on what went well and not so well to help you next time

Download Coping successfully with exams below.

Managing anxiety in revision and exams

This work sheet offers you the chance to work through your anxiety issues and to turn anxiety into a positive force:

  • What causes your anxiety and what affect does it have on you?
  • How can you deal with your anxiety?
  • Relaxation techniques during revision
  • Tips for dealing with exam room nerves

Download Managing anxiety in revision and exams below.

Preparing for exams

This fact sheet will help you to prepare for your exams:

  • Starting early and timetabling your revision
  • Organising your revision material
  • Using SQ3R as a revision tool
  • Ensuring you know what will happen on the day

Download Preparing for exams below.

There is a vast selection of books available in the library relating to study skills, many of which are subject specific, but the following are particularly useful and very accessible.

Cottrell, S., (2013) The Study Skills Handbook, 4th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1137289252, 9781137289254.

Cottrell, S., (2013) The Study Skills Handbook. Simplified Chinese Language Edition. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 023036246X, 9780230362468.

McMillan, K., (2011) Study Skills for International Students. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0273731157, 9780273731153.

Moore. S., et al (2010) The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook. McGraw-Hill/Open University Press. ISBN 0335234429, 9780335234424.

Pears, R., & Shields, G., (2016) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide.10th Revised and Expanded Edition. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1137585048, 9781137585042.

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