Academic Skills

What are Academic Skills?

Whether you have come to University straight from school or college or after some years in work or raising a family, you will have certainly found that it differs in many ways from any studying you’ve done before. The Academic Skills tutors are here to help you find your feet in those first few weeks and to develop the skills you need to succeed whatever challenges you face throughout your course.

What can an Academic Skills Tutor do?

It’s not just a matter of all those references; you may find yourself presenting your ideas to other people in tutorials and seminars for the first time. The University’s Academic Skills Tutors are here to help you strengthen your research, problem-solving, time-management and other study skills.

They can help you improve your academic writing style, structure your work appropriately, construct arguments, gain confidence in referencing, finding and evaluating information, or in preparing for exams. Support is also available for numeracy and information technology.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate students come to see us. Some because they are unsure about what is expected of them at university, some because they are struggling with certain aspects of academic assessment and others because they want to improve their grades.

You may find that all you require is a single informal session to talk something through, or you may find regular tutorials more beneficial.

The tutorials are confidential and are available Monday to Friday.

Do I need an appointment?

Usually, yes. It may be possible at quiet times to see a tutor straight away, but be aware that Academic Skills Tutors will be very busy, especially around course deadline dates. So think ahead, book an appointment early on in the preparation of an assignment and be ready to suggest a couple of times when you are available as your tutor may well be busy at your preferred time.

To book an appointment you can visit in person, email or phone.

Do Academic Skill Tutors proof read?

No. We don’t correct mistakes for you. We will point out the type of errors you are making and provide strategies to help you correct them yourself. We cannot read whole pieces of work, especially in the case of dissertations. It is better to book several appointments so that we can discuss small sections as you are working on them, rather than trying to tackle the whole work at the final draft stage.

Do Academic Skills Tutors help with oral presentations?

Yes. A tutor can help you structure your presentation and also act as an audience providing feedback to help you improve your performance. A run through can be invaluable, especially if it is a group presentation where you need to co-ordinate each individual’s contribution. It can also help to iron out any difficulties you may have with the visual aids you are using.

How do I get the most out of my tutorial?

Make sure that you arrive on time so that you can make full use of the appointment.

Come prepared with a good idea of the work you want to cover. You may have general questions you want to ask about referencing, essay structure or exam preparation, or your query may relate to a specific assignment or exam. If the latter applies it is helpful if you bring along the assessment details and any essay plans or drafts. Try to focus in on what you think needs work and try also to develop your own strategies. Your tutor may well ask what you have tried and why you think these strategies have not worked.

Your tutor will help you develop new strategies. Become an active learner by putting these into action.