Study skills

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Independent Learning

In university, the responsibility for learning falls on you. Lecturers are there to support you in understanding the study material and providing feedback on your assessments. However, it’s essential that you take the initiative to learn, comprehend, and meet all course and administrative requirements.

Critical Thinking and Critical Analysis

Critical thinking is a multifaceted process that entails dissecting information into its components, making comparisons, posing inquiries, and assessing its merits. When you cultivate critical thinking skills, it equips you to think logically and impartially.

Moreover, critical analysis involves putting critical thinking into action, enabling you to comprehend the content you read or hear more deeply. It also involves making connections to other sources, such as readings and lecture materials. These valuable abilities are indispensable when it comes to crafting well-structured assignments, allowing you to present your own perspectives and arguments while discerningly distinguishing them from the evidence and references you employ.

Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill that should be honed early on. It involves actively participating in each lecture, allowing yourself ample time for reading, reviewing, understanding, discussing with peers, and contemplating the subject matter. By evaluating the significance of each task and allocating priorities accordingly, students can efficiently achieve their objectives while staying productive. Embracing effective time management empowers students to make the most of their academic pursuits and strike a balance between various responsibilities.

Preparation for Effective Learning

Do not miss any lectures

To maximise your learning experience, follow these steps before, during, and after lectures:

– Before the lectures: Prioritise reading the materials beforehand to familiarise yourself with the topics, key vocabulary, and phrases used in your units. This preparation will help you grasp the content better during the actual lecture.
– In the lectures: Be an attentive listener. Rather than attempting to jot down everything, focus on taking concise notes of the crucial points. This will allow you to actively engage with the material and absorb the most important information.
– After the lectures: Take the time to review your notes and any provided handouts. Use this opportunity to fill in any gaps in your understanding. Additionally, conduct further research to delve deeper into the subject matter, broadening your knowledge and reinforcing what you’ve learned.

By following these practices, you can enhance your learning process and ensure a more comprehensive understanding of the course material.

Participate actively in tutorials

To make the most of your tutorial sessions, consider the following steps:

– Before the tutorials: Be proactive in your preparation by revising your lecture notes, completing your weekly readings, and having something to share or questions to ask. Your active participation may be evaluated, so it’s essential to come prepared.
– In the tutorials: Engage actively in the discussions. Listen attentively to your peers’ ideas and comments, as well as to your lecturers’ instructions. This will not only enrich your learning experience but also provide valuable insights and perspectives.
– After the tutorials: Take some time to review and consolidate what you’ve learned during the session. If needed, conduct further readings and research to deepen your understanding of the topics discussed. This post-tutorial review will reinforce your knowledge and ensure a more comprehensive grasp of the material

By following these steps, you can maximise your learning from tutorials, actively contribute to discussions, and build a stronger foundation of knowledge in the subject matter.

Reading at University

Reading university textbooks and related materials is an indispensable skill for successful research and essay writing. To make the most of your reading, it’s crucial to be selective in your choices, opting for relevant books or articles. Skimming and scanning techniques can be particularly helpful in extracting key information efficiently:

– Skimming provides an overview of the text, giving you a general understanding of its content.
– Scanning allows you to locate specific details by focusing on titles, table of contents, index, keywords, and the preface or conclusion.

As an active reader, always have a purpose in mind when reading and think about how the material connects with your lectures or other sources. Taking notes during the process will help you retain essential information and facilitate further research.

In addition to enhancing research and essay writing, reading in university nurtures critical thinking skills, fosters independent thought, and instils a lifelong passion for learning. It plays a central role in students’ academic success and personal development.

For finding reliable and current information to support your assignments, consider utilising the Smart Library at This resource can provide access to credible and relevant materials to strengthen your ideas, arguments, and opinions.

Academic Writing at University

Writing essays at the university level requires a distinct approach compared to high school. Most assignments demand a formal, academic style, employing clear and concise language to elucidate ideas developed through research. When composing such essays, consider the expression, tone, and language used throughout, while ensuring the conclusions drawn are fair, reasonable, and supported by evidence.

In a university essay, you are expected to:

– Present your position (thesis/argument): Address the essay question directly and express your own viewpoint, not solely relying on what others have said. Use your voice and words as much as possible to showcase your understanding and analysis.
– Structure your essay effectively: Organise your essay into sections, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Ensure each paragraph is well-structured and supported with appropriate references.
– Adopt an academic writing style: Maintain a formal and grammatically correct approach in your writing. Base your arguments on research and credible sources to strengthen your claims.
– Produce a high-quality essay: Familiarise yourself with the marking criteria, carefully analyse the essay questions, plan your research and readings, and compose your essay in a clear and coherent manner. Allow ample time for editing and proofreading before submitting your assignment.

If you find yourself unsure about the requirements, consult your unit guide or approach your lecturer or tutor for clarification. Seeking guidance can help you better understand the expectations and improve the quality of your essays at the university level.

Tips for Maintaining Academic Integrity

What is academic integrity, and why is it important? Throughout your degree, you’ll need to exemplify values such as honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in your learning process. Behaving dishonestly will result in academic penalties. However, there’s no need to worry as we provide ample support and resources to guide you from your first assignment through to graduation


The act of using words or ideas of another person without acknowledgment is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is considered a form of cheating and is regarded as a serious offence. If you submit an assignment without properly acknowledging your sources, you will be accused of plagiarism, and your work will not be recognised. Consequently, you may fail the unit or even face suspension from the school.

To avoid plagiarism, it is essential to use accepted referencing techniques or paraphrasing methods. Here are some guidelines to prevent plagiarism:

– Acknowledge (reference) everything that you borrow, including ideas, words, music, images, tables, graphs, and other forms of content.
– Always provide full and accurate references for all sources you have consulted and used in your work.
– Adhere to the required referencing styles specified in your units or courses.
– Ensure consistency in your referencing style throughout the assignment or paper.

By following these practices, you can maintain academic integrity and uphold the standards of ethical writing. If you have any questions or need further clarification, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your instructors or academic advisors.

Academic Referencing

Referencing is the practice of acknowledging the sources you’ve read and used in an assignment. It is also a way of showing recognition and respect for intellectual property. These sources may include books, journal or magazine articles, newspapers, company, government, or institutional reports, websites, or other personal communications. Your references showcase how extensively you have conducted research, indicate the quality of your work, and highlight the sources that have influenced your thinking. Specific details on how to reference should be available in each unit outline.

When you begin an assignment, you’ll need to review the referencing requirements. There are various referencing and citation styles, each with its own structure based on the type of sources and the number of authors. You can access the referencing resources on the Smart Library at

Remember, proper referencing is mandatory for all assignments at the university; failure to do so may result in disciplinary action for plagiarism.


Paraphrasing is the act of rewriting a piece of text in your own words while preserving its meaning and length. When paraphrasing, it is crucial to include a citation and the corresponding reference. This practice demonstrates that you have comprehended the context of the information you have read.

At ISB, we encourage you to take pride in your work and achieve success through your own efforts!