Study skills online

An electronic guide to some of the best ways to study

Getting the help you need to succeed is a sign of strength, not weakness.

    1. 10.1Work, particularly manual work, de-stresses most people; studying means continual exposure to new ideas, deadlines and financial pressures and these can increase your stress levels. Many students cope well, but all will get fed up at some stage during their studies. Get help when you need it.
    2. 10.2Yourself. Get organised and tackle any problems early. Write them down to get them in perspective, in order and under your control. Share your concerns with friends and your tutor. Don't internalise your problems - this will make them worse.
    3. 10.3Your Director of Undergraduate Studies will guide you in your choice of subjects (if any) and can advise you on general matters such as degree and examination regulations. Make sure you provide required information promptly e.g. change of address, a passport-sized photo with printed name on the back, completed module option forms, etc. so that accurate records can be kept.
    4. 10.4Your Lecturers will be pleased to help you with specific problems related to the modules they teach. Such problems should be raised at seminars, or exceptionally, by appointment. Don't expect a drop-in service or them to be on-call 24 hours a day!
    5. 10.5Your Tutor will help you with any outstanding problems (academic or personal) and you should make contact every 2-3 weeks during term time. Your tutor must be informed of any mitigating circumstances affecting your studies or exams, which MUST be followed by documentation (e.g. self-certification form, medical certificate etc). It is your responsibility to provide this written documentation to the Course Director. Failure to do so will mean that the Exam Board will be unable to take it into account. You cannot submit mitigating circumstances retrospectively i.e. after the Exam Board. Your tutor, or your Course Director, should also be told of any permanent, protracted or recurrent problems (e.g. dyslexia, disability or injury) so that we can form an accurate picture of your academic abilities. This information will be treated with discretion.

      You are recommended to submit ALL mitigating circumstances, whether or not you think you will pass; it is your right to do so. You should bear in mind, however, that although you will be treated individually and fairly by the Exam Board, our decisions are normally based overwhelmingly on the evidence of your marks; mitigating circumstances will normally only make a difference in borderline cases. It is also worth bearing in mind that the Exam Board has a responsibility to you to ensure that you are prepared academically for the next level of study; mitigating circumstances cannot make good any deficit here.

      Discuss your exam results and choice of optional modules with your tutor. Discuss your hobbies and interests too, if only so that your tutor can write an informed reference for you. Your tutor will help you prepare a perfect C.V. and advise on other aspects of job hunting - keep him/her fully informed. If you do not get on with your tutor, you have the right to change tutor; to do so, see the Senior Tutor.

    6. 10.6The Class Representative is an elected student member of the class who can approach the department on your behalf if you have any problems.
    7. 10.7Your Classmates can also be a great help in your studies. Discussing work with them fills in blanks and gives fresh insights.
    8. 10.8Remember

      See also the International Students www page on http://www.brunel.ac.uk/international/contacttheinternationaloffice which has a lot of advice on living in the UK and being a student at Brunel.

    9. 10.9The Language Centre currently run the following courses (1 hour per week) which you should consider attending to improve your English, even if it's your first language:
      • English language problems for speakers of English as a first language
      • English language, literature & culture for overseas students
      • English as a foreign language
      • writing skills for overseas students
      • surgeries for individual student language problems (native and overseas) by arrangement
      See their web site: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/international/iplc/english-language-courses
    10. 10.10The Professional Development Centre will provide advice on all aspects of job hunting and information on companies you are interested in. They have a selection of sample videos and C.V.'s. Make an appointment to see them and visit their www page at: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/pdc/

      You should also look at Kompass (which routes through to Key British Enterprises KBE) for company information on the CD-Rom Dataset Software Group on the Brunel Windows Network. For undergraduate and postgraduate taught course information see Ecctis (also in this group) which links to www pages of each university for more up-to-date information.

    11. 10.11 Information Services. The Library will help you find what you need or order it for you. Most course books are available here. Ask at the Issue Desk about the Library Tour (both physical and online). See also http://www.brunel.ac.uk/life/study/library

      User Support will help you with any software (and sometimes hardware) problems and advice, and they can usually retrieve deleted files from backups in an emergency. There is a lot of information on computing at: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/life/study/computer-centre/support
      If you suspect your files are being tampered with, see User Support IMMEDIATELY.

      On the web, a really great web site is Mathcentre at Loughborough University. This will allow you to download leaflets on a wide range of maths topics in pdf format.

    12. 10.12Learning Difficulties.

      Some of you will come to university with no idea that you suffer from a learning difficulty until you start your course. DO NOT PANIC. Whilst this happens to some students, it could be that you are not, for example, dyslexic and are just finding the work harder than you anticipated. If you think it is more that that then you should discuss your case with one of the disability officers, see http://www.brunel.ac.uk/life/supporting-you/disability-and-dyslexia who can, if needbe, arrange for an assessment.

      Learning Difficulties encompasses a wide area of learning impairment such as

      • Dyslexia
      • Dysgrahia
      • Dysnumeria
      • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
      You may already know that you suffer from some form of learning difficulty and your last school or college may have already taken measures with assisted learning to remedy that fact. You might also have seen an Educational Psychologist. The psychologist may have made recommendations to assist you in your academic life such as:
      • extra time in coursework and exams (usually 25% extra in exams)
      • computer usage during exams
      • a reader
      • a writer
      • exams to be printed on different colour paper or in a larger font.
      You should show these recommendations to your tutor and undergraduate course director who may be able to act upon them.

      Footnote from one of the students who helped write this web document.

      "I have found that in order to survive University, you have to do a few things, much of which has already been stated in the past pages of this guide.

      • Approach everything with a positive attitude
      • Plan (it may be boring but it will pay off)
      • Do not be afraid of spending more time on work than your friends
      • Speak out; do not be afraid of asking for help!"

      You might find the Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Interest Group's web site interesting and useful although this is targetted more at (maths) teachers than students. If you see something there that might help you, ask your teacher/lecturer to implement it in your classes/exams.

      Finally http://www.dyslexic.com/ is a commercial company selling specialist software for disabled students.