Study Skills Support

Study Skills are the skills you need to get the most out of your studying and learning. These skills are an important set of transferable life skills that can help you in everyday life too.

Follow our tips to get the best from your course and be successful.
. Attendance is directly linked to your success. Make sure you attend every session. If for any reason you can’t attend, make sure you let your tutor know and discuss how you can keep on track.

Be on time. Turn up to lessons on time and ready to start your class. Even being a few minutes late back from a break can mean you have missed the main information about the lesson. Always let your tutor know if you are not going to be on time. This shows respect for your tutor and fellow learners.

Remember equipment. Make sure you bring all other relevant equipment to your classroom or online session so that you can take notes. You can use your own laptop/tablet and record or type notes as you go along. If a session is being recorded, your tutor will tell you and will follow the recording policy.

Active Listening. Active listening is a skill which needs to be developed. This involves listening to key areas from presentations and discussions to build your skills and knowledge which you may be questioned on to ensure points are absorbed. Try and take it in without chatting to your colleagues or getting distracted.

Take notes. Find the best way to make notes for you. Sometimes it can be hard to get down everything your tutor says but try to pick out the most important and relevant points. If you are not sure, ask. Use colours or highlighters to make things stand out. If you are using your tablet or laptop, you may find using voice notes helpful too. This skill will develop throughout your course.

Organise your work. File your work after each session in a folder (digital or paper). If you need to use a particular format, your tutor will give you guidance on this. Use dividers and highlighters to arrange your work in an order that makes sense to you and is easy to find when you need it.

Top Tip! Add the date to any notes you make.

Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, make sure you ask your tutor about it. Not everyone feels comfortable asking questions in front of others in the class. If this is the case, wait until the tutor finishes speaking then ask.

Top Tip! There’s no such thing a stupid question.

How you present yourself and how to work with others. An effective learner will be respectful to colleagues, remembering respect is a two-way process. You should always use appropriate language and engage in group activities even if you find this challenging to begin with.

Find an area or place you can study in. Try to keep this area organised, quiet and happy to study in.

Identify your regular study slots – maybe you prefer doing a little bit of studying every day, or a lot a couple of times a week. Whichever it is, make sure you stick to it.

Top Tip! Set a reminder in your phone for your study times. Or use an app such as Focus Keeper

Create your schedule – this will help you keep track of what you should be doing and when. Remember to keep your key dates for deadlines and assignments to hand.

 Don’t leave everything to the last minute - be realistic about how long things will take.

 Be mindful of your personal well-being - Make sure you get enough sleep and relaxation to be able to focus on your studies. Eat healthily and drink plenty of water. Take time out from studying - we all need time to relax and unwind. Make sure you also plan time for yourself to go out with your friends, exercise or watch TV.

 Being a Reflective Learner 

Reflection is an integral feature of all learning as this provides the link between your previous experience, knowledge and understanding with new learning. Ways to develop this skill will be supported by a range of activities throughout your course such as evaluations with key questions and prompts. You will be encouraged to record your progress each week within your own personal log, which provides a useful reference tool if you need to refresh or recap on previous learning. Your tutor will show you how to access and complete this.

Make sure your tutor knows about any concerns you might have. Use the prompts below to help you:

Is there anything I need to let my tutor know about? Think about anything that might be affecting your work or additional support you might need. Or what you need to do if you miss a lesson.

 What am I enjoying about my learning? Think about topics in your course that you like and how this is helping you.

  What am I doing well? Think about things you know you are getting on well with. How can these help you with other areas of the course?

 What am I finding the most difficult at the moment? Think about topics within your course that you are not getting on with and why you might be finding something more challenging.

  Is there a reason I am not enjoying it? Think about whether it is because you find it too hard or too easy. Remember it can often be difficult when learning something new.

 Is there anything I am finding difficult at the moment? Think about if you need more help with anything and what you can do too.

 Is there anything I need to work on? Think about what you might need to give a little bit of extra time to within your work.

 What targets can I set for myself? Think about where you want to be on your course in the next few weeks and in the future.

 What can I do to help myself? Think about the independent learning you can do.


Preparing for Assessments and Exams 

By planning and organising your time you can make your workload more manageable and avoid last minute stress. Follow some of the tips below and you should be able to go into any exam or assessment with lots of confidence.

 1. Plan ahead Before you do any work, sit down and plan what you are going to do between now and your exam date/ assessment deadline. Create a timetable – and make sure you stick to it. Find a quiet place to work.

2. Make summary notes Gather all your material for the topic area and reduce them into brief, clear notes

3. Be aware of your key dates Do not leave everything until the last minute. 

4.. Understand how your memory works Set out your revision timetable to learn something, revise it again in the next few hours, then again in the next couple of days and it makes the most of how your memory works, meaning things should stay in your mind for longer.

4. Try not to revise too much in a day Don't feel that you need to revise everything in one go. As well as keeping a fresh mind, going back the next day to continue revising will renew your knowledge and hopefully help you retain the information for longer.

6. Eat and drink properly While you are revising it is important to eat and drink properly. Fish, eggs and milk are high in protein which is used by your brain, meanwhile nuts and bananas are good sources of energy. Keep hydrated.

7. Take lots of breaks Your mind will only be able to concentrate well for short periods of time - the first 15 minutes of revision are thought to be the best. Make sure you stop for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so.

8. Use diagrams Colourful pictures and writing will help keep the material in your head for longer. Draw diagrams, use mind-maps and get out your highlighters to help you remember keywords.

9. Know what’s expected of you Make sure you know the format of the exam or assessment and follow this. Stick to word counts if provided

10. Check your work Check your work is correct and meets the criteria required. Proof read for any errors.

 11. Test yourself Or, get someone else to! Ask them if they can flick through your notes and ask you some questions. If there are any you can't answer, note the topic down so you can re-visit it afterwards.

12. Try to sleep well Try to have a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep before your exam. If you’re going to revise, just glance over your summary notes and keywords. Do not try and learn anything new the night before your exam or stress yourself out.

13.  Get support at home. Let your family and friends know that this is an anxious time for you.  Ask for their help during exam time.

14. Don't suffer in silence. If you are worried about anything, talk to your tutor.

Last modified: Thursday, 7 December 2023, 4:44 PM