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Library Service Blog

5 tips for getting ahead this summer

by Kirsty Hemsworth on 2022-08-13T07:00:00+01:00 | Comments

Keep your interest in your subject alive over the summer break to take you into the autumn term. Here are a few easy tips. 

1. Set goalsA hand drawn illustration shows a calethea plant alongside a notebook and pot of pens. The style is hand drawn, with messy lines and shading.

Set yourself some goals to keep your interest ticking over. You don’t need to do loads of work, but set some small goals that contribute to your subject knowledge for next year. For example, read news stories and look for a story a week that’s of interest to you and connected to your subject area. You could watch news programmes or listen to podcasts. Consider scanning the website of any professional bodies or associations linked to your subject. Make a few notes: why did you find the content interesting? What sorts of debates does this issue generate? What’s your stance and viewpoint relating to this topic?

2. Clues to content

Look at the module guides you can access and identify any clues to the content for next year. Is there a reading list that’s been issued?  If so, start reading key texts now and make some notes. Do you know anyone from the year above? Ask what might be good to read. Was there a recommended textbook from the current year that you should have read and you didn’t have time to read it fully? Do some reading now and make a few notes - you have time to catch up!

3. Start a subject journal

A subject journal is a way of logging your reading, and your thoughts and ideas on any topics relating to your subject area that you encounter. Use this as place to mull ideas over - it could lead to you identifying a possible dissertation topic early on. Start a page for a bullet list of possible topics you could be interested in and note down any sources of information to come back to later. Listen out for comparative sources in the news- how are leaders in other countries attacking problems?

4. Use technology for quick referencing

If you didn’t use technology to help you last year, give yourself time to explore what’s available to you. You could become familiar with RefWorks and have a play around using it to save references. Create a bibliography from it, so you know how to use it. You can access it by looking for it under ‘R’ under databases on the library website. You can even download any plug ins and test to see if everything works well before next term.

5. Use subject guides

If you didn’t have chance to use your subject guides in great detail on the library webpage this year, it’s worth becoming familiar with the curated resources you can find under your subject heading.

Depending on your subject area you can familiarise yourself with the location of statistics relevant to your course, journal editions of most relevance, public and professional bodies ( news and publications sections of these websites can be useful for current ideas), market research sources, UK legal materials, and policy and guidance materials. Why not set a goal of reading an article or two each week? These resources could really add to the depth of your writing next academic year.

If this seems a lot of effort, think ahead to how pleased you will feel to know you are starting the next academic year having already laid some foundations in preparation for a positive start.


Have a great summer!

Michele, Academic Skills Advisor

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