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Getting Started and Progressing through your Studies

Welcome

Getting started and progressing through your studies

If you're new to university or about to progress to a new level of study, this guide includes tips, information and guidance on how to develop, refresh and strengthen your academic skills.

Find out more about our session types and how to register to book for sessions. You can view our full timetable on our website, or view up-to-date availability in UniHub Appointments and Events

Where do I start?

No matter what stage you are at in your studies, it is useful to begin by reflecting on your existing strengths, and identifying where you can develop your skills further. You can do this by: 

  • Taking the Skills Check – a quick 10 minute survey which provides personalised recommendations on resources to develop your skills. 

  • Watching our screencast for a quick step by step video guide on how to reflect on your strengths. 

Or, you can download and complete this quiz to discover how you learn best:

Develop your academic skills

If you are just starting at University or about to progress to a new level of your course, developing and refreshing your core academic study skills can help you feel prepared, and boost the quality of your work.  
 
Check out our Study Guides on the following core academic skills topics:  

We also cover these topics in our screencasts available via our YouTube channel.  

Or View our calendar and book a session

Learning at university

Studying at University involves some new forms of learning, teaching and assessment. Check out our infographic below for more information on these: 

You may like to take a look at the following books for an insight into online learning

Making the most of feedback: 

Whatever stage you are at with your studies, making the most of your feedback is the key way to reflect on and improve your academic work (and subsequently, your grades!). Take a look at the Feedback Cycle below to understand how to do this: 

Once we understand what our feedback means, how can we start to respond to it to then develop the standard of our work? It all starts with your engagement with the process. Responding to feedback can be considered a cycle. Capturing what’s been said, considering the significance of it, planning and implementing a change and reflecting on how effective it has been. 1) Capture:  •	Many people don’t capture feedback in the moment.  •	Collating the feedback that you receive in one place can be beneficial. You will know where it is, and also you will have it available for next time.  •	Don’t forget to note both positive and developmental comments, considering what you do well and continuing to build on that allows you to maximise the marks in this area. 2) Consider:  •	Noting down your areas for development will allow you to see patterns.  •	Have both the assignment brief and the mark scheme to hand, to reflect on what you might have missed.  •	It is natural to feel emotional or defensive in response to feedback. Allow yourself to react (give yourself time and space to do so!)  •	Once you’ve had a chance to react, you’ll be able to see how the feedback can be developmental and constructive.  •	Be honest with yourself, and consider how much time and effort you put into the piece of work.  •	Importantly, consider yourself as a whole person and not just as a student. Are there any other factors that need to be addressed before you can move on? Such as mental health issues or caring responsibilities?  •	Clarify anything that is unclear with your tutor - make sure you understand what’s been said. 3) Action:  •	Once you are clear about the skills that you need to develop and the behaviour you need to change, it’s time to take some action.  •	What resources do you need to help you to develop these skills, and who can help you? Devise and implement a realistic plan.  4) Reflect:  •	Having implemented a change or tried a new approach, how did it go?  •	Did you feel happier with your next assignment? Did you get different feedback?  •	What else could you try?

Receiving feedback on your work 

Although you will receive feedback through assessments on your course, you can access feedback on your academic writing in-progress via:  

  • Studiosity (an online writing feedback service available via Blackboard) 

  • Writing Forum at the Skills Centre. 

Progressing through your studies

If you are new to university, or returning from a break: The following screencasts provide a useful overview of key academic skills and tips for studying effectively:  

If you are starting a new year of your undergraduate studies: Our ‘Levelling Up’ screencasts can help you understand what to expect, and provide tips and guidance on how to boost your work to the required level: 

If you are studying a postgraduate taught degree (such as a Master’s degree):  

  • We run a Writing Gym series where you can learn new approaches to writing with others.  

If you are completing a Doctoral degree: Our Doctoral Skills webinars offer opportunities to expand your knowledge on key aspects of studying at doctoral level: 

  • Critical Writing for your Doctorate 

  • Reading and Synthesis for your Doctorate 

  • Editing Techniques for your Doctorate 

If you are completing a Doctoral degree: The Sheffield Hallam Doctoral School also offers a wide range of training and development sessions and events. 

Managing your time effectively

The tips, information and advice included in this Study Guide of course takes time to implement. Our Study Guide on Time Management covers various strategies for managing your time effectively.  

Additionally, the below resources are useful to organise your time when studying, and working on assignments: 

  • Use an assignment calculator to understand how to budget your time. 

  • You could use an online calendar, or a specific study planner to create a study timetable. 

  • Try using a Pomodoro timer to split your time between different tasks. 

Academic integrity and plagiarism

Academic integrity is about ensuring that any evidence used in your writing is referenced and acknowledged.  

If you are new to APA Referencing, take a look at the guide here

Please see the following information and guidance on academic integrity and plagiarism: