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Learning Disability Week: How our Study Skills Team support you

Getting the most out of your university experience can be a challenge, however, it should be an enjoyable one. How can you ensure that you’re working efficiently whilst keeping a healthy balance between your studies and the rest of your life? We spoke to two of our Study Skills Advisors, Ruth and Kylie, for their advice on managing your time and workload, to help you hit the ground running.

By Grant Longstaff. Published 23 June 2023.

The Study Skills team are an online service that offers 1-2-1 appointments for all our students, no matter their subject area or level of study. The service is free for all students to access and our support is tailored to each student’s individual needs so it’s a valuable service. A few of the topics we cover often include reading and note-taking, workshop prep, time management, revision, preparing for exams, managing anxiety and procrastination, and essay writing. We also run live webinars and Q&A drop-ins weekly and have created a huge number of resources for our students.

Our team of Study Skills Advisors have a wealth of experience supporting students in Higher Education. We also have individual specialisms within our team such as academic writing, professional legal skills, and supporting neurodivergent students with conditions such as Dyslexia and ADHD.

The types of things we do varies, and they are hugely dependent on the time of year and what specific questions students bring to their appointments. Our job is to support them with anything that may be affecting their learning and to help them reach their potential. Our support is tailored to individual needs and learning profile and no issue is too big or too small to discuss. A few examples of typical study skills appointments include:

  • Helping our students to prioritise your revision tasks and make a sustainable study schedule.
  • Helping them balance work, study and other commitments
  • Discussing different reading and notetaking strategies to help them speed up theirweekly prep reading.
  • Discussing mock assignment submissions and helping them understand and implement the feedback.
  • Specific study strategies for Dyslexia, ADHD and other neurodivergent conditions
  • Help with evaluating current learning methods, understanding unique learning profiles and testing some new methods.
  • Support with consolidatingr course materials more effectively.

Study Skills Advisor Ruth Arrowsmith-Crook works primarily with neurodivergent students. She offered some advice on time management. She advises that “When it comes to time management, one of the most common problems for students is procrastination anxiety. This can happen for lots of different reasons but often it occurs because students feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. This can be especially true starting a new course, so be kind to yourself as this is normal. My top tip to help with procrastination is to do some planning and categorising. Try traffic-lighting tasks. This could be in terms of difficulty, or it could be how long they might take. Get everything out of your head and then create a sustainable schedule for yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you do this for a whole week or just a couple of days at a time; grab a calendar or a diary and plan out what your week will look like. Start by filling in all of your existing commitments – work, classes, family and social activities etc, and then you can start to plan your time. Think about how, when and where you might study best. If you do find yourself struggling with procrastination there’s loads of help available in our resources, webinars and 121 appointments. My advice when it happens is to stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, reduce the demand and try to find one very small and easy task that gives you that sense of progress.”

Fellow Study Skills Advisor Kylie Osborn also offered guidance on workload management. She feels that “A really big part of studying in Higher Education is that we are expected to become independent learners, but this isn’t always an easy thing to know how to do. My advice is to think of it as job sharing. For most of the week, you’re going to the ‘student’, who turns up and does the work, but there also needs to be a small part of the week – maybe half an hour or an hour, where you stop being the student for a bit and become your own ‘manager’. The manager’s job is to have oversight of all the work that could be done and then prioritise it. The manager creates your study schedule. They look ahead at your readings, deadlines and prep tasks for that week and estimates how long they might take and plan when you’re going to work on specific activities. This way, when you are back in ‘student’ mode, you can sit down and jump straight into the work nicely and easily. We actually run an online Mastermind group every Monday lunchtime which our students can drop into to do their manager activities each week – it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable to the weekly plan you’ve made for yourself.”

Students are able to make use of our online resources, book our weekly webinars, and access 1-2-1 appointments at any point during their course so there’s lots of support available whether you are a new or returning student.

 

You can find out more about how we support our students on our We Support Your Ambition hub.