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Study skills > Module 1 > Page 5


Independent learning - taking control:

Extract from Cottrell (13)

There is a different approach to learning and teaching in higher education than at school

  • you are expected to work on your own for longer periods, without a tutor in the room to guide you
  • you are given a great deal more responsibility for your own success
  • it can feel as if your study lacks structure. However, it can also be very liberating – you have more freedom to study in ways that suit you
  • take advantage of this and gain an understanding of your own learning pattern, so that you can study effectively

Making choices

It is your responsibility to make sensible choices of options within your programme, as well as to plan extracurricular activity.

Your choices will affect your programme and your future careers. This can feel daunting. However, it can also feel exciting to be more in charge of your own life.

Finding resources and support

At school you may have received a great deal of guidance on what pages to read in books, how to interpret assignment titles, how to interpret what you read, what information to include in an assignment, and how to structure your answers. At university, you will be expected to work out most of this on your own.

Although you will receive recommendations for books, equipment and sources of support, these recommendations (often in book format and supplied by your department) are only part of what you need to know.

You will also need to:

  • find out what additional reading is needed
  • what resources and supports are available and when to use each of these. The student Union Office or Access Office should be able to offer advice in this area
  • set aside time to think through these sorts of issues

Time management and motivation

  • you will spend only small amounts of time at scheduled lectures
  • you will be responsible for organising the rest of your time so that you meet deadlines. This may seem hard at first but these skills develop over time
  • when working alone, it is important to stay focused
  • it is normal for your levels of motivation to change. Plan ahead so that you use your time in the best way possible
  • study groups can help you to maintain your focus when working towards a deadline

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