Study skills and support

Learn how to study effectively and make the most of your university studies.

Help with your academic work

Managing academic work is one of the main concerns of students beginning university study. There are several sources of support with your academic work.

Talk to someone

Want to develop your academic skills and become a more effective learner? The Academic Skills Centre provides general study skills support and advice on improving your academic writing. We also offer bookable individual appointments throughout the year.

Subject librarians can give you tailored support, one-to-one or in groups, to help you study effectively and carry out research for essays and projects.

The University has a designated Mathematics Support Centre. Drop-in sessions and one-to-one support are available to help you to become more prepared for the mathematical or statistical components of your studies.

The University offers Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) to give students an opportunity to work together and discuss their learning. PASS sessions are weekly or fortnightly one hour study groups for students who are new to an academic module. Sessions are facilitated by student Leaders in higher years.

Your Academic or Personal Tutor can also help if you are having problems keeping up with your studies. He or she can tell you about additional support that might be available within your School or Department, and advise about wider issues to do with your course.

If the academic concerns you have raised with your School or Department remain unsolved, you can get help from the DPVC for Student Experience,.

Workshops

The Academic Skills Centre offers a programme of workshops to help students develop a number of key skills including preparing for academic study, improving your note taking, reading, writing skills and presentation skills.

Self-help training

You can improve your study skills using our online and self-help resources. These resources can be found at our Academic Skills Gateway. In addition, to the Gateway, we also have a fantastic resource to help you make the transition to Higher Education called Skills4Uni

Using the library

Library Services offer a range of library skills, training and individual support for all students studying and researching at the University.

If you are starting on an essay or project and need help finding information, contact your Subject Advisor for advice. They can offer group or one-to-one training, arranged at your convenience and tailored to your needs.

You can also use the Just Ask! online messaging facility if you have a library or information related question.

Plagiarism and referencing

Referencing (and understanding and avoiding plagiarism) is one of the big challenges that students face when they start studying at University. Your school will issue guidance on exactly what they require in terms of referencing, as this can vary in different departments and by subject area, but the University also provides the following generic guidance for you. 

Use helpful resources for referencing

Time management

Time management is not just about getting to lectures on time, doing your reading and handing asignments in on time. Effectively managing all aspects of your life (academic, domestic and social) will help you to make the most of your university experience. Have a look at some of our suggestions.

Dyslexia study support

The Disability and Learning Support Service provides study skills pages tailored to students with dyslexia or other learning difficulties.

Further support for dyslexia or other learning difficulties can be found on our dyslexia support page.

Postgraduate students and researchers

Training in IT and research skills aimed at postgraduate students is available from the Technology Skills Development Team.

For postgraduate researchers, the University Graduate School provides access to training courses and opportunities to network with other researchers.

For postgraduate Taught students the Academic Skills Centre also provides some workshops and online resources to help you in your studies:

Birmingham International Academy (BIA)

Insessional English at Birmingham International Academy (BIA)

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate international student whose first language is not English, look out for the Birmingham International Academy’s (free) lunchtime lectures, workshops, short courses, drop-ins and individual tutorials to help develop your English language and academic skills.

Your first step should be to complete the BIA’s English Self-Assessment (ESA online) to diagnose your own strengths and areas for improvement:

This assessment will not affect your programme grades or be shown on your academic records. It is a diagnostic assessment to help guide you to any further academic English support that you need.

The BIA’s Insessional English Programme offers:

• Lunchtime English: Pick a topic and come along to a lunchtime class

• e-English: Online independent learning materials through CANVAS

• 1-1English!: Individual, bookable, confidential English language appointments

• AskEnglish!: Drop in and speak to an English tutor in or near your department

• Workshop English: Boost your spoken English on Wednesday afternoons

• English for Your Subject: Discipline-specific academic English for departments

• Thesis Writing: Courses for PhD and Masters students

• Summarise Don’t Plagiarise!: Strategies and practice for avoiding plagiarism

• Partners’ English Classes: for partners of international postgraduate students

Further information: 

Digital & Technology Skills Team

A dedicated team able to provide you with the digital skills and behaviours needed to quickly and confidently use any suite of technologies you may encounter. 

Computers and IT

Need help logging in to my.bham? Forgotten your password or where the computer clusters are? IT services can help with all your computing queries.

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If you have a technical question you can contact our IT colleagues as they are much better at that stuff than we are!