Chloe Kane & Associates / IPR Diploma Study Skills help / Issue 1 October 2004

Help with your study skills

Here we give you a full run down on the best books and sites to help improve your reading skills, note-taking, essay writing and exam techniques.


The Arts Good Study Guide
Ellie Chambers, Andrew Northedge OUP 1997

Written for students of arts and humanities subjects, whether on full-time, part-time or evening courses. It offers practical examples and activities to help you develop study strategies that really work. It will help you: organize yourself so that you make best use of your time; read and understand written, visual and aural 'texts'; make useful notes; write fluently and convincingly, making good use of textual illustration and evidence; get the most out of lectures, group discussions and prepare effectively for exams. T.

An A-Z of Exam Survival
Jim Burnett
Trotman 2004

Although written with GCSE and A Level students in mind, this book will take some of the pain out of the exam process for any level. Its easy, approachable style will help provide students with the right tools to cope with revision stress and deal with the work. It provides advice on: planning a revision timetable; efficient note taking and filing systems; memory aids including spider diagrams, Mind Maps and mnemonics; managing stress; last minute revision tips and advice on coping in the exam itself.

Writing an Essay: Simple Techniques to Transform Your Coursework and Examinations (Student Handbooks)
Brendan Hennessy
How To Books 2002

A useful book for helping you to plan and write essays, whether for the case study or exam. As one Amazon reviewer put it…”Just when I wanted to hide under the covers and scream ' I can't do it anymore, the words won't come, I don't know what I am doing!', I found this book. It is like a nice gentle tutor telling you it is going to be O.K. This book is full of excellent information and very readable. I recommend it for anyone who suffers from essayphobia from 16 - 100.”

Critical Thinking for Students: Learn the Skills of Critical Assessment and Effective Argument
Roy van den Brink-Budgen
How To Books 2000

A good handbook for students who want to develop their critical thinking skills. This will help both with exam essays and the diploma project. It has chapters on identifying arguments, analysing simple arguments, exploring weaknesses, finding strengths, and applying skills. Each chapter includes clearly expressed examples, and there are short exercises to support each section


General study skills sites and portals
Practical tools to help you study more effectively and remember what you read. More on Mind Mapping.

Support4learning is a brilliant portal with a huge range of study skills links to both academic and non-academic sites.

University study skills sites
Excellent study skills website from Southampton University with a “developing your skills” section. This has lots of practical worksheets for understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and improving your study skills. Lots of good links to other useful resources too.
Good study skills site by the University of Teeside. Lots of practical tips on essay writing. Check out the graded sample student essays (good, okay and poor). The points made by the marker are pertinent for PR essay writing too.
The University of Liverpool’s study skills site with lots of information and ideas for managing the learning process. It has everything from dealing with procrastination and sitting examinations, to organising your study space.
Interesting site with lots of links to other resources and the Open University’s online bookshop. Advice on using electronic and on-line resources, language skills, and exam techniques.

Specific study skills assistance

Find out more about your learning style using this excellent worksheet from Southampton University. It’ll teach you a lot about the way you like to learn and the challenges you may face.

Also look at for an excellent on-line learning styles test and personalised report.

Consider time management advice from Oxford Brookes University to help minimise stress and maximise your studying effectiveness:

Good pdf. worksheets on essay and report writing from London South Bank University:

Try Essay writing: the essential guide (PDF) from the Institute for Communication Studies at the University of Leeds. See the rest of the Leeds site at for more useful tips and advice.

Practical exam tips and ideas for dealing with nerves from Goldsmiths College: