The first of September means many things – new beginnings, goodbye summer and perhaps even a fresh academic diary. While our brilliant PGCE students have already joined us, we know there are a few of you still sat at home wondering how best you might pass the time until your own course kickstarts. From keeping up your motivation to getting your proverbial academic skills ducks lined up, here are our top 3 tips for staying ahead:

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Read up!

Not only can reading for pleasure be wonderfully relaxing, it can also improve your writing skills (Whitten et al., 2019). Think of it as an almost blissfully passive osmosis of new vocabulary and well-modelled sentence structures. Simply find something that piques your interest and your favourite chair to enjoy both wellbeing and brain-boosting benefits. Or, for those ready to delve back into their subject area, reignite your curiosity with your course reading list, ask your tutor for recommendations, or follow your nose in the depths of Discover More.

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Past feedback is your friend

We understand that looking at old assignments can make you wince, conjuring up memories of late nights and even anxiety to get them finished to the best of your ability. However they are also usually bursting with useful pointers for the next time you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!). We recommend seeing if you can pick out just 3 aspects to focus on, which might be – for example – referencing, sentence structure, and paragraphing. If you’re unsure exactly how to improve these skills, getting in touch with our team for a 1-2-1 appointment or joining us for a UniSkills webinar is a good place to start.

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Hone your skills, or learn something new

The lull before term starts is also a great opportunity to brush up on any other skills which may be useful for your personal, academic or professional development. LinkedIn Learning is a fantastic resource for exploring what the digital world can offer, while the internet in general is jam-packed with organisation apps and note taking techniques. Now may also be the ideal time to check out the wealth of resources on our UniSkills web pages, which include handy guides for topics such as proofreading and presenting with impact.

image of a notebook that says "a little  space to be creative"

We hope this has left you energised and inspired to make the most of the next few weeks, remembering too that rest and relaxation is equally important. In the meantime if you have any doubts or questions in relation to your academic skills before, or during next term, the Student Engagement Team is here and happy to support you.

WHITTEN, C., LABBY, S. and SULLIVAN, S., 2019. The impact of Pleasure Reading on Academic Success. Journal of Multidisciplinary Graduate Research. 2 (1).