Learning Resources

*New Resources in Development*

The LDS team have devised a selection of learning resources to support your academic work and personal development. Please browse the areas below to find the resource(s) relevant to your query.

Academic Writing

Essay Writing

General Writing Resources

Report Writing

Reflective Writing and Learning Journals

Download Resources:

Learning Journals and Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing Video

Virtual Workshop:

 

Grammar and Punctuation

English Language Interactive Tutorials

The following self-paced interactive learning materials seek to help develop your understanding of the English language.

[Flash player and audio required]

Confusable Words

Punctuation

Nouns

Verbs

Past Tense

Present Tense

Future Tense

Adverbs

Verb Test

Prepositions

Web Resources

Essay Writing

Essay Writing - University of Reading

Various fantastic essay writing resources including planning, writing and improving your writing.

Writing Lab

Comprehensive resources for essay writing. Including; process of writing, academic style, grammar and writing techniques.

Guide to writing

Useful tips for all stages of writing.

Step by step writing process

A guide to the essay writing process. Can help you get started, become more efficient and to generally improve your essay writing abilities.

Writing Better University Essays

Wikibooks guide to help you write better university essays: lots of detail under the various headings.

Grammar and Punctuation help

University of Bristol guide to improving your grammar and punctuation.

Report Writing

Report writing, literature reviews and dissertation writing

Univeristy of Reading's clear and concise guides to different types of academic writing

Features of good reports from The University of Reading

University of Sussex detailed guide to writing reports including structure, planning, critical analysis and writing style.

Literature Review

UNC Writing Center handout on literature reviews

Dissertations

University of Leicester's concise guide to dissertation writing

The Guardian guide to dissertation writing: Part 1 - How to planPart 2 - How to writePart 3 - How to edit

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

Exam Preparation

Revision and Preparing for Exams

General Stress Management

Overview:

Stress can be both beneficial and problematic. It is important to know what the difference is and how to cope with stress in different situations.

Some benefits of pressure

  • Helps to motivate us e.g. to learn, achieve goals
  • Stimulates us to get things done
  • Pressure and demands from situations and people challenge us‌
  • Energy that can be used creatively
  • Personal growth

Think of a recent example where you felt stressed and it was useful to help you perform e.g. your driving test, revising for an exam. meeting an essay deadline...

Unhelpful stress

Sometimes stress can become a problem. Unhelpful stress is when you cannot successfully cope with, or believe you cannot successfully cope with, a situation - resulting in unwanted physical, mental or emotional reactions (HMSO 1987). If you start thinking, feeling or having physical sensations that are unpleasant and last for more than a short period of time, you could be stressed. This is your body is trying to tell you to slow down or calm down.

If you are struggling with stress please contact the University counselling support for helpful advice and support, or visit the Queen's Mental Health and Wellbeing page; you may also want to contact your GP.

 

Download Resources:

Stress Management

Stress Management at Exam Time

Presentation and Communication Skills

Tutorials and Seminars

Overview:

While the majority of the modules at university are delivered via weekly lectures, seminars and tutorials compliment your education. However, none of these courses should be regarded as passive sessions to just come and listen. Your active participation is needed.

Lectures are courses with large numbers of students. It is a less interactive setting, as your lecturer will be talking to provide you with an insight on a given topic. The interaction is normally taking place at the end of the session, when students are encouraged to ask questions.

Seminars should be understood as group tuition which are normally on a specific topic. Student interaction is needed and encouraged, however the instructor will guide the seminar.

Tutorials should be perceived as an individual or small group tuition. Less students participate and they are more focused on individual needs. Interaction is extremely important for tutorials as students can highly influence the content and structure of the course.

Seminars and tutorials are to a certain extent quite similar. In both cases most communication is a two way process. Someone speaks and the others listen. Sometimes the lecturer will not spend a lot of time talking. He/she may begin by raising a topic, and then allow members of the tutorial/seminar to have an informal debate. At other times the lecturer may divide the group up and give groups different topics to discuss. The aim of this is to initiate thinking and create both sides of an argument, wherefore it is crucial that you participate.

Download Resources:

Effective Tutorial Contribution

Effective Seminar Contribution

Virtual Workshop:

Group Work

Overview:

At university, group work is a common tool used in seminars, labs or tutorials. It is an increasingly popular means of assessmentat QUB and is perceived as a vital skill at the job market. However, far too often students find working with others a very difficult task as e.g., conflicts arise, communication problems occur or there are issues in regard to time management.

To overcome this and enable a successful group work we have developed a few resources which should provide you with some helpful tips.

Download Resources:

Successful Group Work

Project Plans for Groups

Assertiveness

Overview:

Assertiveness is behaviour which helps us to communicate clearly and confidently our needs, wants and feelings to other people without abusing in any way their rights. Lindenfield (1992) 

Download Resources:

What is Assertiveness?

Assess Your Assertiveness Questionnaire

Virtual Workshop: 

Presentation Skills

Web Resources

Communication skills: Speaking and listening

University of Kent's tips to improve various communication skills

Deliver better presentations

University of Leicester's various resources for improving presentation skills

Giving a presentation

University of Canberra's concise tips including preparing and structuring your presentation, visual aids and nervousness

Presentation advice from University of Sussex

Information on preparing and presenting; and great tips for group presentations

Referencing

Understanding Plagiarism

Reference Generator: "Cite2Write"

Research Skills

Searching for Literature?

For practical tips and advice on search strategies and accessing resources, please click the link below:

Searching for Literature

Writing a Dissertation?

Dissertations present the opportunity to research a chosen topic / question in much greater depth than is required for a typical undergraduate essay. There are many stages involved; from formulating a research proposal, to writing up your findings.

Writing a dissertation for the first time can present a daunting task for students. The following presentations explore some of the stages involved and should help you think about specific aspects of the research and writing process.

LDS WRITING A LITERATURE REVIEW

LDS WRITING YOUR RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Useful Resources

Study Skills

Learning Styles

Overview:

There are many different theories and views of learning styles and approaches to learning. You may have heard of people talking about 'visual learners', 'kinaesthetic learners' and others. An overview of these different learning styles can be seen below:

  • Visual (spatial) Learners - Learners who prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

  • Aural (auditory-musical) Learners - Learners who prefer using sound and music.

  • Verbal (linguistic) Learners - Learners who prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

  • Physical (kinaesthetic) Learners - Learners who prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

  • Logical (mathematical) Learners - Learners who prefer  using logic, reasoning and systems.

  • Social (interpersonal) Learners - Learners who prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

  • Solitary (intrapersonal) Learners - Learners who prefer to work alone and use self-study. 

From the list above you may already know the type of learner you are and you may have a better idea of techniques that you should develop (combined with time management, note taking etc.). However, you may still have some difficulty, or would like a better interpretation of your learning style. There are many tools available that will provide you with a more comprehensive analysis of your learning style and also can provide you with more practical tips for studying.

One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI).  The MBTI is a technique for measuring your learning preferences, using four basic scales with 'opposite poles'. The four scales are:

  1. Extroversion/Introversion
  2. Sensate/Intuitive
  3. Thinking/Feeling
  4. Judging/Perceiving

The MBTI will require you to make a choice between each of the above based on your preferences and the various combinations of your preferences will result in one (from a total of 16) personality type. If you would like to find your personality type using the MBTI click here.

Once you know your MBTI from taking the test, then you will be able to develop your study skills.

Download Resources:

Learning Styles Questionnaire (Shorter questionnaire based on the work of P. Honey and A. Mumford in the The Manual of Learning Styles, 1991)

Different Learning Styles

Further Support:

You can find out your personality type by emailing or contacting the  Learning Development Service and making an appointment with Paula Moran for a Myers Briggs individual assessment or workshop. It is fun to do and you will gain a valuable insight into how you and others work and communicate.

General Study Skills

Download Resources:

Ten Tips for Effective Studying

Virtual Workshop:

Note Taking in Lectures

Overview:

Taking accurate detailed notes is one of the most important skills you need for learning at University. The notes you take during lectures will help you prepare for examinations and also offer a way to reflect on your previous learning. If you don't take notes during your lectures then it is most likely that after the lecture you won't remember the key points and examples that were provided.

Some Things to Think About:

  • If you don’t attend your lecture, you will miss important information.
  • Even if you borrow your friends’ notes, you still run the risk of missing important information.
  • If your lecturer has requested additional reading before your next lecture do it! Otherwise it is highly likely that you will not understand the material covered in your next lecture.
  • By reading in advance it is likely you can predict the topics to be covered in your lecture.  
  • REMEMBER: Lectures do not provide you with a full understanding of the subject, and certainly are not the total requirement for exam revision, they assume some input on your part e.g. writing up notes in a style that is more comprehensive! 

Top Tip:

  • Always ask in advance if lecture notes are available before the lecture. If they are, print and study them BEFORE you attend the lecture!

Download Resources:

General Note Taking

Digital Note Taking

Note Taking Do’s and Don’ts

Cornell Note Taking Method

Cornell Note Taking Example

Mind Mapping

Mind Mup (Free online mind mapping app)

Abbreviations

Reading Skills

Overview:

Being presented with a reading list on a new course can be daunting for most students. They worry over how much to read, which bits of books and papers are releveant, and how to make effective notes from readings so that they can understand and remember the important points. 

The first thing you should do when you are given a reading list is to find out which books and papers are necessary for particular lectures, tutorials or seminars and essays. If this is not clear from your module handouts do not be afraid to ask them to direct you to the most useful texts. By doing this you will be breaking up your reading into more manageable chunks and it will seem less of an obstacle.

Generally your module guide, or lecture/tutorial handout, will specify certain readings as ESSENTIAL. These are the ones you really should take the time to read.

Then there may be sources under SUGGESTED reading. These are generally very useful and will bolster your knowledge beyond set texts. Use them for essays, seminar presentations and perhaps, revision for exams.

FURTHER reading lists can be dipped into, if you have the time, when it comes to essays.

Remember – you are not expected to read everything or to read texts from cover to cover. The whole idea of academic reading is to train you to be SELECTIVE. However, it is good to get into the habit of reading beyond the set texts. But again, do not worry; deciding what to read will come with practice.

Download Resources:

Reading Skills Handout

Reading Tips

Research Quick Notes Sheet (a useful resource for making quick notes as you read)

Critical Notes Sheet (a useful resource for making more detailed notes as you read)

Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Time Management

General Time Management

Overview:

Keeping on top of all your work at University can be a daunting and difficult task, especially with the demand of your personal life too. Many students find that balancing University life with personal life can be too much. How often have you said, so much to do, so little time to do it?

Download Resources:

Top Tips for Managing Your Time

Virtual Workshop:

Weekly Planning

Overview:

By effectively planning your week, it is likely that you will cope a lot better with your daily tasks. As a student you need to think about:

  1. What do spend your time on? 

    This includes the amount of time you spend at University, time spent with family and friends, time spent sleeping, eating etc. Basically, until you work out how much time you spend on all the different activities you have during the week, you won't be able to work out how many free hours you have in a week for studying etc.

  2. What are the areas you need to spend more time on? 

    This relates to your goals and objectives for the duration of your course at Queen's. For example your long term objective is to graduate from  University. In order to achieve this goal you need to set your objectives. These objectives need to be SMART (e.g. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Based). Click on the Setting Goals and Objectives section below for more information.

  3. What are the areas you need to spend less time on? 

    You will find that during your time at University, there are times when you have many deadlines to meet, and exams to prepare for. Regardless how well you manage your time, and plan in advance, you may find that there still aren't enough hours in the day to fit everything in. In situations like this you need to prioritise your activities. This involves distinguishing between important and urgent activities.Sacrifices may have to be made in order to complete any important tasks. 

Exercise:

Drag and drop topics from the right hand side into your weekly schedule to see how you spend your week.  When you're finished, click the Submit button for some guidance on your schedule.

Weekly Planning Exercise

Download Resources:

Weekly Planner

Prioritising Activities

Overview:

Once you are aware of your goals and objectives, you will find that there are a number of tasks/activities that must be completed in order to achieve them. During your time at university you may run into problems because you have a number of different tasks (e.g. assignments, group work activities etc) that need to completed in a short period of time. You may find that even with all your planning there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done.

If this happens, the most important thing for you to do is not to panic! Everyone, at some stage, will feel that they have not got the time to complete everything, which is why prioritising your work is so important. Your first starting point will be to write down all the different tasks that you need to complete (this will also stop you from forgetting something).

Once you have a list of all the activities you need to complete, you can then begin to prioritise your workload. You need to decide on which tasks are important, urgent, non-important and non-urgent. Deciding on this can be difficult, however, it may help to consider the difference between important and urgent:

Important Activities - Importance implies some assessment of the benefits of completing a task against the loss if the task is not finished.

Urgent Activities - Urgency relates to the length of time before the task must be completed.

There are various ways you can prioritise.  For example, you could number all your tasks 1, 2, 3 and so on, with number 1 being top priority. Then each day you should create a plan to complete as many of the listed tasks as you can, starting with number 1. Alternatively you could use a grid and place your tasks/activities in the grid to help you prioritise.

Download Resources:

Activities/Task Grid

Setting Goals and Objectives

Overview:

Before you can create any type of plan for spending you time, you first need to write down your goals.  It is good practice to list your overall goal for attending University and then set goals for each year or even semester afterwords. For example:

My Overall Goal for attending University (2012 - 2015)

  • Graduate from University with a  2:1 Classification in my chosen degree.  

My Goal for my first/second/third year of University

  • Complete all my modules successful and achieve a pass rate average of 55.

Once you know what your goals are, you then need a path to follow to achieve your goals. This is when you set your objectives. You objectives can be set for a complete Academic Year, a Semester on even on a monthly basis - it is entirely up to you. The only thing you need to remember is to make your objectives SMART: 

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time Based
 

SMART objectives will mean that you are more likely to succeed. Being 'specific' with your objectives will mean that your objectives have some meaning and focus. If your objectives are 'measurable' then you will be able to know if you have achieved your objective. There is no point in setting objectives that are beyond your reach, therefore you need to ensure your objectives are 'achievable' but also 'realistic'. Setting an objective like "I will get 100% in all my exams this semester" will be extremely difficult to achieve and is not very realistic! Whereas if you have an objective like "I will aim to pass all my exams with an average of 60% this semester"  - this may be more achievable and realistic for you. Finally, you need to ensure that there is a time frame on your objectives, otherwise you may achieve your objective if you have no set time to complete it!

Pomodoro Technique

Overview:

Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique (TM) is a productivity booster and helps with time management:

  1. Select a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro (a kitchen timer or even the timer on your phone) to 25 minutes.
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings.
  4. Then put a check on your sheet of paper to mark where you reached.
  5. Take a short break (around five minutes).
  6. Every four 'Pomodoros' take a longer break (up to an hour)

To keep track of your 'Pomodoros' and your breaks, try this free online tomato timer

Download Resources:

Pomodoro Cheat Sheet

Stress Management

Overview:

Stress can be both beneficial and problematic. It is important to know what the difference is and how to cope with stress in different situations.

Some benefits of pressure

  • Helps to motivate us e.g. to learn, achieve goals
  • Stimulates us to get things done
  • Pressure and demands from situations and people challenge us‌
  • Energy that can be used creatively
  • Personal growth

Think of a recent example where you felt stressed and it was useful to help you perform e.g. your driving test, revising for an exam. meeting an essay deadline...

Unhelpful stress

Sometimes stress can become a problem. Unhelpful stress is when you cannot successfully cope with, or believe you cannot successfully cope with, a situation - resulting in unwanted physical, mental or emotional reactions (HMSO 1987). If you start thinking, feeling or having physical sensations that are unpleasant and last for more than a short period of time, you could be stressed. This is your body is trying to tell you to slow down or calm down.

If you are struggling with stress please contact the University counselling support for helpful advice and support, or visit the Queen's Mental Health and Wellbeing page; you may also want to contact your GP.

 

Download Resources:

Stress Management

Stress Management at Exam Time

Web Resources

Time Management:

Assignment Survival Kit

Type in the submission date for your assessment and then follow the suggested steps.

Open University Guide to Time Management

How to organise your time and motivate yourself to use it wisely

The Pomodoro Technique

A time management technique to help you improve your productivity

The Student Room - Time Management

Time management explained: prioritising and being effective

Study Guides & Strategies

Useful tips for organising, prioritising, and succeeding in your studies

Mind Tools

Teaches you personal time management skills

Time management guide

To show you what you can do to improve your abilities to recognize and solve personal time management problems

Managing Stress:

Dealing with exam stress: The Student Room

Developing a positive mindset

NHS Student Stress

Signs of stress and where to get help

Managing stress at univeristy

Our Healthy Minds tips on studying, self-confidence and making friends

MIND Site for Students

MIND tips for coping with uni life

About.com

Here are some student stress relief tips and tools that students can use to learn study skills, prepare for exams and minimize their school stress levels to make learning easier.