As the academic year has come to an end, students and colleagues are reflecting on the difficulties the year has brought - and the positives and negatives that have come from it.
If there’s one skill we’ve learned, it’s adapting to change - and it’s a big one that we can carry forward - we'll be needing it in the new world of education and work that’s for sure.
But what about those skills that we had every intention to develop, that lost momentum during the lockdown? Now’s a great time to develop a few of these skills. Investing time and energy over the summer will pay off greatly during the next year of study. If we dedicate just 20-30 minutes a day (at a time to suit ), we’ll be glad for it later, and half an hour is just a tiny chunk of our day.
Below are 12 suggestions for online and offline activities to develop study (and work) skills in four areas: researching, note-taking, essay writing, and editing and proofreading. These may apply to study or work.
If there is a key skill that you would like activities for, send me a message on the contact form and I’ll send you back three activities to try.
Researching 1 - Create your own research template to help you to focus on your topic (contact me via Less Linear if you’d like a free version).
Researching 2 - Practise checking for bias in materials - as of a text ‘who wrote this and why?’ and ‘is the information factual and how do I know?’ - make a list of additional questions (try to think of some yourself before searching online).
Researching 3 - Search online to find out what ‘Boolean operators’ are and how you should use them to improve your research techniques.
Note-taking 1 - Search online for a few note-taking templates and formats for hand-written notes (e.g Cornell notes) and choose one or two that suit your natural style.
Note-taking 2 - Explore some note-taking apps (e.g. Google Keep) and pick a couple to practise on.
Note-taking 3 - Watch a TV programme (any genre) and write down or type up the key points - ask the person you’re watching with to do the same and compare your notes
Essay writing 1 - search online for essay plan templates - if you’d like to receive a free version from Less Linear, please use the contact form to request one
Essay writing 2 - Familiarise yourself with the PEEL paragraph structure - you can easily find this online.
Essay writing 3 - Search online for a breakdown and some examples of what an essay introduction and a conclusion should contain - compare these to an introduction and conclusion that you have written before.
Editing and Proofreading 1 - Review any essay feedback from the past year and note down a few proofreading points to work on (e.g. capitalisation or homophones).
Editing and Proofreading 2 - Look back at your previous work and check your average sentence length - 22 words tends to be preferable - get used to what a 22 word sentence looks like.
Editing and Proofreading 3 - Devote some time getting used to any text to speech software that you have available and run through all of the features - decide which ones will work best for you
If any of these activities are particularly useful for you, keep a record of your progress and any resources you used.
Print them off or keep them filed digitally ready to review when you start the next academic year.
As mentioned, I have various resources to support you in the four areas, and in other key study skills.