ASSESS YOUR ACADEMIC SKILLS Postgraduate Student Orientation September 2012 What are academic skills? Complex, interrelated, transferrable Crucial to being an effective learner Go hand in hand with academic content Examples of skills? Time management and organisation Do you: have strategies to help you plan and organise your time? know how much time you have available for your studies? know what makes studying more effective for you (i.e. when and where you study best)? keep a diary or calendar so you know when to attend lectures and when assignments are due? Reading Can you: select and use different reading strategies (e.g. skim, scan, in-depth)? think about what you need to find out before you start reading (are you reading to verify facts, to understand a subject in general or to analyse a particular argument)? critically evaluate reading? deal with new vocabulary? Note making Can you: make effective notes when reading? make effective notes when listening (e.g. during lectures)? do you have a way of organising your notes? Critical thinking Can you: distinguish between fact and opinion? draw conclusions based on evidence? account for different points of view and detect bias? see the wider picture? do you know the difference between description, analysis and evaluation? Expressing yourself in public Can you: use strategies to engage and influence your audience? express agreement and disagreement while considering other points of view? summarise a discussion? structure an argument properly for presentations? use PowerPoint to tell your story effectively? Writing Can you: express your ideas clearly in written form? make an outline of what you are going to write? write in clear sentences and paragraphs? link your ideas in a logical order? use correct grammar? develop your own argument? identify your audience and write in an appropriate register? Quoting and referencing Do you know: when you need to quote directly? when you need to reference? what it means to plagiarise? what the difference between in text references and footnotes/endnotes is? how to construct a reference list? what a style guide is? Library and IT skills Two key skill areas Includes finding materials (in print and online), research and producing documents and email Support and training is provided through the Library and IT Services Where to get more help Birkbeck Library has a website with books on different academic skills that links to the catalogue. It is available at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib/subguides/studyskills/studybooks Academic Development Workshops are available at Birkbeck. More information can be found at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck/ There are interactive tutorials to help you develop various skills available on the Get Ahead Stay Ahead website at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck/get-ahead-stay-ahead The Library has an induction tutorial available at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib/life/ and more general Library information is available at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib IT Services has workshops and information available at: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/its/ Useful texts Tom Burns & Sandra Sindfield. 2012. Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University, 3rd ed. London: Sage. Angela Thody. 2006. Writing and Presenting Research. London: Sage. Mike Wallace & Alison Wray. 2011. Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates, 2nd ed. London: Sage.