Study Skills

The Transkills project works with academic staff and students to facilitate the transition of first year undergraduates from their prior learning experiences to study at university.

Through discipline-specific workshops and online resources, the project seeks to enable students to take full advantage of the educational opportunities provided during their first year.

The Cambridge University Skills Portal provides information on the skills and behavioural attributes individuals might like to develop and lists training and development opportunities available across the University together with links to useful resources outside the University.

University of Cambridge Study Skills helps students develop effective study skills. Whatever your background, these skills can always be developed to make your learning more productive.

The University of Cambridge Training Booking System is a central point for staff and students of the University and its Colleges to search for and book onto a variety of training courses run by participating University training providers.

HelpTheStudent is a project based upon students providing help and support for other students and includes concept mapping and note making, writing for academic purposes, how to use academic language and referencing.

Core Graduate Training comprises training in: PhD Skills, Writing Skills, Presentation/Communication Skills, Commercial Awareness/Business Skills, Personal Development/Stress Management, Teaching and Learning, Events.

National Union of Students Study Skills

Palgrave Student Study Skills

Writing and Study Skills

The College provides seminars during the academic year to help students improve their writing skills.

Seminar 1 - Planning and Mapping a Piece of Writing: A New Approach
Seminar 2 - Essay Writing for the Sciences
Seminar 3 - Style and Writing Techniques
Seminar 4 - Revision Techniques and Examination Skills
Seminar 5 - Examination Procedures and Problems

The seminars are led by Richard Berengarten, Downing’s Bye-Fellow in Writing and Study Skills.

Note to undergraduates:  The transition from secondary to university level study is a stimulating challenge for new undergraduates.  To help make this transition smoothly and to encourage you to fulfill your potential here, Downing has arranged a series of practical sessions on writing, study and examination skills throughout the academic year.  Attendance at these sessions is strongly recommended.  Not only will the development of these skills help to improve and hone all aspects of your work here at Cambridge, but they will prove invaluable later on.

Note to graduates:  Seminar 2 and 3 include content that has been specifically tailored to also meet the needs of graduate students.  The sessions will enable you to try out new approaches which will enhance the quality of your writing, and will improve your communicative abilities and confidence.

Booking and Cancellation Procedure

To reserve a place on any of the following seminars, please sign up on the Downing College Tutorial Site for Students (Seminars and Workshops) on the Moodle online booking facility.  This will be available from Thursday 5 October onwards.

You will automatically receive an email reminder of your booking one day prior to the seminar.  If you wish to make a cancellation please cancel your booking immediately on Moodle to enable your place to be automatically offered to another student on the waiting list.

Please arrive promptly to enable the timely commencement of each seminar.  If you are requested to bring along a specific item, such as an A4 notepad or examination paper, it will be noted below.  At the end of each seminar you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire to help the development and enhancement of future writing and study skills seminars.

Seminar 1 - Planning and Mapping a Piece of Writing:  A New Approach

Monday 6 November 2017, from 5.15 pm to 6.45 pm in the Howard Building (upstairs).

This first practical seminar, led by Richard Berengarten, will actively involve you in planning, developing and improving a piece of writing of your choice.  Please bring along the title of a piece of academic writing that you are currently working on or are about to work on, together with any notes you have already made for it.

The principles in this seminar can equally be applied to planning a weekly essay, paper, report, presentation, or part of a longer work, for example a dissertation or a chapter in a thesis.  The session will include gathering ideas, planning and organising them, as well as interesting and original explorations of non-linear and linear modes of thinking.

Course requirements:  Title of a piece of academic writing, notes, pens and an A4 notepad.

Open to graduate and undergraduate students (save those reading Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Biological Natural Sciences, Physical Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Veterinary Sciences and Psychological & Behavioural Sciences).

Seminar 2 - Essay Writing for the Sciences

Friday 10 November 2017, from 6.15 pm to 7.45 pm in the Howard Building (upstairs).

This second seminar in the series is led by Buffy Eldridge-Thomas and is specifically designed to improve the essay writing skills of undergraduate students reading the Sciences.  The seminar will provide hints and tips to improve essay style and construction.

Course requirements:  Pen and paper.

Open to undergraduate students reading Biological Natural Sciences, Physical Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Veterinary Sciences, Computer Science and Psychological & Behavioural Sciences.

Seminar 3 - Style and Writing Techniques

Wednesday 22 November 2017, from 5.15 pm to 6.45 pm in the Howard Building (upstairs).

This third seminar, led by Richard Berengarten, will cover a series of simple and practical tips to improve and enhance the quality of your essays by focusing on the finer details of writing style. Issues are likely to include: punctuation, grammar, connectivity, structure and organisation, modes of argument, as well as footnotes, quotations, references, and making a bibliography.

Open to graduate and undergraduate students (save those reading Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Biological Natural Sciences, Physical Natural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Veterinary Sciences and Psychological & Behavioural Sciences).

Seminar 4:  Revision Techniques and Examination Skills

Tuesday 6 March 2018, from 5.15 pm to 6.45 pm in the Howard Building (upstairs).

This fourth seminar, led by Richard Berengarten, is a practical session which directly involves you in the planning and organisation of your own revision and in actively preparing your personal strategies before and during exams.

The session will take you through the procedures of setting up a revision plan of your own that is both realistic and achievable, including some hints and tips to help you adhere to your programme.

This will be followed by some simple steps of preparation and self-organisation before and during exams, with particular emphasis on time-management and conciseness.

Topics covered will include the generation of ideas, structuring and planning of answers and the checking and editing of your answer script.  The aim of the session is to enable you to be fully prepared for your examinations.

Course requirements:  One or more typical exam papers from a previous year.

Open to all undergraduate students.

Seminar 5:  Examination Procedures and Problems

Tuesday 13 March 2018, from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm in the Wilkins Room ['R' staircase].

This final session will be an informal seminar with the Senior Tutor, Academic Registrar and College Nurse.  The session will cover essential information about the examination procedure, provide advice on revision, how to stay healthy during exams and what to do should a problem arise.

Open to all undergraduate students.