The jump from sixth form to university can seem daunting, but fortunately many of the study skills that you have already learned will help you during your further studies. Understanding the academic requirements of your degree will help you in honing the right study skills for you, and this page aims to address a few of these to prepare you for the exciting years ahead!
Revision is a crucial part of any degree, and effectively revisiting material in a concise manner will set you up for success in your exams. There are many revision techniques, and it can be helpful to explore these well ahead of time to find out which works best for you. The frequency of exams varies depending on your course and university of choice, but it is always a good idea to have a level of revision running alongside your studies at all times, so that when exams do come, you do not need to panic and cram information.
Here are a few helpful revision techniques for you to try out before starting university – do not worry if none of these suit you, there are plenty more out there!
Before reading through the following techniques, watch this 10-minute video on Henry VIII and his six wives. Take notes as you see fit and then work through the exercises to see how your notes can be turned into more productive revision resources.
Mind Maps and Diagrams
This is a common revision technique that you may have started using already. The great thing about mind maps and diagrams is that they create a permanent resource that can be revisited over and over again to refresh your memory. Moreover, your creativity can come into play to make a mind map which appeals to you and is visually memorable, helping you to remember its content in exams. When creating a mind map, start in the centre of a blank page with a central topic, and draw branches out to sub-topics with more detailed information. Try to use memorable phrases and words that are grouped together logically and emphasised with images (although you should not spend too much time drawing!). Using different colours for different sections can be helpful to differentiate between topics and makes more a more appealing image when the mind map is stuck up on your wall! Try to make a mind map about the video linked above and then test yourself on all that you have learned
Mind maps are fantastic for gathering a large amount of information in one place and seeing the connections between topics. However, it is also important to recall detail, and oftentimes there will be a few specific facts that keep slipping your mind! To rectify this, flashcards are an excellent way of memorisation by recall. By using flashcards with a question on the front and the answer on the back, friends and family can test you on the topics that you find most difficult, or you can even test yourself. Generally flashcards are best for smaller details such as dates, names, or brief summaries, but they can be used however best suits your style, and provide another permanent resource tailored specifically to your needs. Try making flashcards based off the notes taken from the video and see if they help you to remember those trickier pieces of information.
One of the fantastic things about university is that you are surrounded by people who are as interested in your subject as you are, and this is a resource that you should not let go to waste! As exams approach (and even when they are not) it can be extremely beneficial to compare notes with other students who may have picked up on details you missed. Moreover, revising together and testing each other can help maintain focus and create a more sociable, fun approach to what could otherwise seem tedious. Once you have made your mind map and flashcards, see if you can get some friends to test you, or even practice some revision of their own to compare with. It is important to remember that you are not alone at university, there is always someone on hand to help, and sometimes those people are sat right next to you in your lecture.
This page aims to give you an insight into just some of the study skills needed for working at a university level. You will have acquired many of the necessary skills already, but if you would like to explore this topic further, be sure to check out the Oxford University ‘Study Skills and Training’ page.