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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study

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Study Support

On this page you will find information and advice about how to improve your study skills. It contains wider sources of help and advice to make your time at the University of Edinburgh a productive learning experience. You will find comprehensive details about all aspects of study, including fees, applications and admissions in the University's prospectus for undergraduate students. Depending on your circumstances, you might find the guide for mature students particularly helpful.

Studying at University

Here are some very useful links to information from the University's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment to help you make the most of your study time.

Making the transition to university study

This link covers typical questions and issues such as:

  • You will have more freedom in your learning, but might not be sure what to do with it.
  • You're used to small classes and close links with your teachers but it will seem
    quite different here.
  • You think that the work is easier, or harder, than you expected.
  • You're not sure how to make a good job of your assessments.
  • Quick hints and tips.

A guide to using academic sources effectively

This link covers typical questions and issues such as:

  • Common Difficulties with Using Academic Sources.
  • Figuring Out What to Read.
  • Reading For a Purpose.
  • Taking Notes Effectively.
  • Using Other People's Work in Your Assignments (including referencing)
  • Making What You Write Your Own.

Introduction to university assessment methods

This link covers typical questions and issues such as:

  • Figuring out what you need to do to get the grades you want.
  • Getting all of your work to fit into the time you have available.
  • Getting back on track when something seems to have gone wrong.

Preparing for exams

This link covers typical questions and issues such as:

  • Planning for Exams.
  • Working Out Questions.
  • Revision

For other study advice, make sure to visit the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Centre's advice page.

Academic Writing

First year students on the Social Work programme are well supported in terms of learning how to write according to the conventions of academic essays. There is a study support programme that runs throughout semesters one and two, which includes the opportunity to write a trial essay and receive feedback from your tutors, before you submit a formal essay for marking. You will be formed into small study teams and encouraged to help one another develop your ideas, share notes and constructively criticise each other's work.

There are many sources of support to help you with academic writing, such as:

  • Andy Gillet's site at the University of Hertfordshire, which is a guide for students in higher education
  • The Library at the University of Anglia has produced a guide to referencing for students
  • There are also many other types of useful online sources, such as online dictionaries, to aid your understanding of difficult terms and concepts. We have included links to some on a separate page.

Support at University

Every new student is appointed a Personal Tutor (PT). Your PT is usually an academic member of staff, typically from the main subject area in which you will be studying. He or she is the first point of contact if you have any concerns or problems that might be affecting your studies. They will also advise on what subject choices to make throughout your degree.

Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) is run for students, by students. EUSA is here to help you get the most out of your time at university.

The Association represents the interests of students at all levels, from the university to the parliament. It supports over 200 societies, runs four unions and offers advice on everything from accommodation and your course - to welfare and sex. The Advice Place is Edinburgh University Students' Association year-round drop-in advice centre, offering free, confidential and independent advice on a range of issues including money issues, accommodation problems, and academic concerns.

The Student Counselling Service provides confidential short-term counselling. You can also access support and advice at The University Health Centre, which is an independent National Health Service partnership of six general practitioners and a number of assistant general practitioners who rent premises from the University and offer full G.P. services to patients who live within the practice area, and who choose to register with the practice. There is also the Disability Office, which supports disabled applicants and students, including those with specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia), mental health problems, long-term illnesses and temporary impairments.

Social Work