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Laurel Lukin
Laurel Lukin

The Study Skills Handbook

This is the ultimate guide to study skills, written by million copy bestselling author Stella Cottrell. Her tried and tested approach, based on over 20 years' experience of working with students, has helped over a million students to achieve their potential. When it comes to studying, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This engaging and accessible guide shows students how to tailor their learning to their individual needs in order to boost their grades, build their confidence and increase their employability. Fully revised for the fifth edition, it contains everything students need to succeed.This is an invaluable resource for undergraduate students of all disciplines, and is also ideal for postgraduates, mature students and international students. It prepares students for what to expect before, during and after their studies at university.New to this Edition:- Additional material on writing skills, including proofreading, editing and writing for different assignments- New chapters on managing stress and student wellbeing at university, learning in diverse and international contexts and writing essays- More emphasis on reflective learning- Extended guidance on how to balance study with work- More use of visuals to summarise key learning pointsAccompanying online resources for this title can be found at These resources are designed to support teaching and learning when using this textbook and are available at no extra cost.

The Study Skills Handbook

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If you become more aware of the aspects of university life that could be difficult for you, you will be in a better position to prevent or manage these challenges. In this blog post, Stella Cottrell outlines some potential study challenges and offers pointers for overcoming them.

Student Success is a series of essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to boosting your employability and managing your wellbeing, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university.

Explore the Writing Sample Library for annotated examples of real writing from real students, full of notes and tips from the authors to help you anticipate what your tutor will look for. Score yourself from the diagnostic test in each chapter of the book, and use the Diagnostic Toolkit to identify your strengths and weaknesses and plan your own, personal plan to build up your academic skills. Find the Answer Key to all guided tasks in the book here too!

Her publications for staff and students have sold more than a million copies worldwide. First published in 1999, The Study Skills Handbook is now in its 5th edition. Stella has authored a number of study skills guides as part of the Macmillan Study Skills series including Critical Thinking Skills, Skills for Success and The Macmillan Student Planner (previously published as The Palgrave Student Planner).

The Study Skills Handbook was first published on 12 August 1999. The philosophy behind the book can be summarised as saying that most students could perform well in higher education with the right strategies, attitudes and pacing to suit their circumstances and previous educational background. Whether they were successful at study in the past or not, Stella contends that all students benefit from taking an individualised approach that suits them, as they are now, and looking with fresh eyes at each new challenge.

In 2005, Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument was published. The book aimed to help readers "develop an understanding of what is meant by critical thinking, and to develop their own reasoning skills". Cottrell grounds critical thinking as an everyday activity, such as deciding whether we believe something that we're told. Within an academic context, she presents the challenge of thinking critically as rigorous verification and, if justified by the evidence, having the confidence to argue for an alternative view.[8] In 2011, Victor Glynn reviewed it as "one of the best texts for general critical thinking around at the moment" in Education Bookseller.[3] The current, third, edition of Critical Thinking Skills, published in 2017.

Stella sees reflection as a central component of study skills. Since Higher Education involves more autonomous learning than students may have experienced previously, they need to become responsible for reflecting on their own progress, strengths and areas in need of development.[11] Examples of reflective questions include:

Cottrell sees personal development planning (PDP) as a confluence of personal improvement, greater academic performance, and planning to achieve goals, "whether academic, personal or professional".[14] For Cottrell, it is important that all students regularly reflect on how their course and extracurricular activities relate to their future ambitions: "Linking PDP, the programme of study and the student's future is especially important for younger students, who are less likely to have thought about careers."[15]

In 2003, Cottrell published Skills for Success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook. The book was structured to represent a journey from defining a personal vision of success, to developing the academic and personal skills needed, and finally bringing all this together in an effective job application.[16] The textbook design featured reflective exercises and self-evaluations, as well as cartoons similar to those seen in The Study Skills Handbook. The third edition was published in 2015.

In 2010, Palgrave Macmillan launched skills4studycampus, an online e-learning resource based on the third edition of Stella Cottrell's The Study Skills Handbook. Stella was involved in the planning of skills4studycampus and the process of adapting The Study Skills Handbook to an interactive environment.[18] skills4studycampus was updated in 2020 and relaunched as Skills for Study with additional features including articles and blogs.

In 2011, the University of Bedfordshire announced that an honorary doctorate was to be awarded to Stella Cottrell "in recognition of her 'outstanding contribution to lifelong learning and widening participation'".[20] On the announcement of this award, Stella summarised her work with the Lifelong Learning Centre: "I have always worked to create good educational opportunities for those who, for whatever reason, either underachieved in the past or didn't get a chance to study in higher education."[20]

You don't have to be scared of trying to learn something new anymore. When you master the techniques and methods of fast learning, a whole new world of possibilities will open for you. Even if you're a fast reader or learner, you can still use this book to advance your skills further. The brain is like a muscle. Choose the right practice for it, and it will flourish.

Drs. Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski's popular Online course Learning How to Learn, has enrolled more than 1.8 million students. In this much needed follow-up to A Mind for Numbers, the authors teach kids and teens how to learn effectively at a time when they most need these skills. Learning How to Learn teaches them about the importance of both focused concentration and letting their minds wander, how the brain makes connections between different pieces of information, why procrastination is the enemy of problem solving, and much more.

A breakthrough approach to acing academic assignments, from quizzes and exams to essays and papers, How to Become a Straight-A Student reveals for the first time the proven study secrets of real straight-A students across the country and weaves them into a simple, practical system that anyone can master.

You want to study perfectly and not sit at the same time constantly at textbooks, forgetting all the rest? Currently, the concept of learning strategies includes thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions that facilitate the acquisition, understanding, and then - the application and transfer of new knowledge and skills in various contexts of activity. Training strategies help create a framework for further information that allows to store it in memory in a form that facilitates integration with the knowledge that is meaningfully associated with it.

The Student Success series are essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to planning your dream career, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university. Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips and resources for study success!

Tom Reid is Course Leader, Syllabus Developer and Senior Teaching Fellow in the Academic Skills Centre, University of Bath. He is a management specialist, and has designed and directed academic skills programmes at universities including Kent at Canterbury and Bath Spa. He is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). 041b061a72


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