These are generic skills which help undergraduate students to undertake any course successfully and become more effective learners. These skills contribute greatly in ensuring your academic success at the University, as well as career success after university life. Developing and honing these skills are critical for all undergraduate students to become independent learners and take charge of their own learning. Following are key academic skills
Study skills are an array of skills which help you organize and take in new information, retain information, present information with your analysis and effectively deal with assessments. Core study skills include the following:
Critical Reading Skills
Critical reading is a more active way of reading and engaging with a text as compared to passive reading with the purpose of just absorbing information. It is a deeper and more complex engagement with a text. Critical reading is a process of understanding, analyzing, interpreting and, evaluating the text. Critical reading is an interactive process of engaging with a text which involves asking questions, examining evidences, looking for biases, making personal meaning of the argument and evaluating the arguments. Critical reading is not a process of criticizing the text or rejecting the text. It is a process of understanding the text with an open mind and analytical approach.
At Habib University, you will be required to use this skill a great deal in order to successfully participate in all Habib Liberal Core courses as well as other courses. You will be expected to read a variety of text as an active reader and share your analysis and evaluation of the text in class discussions as well as in your papers.
- To learn more about critical reading skills click, ‘Critical Reading Handout (University of Toronto, Scarborough)
Writing in general is a key skill that is required throughout life for a variety of purposes. Academic writing is a special form of writing that follows its own set of rules and practices. It uses formal tone and objective language. Ideas are usually organized in a formal order or structure and are supported by references and evidences from academic literature. It involves making arguments supported by logical ideas and references and engaging in a scholarly conversation. In short, academic writing is characterized by its evidence based argument, impersonal tone, logical flow, formal style, and precise choice of words.
There are various forms of academic writing such as literature review and analysis, writing a research paper or writing a dissertation. Academic writing could be descriptive, analytical, persuasive and/or critical.
At Habib University, all students, regardless of their Major, attend Habib Liberal Core courses which require a lot of academic writing in the form of Response Papers, Research Papers, Critical Essays etc. Besides the Liberal Core, students are also required to write research reports, analytical reviews, and theses as part of their Major programs.
- To get further understanding of Academic writing click ‘Academic writing Guide (By City University of Seattle)’
Good note-taking skills are an essential tool for success. Taking good notes in class is an important part of academic success at college. Actively taking notes during class can help students to focus and better understand main concepts. Good note-taking skills improve active listening, comprehension of material, and retention.
- To further understand this skill click ‘Note taking whitepaper (Texas Tech University)’ and ‘Note taking handout (by Purdue University)’.
A mind map is a graphical way of organizing information and representing links and connections among ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structure information, analyze it, and see relationships among various pieces of information.
This skill can help you take effective notes in class, organize your thoughts for developing powerful arguments, retain information, understand complex ideas etc.
- To learn more about Mind Mapping and its techniques, click ‘Mind Mapping e-book (by Think Buzan Ltd.)’, ‘Mind Mapping Handbook (By JCU Learning Centre)’ and Mind Mapping handout (by University of Western Australia) .
Revision/Preparing for Examination
Examinations play an important role in determining your academic success. The key factor is not to panic but prepare in advance for exams. If you are organized and possess the right type of attitude and skills, you will not go into panic mode around examination time. Developing a systematic plan to review course material on an ongoing basis and using the right type of tools and techniques are important skills to learn to ensure academic success.
- For further details and understanding click ‘Revision Techniques (from http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/sps/migrated/documents/section15.pdf)’
Academic Research Skills
Research skills include the skills required to look for answers to research questions using diverse and authentic sources, analyze and evaluate information, construct reasoned arguments and draw conclusions. At Habib University, you will need academic research skills in many of your courses. These skills will help you to write your academic papers.
These skills also include skills for proper referencing and citations. Academic writing has to identify clearly which ideas are an author’s own ideas and which are taken from the work of others or are influenced by the thoughts of others. This is what we call academic integrity.
The authors are expected to follow the rules and conventions of citing and referencing the work of others. There are different systems of referencing and citing the work of others.
You may learn more about academic research from following resources
Communication is one of the most valued skills for your academic as well as career success. Presenting material to an audience is a key skill that you will use throughout your academic and career lives. During your time at Habib University, you will be asked to give presentations to your professor and peers in class. At times, your presentations will be assessed and marked. You need to have certain skills to develop and deliver a good presentation. Presentations require as much thought, planning and research as written papers and essays. By knowing and practicing the skills for developing and delivering good presentation, you can overcome your anxiety as well as can learn to present your material with clarity and confidence while maintaining the interest and engagement of your audience.
- To learn about key presentation skill click, ‘A short guide to presentation skills (By University of Birmingham)’ and ‘Presenting Confidently Checklist’
Participating in Discussions
Participating in discussions by asking questions, sharing views, challenging ideas and presenting arguments is an important skill for university students. At Habib University, students are expected to actively participate in discussions. Students that regularly participate in class are constantly involved with the course material and in turn improve their critical and higher level thinking skills. Participation can also help students learn from each other and develop a better understanding of diverse perspectives. In order to participate effectively, you need improve your skills for planning, listening, articulating your viewpoint, questioning, arguing, and thinking.
- To learn more about class discussions, click ‘Group Discussion Skills (from IMPACT: International Journal of Research in Engineering & Technology)’
Core Computer Skills
At the University, you will be required to use computers for a variety pf purposes such as developing reports and essays, creating presentations, research, using spreadsheets for data management. It is important to learn to use MS Office well in order to do your assigned work.
- Various video tutorials are available on the internet and you can use them to start developing or refining these skills