Getting Started with UniSkills

UniSkills support is here to help you develop your academic skills and confidence for success at University and beyond. Whatever your subject, level of study or route into studying with us here at Edge Hill University, UniSkills has something to offer you.

We have a wide range of online support and guidance available for Edge Hill University students on our UniSkills webpages, but we have pulled together some useful information and tips for brand new students who will be joining us this academic year, take a look through the sections below to find out more!

Getting Started with UniSkills webinars – book your place

Throughout the summer we will be running a number of Getting Started with UniSkills webinars. Find out more about these from one of our UniSkills Team.

Below is the schedule of webinars:

Getting Started with UniSkills: Research skills at University

  • Monday 10 August, 1pm
  • Friday 14 August, 12pm
  • Monday 7 September, 2pm

Getting Started with UniSkills: Introduction to Academic Writing at University

  • Tuesday 11 August, 2pm
  • Thursday 13 August, 12pm
  • Tuesday 1 September, 1pm

Getting Started with UniSkills: Prepare your Academic Resilience for University

  • Wednesday 5 August, 12pm
  • Tuesday 18 August, 1pm
  • Thursday 20 August, 12pm

You can find out more about the webinars and book your place on our Getting Started with UniSkills page.

Getting Started with UniSkills toolkits

Getting Started with UniSkills: Introduction to Academic Writing

This toolkit will introduce you to the concept of academic writing, and what it involves at university level. We will look at what to expect as a student at Edge Hill University, how to get the most out of your learning and how to maintain your study motivation.

Getting Started with UniSkills: Research Skills at University

This toolkit will help you develop your research skills in preparation for studying at Edge Hill University. We will introduce you to the concept of academic information, the importance of using dedicated search tools to find information and discuss good note-taking techniques for carrying out your research.

Getting Started with UniSkills: Prepare your Academic Resilience

This toolkit will help equip you with practical tools to nurture your academic resilience, help you recognise the qualities of a ‘growth’ as opposed to ‘fixed’ mindset, and help prepare you to feel confident in dealing constructively with feedback.

Active learning

During your time at university you will engage with a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities and you will get a lot more from your studies by becoming an active learner. There are lots of ways you can enhance your learning through boosting your academic skills and making the most of all your lectures and seminars.

Before your lectures/seminars

Before your lecture or seminar familiarise yourself with your online course area. What topics are coming up? Is there any pre-session reading? Have you checked your online reading list? You may want to think about any keywords or concepts being used and could even prepare some questions for your tutor. This will not only improve your learning experience, but your tutors will be delighted to see you enthusiastically engaging independently with your subject.

During your lectures/seminars

During your lectures or seminars find an effective way to take notes. Handwritten or digital is fine, just find a method that works best for you to capture your ideas and observations as this will help make sense of the information. Make a note of the questions you may want to ask too, as this will help you contribute to any discussions. Although asking questions and contributing to discussions may feel daunting at first, we guarantee there will be other students who also wanted to know the answer! As you settle into your course and get to know your peers and tutors engaging in class discussions, asking questions and sharing your research will become much easier as you all learn from each other.

After your lectures/seminars

After your lecture or seminar don’t be too quick to file away your notes and move on to the next task. Revisit your notes and ensure you’ve recorded any critical dates or sources of information that were discussed. This will boost your memory of material, help you identify anything you missed or didn’t understand and give you an opportunity to review any feedback.

Finding academic information

Once you are enrolled as an Edge Hill student you will have access to thousands of resources including books, eBooks (an electronic book you can access and read online) and eJournals (an electronic journal article covering the latest research you can access and read online) via our Library Catalogue and Discover More.

There are lots of guides, toolkits and videos available to help you access and make the most of these resources on our Finding Academic Information webpages. These pages are primarily used by our current students, who are already working within their subject discipline, so don’t worry if they don’t quite make sense to you right now! If you would like to know more about accessing and using academic resources then take a look at our Finding Academic Information online toolkit.

Note taking

Effective note taking is a good skill to develop at university as it will help you to make sense of what you are learning and help you to remember it later. However, it is important to remember that it is a skill that develops with practice. There are no set rules for how you make your notes, other than they need to work for you! Try out some of the methods below:

  • Lists can work well if you are someone who prefers a linear bulleted list of key points.
  • You may want to consider a more structured notetaking approach, such as the Cornell method.
  • A mind map can allow you to visualise your ideas, identify links and most importantly recognise the gaps in your knowledge.
  • You can even try using a note taking app such as Evernote or OneNote.

Whichever method you choose make your notes actively, rather than highlighting text or copying information out word for word, so it sticks in your mind and you can check your own understanding. Think about the points being raised, what are they telling you? The more questions you ask, the more it will impact on the notes you make. If you would like to know more about note taking you can also visit our UniSkills Getting Organised webpages for more tips.

Academic writing

Writing at university will probably feel different to other writing experiences you have had before; however, it is important to realise that writing at university is skill you will develop over time. Your tutors understand this, and you are not expected to be a fully formed academic writer at the start of your course.

The information and resources available on our Academic Reading and Writing webpages will help you to develop and enhance your own style of writing, whatever your subject or level of study. Again, these pages are used by our current students, who have experience of writing at university, so do not worry if there appears a lot to think about when it comes to your academic writing. You can explore the different stages of the academic writing process in our Planning Your Assignment online toolkit.


At university you will become part of a learning community where you will develop, discuss and share new or long-standing ideas as you study – this is what studying is all about! But it is important to ensure that how you share or present these ideas acknowledges where they came from – this practice is called ‘referencing’.

Referencing is the acknowledgment of all the original sources of information that have been used in your work. Whether you have quoted academic sources directly or paraphrased (summarised in your own words) you will need to learn how to cite each source according to the referencing style used on your course. These sources can include books, journal articles and webpages. Referencing is a skill you will develop throughout your time at university, no one is expecting you to be a referencing pro just yet.

As well as accurately acknowledging where information comes from, and building evidence into your work, referencing also demonstrates all your hard work reading and researching your topics and tasks – which may boost your academic marks!

There are various referencing styles, and your tutor will let you know which one they want you to use and give you plenty of help. At Edge Hill Harvard is the most commonly used referencing style on our courses, so if you would like to know more about this style (and referencing in general) why not work your way through our Harvard Referencing online toolkit or visit our Referencing webpages.

Academic resilience

We would love to reassure you that university is an easy breezy academic experience but the truth is to develop your knowledge, skills and be able to face new challenges, there will be times when you encounter setbacks or disappointments. This is all an important part of learning – we grow through what we go through.

Nurturing your academic resilience can help you to face the challenges you encounter. From receiving a disappointing mark to feeling out of place in your seminars, recognising that you have the potential to succeed despite the adversity you face is paramount.

We have created an Academic resilience online toolkit for you to work through, at your own time and pace, to discover more about how you can improve and enhance your own academic resilience.

Accessing UniSkills

Once you are enrolled at Edge Hill University our experienced Academic Skills Advisors can help you to develop your academic skills. UniSkills support is available all year round and accessible both on and off campus:

  • 1-2-1 appointments are available on a wide range of topics including academic reading, writing and referencing, developing an effective search strategy, finding high quality information and preparing your assignment for submission. Once you are enrolled, all our appointments are available to self-book online.
  • UniSkills webinars are an opportunity to dive more deeply into a specific skill that will support you on your academic journey. They provide an informal and safe space where you will be supported alongside other students, from a variety of subjects and years, in a small group setting. There are no limits on how many webinars you attend and they too can all be booked online – view our latest UniSkills Webinar schedule here.
  • Ask Us – we have lots of frequently asked questions (FAQs) available to search within the online knowledge base Ask Us, and if you do have a question that no one has asked before you can click straight through to the Catalyst Helpdesk who will either provide you with an answer or refer you on to UniSkills for further support.
  • UniSkills Webpages are aimed at our existing students, who are currently studying within their academic disciplines, but there is lots of information, including guides, videos and toolkits you can freely look through to further prepare your academic skills for studying at Edge Hill University.
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