Study skills for students

Support for students

Whether you are studying for pleasure, to further your career, to increase your knowledge of a subject, to acquire new skills, or to gain a qualification, we hope that you will take advantage of the study skills support we offer at the Department for Continuing Education. Reviewing and developing your study skills will not only boost your confidence and help you succeed, but will also enable you to work more effectively in the time available to you for study.

Developing and improving study skills is a gradual and long-term process. It is also an individual process. If you are new to higher education or have not studied for some time, you may feel worried about tackling your first assignment; taking an exam; or juggling study, family, and work commitments. If you are part- way through a course, or are progressing to a new course, you may feel that it would be useful to brush up your note-taking or writing skills, to acquire some tips on spelling or grammar, or to acquire and practise presentation skills. Whatever your study skills needs, we hope that you will find the support and guidance we provide helpful and that you will enjoy the opportunity to get to know and work with students with similar goals and concerns.

Study Skills Programme

The Study Skills Programme provides guidance across the range of study skills needed at undergraduate level including:

  • Managing your time and developing learning strategies
  • Reading academic texts critically and effectively
  • Taking notes in lectures and from hard or electronic copy
  • Planning and writing essays and reports
  • Constructing and presenting bibliographies and references
  • Developing an academic writing style
  • Improving spelling and grammar
  • Preparing and delivering presentations
  • Revising and sitting examinations

Guidance on using and searching Oxford University’s online library catalogue OLIS and electronic research resources OxLIP using the search and discovery tool SOLO is provided by Rewley House Library.

Workshops and courses

The programme is delivered through:

Both the study skills workshops and the online introductory academic literacy course are fully supported with handouts and practice exercises. Students are encouraged to discuss study skills problems and solutions and to practise new skills with fellow participants. There is no single formula for successful study. What works for other students may not necessarily work for you. It is important to build upon your own existing skills and abilities but you also need to experiment with tried and tested strategies and techniques in order to find your own preferred and successful methods of study.

Postgraduate students are welcome to attend the workshops or undertake the introductory academic literacy course if they want to refresh their general study skills, but guidance on general and subject-specific postgraduate study skills is provided on individual postgraduate courses.

Further ways to obtain study skills guidance

If you are unable to attend the workshops or register for the online programme, or if you prefer to read about study techniques or merely want to find out about a particular aspect of study, you might like to consult one of our study skills guides, borrow a book from the library or access study skills material online.

Continuing Education study skills guides

The Department has developed a range of study skills guides for students offering advice on tried and tested ways to study effectively.

A copy of our Weekly Classes student handbook, which includes a mini-guide to preparing and writing a range of assignments for our open access courses, can be downloaded as a PDF document by following the link below (please see pages 5-6):

We use the following bespoke guides to support our workshops:

  • Introduction to Study Skills
  • Building Assignment Writing Skills
  • Developing Further Assignment Writing Skills
  • Revision and Examination Skills

These are available to current students, either on request from your tutor or from the Rewley House Library reception desk.


There are a large number of books you can consult to find out more about study skills at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Some cover a range of study skills; others focus on specific skills or on individual subject disciplines. The Rewley House Library holds multiple copies of a large selection of study skills publications. You will also find study skills books in your local public library. You may download our list of recommended study skills texts.

Teaching and learning in Continuing Education

All of our courses are designed to provide a high quality and enjoyable learning experience for part-time adult students. The range of teaching methods and activities varies from course to course, and, depending on the subject taught, may include site visits to archaeological digs, museums, art galleries and heritage buildings in addition to classroom-based teaching.

All courses include seminars, lectures and tutorials in some form. Seminars and lectures are often delivered in a composite form in a single extended session, for example in a two-hour weekly class or six-hour day school. If you would like to find out more about lectures, seminars and tutorials and how best to prepare for them please click for further information (PDF).

Guidance for students whose first language is not English

If English is not your first language you may have concerns whether you will be able to cope with study at undergraduate level. All of our courses are taught in English and you need to be sufficiently fluent in the English language to work without disadvantage. It is our experience that students require a level of fluency in written and spoken English equivalent to at least the British Council’s IELTS level 7 in order to study effectively and successfully on all courses at the Department for Continuing Education. This level is specified as an entrance requirement for courses which result in the achievement of an Oxford University qualification and is an advisory requirement for all other courses.

For further information about the Department’s English Language Requirement and for links to IELTS and TEFL websites please see the guidance for International Students.

If you require advice and information about language proficiency please contact the Student Support Officer.

Increasing your English language proficiency

If you would like to improve your command of English there are a number of useful web sites which provide useful guidance on increasing language proficiency and preparing for the IELTS and other examinations, including:

This is a British Council website. It provides language advice and a wide range of reading and listening activities in academic, professional/business and leisure subjects.

You can also access a large selection of self-study quizzes focusing on vocabulary, grammar and British culture from the following external website: