The tough transition from school deadlines

November 27, 1998

The all-work and no-play way to a degree

Jim Gardner, National Union of Students vice-president for education, says there is a strong case for integrating study skills into the undergraduate curriculum: "The problem for many students coming directly from A levels is that they are just not used to having to plan their work up to two months in advance.

"Most students have been used to weekly essays and are stumped when they reach university by a very different style of learning. They often find itdifficult to motivate themselves.They don't realise they need to book out library books and be very organised to do a good assignment.

"Bunching of assessed work with single deadlines is a common complaint but tutors will say the only alternative is to bring assessment deadlines forward for some pieces of work, so we are in a no-win situation.

"The solution is obviously time-planning and most students need help with this. There is now so much focus on key/transferable skills in higher education, but institutions should be looking at wider skills such as time management, note taking, speed reading and IT and computer skills, all of which are useful study skills and vital to many careers. It would also be helpful to students if assessed work was phased in so that in the early stages of a degree programme, deadlines could be staged."

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