Study Toolkit

Having solid study strategies in place from first year will aid progression and make assignment writing and exam revision easier throughout your university life.

Download our Study Toolkit.

Strategies and technology that supports your studies

Key academic areas

There is support available throughout the University to help with this. The key academic areas for study include:


Reading is a key skill, and you will find that you need to do a lot of reading at university. Reading texts and journal articles in your own subject will help you become familiar with the principles of your subject. Your course reading list is a good starting point.


Many lecturers now make their PowerPoint slides available online for students, but they will present much more information during the lecture than is shown on the slides. They may also give very useful tips for assignments or exams; therefore, it is important to attend all your lectures and tutorials.


Is an essential skill that all students need to develop, almost all pieces of academic coursework require referencing.

EndNote allows you to collate, annotate and organise your references, create reference lists and add citations to your text. This is available on all University networked PCs and students are able to install one copy of the software on their own computer for personal use. This link explains how.

Citethisforme is a free online tool to help with Harvard referencing style.

Exam revision

To help you get the most out of the time you'll spend on revision, you need to develop 'active learning' techniques. For example, ask yourself questions about the subject, and explain information in different ways, such as by using mind maps or diagrams, or using cue cards.


Most students will give oral presentations as part of their studies at university. For presentations, you need to research a topic, plan the content, structure and delivery, and then prepare a PowerPoint or visual support presentation of it.

Study support software and technology

We have a study tool kit of software and apps that can help with the above key skills, these are detailed on our dedicated SWAY channel.

These Sways showcase a broad selection of different free software packages, apps and plug-ins that can be useful in everyone’s work and studies. We also cover some built-in features of programs you are likely to be using in your studies such as Microsoft Word. Finally, we highlight the software that the university provides to all students on the campus networks that can support you through your course.
SWAY presentation: An introduction to Study Support Technology

Network software

We have two very useful pieces of software on the university network, as well as some freely available software, that can help everyone with their studies and coursework.

Text to speech

Have written text and articles read back to you or create sound files for listening to on the go with these free software packages and plug-ins or use the built-in features of programs like Word and Adobe Acrobat for having your work read back aloud to you. Have a look at this Sway presentation on Text to Speech.

Study tools

Some useful generic Web Study Tools are covered in this presentation.

Spelling and grammar

Words, spelling, grammar and dictionaries are covered in this presentation for anyone who would benefit from some extra checking on their writing and wish to expand on their use of vocabulary.


There is a presentation here on Dictation and Speech recognition. This covers how to use Windows built-in speech recognition, and has a look at, a free transcription app.


There are also many apps available to support learners in different areas. Check out our assistive technology page for details of apps that we recommend.

Microsoft Office

Remember that as a student you will have access to Microsoft Office/Office 365 and be able to download MS Office to your PC for the duration of your course. This will also give you access to 1TB of data storage through HWU OneDrive.

Tips and advice

We have provided some useful tips and advice to help you study more effectively:

Being organised and managing your time

You need to have the ability to keep track of time:

  • Know when and where you should be for scheduled classes, events and exams
  • Know when work has to be handed in
  • Keep to deadlines.

Assignment calculator for breaking down tasks

This tool from Simon Fraser University in Canada lets you enter a written assignment or essay title and due date, and it breaks the task down and gives you deadlines for each stage. Link to the assignment calculator.

The stages it identifies are as follows,

  • Understand your assignment (5%)
  • Do your research (20%)
  • Write a draft thesis statement (5%)
  • Write your outline (10%)
  • Write your draft (20%)
  • Revise your draft (25%)
  • Finalise your references (5%)
  • Proofread and format your final draft (10%)

Outlook calendar

Add your timetable to this, schedule in revision, assignments hand-in dates, exam times, dates and locations.

Use the Student Portal and Canvas to keep up to date with university and course information.


Check out the Getting started page from the library, here you will find information about library resources, IT services and support for your studies.

Help and advice

  • Skills Hub can help develop your academic skills.
  • Help with academic writing – meet a tutor who can assist with academic writing skills, such as correctly interpreting the question in an assignment.
  • InformS – sign up to this blog to keep up to date with all Information Services news.

If you require more information on any of the above, you can contact the Disability Service.