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on 5 December 2014
Perfect for my FdA Business and Management degree, thanks to ex students selling their used books!
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VINE VOICEon 29 April 2010
As I say in my title this is possibly the best study book I have ever read, and as a lecturer I have read a lot of them. This is a clear and straightforward book, with a lot of sensible hints, tips and suggestions which can be used to develop good study habits, and make studying a much more pleasurable experience. I am very impressed with this book, and I believe it stands out from the rest. I like the way it links things to multiple intelligences, which gives it a much more individual and personal feel. I would highly recommend this book to any student, and only wish it was around when I was a student. My students will certainly be advised to buy it.

As an adendum to this as a further recommendation, I have shown this book to my students and they also think it is excellent and are buying it. I think this is a recommendation in itself.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The scope of this book is wide, meaning there is only room for an overview of the subjects. On the other hand sometimes what you need is the basics, with references that will guide further study. The design of the book is sober but this won't be a problem for dedicated students. While the look of the book may be mundane, the content shines. Did you know, for example, that the body language of a student can play a part in the quality of teaching on offer?

Each chapter includes an overview, a contents table and chapter summary. There are also case studies to digest, questionnaires to complete and spaces for self reflective writing. My favourite questionnaire identifies which of the eight different intelligences you prefer. Using this knowledge you can tailor your style of study to what suits you best. I had never heard of concept maps, ecology checks or Ishikawa diagrams, so this book has opened new avenues of learning to me. That's worth the price of admission alone.

I enjoyed the final chapter. It deals with a variety of decision making techniques including: free-fall thinking, balance sheet approach, Five Thinking Hats, decision trees, SWOT analysis and creative visualisation. Another highlight was the chapter about mathematics and numerical competence, which has given me confidence to improve my skills in this area. This book also explains the theory and practice behind referencing, so it is a good resource to have on hand.

I was drawn to this book because I am an adult education tutor. It's been a while since I was at university and I wanted to brush up on my study skills. I wish I had read The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook when I was a student. Sometimes we are so busy studying we don't spend time thinking about whether we are studying in the most effective way. This book will help you do this.
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on 22 May 2010
The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook has a clear layout and structure, providing tasks and questions for reflection on your study habits. As a graduate, I wish I had this book at University. I never understood my learning style and how best to manage my time. This book provides suggestions on how to improve these bad habits, and make the best of your study time. Even if you are a student just starting out this book is fantastic, as it provides the basics needed to survive your studies and get you organised. Skills you already possess are developed through reflecting on decisions (both positive and negative) you have made and past achievements, allowing you to evaluate what went well and what didn't.
The only thing that I can think of to improve this book would be a section on revision skills. Although I have years of practice at sitting exams, I still struggle with revision, so I was hoping there would be a section on techniques as I'm sure many students out there still have this problem.
My favourite chapter was the final chapter, about using what you have learned and making improvements and plans for the future. It allows you to establish what decisions need to be made and create a plan of your next steps, which is great for the transition from university to employment.
Overall, this is an excellent book for students, giving you practical guidance on study techniques and how to get the best out of University.
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VINE VOICEon 10 December 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
About to start a higher education course but unsure whether you'll cope with the demands of student life? Do you know your subject, but despair of ever getting yourself properly organised? Do you struggle with any aspects of college life, such as essay-writing, group discussion or giving a presentation? Do you procrastinate endlessly or find it hard to make a decision? You may just have found a handy lifesaver.

This book is one of the best guides I've seen to the pleasures and pitfalls of academic work - ideal for anyone wanting to bridge the gap between school and college or university. It concentrates on the methodology rather than on any subject-specific content, making it applicable to pretty much any discipline or course of study. It encourages the reader to look at themselves via quizzes and questionnaires, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and make the most of their own abilities by working through problem areas. There are chapters on everything from spelling, punctuation and style to time-management, research and handling stress, and the final chapter deals with the adult decision-making necessary for juggling options such as further study, job offers or gap year placements.

The perfect Christmas present for any current or prospective undergraduate or further education student.
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was going back to studying after a 10 year break, so this book was perfect. However, it's not for someone who is completely new to higher education. It did help me to get back into the'groove' of studying, but I have already completed a degree so I just needed a nudge in the right direction. I don't know how helpful this would be to a novice. It helped me to refocus my work to how I learn, and remember how I got through my first degree. It's weird how foreign everything seemed to me after such a long time away from the routine of studying.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thought this was an excllent study guide for any age when starting out at university. Very clear and well laid out with loads of advice on how to make the best of your time. Full of useful tips I think it would make a wonderful gift for a new student. I wish I had this when I was a student as I am sure it would have been an asset
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Coming at this book as a university lecturer, I was hoping that it would give me advice that I could pass on to my students. Unfortunately, I don't think that's really the case; pretty much everything covered is stuff that by now strikes me as rather obvious and common sense. That doesn't mean that the book wouldn't be of use to those either in their first year or, perhaps better, about to go to university.

The book's thirteen chapters cover: 1) being an active learner, 2) talking to experts, 3) learning styles, 4) making notes, 5) research skills, 6) academic writing, 7) punctuation and referencing, 8) time management, 9) group work, 10) presentations, 11) managing stress, 12) numeracy, and 13) future decisions. That, I think, covers most of what students need to know from the academic side of things (the most glaring apparent error - exam technique - in fact occupies much of chapter 11). I would, however, have two main criticisms:

1) The material isn't as well-organized as it could be. I don't mind a bit of repetition, and I accept that some material would fit in different places almost equally well (for instance, the section on group presentations). Nonetheless, I often found chapters lacking any internal logic, so sometimes they were no more than disconnected points around some particular topic. Moreover, the chapter 'summaries' - while perhaps underlining the important take-home points - didn't do a very good job of summarizing the preceding material and, in a few cases I thought, made new points altogether!

2) Not only is the material often rather elementary, but it's rather padded out. The authors include a number of exercises for the reader, which I do not object to as such, since they serve to check understanding and encourage active learning. Often, however, these take up quite a bit of space, especially since blank boxes are given for the reader to write their responses in the book itself. I would have thought these unnecessary, given that a piece of paper would suffice (and allow the exercise to be used again). The consequence of all these various boxes, tables, and summaries is that what looks like 212 pages of text (excluding references and index) doesn't actually cover as much as it might.

In light of these criticisms, I don't think that I could give the book a particularly strong recommendation. That's not to say it's without use: most of the information and advice seems to me fairly sensible (though the authors do come close to endorsing, rather than merely acknowledging, essay writing all nighters!). While most students would no doubt acquire the necessary 'study skills' over the first year or two of their degree anyway, having the basics set out here can save the motivated student from learning the hard way. Perhaps, however, that's the biggest problem: I expect that the students diligent enough to read through such a book are the ones who least need to. On that note, the main message of the book is arguably that what students get out of their education depends on the work that they put in; a point worth underlining in the current age of consumerist expectations and for that reason alone I give it a cautious endorsement.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I chose this book as I thought that it would be useful for me, especially as I am about to embark on the adventure that is university. When I got it, I had a quick look through the contents page, and saw MANY different sections. Whilst the book suggests that you should specifically read the sections that are appropriate for you, I feel that it would have been better suited if it were more concise, and in note form rather than passages of information. Nonetheless, the guide goes into great depth regarding the various techniques and methods that can be used to aid the retention of information, the presentation of work, learning techniques and much more - thus living up to its name! It also provides a form of interaction in the numerous activities throughout the guide, designed to help the reader recognise and identify key areas/skills where improvement or development is required, but also identifying the best way for the reader to learn. I believe that the guide is very helpful when used for referring to when a student is working. Useful for pretty much any degree, and is suited to someone who wants to excel in their university studies. However, I really feel a more concise version of this guide would be of greater use to a student!
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on 14 September 2010
This is an excellent book to add to your learning toolbox. Ideal, no, essential reading for anyone undertaking a higher education course. I have read, and used, many study skills books over the years and never thought I would heartily recommend one as much as the first edition of Stella Cottrell's Study Skills Handbook. Until today. The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook is more focused on Higher Education and would not be as useful for, say, a sixth form student. But therein lies its strength. Eminently readable, packed with good advice and ideas to get assignments started, managed, and completed as well as useful tips on all aspects of degree study. I'm really impressed. I stand by my earlier review of Cottrell's book, but reckon this will help your learning to the next step. Highly recommended.
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