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.
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.
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.
on 24 December 2015
As I was in my first year of university, my tutor recommended this handbook and said that it will be beneficial to have as it will help to adjust to university life. We used the handbook for a couple of days and that was it and I felt cheated because the book was expensive and to use it for a little while was a disgrace
I was very disappointed in this book.
I thought it would be full of ideas, but it's actually presented more like a course on study skills with exercises and activities to do. I'm sorry but if somebody wants to learn how to study then it is asking a lot for them to do activities just for the sake of improving your study. The best was to do this is to actually study a real subject.
It's also very, very touchy feely with things like stress, ethical issues, five hat thinking (oh dear...), keeping a learning journal. It needs to be more practical - if people followed all this advice they would never actually get any work done!
It also tries to cover lots of bases - it has sections on punctuation, Americanisms, presentation skills, time management ... there are whole books written on these subjects, so you could not hope to cover them in enough depth here. Having said that however, the book feels too dense, there is far too much to get through.
I suppose that teachers or educators might find some of this useful when teaching students study skills, but in all honesty I don't think it is subject specific enough, so there may only be odd morsels of advice that are found in here.
Overall it feels too much like a textbook, rather than a handbook, and comes across as something that has to be studied itself!
on 29 April 2010
What a great book - really clearly laid out, covering all the things that worry students - how to present in front of a crowd, staying in control, how to interact with your lecturers and tutors and how to reference, avoid plagiarism, etc. There are lots of exercises peppered throughout to help you check your understanding, including ones on how to listen and take notes, with cool examples like extracts from Nigella Express so you don't feel like you are back in the classroom.
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.
on 18 October 2011
As an undergraduate student, I found this study skills handbook was very easy to dip in to. Each section could be looked at independently. Each chapter has an overview, a self evaluation exercise, and practical advice. I found some chapters more useful than others, but I did like the straight-forward way it was presented.
on 29 November 2014
It is just awesome. It contains everything that needs to be covered for exams and preparing for exams. It clearly stands out from the rest. Got it just in time,because it is crucial for my Marketing exam in January.
As a handbook containing the basics of study I guess this is OK, but there are enough elements which are flawed to make this a limited, rather than ultimate proposition. For a relatively short volume, the book covers much, which means there will be some chapters where the reader will feel that there should be greater depth. Conversely, the overemphasis on exercises on study skills seem superfluous, study is a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
Those who might find it useful are those who have yet to encounter unstructured learning, so GCSE or perhaps A level students. Those approaching their first year at university should have done enough not to need this, but then again, perhaps I assume too much. More mature students might also find this useful as a reminder, and perhaps they have the experience to dip into the chapters which will be useful to them.
Perhaps that is the problem with the book; those who need it most will probably find the sheer volume of information daunting and give up, those who are suffuciently committed to plough through the book will probably have used that commitment on thier topic and so this will not provide a step change in their abilities/fortunes. A pity, though as a more focused book could have been useful.