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How to Study

At least initially, this may sometimes be inevitable. However, by employing good citation practice from the start, you will learn to avoid errors such as close paraphrasing or inadequately referenced quotation. It is important to understand the reasons behind the need for transparency of source use.

How to Cram – or, How to Ace the Exam That’s Just Around the Corner

All academic texts, even student essays, are multi-voiced, which means they are filled with references to other texts. If you are substantially indebted to a particular argument in the formulation of your own, you should make this clear both in footnotes and in the body of your text according to the agreed conventions of the discipline, before going on to describe how your own views develop or diverge from this influence. On the other hand, it is not necessary to give references for facts that are common knowledge in your discipline.

If you are unsure as to whether something is considered to be common knowledge or not, it is safer to cite it anyway and seek clarification. You do need to document facts that are not generally known and ideas that are interpretations of facts. Although plagiarism in weekly essays does not constitute a University disciplinary offence, it may well lead to College disciplinary measures. Persistent academic under-performance can even result in your being sent down from the University. Although tutorial essays traditionally do not require the full scholarly apparatus of footnotes and referencing, it is still necessary to acknowledge your sources and demonstrate the development of your argument, usually by an in-text reference.

Many tutors will ask that you do employ a formal citation style early on, and you will find that this is good preparation for later project and dissertation work. In any case, your work will benefit considerably if you adopt good scholarly habits from the start, together with the techniques of critical thinking and writing described above. As junior members of the academic community, students need to learn how to read academic literature and how to write in a style appropriate to their discipline. This does not mean that you must become masters of jargon and obfuscation; however the process is akin to learning a new language.

It is necessary not only to learn new terminology, but the practical study skills and other techniques which will help you to learn effectively. Developing these skills throughout your time at university will not only help you to produce better coursework, dissertations, projects and exam papers, but will lay the intellectual foundations for your future career.

Even if you have no intention of becoming an academic, being able to analyse evidence, exercise critical judgement, and write clearly and persuasively are skills that will serve you for life, and which any employer will value. Borrowing essays from other students to adapt and submit as your own is plagiarism, and will develop none of these necessary skills, holding back your academic development.

Students who lend essays for this purpose are doing their peers no favours.

How to study a lot in a short period - or how to cram

Not all cases of plagiarism arise from a deliberate intention to cheat. Sometimes students may omit to take down citation details when taking notes, or they may be genuinely ignorant of referencing conventions. However, these excuses offer no sure protection against a charge of plagiarism. Even in cases where the plagiarism is found to have been neither intentional nor reckless, there may still be an academic penalty for poor practice. It is your responsibility to find out the prevailing referencing conventions in your discipline, to take adequate notes, and to avoid close paraphrasing.

If you are offered induction sessions on plagiarism and study skills, you should attend.


Together with the advice contained in your subject handbook, these will help you learn how to avoid common errors. If you are undertaking a project or dissertation you should ensure that you have information on plagiarism and collusion. If ever in doubt about referencing, paraphrasing or plagiarism, you have only to ask your tutor. There are some helpful examples of plagiarism-by-paraphrase and you will also find extensive advice on the referencing and library skills pages.

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The following examples demonstrate some of the common pitfalls to avoid. These examples use the referencing system prescribed by the History Faculty but should be of use to students of all disciplines. From a class perspective this put them [highwaymen] in an ambivalent position. Therefore, it was not enough to hang them — the values they espoused or represented had to be challenged. Linebaugh, P.

Linebaugh, The London Hanged, p. Access Student Self Service. Ask a question. Skip to main content. This image comes from Oxford University Images - All rights reserved. Share This Tweet. Share on Facebook. Share on LinkedIn. Share on Reddit. Forms of plagiarism Verbatim word for word quotation without clear acknowledgement Quotations must always be identified as such by the use of either quotation marks or indentation, and with full referencing of the sources cited. Why does plagiarism matter? If you take up a profession such as medicine or accountancy, the bad news is that exams continue well into your twenties.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the pain easier. Photo: No-one much enjoys sitting exams.

Make sure you're prepared and you'll stand a far better chance of success. As far as you're concerned, teachers probably have a single function: to help you pass your exams and either get a job or move on to the next stage of your education.

Teachers themselves see things a little differently—don't forget that they have to get hundreds of students through exams each year—but generally their aims are in tune with yours. Remember that your teacher is not your opponent or your nemesis: he or she is not out to frustrate you or irritate you. However it might seem at the time, teachers are always trying to help you.

Take advantage of that help and you'll never regret it. Ask for help whenever you need it: that's what teachers are there for. Having said that, as you'll have discovered for yourself, there are many good teachers and quite a few bad ones. Most of your teachers care passionately about how well you do even if they don't let on and one or two truly couldn't care less what happens to you especially if you don't care very much yourself.

The first top tip I have is not to rely on teachers to get you through your exams. Teachers will help you enormously, but ultimately it's your job and yours alone. The older and more senior you get, the more you'll find that teachers and lecturers put the responsibility of passing exams onto their students. What does that involve in practice? The first thing is to understand the curriculum or syllabus you're studying and exactly what you're expected to know about each subject. Ask your teacher to supply you with a copy of the curriculum you're working to or look it up for yourself on the Web.

Note that different examining bodies may use slightly different curricula, so be sure to find the correct one. Armed with this information, you will at least know what you need to know, even if you don't know it. Got me? Photo: Once you're in the exam, you're on your own—without even your phone to help you. Make sure you're prepared. Before you go anywhere near an examination, it's vitally important to understand how the marks are allocated.

You might find that 75 percent of the mark comes from the exam you sit at the end of the academic year, while the remainder is allocated by your teacher based on coursework or projects you do during the year itself.

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It's very important you understand the marking scheme, whatever it is, right at the start. If 90 percent of your mark comes from coursework and you do that poorly all year, you can't expect to save yourself at the last minute with a sudden good exam performance. Similarly, even if you've done brilliant coursework, if it counts for only 10 percent of your total mark, you still need a good performance in the exam.


If you understand where your marks will come from, you can allocate your efforts accordingly. More than 20 years after I last sat an exam of any kind, I still get a recurring nightmare about not having started my revision in time! Chore though it is, you can never really spend too long revising. Teachers will tell you that it's generally easier to spend a small amount of time each day revising over a long period than to try to cram in all your revision the night before your exam.

But different strategies work for different people. Some people find concentrated revision suits them best. Some prefer to revise one subject entirely before proceeding with another topic; others prefer to alternate revision between different subjects. As you become proficient at exams, you should find a pattern that works for you. One good tip is to make revision a habit: treat it like a job and make yourself revise between certain set times of the day whether you feel like it or not. No-one ever feels like revising, but if you get into a routine where you always begin and end at the same time, you'll find it a whole lot easier.

Another good tip is to intersperse your revision with relaxing activities to stop your brain overloading. Go for walks, listen to music, hang out with friends, play sports—whatever you like— as long as you understand the distinction between break and distractions. Make a timetable of your week and highlight times you can put aside for effective study. Internet Links.

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