Academic skills advice

Get ready to study Science with these helpful tips and resources!

Take notes

Taking good lecture notes and being able to summarise the content is very important. Note taking is different for each subject, and different learning techniques apply to each discipline. Make sure you try different styles to see what suits you best.
The Academic Skills page offers some advice on how you can take notes from texts.

Writing skills/Writing an essay

Most science students won't come across essay writing tasks in their major. But it will most likely come up in breadth subjects (e.g. history, music psychology, and language subjects). Refer to the tips in 'General Writing Skills'. It gives you an idea of which basic structure and the style of phrasing is appropriate for your assessment.

Time management

Remember that there won't be anyone checking in on your progress with an assignment or reminding you when something is due. Submitting things on time and finding time to study is your own responsibility. Definitely go and enjoy but remember to balance socialising and study - this is the biggest challenge for many university students.


High-use books, textbooks, extra readings, general collections for all subjects - for accessing resources to apply your study skills.

Online resources (available via the library website)

Discovery: Go-to for any research assignments. Very helpful as most resources found on discovery are accessible online. Discovery Search bar is on the library home page
Referencing guide: Any written tasks will require citations and references to be clearly indicated. Make sure to reference properly. Copyright is taken very seriously at uni (across all subjects) and online submissions will go through a program that verifies that it is your original work. 
Past Exams: Past examination papers are available online for many subjects and are a great exam preparation resource. However, solutions are often not provided.

Group work

Many subjects will have group tasks. Meeting rooms are available via Bookit at various libraries and are perfect for group assignments and study sessions. 
You can book a university computer through this service as well. PCs at the university have useful software (such as MATLAB) and can be booked for 3-hour sessions.


Prescribed textbooks for each subject are available at the university libraries. The latest edition is usually in the high-use room and will only be available for overnight loans (or even shorter amount of time). Search for the textbook on the library catalogue.


  • Find and borrow the older editions. Older editions are usually available in the general collection and can be borrowed for longer periods (with extensions if necessary).
  • If no copies of the prescribed textbook are available, contact your lecturer to ask for suggestions on a different textbook. You’ll find that there are heaps of textbooks available on the content/subject you’re studying, and you don’t always need the exact same textbook to understand a topic.
  • Some textbooks (not necessarily the prescribed ones) have extra questions you can go through & summaries you can refer to if you want some extra help.


Academic staff - tutors and lecturers

Remember that every lecturer you come across is an expert in their field. You can even ask questions that are non-academic (e.g. career-related). They know what's happening in the field and could refer you to resources. A lot of tutors are masters/PhD students, and many would have taken the subject themselves. They know what you're going through, so ask them about their experience in the course and any study advice.

Assessments during the semester

Online quizzes/Pracs/Workshops
Scores from these assessments are often a good indication of your understanding of the topic. The online quiz questions also reflect key ideas of the curriculum. Treat them seriously as the scores from those quizzes 'only worth 0.5% of your total grade' add up and are essentially 'free marks' when compared to closed-book assessments (i.e. exam). Sometimes subjects have assessments within pracs, so pre-prac quizzes can be a helpful revision tool. Treat pracs and workshops as you would a lecture - keep the worksheets from the sessions and make revision/summary notes on them.

Assignments make excellent revision tools
Often, the level of understanding required for a topic is similar for assignments and exams. Once assignments are returned, always go over the answers, and go through them again with tutors/peers.


Attend tutorials!

Tutorials allow you to actively engage with the content. If you miss a tute for whatever reason, see if you can attend a different session during the week. The smaller learning environment is a great time to ask questions.

Learn how to get the most out of your tutorials [pdf 1.1MB].

Prepare for exams early on in the semester

Apply different exam strategies at different stages of the semester. Throughout the semester: take notes, make summaries, find answers to questions you have. At the end of the semester: ideally, you should just be revising your notes and completing past papers (if any).

Most importantly: seek help when you need it

From your peers, academic staff, library help desk, Academic Skills, and more Actively look for the resources that you need. If you search for it, there will always be someone willing to help you with whatever you need. If you need to ask something, ask. If you need help with anything, seek help. The first year of your undergrad degree: the year of learning how to learn! It's important to figure out your study habits - what learning technique works best for you? How will you study each subject? How will you balance studying with socialising and other activities?

These handy tips are brought to you by Academic Skills and Library.