Alex Johnstone reviews this practical manual for students moving to higher education

Tina Overton, Stuart Johnson and Jon Scott
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
2011 | 261pp | £19.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780199539680

Cover of Study and communication skills for the chemical sciences

This book is a practical manual for students entering university and college, to help them to cope with the demands of a new learning environment. It deals not so much with the content of courses, as with how to cope with and organise the content into a learnable experience. At the outset it emphasizes the fact that the learning skills which served the students well at school, may be quite inadequate for the tertiary level. If students can be convinced of this, the book will make a lot of sense to them.

The topics explored concern the skills required to make the most of lectures, tutorials and practical work. This is followed by considerations of how best to respond to the learning, in essay writing, project reports, oral presentations and poster construction. The last part of the book provides help in acquiring the skills of revision and preparation for examinations.

The authors have prepared the book either to be read from cover to cover or to be used as a resource which can be dipped into as required. To allow for this freedom, there is necessarily repetition to make each chapter free-standing.

Students would be well advised not to read the book straight through, to avoid 'mental constipation'. There is a lot to be digested, evaluated and shaped for personal application so that it fits individual learning styles as the courses proceed and new demands arise.

This could be a valuable resource for all students and its utility would last the whole of a degree course, making this a good buy.

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