Study techniques

In order to successfully complete your course, you will need to acquire subject-specific skills as well as subject-related study and work techniques. These are also important skills that will help you find work in the future.



Subject-specific skills

Study techniques include academic working methods, such as conducting experiments, surveys, and basic research. The basic skills required for academic work are taught in all subjects at the start of the course. Introductory courses provide an overview of the various techniques for the subject, which are then practiced in special classes.

Study and work techniques

Study methods also include study and work techniques required by students irrespective of their course. including:

  • Self-organization and time management skills: You will, for instance, need to put together your own timetable, design your course according to your needs, and prepare yourself for exams. But self-organization also involves motivating yourself to learn, as external incentives such as performance monitoring and feedback are less important at university.
  • Reading, writing, speaking: Of course, these are skills that you will have already acquired. However, the standards expected at university are usually higher than those in school and everyday life. For example, you will need to learn how to read relevant sections of books rather than whole books, as vast quantities of text have to be processed. It is important that you retain an overview and thoroughly process those passages that are relevant to the aspect you are dealing with. In written work, it will not suffice to simply write down what you are thinking. You will usually need to revise extensive texts repeatedly until they are properly structured and precisely phrased.
  • Acquiring knowledge: Depending on what you are studying, you will need to use various strategies to acquire knowledge and prepare for exams. In some subjects, the challenge is to learn large amounts of information off by heart; in others, you will need to understand highly complex interrelationships and be able to apply this knowledge. At university level, exams have become less frequent, but more substantial and demanding. This means that an examination can often be a particularly stressful experience. Computer skills: You will generally be expected to use a computer for your university work. This will include, for example, conducting research online, using statistics programs, and writing reports and essays.

Acquiring and developing your skills

Most first-year students will have already acquired the specified study and work techniques to a basic level. But many also discover that their skills are insufficient for the purposes of their course.

If this applies to you, do not ignore the need for improvement, but, rather, make an effort to improve these areas in the required fields. The special skills required for academic study are taught in courses offered by the various departments.

Interdisciplinary courses on study and work techniques, as well as on preparing for exams, are offered by the following establishments, among others (free-of-charge or for a small fee):

A number of useful guides are available from bookshops, which will help you to develop your study and work techniques.

Literature on this subject is also available from the Student Counseling and Information Center.