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Activity 7 - University Skills

Activity 7 - University Skills 


Welcome to Activity 7! In this activity we will be focusing on study skills that are essential to develop when at University. Some of the study skills we will be looking at during activity 7 you will have already started to think about during the first Brilliant Club tutorial we had at school before lock down. In this session we are going to be revising these skills to make sure we thoroughly understand how to implement them into our studying, to be able to successfully to write a high quality essay.


By working your way through the Brilliant Club videos attached below and completing each of the corresponding tasks assigned to you, you will be able to further develop your essay writing skills and will feel much more confident in developing an argument, using the PEEL framework. You will also gain some experience on taking notes, and why this is a really important skill for studying and retaining important information. Try your best and feel free to refer back to this activity as and when necessary. 



Study Skills | What Makes A Good University Student & What Skills Do You Need

In this video - What makes a good university student? What skills will you need on The Scholars Programme? How can you develop these skills?

Task 1: What makes a good university student?


In the first task, you are going to be considering the following questions:


  • What makes a successful university candidate?


  • What skills do you need on the Scholars Programme?


  • How can you develop these skills?


PAUSE the video at 1:41 minutes - 


1. What makes a successful university student? Grab a pen and some paper! I want you to draw an outline of a human body (it doesn't have to be perfect). Around your drawing, I want you to note down -


a) Personal qualities needed to study at university (e.g. determination, time keeping skills, team player etc.)

b) Academic skills you need to be a successful university candidate (e.g. good at writing essays, fast learner.)


PRESS PLAY on the video at 1:47 minutes - 


Are there any personal qualities or academic skills you could add onto your drawing? Challenge a parent/carer or sibling to see if they can think of any skills or qualities you haven't already thought about!


2. What makes a successful Scholar? - Grab your pen and paper again, ready to take some notes whilst considering some of the following points - 


  • How can you write a good essay?
  • How do we structure an essay?
  • What is in the introduction of an essay?
  • What will you include in the main body of an essay?
  • Why does an essay need a conclusion?
  • What do you think a "reference list" is? Why would you include one in an essay?


When you have successfully made your notes on this section and have considered all of the points above, you are ready to watch the next video!

Study Skills | Structuring an Essay

In this video: Explaining the main aspects of a successful essay: Introduction, main body, conclusion and the bibliography/referencing.

Task 2: Structuring a successful essay 


The second video clip includes key information and advice for structuring a successful essay at University. The video considers the four main parts of a successful essay plan - the introduction, the main body, the conclusion and the references.


To make sure you understand how to structure an essay, I want you to watch the video and make notes on the suggestions given. Remember to include key information that will help you in the future when writing an essay. It should look something like this: 


Introduction - 


  • Introduce the topic of your essay
  • State the question you are going to answer
  • What? When? Who?


Main Body - 


  • Balance your argument
  • Consider a range of view points
  • Include key facts
  • Carry out research online or in books to prove your point 


Conclusion -


  • Summarise key points
  • Restate your main argument


References - 


  • Show your reader where you found your evidence
  • Acknowledge which facts are not your own and where you found them (newspaper, online article, Youtube video, book etc). 


Study Skills | Structuring an Essay - PART 2

In this video : In this video you will consider the notes you have made on how to structure a successful essay. These notes will be put to the test in an essay structuring challenge, as well as revisiting the PEEL concept to be able to develop a sound essay argument.

Task 3: Structuring an Essay - CHALLENGE!


* PAUSE the video at 0:37 minutes. 


You are going to see some extracts from an essay. I want you to take your time to clearly read the extracts given to you. The essay is entitled "Should mobile phones be banned in schools?" - Put the extracts of the essay in order, using the notes you made on the last video. Which order do you think each extract should appear in the essay?


I want you to use your paper and pen and put the essay extracts in the correct order. You don't have to re-write up each section of the essay all over again though! Let's label each section A, B, C and D. Which order would you have to re-arrange them into? Note it down on your paper when you are ready for the correct order to be revealed, press PLAY on the video.


1. What is P E E L? - PEEL is a concept we explored during our first tutorial with the Brilliant Club ... do you remember?  If not, don't worry! We are going to revisit PEEL and consider why it is an important tool to use to structure our essays. I want you to grab your paper and pen once again to make some more useful notes on PEEL. It should look something like this:


  • Point - state your point


  • Evidence - give evidence that supports the point you are trying to make (research online, statistics etc.)


  • Explain - how does the evidence you have used prove your point?


  • Link - link back to the point you stated and the main argument of the essay


Study Skills | Developing Your Argument - PEEL

In this video : Using PEEL to develop your argument.

Task 4: Developing your argument with PEEL


1. Once you have completed your notes on PEEL using the previous video, you should be ready to understand what PEEL looks like in practice in a real essay.


* PAUSE the video at 0:30 to consider how well PEEL is being used in the paragraph, "To what extent do you agree that Gryffindor is the best Hogwarts House?"


I want you, using your paper and pen to consider - 


  • What do you think is good about this example?


  • What do you think could be improved about this example?


* PRESS PLAY on the video at 0:50 - 


Here you will see a better example of PEEL being used in the same essay paragraph. Again, using your pen and paper I want you to make notes on the following points:


  • What makes this paragraph more effective?


  • How have they used PEEL?


  • Is there anything else you would do to improve the paragraph? 


2. Now it is time for you to write your own essay paragraph using the PEEL method. I want you to consider the following essay question - "Which is the better superhero power - flying or being invisible?"


* PAUSE the video at 2:47 - Take a few minutes to consider which side of the argument you are going to discuss, flying or being invisible as the best superhero power. This is your chance to be creative. I want you, using your notes you made on PEEL to have a go at writing a paragraph including:


a) The point you are making (e.g. "I think flying is the best superhero power you can have".)


b) The evidence to prove this point - why is this the best superhero power? (e.g. "Flying is the best power you can have because it allows you to see what is happening from above and get to and from places really quickly.") 


c) Explain how your evidence proves your point (e.g "This shows that flying is a great super hero power to have, because it makes travelling around easier. Being able to see from above will mean that you can avoid things like traffic when having to cross the road. This means you can get to your destination a lot quicker and without any stress!")


d) Linking this evidence back to your main argument (e.g. "This is one reason that flying is the best super hero power.")


Once you have completed your essay paragraph, arguing your side of the question, make sure to read it out to a parent/carer or a sibling to see if they agree with you. Ask your parent/carer or sibling how you could improve your argument, either by making a stronger point or adding a more relevant example. Make sure to update your paragraph to reflect these improvements. 

Study Skills | Reflection and Top Tips

In this video : Reflecting on the study skills we have considered during the previous tasks to put together a study guide for other students answering an essay question.

Task 5: Reflecting on what we have learnt 


Creating Your Own Study Skills Guide - Reflecting on the work we have done today, we are going to put together all of the study skills information we have thought about and made notes on, by creating a "Study Guide" or a set of top tips for someone who is thinking about studying at University.


This could be done in whatever way you would like, either a mind map, a fact file or a journal article for students - this is up to you to decide! This guide, or set of top tips will be used to help students when they are answering an essay question. 


This should include: * (PAUSE video at 1:20 for more ideas of what to include)


  • How to structure an essay


  • What each section of an essay should include


  • How to use PEEL


  • Considering both sides of the argument


* Scroll further down the page for some ideas for inspiring your "study guide" or top tips fact file.


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