My Lifesaving University Books

With some of you returning or starting university, I thought I’d give you a brief insight to some of the books I’ve used day in and day out for uni. All are non subject specific apart from the one and have been an amazing help for writing, reading, lectures, presentations and generally making the academic side of university life a lot more easy.

  1. The Study Skills Handbook By Stella Cottrell
    If you were to buy just the one book, I would strongly recommend this one. It has a bit of everything in it, from understanding your best and most effective way to learn, to time management, to presentation and writing skills. It’s a nice overview to anything you might need whilst studying. For the more specific details that I need, I turn to some of the other following Palgrave study guides.

  2. Cite Them Right By Richard Pears and Graham Shields
    I have used this book to pretty much amalgamate every bibliography or source reference I’ve written so far. It contains different styles such as the Harvard referencing system in the most depth but also covers the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association) and the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association). I sit with this whilst researching and whenever I find relevant pieces of information, I write a summary then put all the bibliographic bits of information that I need so that when I need to quote or put a footnote at a later date, it makes life a lot easier. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of writing good references from the beginning purely because when it comes to the important assessments, you can lose so many marks for not saying where you got information, or worse, have a nul mark for plagiarism.

  3. Skills for Success By Stella Cottrell
    Not for everyone, but it has been helpful a fair bit for me. This book gives amazing guidance on how to improve the things you aren’t that great at and how to highlight the skills you have. They range from everyday things like time management and organisation to career guidance like confidence during interviews. It also has exercises to do in order to help you improve on specific areas. Not something I use all the time but definitely useful to have around.

  4. How to Write Better Essays by Bryan Greetham
    This has been a must have for writing, it starts with the very basics in order to answer a question to the best of your ability. It is split into chapters which cover breaking down and analysing the question, researching and brainstorming, analysing others’ arguments, expressing your opinions and planning and putting together the essay. It’s quite a heavy read but as with most study books, you can easily pick it up and read a specific section. The more you use it, the less you will need to keep looking at it, essay writing tends to flow more easily the more often you write.

  5. Writing Dissertations for Dummies by Dr Carrie Winstanley
    I always feel a bit silly whacking this book out in the library or at my local Starbucks because of the title but it’s great! I’ve only just started reading bits as I’m starting my dissertation this year. It’s fairly similar to the previously mentioned essay writing book but tailored to writing longer essays so is a lot more in depth. I like the fact that it contains quite a few checklists for each section so you can skim read it easily. It’s laid out nicely and put into small readable chunks.

  6. Studying History by Jeremy Black and Donald M. Macraild
    This obviously wont be any use to you if you’re not studying History but it has been amazing for me over the last two years at university. It covers lots of different aspects of history including the most common question ‘What is History’ that I think many history degrees ask you to look into. It is gives great ideas as to what you should look for when doing research and helps you to develop others theories and give your own opinions in a critical and professional manner. Palgrave do quite a few books like this for other subjects so it’s worst taking a look to see if they do a version that is relevant for your degree.

  7. I hope this has been a helpful post for you all, I just thought you might be interested to know about the books I have and will most definitely be relying on this year! It’s been fairly Palgrave heavy (and this is not a sponsored post!) but they are absolutely amazing for research, skills and success with whatever assessments you have to complete. If you want to see what other books Palgrave have to offer, you can take a look here. If you have any other suggestions for all round good uni books, feel free to let me know in a comment.

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My Lifesaving University Books