Boost your academic performance with ANU Academic Skills

21 Mar 2023

Take notes during lectures and prescribed readings. The act of notetaking will help to reinforce what you’re learning and provide a written record you can refer to later.

Exam time is just around the corner. Are you prepared? Semester 1 mid-semester examinations begin Monday 27 March 

Make sure you take full advantage of the support that exists on campus to ensure you are adequately prepared for a successful exam period. 

ANU Academic Skills provides essential support to students looking to improve their academic performance by developing their key skills and communication strategies. Their services cater to students at every stage of their academic journey, from first-year undergraduates to final-year PhD candidates.  

We spoke to Ben Kooyman, a Learning Adviser with the ANU Library Academic Skills team about the services and resources ANU Academic Skills provides to students and staff. 

What does ANU Academic Skills do?  

ANU Library Academic Skills supports students in developing core academic skills to be successful in their studies. We provide guidance and training to improve skills in reading and referencing, critical thinking, essay writing, researching, study and exam preparation, time management, and more. 

What is a learning adviser?  

Learning Advisers are highly trained and experienced academic writers who are available to assist students with their work. You can book an appointment to get in-depth feedback on your writing. This is a great way to get a fresh perspective on a draft you have been working on, or to chat about other aspects of your work - project milestones, proposals, reading strategies, an upcoming presentation, and more. 

Do you each have different specialties?  

Our team see students from all disciplinesand across all levelsfrom undergraduate through to postgraduate study. In the course of an appointment block I might see a first year Engineering undergraduate, a Psychologyhonours student, and a postgraduate from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific putting finishing touches on their PhD.  

What services do you offer?  

You can make an appointment with a Learning Adviser or Writing Coach, attend a drop-in session with a Peer Writer, come along to one of ourworkshops, or browse the resources on our website. 

We facilitate a weekly English conversation group at lunchtime, which provides an opportunity to second language speakers to practice their English in a friendly and supportive environment. 

We also work with Digital Literacy Trainers who support students in developing their digital literacy skills. 

What services do you offer staff? 

Staff can reach out to us if they'd like us to make an appearance in their course, program, or campus residence. We can talk about a particular genre of writing or assessment (e.g.essays, reports, reflective writing, oral presentations, theses) or skills that would benefit their students (e.g. referencing, academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism, reading critically) or a combination of those things. We have almost 100 appearances lined up across diverse undergraduate, honours, and postgraduate courses over Semester 1.  

What is the most common thing students ask for assistance with? 

Many of our requests are for feedback on draft assignments. We can review a paper and provide feedback on style, structure, and whether it addresses the assessment criteria, among other things.  

Do you run workshops?  

We offer workshops for HDR students, including sessions on structuring a thesis, writing thesis chapters, writing journal articles, and presenting at conferences.  

In O-Week we also offer a variety of workshops to help students lay foundations for academic success, including workshops on time management, finding and using sources, referencing and academic integrity, writing, and more.  

You can access our upcoming workshops here. 
What 3 tips do you have for students heading into mid-semester exams? 

Take notes during lectures and prescribed readings! The act of notetaking will help to reinforce what you're learning and provide a written record you can refer to later. Factor time into your schedule to revisit those notes, and target those times of day when you will study most efficiently. Sleep and eat well so your health does not suffer during this period.  

Do appointments fill up fast around exam time? How can students plan ahead to ensure they get an appointment?  

Appointments can fill quickly in peak assessment periods, so we advise students to book in advance. 

How can students book appointments?  

Students can book appointments with Learning Advisers, Writing Coaches, or Digital Literacy Trainers by visiting 

Peer Writer drop-ins do not require a booking. They are available Monday to Friday 12-3pm during semester in the foyer of the Chifley Library. 

ANU Library Academic Skills is here to support you, so please make the most of this service during your time at ANU.