Auditing your skills; what are you good at and what do you need to work on?

The skills that you need for your studies will vary throughout your time at Leeds. What you need to be able to do will depend on the type of assessments you’re working on, the subjects being studied and your previous experience. 

One way to find out which skills you need to develop, is to audit your current skills. The trouble is that there isn’t a convenient checklist of skills for university study. The academic skills that you might need as a Civil Engineering student will be different from those needed by a Linguist. Add to this the fact that your background, study experiences and personality will also be different to everyone else and you might be wondering how it’s possible to audit your academic skills?

Let’s flip this around for a moment and think about an audit less as a checklist of academic skills and more as an ongoing scan to find out which skills might need development as you progress.  In this scenario, you could use your module handbooks to find out what you’ll be doing in upcoming assessments and ask yourself how you feel about undertaking these. Look for headings such as Skills Outcomes, Syllabus and Methods of Assessment, are there things here that make you feel enthusiastic or apprehensive? With the things that you’re less keen on, notice those and consider how you could improve or if there is any support from the School or other places in the university that could help you get more confidence with these.

Look out for any feedback that you get for assessments. It’s easy to get hung up on your marks, but feedback is the springboard that you need for improvement. Do you understand what you need to do differently or more of next time? If not is it possible to ask your tutor for more details? (Generally tutor open office hours are underused: do you know when your tutor is available and have you ever asked to see them during office hours?)

In addition to this, are there any tools that might help you to get more efficient? Do you need to learn new software or brush up on how to use, for example, MS Office applications more effectively? Could your planning and time management strategies use a bit of a revamp?

Selecting a couple of ideas to focus on, and using a step-by-step approach to finding out which academic skills you need to work on is a good way to build your skills gradually.