If you have some spare time on your hands this summer, why not use it to develop some of your skills? Here are the Skills Centre's top 10 ideas for sharpening up your skills this summer.
1. Develop your writing skills
1:1 writing tutorials are available over the summer for you to discuss any aspect of writing and get personalised feedback from an expert writing tutor. Find out how the writing tutorials helped our student Skills Co-Creators in these blogs.
Take some time over the summer to digest the feedback you've received on your assignments over the past year. This will help you to understand the grades you've been given and how to improve in the future. This blog and more detailed guide explains the key feedback phrases and the steps to take for each.
The Academic & Employability Skills blog has lots of posts on all aspects of academic writing, covering topics like how to get started on your essay or dissertation, how to write concisely and how to make your writing flow. You can also check out other writing skills resources on MySkills.
2. Refine your academic skills
In addition to writing, the Academic & Employability Skills blog covers other key academic skills, for example critical thinking, note-taking and presentation skills. You can also find some general tips on how to stay focused on your studies over the summer vacation.
Our Digital & Academic Skills team has also developed a range of online academic skills short courses and the Academic Skills Handbook, written by two of our course leaders, is a really useful go-to guide to build your confidence and help you get ahead with your studies.
3. Become an ethical scholar
It may be a while since you took the University’s mandatory Academic Integrity Initiative Test, so now is the perfect time to remind yourself about the important rules of referencing and how to avoid plagiarism.
Read our blog on how to be an ethical scholar, work through the Skills for Study e-learning modules on 'Referencing and Understanding Plagiarism', 'Critical Thinking' and 'Reading and Note-making' and look at the Cite them Right referencing database to help you give proper credit to any sources used in your work.
4. Boost your group working skills
Team-working is a fundamental skill at University and in the workplace. Take a look at our short, self-access Effective Online Group work course, Five steps to effective group working blog and Work Well in Groups Super Quick Skills guide produced by two of our course leaders.
5. Start learning a foreign language
Having some foreign language skills up your sleeve will give you an edge in a competitive job market. Before you sign up for our autumn language classes, dip into some of the following online resources recommended by our tutors:
- Italian: learn Italian with Lucrezia - blogs and YouTube channel. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
- French: to brush up on your French, choose from a selection of activities, from listening and reading comprehension, to vocab and grammar, culture and pronunciation (select A1, A2, B1 or B2 levels).
- Japanese language: learn 25 key Japanese phrases whilst you sleep; 25 most common phrases used in Japan; 47 ways to say ‘thank you’ in Japanese and culture: 10,000 years of Japanese history in 9 minutes; What not to do in Japan.
- Chinese: Why Mandarin Chinese is easy to learn; Learn to count 0-10 in Mandarin; Stop saying ni hao!
- Spanish: Watch Spanish vlogs or the Easy Spanish channel. Follow free Future Learn courses or these video courses Neem and Mi vida loca. Learn about the history of Spain in Spanish or English, Latin America history in Spanish or English, its many revolutions and the virreinatos. But, especially, sing along with these summer songs: La Bicicleta, La vida me cambió, A un paso de la luna and Juramento eterno de sal.
- German: listen to or watch news (in German or English) - Deutsche Welle is the place to go to. They also have a large variety of resources to learn German from beginners to advanced level.
- Arabic: check out these useful resources: Mastering Arabic 1, Online Arabic Reading Course - Learn the Arabic Alphabet - a free online course that teaches you the letters of the Arabic alphabet and lets you practise reading simple words in the Arabic alphabet, LangMedia - Formal spoken Arabic dialogues.
- Portuguese: listening to music and podcasts and watching films are great, fun and motivational ways to learn or improve a language. With the LyricsTraining app you can watch music videos with Portuguese subtitles and type the missing words in the gaps. Portuguesepod101.com teaches Brazilian Portuguese through podcasts, lesson notes and flashcards to test new vocabulary. Take a look at this list of Brazilian movies available on Netflix.
By learning another language you’ll develop all-important intercultural skills too. Take a look at this SIETAR webinar on Tools to overcome cultural stereotypes.
You could also find out more about Virtual Exchanges - this blog sets out 5 great reasons to do a Virtual Exchange.
6. Improve your English language skills
If English is your second language, the British Council's LearnEnglish website provides many interactive resources to help improve your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The grammar and vocabulary sections, aimed at learners of all levels, will help you build your overall confidence in using everyday English.
Before you sign up for our English language course this autumn, the Cambridge Assessment Learning English website offers lots of free activities to help you practise your English and free materials to help you prepare for the Cambridge English exams.
7. Brush up your digital skills
Digital skills are essential to live, learn, work and thrive in today’s digital society. To get the most out of your learning and help prepare you for your future work, the University is encouraging all students to evaluate and develop their skills - you can access a range of resources on MySkills to get you started and read how two student Co-Creators are developing their digital skills in these blogs.
- Digital skills for the workplace (several of these courses also feature in the Government’s digital and numeracy Skills Toolkit)
- A practical guide to essential creative technologies
FutureLearn also offers a wide range of free courses from other providers, including:
And in case you missed it, the University of Bath is now part of FutureLearn Campus which gives its students free, upgraded access to the courses of institutions who are part of the scheme.
8. Build your confidence with maths and statistics
Whether you find numeracy, maths, statistics and data a bit scary or whether you use these throughout your studies or research, there are specific skills you might invest time in. Have you thought about:
- Developing your numeracy skills ready for placement or graduate recruitment numeracy tests
- Getting started with data and statistical software for quantitative research and lab work in the Social and Life Sciences
- Improving your fluency by repetitive practise of the maths skills you rely on in the Physical Sciences and Engineering
- Learning to type mathematics so you can communicate maths online and in your dissertation
- Developing the maths study skills and strategies needed for the Mathematical Sciences
- Developing your statistical skills as a doctoral student
- Building your Scientific Python skills for Engineering and Computer, Mathematical and the Applied Sciences
- Building your Data and Statistical Sciences skills in a direction which interests you.
9. Get ready for postgraduate study
If you’re starting a postgraduate taught course at the University of Bath this autumn, you can access the UG to PGT Study self-access modules to help you prepare. This blog also has advice on what to expect if you make the step up to postgraduate study.
10. Enhance your employability skills
If you’re completing your studies this year, a special programme of support – #StayConnected – is available to help you with your next steps and develop your skills for employment. You can access video recordings of the sessions and useful resources after the event and sign up for regular emails from the Careers Service on the #StayConnected website.
Whatever skills you want to focus on, we wish you a productive summer! We're happy to answer any questions you may have - please comment below.
Blog updated: June 2021.