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Module details

IA140-3-FY: Academic Skills

Year: 2015/16
Department: International Academy
Essex credit: 45
ECTS credit: 22.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No

Supervisor: Dr Ritta Husted  
Teaching Staff: Dr Ritta Husted, Sandra Stephenson  
Contact details: mgrib (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address)  

Module is taught during the following terms

Module Description

This module is designed to develop students' general and academic language proficiency and study skills to enable them to participate effectively in their subject studies both during the International Foundation Programme/Year Zero and in their subsequent undergraduate courses. The Summer Term is consolidation and review, with some training in examination techniques.

Module Aims

- To develop students' ability to operate effectively, in both written and spoken language, in a range of academic settings

- To develop students' basic research skills, encouraging a critical approach to source materials and appropriate use of sources as supporting evidence

- To encourage independent learning strategies and develop students' confidence to make judgments and be evaluative

- To equip students with appropriate and effective language and study skills applicable to their various disciplines

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module a student will be expected to be able to:

1. Produce academic writing which is well-structured, relevant and clearly reasoned.

2. Communicate ideas, information and arguments with clarity, both orally and in written form, and which demonstrates the ability to integrate students' own ideas with those of others.

3. Deliver effective presentations using an appropriate range of visual aids.

4. Comprehend texts on a range of subjects identifying main points from listening and reading material, and demonstrating critical reading skills to assess the usefulness of information.

5. Make full use of academic libraries and a range of appropriate electronic media for independent research purposes

6. Demonstrate knowledge and appropriate use of academic register and referencing conventions.

7. Develop time management strategies, employ self-directed learning and show an ability to work collaboratively with others.


The Autumn term will focus on the following:

Identify text types and their relevance / appropriateness

Develop basic research techniques

Reading & note-taking skills development

Writing skills development

Editing and redrafting skills

Referencing and how to avoid plagiarism

Language development

The Spring Term will focus on the following:

Listening skills development

Listening & note-taking

Summary writing and working with lecture notes

Presentation skills including the effective use of visuals

Graphs and statistical information

Language development

The Summer Term will focus on the following:

Revision and exam strategies

Language development


60% coursework and 40% exam

Pass mark: 40%

Coursework will consist of an assignment portfolio (30%), a group oral presentation (25%), an in-class test (30%) and a reflective event (15%).

End-of-the-year three-hour exam.

Non-assessed coursework

Diagnostic test in week 2 (EAP classes).

Formative writing tasks in weeks 6, 7, 8, 17, 18 and 19 (language classes).

Learning and Teaching Methods

Students will normally receive 8 hours of instruction per week for 23 weeks. The Autumn and Spring Terms consist of 10 weeks whereas the Summer Term consists of 3 weeks.

Native speakers

The teaching will take place in 3 x 2-hour classes devoted to academic study skills development/ EAP which will be taught in subject specific classes.

Non native speakers

The teaching will take place in 4 x 2-hour classes with 6 of those hours devoted to academic study skills development/EAP and the remaining 2 hours will focus on language development at sentence and paragraph level. Students will be taught in subject specific classes for the EAP training and according to proficiency for the general English language development.

All information relating to this module can be found on the Academic Skills Moodle site as well as in the course books.


100 per cent Coursework Mark

Exam Duration and Period

Other information

This is a core module for all students on all IFP and Year Zero pathways.


  • Essential:
  • Bailey S (2011) Academic Writing: A handbook for International Students, Routledge.
  • Supplementary reading:
  • Cottrell, S., (2003) The Study Skills Handbook, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Oshima, A and Hogue, A (2006) Writing Academic English, Pearson Education.
  • Reinders, Moore and Lewis (2008) Palgrave Study Skills: International Students Handbook, Palgrave Macillan.
  • Transferrable Academic Skills Kit (TASK) (2007) University of Reading: Garnet Education.

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Ms Carol Bailey
  • Academic Role: Senior Lecturer in English as a Foreign Language

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)