Academic skills for psychology: a pre-entry course

Gillian Hendry, Zara Brodie, Claire Wilson, Rachael Flynn, James McKechnie

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation


Beginning university can be challenging. The Higher Education Statistics Agency reported that 6% of students enrolled in 2013-14 did not continue their studies beyond the first year, and so preparing students in advance of entry can help to ease the transition, and thus tackle issues around retention. The current paper reports on the development of an online pre-entry academic skills course for undergraduate Psychology students.

This course targeted new students and involved a series of short interactive modules which covered key academic skills that students expected of students upon starting university, such as ‘What is psychology’; ‘How do I study?’; and ‘The importance of critical thinking’. The modules comprised written content as well as video clips from staff and students, links to BPS resources, and interactive quizzes to monitor understanding.

Analysis is ongoing, and is focused on both qualitative and quantitative data to explore students’ experiences and engagement with the course through evaluating information from the VLE, feedback, grades, and focus groups.

Preliminary results reveal that students have found the course useful. Further findings from the project will be disseminated both internally to colleagues across the university as a model for other modules to follow, and externally to promote the innovative approach we are taking to ensure new students are well supported as they begin their university careers.

Research has shown that a successful transition to university is crucial for academic success, and so the more that universities can do to support new learners, the higher the likelihood of retention.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018
EventDivision of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology Inaugural Conference - Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jun 20187 Jun 2018


ConferenceDivision of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology Inaugural Conference
Abbreviated titleDART-P Inaugural Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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