Welcome to university. Studying at a university level is a unique experience that requires you to learn and use skills that you may not have needed before. Foundations of Academic Success: Second Edition is a handbook of core skills designed to help you become a university student and empower you, whatever you are studying. Spending time learning and practising these skills will produce benefits that flow across all subjects throughout your years at university. Like any activity, being a university student takes a bit of work and practice, but you can master the skills required to succeed so that you can not only “survive” the university experience, but do well and enjoy yourself while you’re here.

Foundations of Academic Success: Second Edition is divided into four parts reflecting different aspects of the tertiary experience you will encounter.


Part A: Successful Beginnings addresses what it is like to be a new student at university. It begins with discussing the advantages of earning a tertiary education. It then details the experiences of adjusting to university life and the benefits of connecting with the people who can support you through this time.

Part B: Successful Foundations introduces basic skills in English language, and techniques for accessing and working with information in your subject area.  It will also explain the importance of academic integrity and acknowledging your sources of information. These chapters are valuable particularly if you’re feeling unprepared for university or anxious about returning to study after years at home or in the workforce. They can build your confidence and prepare you for the new learning ahead. It is also a good place to check if there are any gaps in your understanding of the basic concepts you will rely on throughout your studies.

Part C: Successful Study Skills presents the everyday, core skills that successful students use while at university. These are methods applied by generations of students to manage time, set goals and beat procrastination. This discussion is followed by wealth of practical tips and tricks on reading efficiently, taking effective notes, organising a study space, and exploring ways to think critically, analytically and creatively about what you are learning.

Part D: Successful Assessment discusses the challenges of tertiary assessments. These chapters step you through the processes of writing assignments, constructing presentations, and preparing for exams. These are the pointers that can help you convert your hard work into strong grades that will ultimately earn your degree.

Chapters throughout the book conclude with a summary of key points. You can use these as a quick reminder of what you have learnt. Be on the lookout for student stories throughout the chapters. These are short quotes from past and current students from diverse backgrounds, reflecting on their personal experiences at university.

Remember, as a university student you have a lot of options for support. The Student Centre, Learning Centre, Student Equity and Wellbeing, the Library and many other support services are here to help you make the most of your time at university, so while this book will help get you started, you always have someone you can turn to for help to you keep going.


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Foundations of Academic Success: Second Edition Copyright © 2023 by James Cook University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.