Practical Guides for New Students: Academic Support

 As Welcome Week is nearly upon us, we hope that your preparations are well under way for your arrival in Edinburgh. As the practical arrangements such as flights, visas and accommodation fall into place, your thoughts may turn to the academic side of things and to the challenge that lies ahead as you begin studying towards your chosen degree.

Learning at university will often be different from what you are used to and it may take some time to fully understand how to learn and study here. You will need to get used to the different kinds of learning required in certain subject areas and the demands made as your programme of study progresses. Lecturers and tutors will offer you guidance on studying and what they expect of you, but we also offer additional forms of support.


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Your School  is the first place you should look for advice and information. The University has a total of 22 Schools organised into three Colleges. Your School will have have specific information about your studies and what is expected from you as a student. Read your handbook and use all the resources offered on the School’s website and in the virtual learning environment.

Once you are here at the University, if you have any questions or concerns about your studies, you can contact your Personal Tutor or your Student Support Team.


The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) aims to help students succeed in their current studies and in their future careers. This is done in a range of ways, including courses and events, learning resources and study advice. Advice and information is also available via LearnBetter. LearnBetter is a study skills resource prepared by study development advisors at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development to help students go about their academic work effectively and successfully.


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Many Schools run Peer Assisted Learning Schemes (PALS), where groups of first year students can get together with students from other years. Many students find these both enjoyable and helpful, so find out what your School offers and go along!

English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC)

The English Language Teaching Centre offers a range of academic English courses to both undergraduates and postgraduates. All the courses are non-credit bearing and some have both online and face-to-face versions. There is currently no charge. The aim is to help students whose first language is not English achieve their full academic potential. Undergraduate visiting and exchange students can also take Academic English for International Students (AEIS) for credit.  Students wishing to take any of these courses must take the Test of English at Matriculation (TEAM).


Effective English Language Learning shows you ways of improving your English informally, beyond the classroom. It is based on English Language Teaching Centre research into the experiences of international students at the University of Edinburgh. The areas covered are listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking and pronunciation.



This is a complete independent study package for students with English as a second language, helping you to improve your essay writing. It includes work on areas such as academic English style, essay structure, grammar and referencing. To access it, go to the Studies tab in MyEd (the University’s student portal), click on Learn and then Launch Learn. Under Self-enrol courses you will find Epax (academic writing).


Using MyEd, you can also enrol on the LearnBetter study skills resource where you will find information, tips and strategies on a variety of topics such as time management, making notes in lectures, doing assignments, referencing and many more.


Friendly, informal workshops, run by study development advisers take place throughout the semester to help you make the most of your studies right from the start: get advice, ask questions, take part in activities, share strategies with fellow students. For workshop schedules and information about how to book places, go to the IADworkshops web pages.

If you have any questions about the above, please email our team – we’re always happy to help!



Categories: Practical Guides

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2 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Elena Granina and commented:
    Yes! This is what I was talking about in my last post. The University has a lot of awesome resources, kudos to it for that. Instead of stressing out I should embrace and understand the challenge, and then address it.
    I’ve already enrolled into Learn Better but didn’t know about the Academic Writing Package, missed it somehow. I’m enrolling right now!

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