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PAL Central: Study Skills - Assignments, Revision & Exams

An online hub of guidance and resources for our PAL Leaders and their Level 4 students.

Expectations and Contacts

Expectations of you as a PAL Leader delivering a study skills themed PAL session:

  • PAL Leaders are not expected to / are not supposed to be teaching any study skills. Please leave that responsibility to BU Academics and Professional Support Staff. However PAL Leaders should be able to use facilitation techniques to deliver sessions with a study skills theme; empowering students to discover, share and learn.
  • All study skills are useful for any student - your PAL group just may not realise it yet, especially during their first semester, so your encouragement will be needed!
  • It's well worth spending time exploring the Brightspace Study Skills area, for your benefit, and, so you can signpost students to the most relevant information.
  • It's likely students will be unsure and seek reassurance, so if you receive lots of questions, always consistently set boundaries and use the re-directing questions facilitation technique. Remind your PAL group it's not your role to teach and signpost to academics and BU Support Services. You may of course share your experiences as a first year student and empathise, but do not teach or take away a long list of questions that you'll find out for students - it's very important students learn to find and figure out answers for themselves.

Key Study Skills Contacts & Resources:​​​

  • BU Academics can be contacted and students can request a 1-2-1 meeting to discuss skills development, progress or concerns with their course, units and assignments.
  • BU Librarians have created a range of Study Skills Guides (also accessible via the Brightspace Study Skills area). We encourage you and your PAL students to use these whether you are sign-posting your PAL group to them, or, using them to prepare and shape the PAL sessions you facilitate.
  • You can also help promote the Library's Study Skills Workshops.
  • Faculty of Media and Communications PAL Leaders can sign-post your PAL students to the FMC Learning Development Team (based in WG08 Talbot Campus, email to make an appointment: 
  • Faculty of Health and Social Sciences PAL Leaders can sign-post your students to the HSS Educational Development Tutor Mike Knight (based in B228 Lansdowne Campus, email to make an appointment:

Revision and Exams

Ideas to include this in your PAL session:

Assignment Feedback theme:

  • A session that considers assignment feedback (Session plan document number 1 available below) could be used all year round, but make sure it's when your PAL group want it and can use it to look at recent feedback they have received. Your primary role is to listen, encourage students to talk thereby easing any anxieties, and most importantly, signpost students to arrange 1-2-1 meetings with the academic who marked the assignment to discuss their assignment feedback (that's something students should definitely do if they're unclear or seek elaboration).

Exams and Revision theme:

  • During exam time, PAL attendance can drop where students feel it's more productive to study than go to your session.
  • Keep the session relevant and you may see a better turn out, because basing them on exam techniques can be a real help to students sitting university exams for the first time. You can empathise due to your experiences of the exams at Level 4, so listening and relating to the experiences of your PAL group will be helpful.
  • Session Plan (document 2 below) plus exam tips handout (document 3below), if you wish to use them. 
  • PAL sessions are not time to actually do revision or practise example exam questions - that is not something you should be facilitating - it's time to learn how to revise and do exams.
  • You could facilitate a PAL session where your PAL group discuss and explore techniques for revising - help them share and learn from each other's experiences.
  • Time management relates to revision, so you could join these skills up and signpost students to relevant resources (see the 'Time management' section of this page). Print off the revision planner handout (document 4 below) and instruct students to fill it in (think, pair, share facilitation technique would work for this).
  • Wellbeing relates to exams - the exam period is potentially a time of increased stress and it would really help if you facilitate a session about wellbeing and coping strategies, so you could join this up and signpost students to wellbeing support (go to the 'BU Support Services' page of this guide).

Be careful and do not allow sessions on these themes to turn into a Q&A format, where you feel under pressure to teach and give answers: 

  • Avoid allowing a PAL session on these themes to become a question and answer format that focuses on course content because then there's a risk you could raise expectations and create over-reliance where students think you can teach and provide answers. 
  • Instead, the students need to focus on sharing experiences of the assignment process, learning different techniques for revising and doing exams. Students can find, share and gather takeaway tips to help their personal approach. Any students who have a lot of questions or concerns need to be encouraged by you to arrange a 1-2-1 meeting with an academic.

Facilitation Techniques & Activity Ideas

Use the Facilitation Techniques and Activity Ideas & Strategies pages of this guide for inspiration and further help to prepare and deliver your PAL sessions.