Neon sign saying hello

Skills pathways - new students

This page contains links to guides and media to help you settle into your studies at Wolfson.

Neon sign saying hello

Starting a degree can feel challenging as there will be lots of new subject matter to assimilate at the same time as getting to grips with new modes of study.

There are resources for both Masters students and undergraduates, which are specifically aimed at transitioning to a new stage of study - CamGuides. Click on this logo to choose the resource relevant to your level of study:


CamGuides transitional resources

We have also written a number of pages covering some of the generic skills that can support you as you get started at Cambridge. No one will expect you to come to university with these skills in place. Instead, you will develop and hone them during the course of your studies.

Finding information on a reading list Tools and techniques to help you find where the resources are on your reading list, in both physical and online libraries.
Searching iDiscover

Watch this video to find out about searching iDiscover and the shelves of libraries to find books in your subject area.

Time management

As a student at Cambridge you will become an independent learner, responsible for what and how you study. Importantly, you will also have to manage your time effectively to ensure that meet deadlines and are in the right place at the right time. However, that is easier said than done, so here are some tips to help you keep on top of things.

Note making

This is the active process of recording information from one source to make it useful for another purpose. We take notes all the time but it is very easy to write too much and so the process becomes time-consuming and arduous. This guide looks at what makes good notes and suggest some techniques you could try for the first time or fine tune, if you are using them already.

Critical evaluation

In academic terms, being critical is not about finding fault. Instead, it is the process of weighing up evidence and arguments to make a judgment. Taking a critical approach to your studies involves constantly asking questions and keeping an open mind. It is an approach to reading and writing. This page shows you how to evaluate sources and tailor your reading accordingly.

Speed reading

In many disciplines, students have to read a large quality of text in a relatively short time. Speed reading is a number of techniques that can help you increase the speed with which you get through books and articles. This is not necessarily reading quickly but in a structured way that helps you identify what you need to read and focus your energy there.


There is no point searching for references, reading books and articles, and taking notes if you can't easily find a quotation or page reference when you are writing an essay or thesis.

It is also essential that you keep a record so that you can give proper accreditation to any sources you use to build your written argument. If you don't cite an idea or direct quotation, you could be accused of plagiarism.

We have lots of other information about the skills you need to successfully complete your dissertation on the Wolfson College LibGuide.