Brief notes on: McIlroy, D  (2003)  Studying @ university. How to be a successful student. London: Sage

Dave Harris

Pretty basic outline of the usual skills. One feature is the psychological approach, which leads to extremely bland and abstract examples, for example on the habituation of snails  [as an example of how students can overcome their fears]. Further odd examples include quotes from Pilgrim's Progress, Kipling and a good deal of admiration for the early Methodists -- not exactly down with the kids. The book is quite explicit in arguing for Foucaldian type self-discipline:  'Grades may suffer and career ambitions may not be realized if students are unable to regulate their lives' (45). There seems to be some pointless surface learning recommended -- memorize the outline of your modules, make a list of key terms and memorize them -- on top of the usual urging to prepare a plan, set timetables and diaries.

There are some useful bits, like the section on people with special needs and foreign students (14), and an unusual section on acquiring mathematical and statistical skills -- some very basic exercises here really, but least the problems are acknowledged, and there is some useful background reference to studies of the anxiety produced by doing maths.

Only the basic of knowledge and of electronics sources, mostly library catalogues, and the section on using the internet, mostly in terms of what the university provides. There is a section on electronic abstracts, which are highly recommended, 85. There is also recommended exercise to browse electronic journal databases, 90, although the emphasis is on gaining abstracts and references. There seems to be a lot of unnecessary detail about how to send e-mails.

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