Helpful resources

Topic summary

This link is intended as a 'quick find' for those students wishing to access resources on study skills and writing in the sciences. The listed references represent only a few of the many resources available on the subject and are by no means exhaustive.

Click on a topic that interests you

Study skills for science students


There are so many excellent study skills websites 'out there' that it has been a real challenge to choose which ones to include here. A good approach would be to first scroll through the sites below, look at the brief review for each one, and then have a look at the ones that would be most relevant to your needs.


General sciences study skills

Reading difficult material

Author: Joe Landsberger

Reference: Available online

Although not specifically designed for science students, the strategies described on this site would apply to science subjects. It has a link to a great site about the mind-mapping study technique that is worth looking at.


Physics study skills

How to study physics

Author: David R. Hubin and Charles Riddell

There is a lot of good information in this site. It covers the topics: getting an overview; effective participation in a physics class; reading your physics textbook; problem solving; exam preparation; and a weekly flow chart for studying physics. It's very thorough and would be useful for help in specific areas.


Chemistry study skills

How to pass chemistry

Author: University of Guam

Clear, brief and well-written advice. The site covers such topics as prerequisites, having the right attitude, attendance at lectures, doing problems, making the most of labs, getting help, preparing for exams, and traps to avoid.

Ten ways to pass your next chemistry exam

Author: Frostberg State University

Some good, sound advice on how to succeed in chemistry.


Writing for the sciences

Websites on scientific writing

UniLearning: report writing

Author: University of Woolongong

Reference: Available online

An excellent Australian site on report writing. Click on Report Writing, then on Overview to get links to comprehensive pages on topics such as the purpose of reports, planning the report, academic writing style, using figures, referencing, appendices, and more. Click on Scientific Reports for links to the function and structure of scientific reports. The Structure section goes into detailed explanations of the different sections of the report.

LabWrite: writing your lab report

Author: NC State University

Reference: Available online

This American site contains a lot of detailed information about writing a science practical report. It follows the recommended procedure of beginning with writing the Methods section and finishing with the title. Be aware that it does use the first person (I, we, my), which may not be acceptable in your work. If you have doubts as to whether use of the first person is appropriate, check with your unit co-ordinator.

The Writing Center: scientific reports

Author: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Reference: Available online

Yet another American site! This is a more general, introductory site that could be a good starting point. It gives a clear overview of the issues that need to be addressed in the different sections of a report, and how to address them, with some important DOs and DON'Ts.


Books on scientific writing

Malmfors, Birgitta.

Malmfors, B., P. Garnsworthy, et al. (2000). Writing and presenting scientific papers

Nottingham, Nottingham University Press. Call number  808.0665/M256w

A good, up-to-date and simply written guide, which covers the fundamentals of the structure and language of science writing. There are additional chapters on literature searching and referencing, getting a paper published, and oral and poster presentations (including use of PowerPoint). There is a useful list of further reading.


Web sites on how to make posters

Designing effective posters
The basics of poster design


Web sites on how to present seminars

Effective presentations
On giving a talk
Oral presentations


Preparing and sitting for science exams


Maths exams

Author: Joe Landsberger

Useful strategies for preparing for, and sitting, a mathematics exam.

General sites

ASO fact sheet: Preparing for exams

ASO fact sheet: Exam day strategies

Author: Academic Skills Office; UNE

These fact sheets contain a lot of useful advice.


Author: Monash University

Reference: Available online

This excellent Australian site gives advice on exam preparation, exam strategies, question wording, identifying exam questions. Also provided are a sample exam question and its sample response, an exam checklist and exam revision plan.

Study guides and strategies

Author: Joe Landsberger

This generic site has lots of really useful links to specific study guides and strategies. See the sections on Preparing for tests (includes sections on Cramming and Emergency test preparation!!) and Taking tests (includes sections on multiple choice, short answer, essay and open book exams).


Writing for postgraduate students in the sciences

How to write a PhD thesis

Author: University of NSW

A good Australian site on writing a thesis in the sciences. Contains a lot of useful information, including a link to software for typing mathematical symbols and equations, tips on organisiation, personal advice, and links to other sites.

How to write your thesis

Author: The Earth Institute at Colombia University

This gives good information and advice about writing a thesis in Environmental Science, but it also applies to other fields in the sciences. Section II: Crosscutting Issues, is especially useful.


CRICOS Provider Number: 00003G | ABN: 75 792 454 315 © University of New England