Posted in All things 301, Written by Maddie

Why sign up for the Academic Skills Certificate?

The Academic Skills Certificate is a way to enhance your skills, to show you are productive and to do something beyond your degree!


The initiative started by 301 gives you the chance to use and reflect on all the knowledge  you have gathered from the workshops offered by us, that you’ve attended and gain recognition for it!

All you need to do is go at: and fill in the registration form. Once you have done that, you can either attend 4 Academic, Information or Maths and Statistics workshops or use some of the ones you have already attended during the 16/17 academic year, write a reflective piece that will be assessed by the 301 staff members and you are done! Easy peasy!

But if this is not enough to convince you to register, here are some of the reasons why I think the Academic Skills Certificate is one of the most useful things I’ve done while at university:

  1. It gives you an incentive to attend workshops that will probably help you improve your study skills.

If you are an international student  or are just unsure of what is expected of you while at university, the Academic Skills workshops are a fantastic source of information. But, if you are a bit like me and find it hard to get out of bed sometimes because those 5 more minutes of sleep are so precious, then you will find it hard to actually attend all the things you have signed up for. Having registered for the Academic Skills Certificate will give you that extra push to attend the events, as you know that now you are striving to achieve something tangible!

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  1. It gives you a chance to fully engage with the content.

We have all been in a situation where we‘ve attended an event and took loads of notes because it was incredibly useful and then never looked at the notes again…. Ever… maybe even lost the notepad.That doesn’t seem very productive…

Because you will have to write a reflective piece on every of the workshops you’ve attended, you will have to turn your room upside down and find that notepad you took notes on and actually reflect on what you think were the most useful parts and even try to put them in practice. You’re welcome!

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  1. It shows you are proactive!

We are quite fortunate to have a university and a students union that has an activity for everything and anything. This can also be a bit overwhelming as you don’t really know where to go and what to choose. The Academic Skills Certificate is a particularly good activity to start with, as it helps you with your studies and because it can also go on your HEAR and Sheffield Graduate Award, which will ensure that your proactivity is showcases to employers too!

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And here you have it! Some of the things that I think make this initiative particularly useful to students that decide to sign up for it.

If you want to find more about it why not go for it yourself? The deadline for submission is coming up on the 26th of May for undergrads and 30th of June for postgrads so hurry up! There is still plenty of time for you to attend some of our workshops in preparation for your exams! Here is the link again:

Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

Making the most of your uni Gmail account

More than just an email address! Here are a selection of handy tips to make the most out of your Gmail account!


299f4eea4fb0e7bbecba83ee4b704ae8_sooo-pretty-aww-meme-quickmeme-pretty-meme_432-3621) Brighten up the boring default background with a bright colour or pretty pictures! Okay so this one may sound purely aesthetic but there is evidence that pictures could increase your productivity! There’s everything from scenic landscapes and animals to cartoons and graffiti, or you can upload your own photos for a more personalised approach!
Click the cog in the top right corner and select ‘Themes’ to choose.


2) Filter out some of the spam that comes with being at uni by setting your inbox up with a ‘promotion’ tab. When you set your inbox to have a separate tab for your primary emails and ‘promotions’ many of the generic emails from services such as the gym and the library are filtered out of your main inbox. While it doesn’t stop you receiving 3 billion emails from the psychology department, this little trick can keep your inbox a little tidier! Just make sure to regularly check this tab for important emails, particularly if you are living in halls as emails from the accommodation team also end up here!

Click the cog in the top right corner and select ‘Configure Inbox’. From this menu you can tick and untick the tabs you would like to appear in your inbox.

3) This final email tip is aimed at those people on committees or who have access to another university managed email address. In order to look at your society email inbox and your personal university email inbox, you can open the accounts in separate browsers to avoid having to log in and out of MUSE each time! Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer can all be opened at the same time, each with a different university managed inbox open, so you don’t have to keep logging out.



It wasnt until I started working here at 301 that I discovered Google Calendar, and now I plan my whole life on it!

1) Calendar allows you to make events which you can name and colour code to help organise your time. I have my own personal colour code which helps me keep track of my day, for example meetings are always in yellow, lectures in blue and deadlines in red.

amber calendar
Sadly my calendar is no longer this empty!

2) Another cool part of Google Calendar is that you can invite others to your events – super useful for group meetings! In addition to this, because your email is managed by the university, you can view other people’s calendars. This is useful to timetable group meetings as you can stack other people’s calendars over your own to find out when you are all free. Obviously this works both ways and it is worth remembering that anyone in the university can look up your calendar (including lecturers!) so probably best not to put anything too personal such as reminders that you’ve run out of clean washing!


3) The final tip about Google Calendar is that you can download the free app to your phone and link it to your uni email address. This means that you can view and add to your calendar on the go, as well as receiving a reminder 10 minutes before your events!

Google Drive, Docs, Slides and Sheets

1) Your university Google account comes with your own 15GB storage ‘Google Drive’. You can upload pretty much any file including photos, videos, music files and all your regular documents. You can separate your files into folders, just as you would on your computer. This is a great extra place to save your work as a back up!

2) Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are Google’s own version of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel. While they don’t have all the functionality of the Microsoft programmes, they are great for doing important work on as all your progress is saved as you go and you can download it in Microsoft format when you’ve finished. The other brilliant thing about Docs, Slides and Sheets is the ability to collaborate. You can share your work with your peers and all work on the same document.When you edit the documents, changes are visible for everyone as they are made, which makes the programmes great for group work. Click ‘Share’ in the top right corner….docs1and then enter an email address or share the link.

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3) The final tip relates to collaborative work on Google docs and is great for getting others to peer review and proofread essays but has plenty of other uses too! You can set the permissions of your collaborators to ‘Suggest’/’Comment’ rather than directly edit. This means that when someone adds to or removes part of your work, it shows as a different colour and comes up as a suggestion at the side of the document, which you can either ‘Accept’ and the suggested changes will be made, or ‘Decline’ and the suggested changes will be removed. Just make sure you only share your work with people you absolutely trust, as collaborators can copy and share your work and you don’t want to be a victim of plagiarism!

These tips are by no means exhaustive as Google has a lot of functionality but hopefully you have learnt something! If you have any useful tips please share them in the comments!


Posted in Intern advice, Written by Ellie

Small Ways to Stay Productive in the Lead up to Exams

For the next six weeks, the road to success will require a lot of focus. It is great to have a revision play to stick to, but outside of that there is time for you to maintain this focus and alleviate some of the pressure from your revision. Here are some small things that could make a big difference to you exam preparation.

  • List three things that you need to do each day and make sure that your schedule allows for them. If you have goals then you have something to aim for. Three is not a big number, and therefore not too daunting. By completing three things each day, you will feel a great sense of achievement and a positive attitude throughout your revision period.


  • Use travelling time to broaden your mind. This may be through listening to a podcast or an audio book. By listening and engaging with something stimulating when you are on your way to/from lectures and the library your mind will feel productive. These things don’t necessarily have to be course-related. Although, if you feel that you do not have enough time to revise everything you need to during your allotted revision times, then one option could be to record yourself talking through your notes so you can listen to them on the move.


  • Be tidy. Mess = Stress. Be active in tidying up after yourself throughout the day. By spending five minutes now, you could save an hour later.


  • Listening to upbeat music. Doing this during the day can help keep your spirits high and your energy levels up.

  • Know when to say no. If you have a lot to get done, then a sneaky trip to the pub is probably not the best idea. It feels great whilst you’re there, but as soon as you’re home wanting to go to bed having not completed enough, you will really regret it. Make sure you stay social, but not at the cost of extra stress due to less time. Save socialising for summer when you’ll be completely free to have as much fun as you want.


  • Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated. Being hydrated keeps you energised and therefore in the best state to be productive.

  • Switch up the format of your revision. Reading and writing is all well and good, but it does get extremely boring. Why not find a YouTube video that explains an aspect of your revision in a more visual way – let someone else do all the hard work for a while!


I hope these suggestions help you to have a truly productive revision season!


Posted in All things 301, Intern advice, Written by Jenny

Getting back into the swing of things- revision back at Uni!

The theory goes that after a 3 week break you should be full of life and ready to revise, submit assignments and get straight back into the swing in of the final semester. But any student or former student knows that this is not really the case, the first week back is often a bit of a nightmare. Most likely the Easter break was a mix of gorging on chocolate, doing less revision than planned, catching up with ‘home friends’ and perhaps even having a mini holiday abroad. Or it may be that swamped in deadlines you didn’t really have a real break at all.


With that in mind here are some tips from me to you on how to get those creative juices running and maximise the revision time that’s left and get back into the swing of things, with a focus on wellbeing.

  • Get some exercise. Be it a stroll around Weston Park, a half day in the Peaks or trip to the gym. Exercise has been shown to help lower stress levels and refresh your mind.


  • Get a good sleeping pattern. Aim for around 8 hours each day, and tailor around your schedule and preferences to be an early bird or night owl. To enable this to actually happen you want to avoid screens for about an hour before you want to sleep and avoid caffeinated drinks after dinner.


  • Put down the highlighter. A controversial opinion but some research indicates that the go-to stationary item may be less effective than thought, isolating instead of connecting information.


  • Ditch the phone. If you’re anything like me having your phone on the desk is a distraction in itself, you want to check your messages, twitter, instagram and before you know it FOMO has kicked in and half an hour is gone. There are loads of great distraction minimising apps available (check the end of this post) if having your phone in another room is too much.


  • Take proper breaks. Not ‘fake breaks’ that consist of eating and reading slightly slower or going to the toilet. In my opinion a proper break needs to be at least 20 minutes long and should occur every 40-90 minutes depending on what you’re doing. Think of all the things you can do; catch up on your favourite tv, crazy dance to Beyonce, have a catch up with a friend the possibilities are endless. (Just don’t let it go on too long).

crazy dance

  • Don’t compete with other people. This can happen all too easily as the conversation moves on to revision, who cares if they’ve done 5 hours already or spent all night in the IC. You don’t know how effective it really was and everyone is different.


Good luck with that revision!

Top distraction avoidance (free) apps:

  • Freedom.
  • Flipd.
  • Focus keeper.
  • Power Focus.
  • Study break.
Posted in Written by Kim

Give 1:1 Study Skills Tutorials A Go!

Hey everybody!

I have recently took advantage of the 1:1 Study Skills Tutorial at the 301 Students Skills and Development Centre. I realised that I needed help with writing literature reviews as I did not have a lot experience in it. The Dissertation Planning workshop did discuss literature reviews but I needed more guidance on how to think and write critically.

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I took the initiative to sign up for the tutorial here. The 1:1 tutorial is much more flexible than workshops as you can choose which time slot. When signing up, you will have to fill in a form regarding what you would like to discuss during the session. It is essential to do it so the tutors can prepare and help you as much as possible in half an hour.

The form you will have to fill in when you book a tutorial


I was brought to the pod by the tutor, Kirsty. I explained to her my concerns and showed her an example of a literature review I did for an assignment. She listened and read my piece, then gave me recommendations and advice for what I could do to improve on it in the future. She also gave me some paper resources to read and later sent me online resources.


The experience was informative and relaxing. The tutor made sure to go through with all of my issues and gave me tailored advice. I have learned a lot from this tutorial and feel more confident with literature reviews now.


Although it’s semester break now, the 1:1 Study Skills Tutorials are still available! Give 1:1 Study Skills Tutorials a go! It is really helpful if you need extra guidance and to learn a topic in-depth.