Frequently Asked Questions

Skip to FAQs for Tutors & Colleges.

I’d like to book onto a session. Am I eligible?

Undergraduate students at Lady Margaret Hall can book onto a session at any time and do not require the prior approval of their tutors (but we always encourage you to chat with your tutors first). If you are an LMH undergraduate, please book a session now on our online scheduler.

UGA at Oxford visiting students can book onto a session at any time and do not require any additional approval. If you are a UGA at Oxford visiting student, please book a session now on our online scheduler.

Undergraduate students at Pembroke should contact their college tutor or the Academic Office to discuss a referral to OSSC.

Undergraduate students at Harris Manchester should contact the Senior Tutor to discuss a referral to OSSC.

If you are not at one of the above colleges, please see our For Colleges page to learn more about how Oxford colleges can participate is OSSC.

Why would I want to attend a session on study skills?

Sometimes mastering new academic skills and topics isn’t so much about working harder as it is about working smarter. OSSC tutors cover strategies and skills that will enable you to learn effectively on your course and thrive as a student. Your tutor will work with you to customise your session. The topics you might cover include:

  • Writing skills
    • Building a coherent argument
    • Structuring essays
    • Introductions and signposting
    • Achieving a scholarly register
    • Negotiating bibliographies
    • Grammar and punctuation
  • Critical thinking
  • Engaging with academic resources
  • Close reading
  • Effective presentation
  • Maths for the sciences and social sciences
  • Exam Prep
    • Approaching exam questions
    • Revision planning
  • General study skills
    • Effective note taking
    • Time management
  • Writing applications for postgraduate study
What is a one-to-one session like?

We tailor one-to-one sessions to address your particular goals and needs. One-to-one sessions generally last an hour. You might visit OSSC for a one-off session to iron out something in particular, or you might attend weekly or fortnightly sessions to work toward long-term goals.

Are drop-in sessions offered?

Drop-ins are currently open only to LMH undergraduates. LMH students who would like help with a particular piece of work such as an essay or presentation, can stop by one of our drop-in sessions. Drop-ins operate on a first-come-first-served basis. View one-to-one writing drop-in sessions.

Will you proofread my essay or mark-up my problem set?

OSSC tutors won’t proofread your tutorial essay, but our tutors will discuss any problems with syntax and grammar, and we’ll help with issues of clarity, structure, style, and argument. Similarly, if you book onto a maths session, our tutors will be happy to point out any areas where you’ve gone astray and to help you approach problems and strengthen your mathematical reasoning. Please note we will not comment on work which is part of your assessed or examined coursework, and we follow the university’s Policy on the Use of Third Party Proof-readers.

Will you discuss my session with my college tutors or anyone else?

OSSC sessions are confidential. We will not discuss the details of your session in any way with your tutor unless you specifically ask us to. We will, however, report the number of hours spent with you and offer a simple report explaining your general progress and the topics or skills covered in one or two sentences. This report will be sent to your college’s academic or tutorial administrator. Anonymised data about OSSC sessions, including year of study, divisional and college affiliation, and topics covered, is used for general OSSC statistical reporting.

Who are the tutors at the Oxford Study Skills Centre?

Dr Margaret Coombe is the Director and the head tutor at OSSC. Specifically trained graduate tutors and a small number of tutors from across Oxford also offer tutoring sessions. CV and job application sessions are generally given by professionals who generously volunteer their time at OSSC. Brief bios of our current tutors are available on the online scheduler.

Where is the Oxford Study Skills Centre?

The Oxford Study Skills Centre reception is located at 9 Old Old Hall (that’s not a typo!), Lady Margaret Hall. If arriving from outside LMH, please report to the Porters’ Lodge upon your arrival.

FAQs for Tutors & Colleges

I’m a tutor and would like to refer a student. How should I do this?

If you wish to refer a LMH student, you simply should direct your student to our online scheduler where he or she will be able to book the next available session.

If you wish to refer a Pembroke student, please contact the Academic Office at Pembroke.

If you wish to refer a Harris Manchester student, please contact the Senior Tutor at HMC.

I’m not a tutor at LMH, HMC or Pembroke. Can I still refer students to the Oxford Study Skills Centre?

If your college is interested in learning more about OSSC, we are very happy to meet with representatives from colleges to discuss our ethos, the services we can provide, and the benefits of participating in OSSC. Please contact us or view our For Colleges page for more information.

I would like to book a group workshop for my students at OSSC. How do I go about this?

We offer a group workshops at participating colleges each term. Please contact us if you’d like to book a group workshop, and we will work with you to customise the workshop around your students’ needs.

I would like to have the graduate mentors or buddies at my college trained in study skills teaching methodologies. How can I arrange this?

We are very happy to work with colleges to train postgraduate ‘mentors’ or ‘buddies’ in the study skills methodologies used at OSSC. This is a valuable way for colleges to build up their on-site provision of study skills, and it also provides graduate tutors with the opportunity to expand their skill set and gain mentoring and tutoring experience. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

I would like to learn more about OSSC. Whom should I contact?

Please reach out and contact us by email or phone. We are eager to answer queries, hear ideas, and assist in any way we can.