Resources for students

OSSC online resources

Revision Planning for Finalists
Revision Planning for Prelims & First Year Exams
Check back soon for more resources from OSSC!


Other training and workshops at Oxford

Bodleian Libraries Workshops, Guides & Tutorials
University of Oxford Mock Exams & Exam Preparation Sessions
University of Oxford Language Centre English for Academic Studies
University of Oxford Department of Continuing Education Study Skills for Students


Other online resources at Oxford

University of Oxford Study Skills & Training
University of Oxford Self-Help Strategies: Academic Life
University of Oxford Stress Less Exam Support
OXAM Past Examination Papers Online

Online resources outside Oxford

Harvard Strategies for Essay Writing
Harvard Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines
Grammarly Blog Tips
MathCentre
MathTutor
Studying Economics


Study tips and advice for students from across the web

How to improve your handwriting
Worried your handwriting is too messy for your examiners to read? Check out these useful tips to help you improve your handwriting. The Guardian, 11 May 2014.

How to focus – tips from a Cambridge don, London cabbie and others
Cambridge classicist Mary Beard’s top tips. The Guardian, 13 October 2018.

Don’t get it right; get it written
OSSC Director Dr Margaret Coombe’s tips for tackling a research project (written for postgraduates but equally valuable for students working on a undergraduate thesis). Taylor and Francis blog, March 2017.

Your elusive creative genius
Feeling under pressure to produce first-class work? Talking through her own experience of writing an international bestseller and then feeling pressured to write ‘the next book’, novelist Elizabeth Gilbert questions the meaning of genius and offers a new way of thinking about what genius really means. TED Talks, February 2009.


Recommended Books

Writing & Grammar

How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One.
Fish, Stanley Eugene. 1st ed., Harper Collins, 2011.
Find it on SOLO
Despite its title, this book is not a handbook on grammar, syntax, or style. Instead, it is an ode to the textual world that aims to deepen its readers’ appreciation of the craft of good writing and reading. In this New York Times bestseller, legal scholar and literary theorist Stanley Fish offers a wonderfully entertaining read that will make you think carefully about what good writing is, how to appreciate it in your own reading, and how to become a stronger writer.

They Say / I Say: the Moves That Matter in Academic Writing.
Graff, Gerald., and Cathy. Birkenstein. 2nd ed., W.W. Norton & Co., 2010.
Find it on SOLO
This handbook provides a useful overview of the rhetorical choices writers can make when crafting an argument. In it, you’ll find templates, examples, and guidance on how to use rhetorical moves to engage critically with sources and to position your own arguments in dialogue with what other scholars have said before you.

Faultless Grammar: the Busy Lawyer’s Reminder Guide.
Staveley, Ben. 2017.
Find it on SOLO
Legal cases have been decided on the basis of a single semicolon… If you want to make sure you punctuate correctly, this quick and fun read is the resource for you.

Economical Writing.
McCloskey, Deirdre N. 2nd ed., Waveland Press, 2000.
Find it on SOLO
Written with wit and humour, this manual of academic writing for the economist runs through the principles of good academic writing in economics. Prof McCloskey offers advice we should all heed in our writing, economist or otherwise.

Crafting Arguments & Critical Thinking

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.
Almossawi, Ali, and Alejandro F. Giraldo. 2014.
Find it on SOLO
A short and charmingly illustrated exposition of bad arguments. After reading it, you’ll be quick to spot fallacies and to be able to explain why such arguments are logically faulty, and you’ll be sure to avoid fallacious arguments in your own reasoning.

The Oxford Guide to Effective Argument and Critical Thinking.
Swatridge, Colin. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Find it on SOLO
This book provides a step-by-step approach to thinking clearly about arguments. It will help you to figure out exactly what you think and to say exactly what you mean.

How to Argue.
Bonnett, Alastair. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2011.
Find it on SOLO
Practical and user-friendly, this guide offers techniques to help you produce clear, convincing, and rigorous arguments in your academic work.

The Oxford Tutorial : ‘Thanks, You Taught Me How to Think’.
Palfreyman, David. OxCHEPS, 2001.
Find it on SOLO Download it now
Tutorial teaching is an important part of your Oxford degree. In this edited volume, the contributing authors (current or former Oxford tutors… maybe even one of your own!) present their own experiences and critiques of the Oxford tutorial and shed light on the Oxford tutorial both as a teaching practice and a pedagogical theory.

Tips and Tricks for Exams

Better handwriting for adults.
The National Adult Literacy Agency, 2009.
Download it now
If you have handwriting that you worry will be illegible to your examiners, this is the resource for you. The first two sections might be useful if even sometimes you find your own handwriting illegible; otherwise skip to section 3 on page 37 for ‘quick fixes’ to common handwriting problems.