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Study Skills for Physical Geographers

Module titleStudy Skills for Physical Geographers
Module codeGEO1311
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Thomas Roland ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Study Skills for Physical Geographers provides a foundation for all Single Honours BSc Geographers on the Streatham Campus and is invaluable preparation for your undergraduate studies throughout your time at University.

This module allows you to refine your academic skills and review your approach to such skills as scientific writing, referencing, reading, effective note-taking, presenting, and data analysis. The majority of this module is delivered through small group tutorials allowing you to really engage in the subject. You will lead peer-to-peer discussion sessions to support learning on other first year Geography modules and, through additional workshops and lectures, you will gain a better understanding of the resources available and skills you require to excel in your Geography degree at the University of Exeter.

You are required to take at least 30 credits of Level 4 (Stage 1) Geography with this module. Flexible combined honours students should note that topics discussed will be based around core BSc Geography modules.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to

  • raise your awareness of the role you must play in the learning process,
  • facilitate your development as an independent learner, and
  • direct your acquisition of a range of generic skills in physical geography which will be beneficial throughout your time at University and later in employment.

This is to be achieved primarily through an integrated series of directed tutorials as a means of developing academic skills, and through peer-to-peer discussion sessions to support learning in other Level 4 (Stage 1) Geography modules. The module will therefore provide a foundation for all Single Honours BSc Geographers and a good preparation for modules in physical geography in Levels 5 and 6 (Stages 2 and 3). This module will contribute to the development of an understanding of how core skills contribute and relate to employability potential.

Through active participation in the module, the aim is that you will further develop academic and professional skills, including the ability to:

  • analyse, interpret and evaluate datasets,
  • manage structure (task management, goal setting, developing strategies),
  • manage your time effectively,
  • develop team work and group management skills,
  • develop awareness of the application of coding for data analysis,
  • develop scientific writing skills that are concise and well-supported.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the basic concepts and principles associated with physical environments
  • 2. Understand plagiarism, academic misconduct and academic standards for referencing

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Recognise and discuss the contested and provisional nature of geographical knowledge and understanding
  • 4. Analyse and synthesise information and recognise relevance
  • 5. Explain the difference between synthesised textbook knowledge and primary knowledge derived from research journals
  • 6. Articulate and communicate personal views on geographical issues
  • 7. Develop a sustained and reasoned argument and evaluate and articulate weaknesses in the arguments of others

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Communicate ideas effectively and fluently by written, oral and visual means in a manner appropriate to the intended audience (e.g. via essays, presentations and short reports)
  • 9. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 10. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses
  • 11. Work as a participant or leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives
  • 12. Enhance IT skills and data management
  • 13. Develop academic skills required to succeed in studying for a degree, including effective note taking, time management, research skills, presentation and personal development planning
  • 14. Enhance teamwork skills including leadership, organisation and group management
  • 15. Use Python to code for data analysis

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Library use and how to build an effective reading programme
  • Effective Reading and Note taking
  • Academic writing and marking criteria
  • Honesty and plagiarism
  • Exeter Personal Development Planning – setting academic and personal targets
  • Report writing
  • Reading group discussions
  • Presentation skills

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Introduction lecture to the module
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Tutorials focusing on academic skills for Geography Undergraduates
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Education Enhancement workshops
Guided Independent Study50Independent reading and research
Guided Independent Study13Reading group discussions and group activities
Guided Independent Study40Writing reports and assessments
Guided Independent Study34Web-based activities
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Library induction lecture


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written tasks and tutorial preparation.20 minutes1-10 In tutorial sessions orally from both peers and tutor. Cohort written feedback
Essay plan2 pages1-10Oral and cohort written
Paper critiqueOral presentation1-10Oral
Review of web resources1 page2-5, 11Oral and cohort written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay301000 words1-8Written and oral
Online learning guide202 pages per tutorial study skills3-5, 7-8, 10-12Written, oral and peer
Report301000 words1-8, 12-13, 15Written and oral
Group presentation2015 minutes1-14Written, oral and peer
Online plagiarism test (this assessment must be passed; failure in this assessment will lead to failure in the module; there is no limit to the number of times you can take the test)030 minutes2Online embedded


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8August Ref/Def
Online learning guide5 page online individual learning guide3-5, 7-8, 10-12August Ref/Def
ReportReport1-8, 12-13, 15August Ref/Def
Group presentationWritten summary of group presentation1-14August Ref/Def
Online plagiarism testOnline plagiarism testAllOngoing until passed

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to re-submit the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Kneale, P. E. (2011) Study skills for geography, earth and environmental science students, 3rd Edition, London: Hodder Education.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Physical geography, study skills, writing, reading, referencing, presentation, academic tutorial, analysis

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Last revision date