Welcome to St George’s Library 2021

Welcome to St George’s to all our new students and welcome back to everyone who is returning to their studies with us. After the flurry of Freshers Week and the first weeks of classes, now is a good time to start familiarising yourself with the library’s resources and the services we offer.

We are here to help you and support you in your studies.

Photo of library entrance and social learning space taken from outside.

Library help guides

We have a range of guides, called Libguides, to help you find out more and get to grips with your subject, library or research related skills. You can find all of them on the Libguides homepage. They are grouped into subjects related to each course. Under Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, you will find, for example, guides for paramedic science or radiography. Guides for  Institute of Medicine and Biomedical Education courses include medicine or biomedical science.

Each guide includes information on which resources we recommend for your subject, including revision and e-learning resources and databases, if you are doing complex literature searches. In the guide, you can also find information on how to reference correctly and who to contact to get further help. A little tip: it’s generally a good idea to email liaison@sgul.ac.uk for help with finding information and referencing.

We also have a range of skills guides, ranging from the basic (but totally necessary) Library Essentials and printing, to more in-depth guides on literature searching and using Refworks to manage your references.

Decorative image of student looking at the medicine libguide on their laptop.

E-learning tutorials

On Canvas you can find a range of self-directed library research based tutorials that you can take at your own pace when you are ready. They each include some videos, explanations and short quizzes so you can test your knowledge as you go along.

Have you ever wondered how to Google like a librarian? Or how to select the best-quality information for your assignments? Give our Finding and Evaluating Information tutorial a go.

If you need to use Harvard referencing in your assignments (and it is very likely that you do as it is the institutional referencing style), you will find our Referencing Essentials tutorial helpful. It covers the basics of referencing, explains what in-text citations and references consist of and guides you through the reference layout of the most commonly used resources.

Once you have completed the tutorial, why don’t you take our referencing quiz to see how well you can apply Harvard referencing? A little tip: you might find our Cite Them Right video helpful to answer the questions.

Decorative photo of person sitting in front of a laptop smiling at the camera.

Liaison Librarians

We have a brand-new service this year! There is an expert ‘on-call’ librarian available every weekday between 10am-2pm you can talk to in person about any research or referencing concerns. All you need to do is let us know at the library helpdesk and we’ll take it from there.

Decorative image of liaison librarian helping student

Every subject at St George’s has a specialist librarian, in fact librarians, so you are sure to get the specialist support you need for what you are studying. You can find out who your librarians are on your subject’s libguide.

You can also email us at liaison@sgul.ac.uk if you’d like any help with research, systematic literature searches, finding information in Hunter, referencing or RefWorks. For more in-depth enquiries we can make an appointment with you, either online or in person, depending on availability.

Reading for pleasure collection

Regular breaks from studying and revision are important, which is where our collection of fiction, poetry and popular non-fiction comes in. Not all our books are medical and healthcare-related textbooks. We have a range of books you might expect to find in a public library!

These books are grouped along different themes, you can find all our collections here. There are collections on science bestsellers, Black Lives Matter and Black History Month, fiction by women and women in leadership, health and mental well-being and LGBTQ+ books for example.

The Library also supports the Big Read. This is an exciting shared reading project, which is now in its third year at St George’s. We have all the shortlisted books from the last years, going back to the project’s origins at Kingston University, and of course all the winners, in the library available for you to borrow. You can find the Big Read books listed here.

Big Read logo

Academic skills

Last but not least, you might be looking for help with academic skills, such as essay writing, revision skills or note taking. You can find information on these topics and many more on the Study+ page on Canvas.

Decorative banner for study+.

You can also get one-to-one support by booking an appointment with the Academic Success Team. You need to book via the Study+ page on Canvas. Appointments can be in person or online.


We hope you find these resources will support you in your assignments, dissertations and learning. Don’t hesitate to email us at liaison@sgul.ac.uk with you

Academic Success Centre – Getting support with your studies at St George’s

This blogpost was written by Olga Rodriguez Falcon, Lecturer in Learning Development.

Decorative image, of student sitting at a desk in front of the laptop smiling at the camera.

Whether this is your first year at St George’s or you’re now continuing your studies, there are always lots of uncertainties and worries when starting a new academic year. This year particularly so, since you’ll probably need to adapt again to new ways of learning after a long period of mostly online study. Having ambivalent feelings on this, at the same time excited and worried, is very normal. We’re all feeling them, and it definitely helps to know you’re not alone in feeling this way. These are some of the questions that might be going through your head right now:

  • Is there anything I need to be doing to make sure I’m on top of things from day one?
  • Should I change the way I usually take notes and revise this year?
  • Is my academic writing good enough for the type of assignments I’ll have this year?
  • How can I know whether I’m on the right track with my studies?

Getting together with your peers to have honest discussions on these questions will make them less daunting, and you might end up going away with some very useful tips. At St George’s, there is also a dedicated team of Learning Developers that can offer you support and advice on how to maximise your learning and explore any study issues.

First, have a look at our Canvas page: Study+. You should be automatically enrolled as a St George’s student. There you will find lots of very useful self-directed resources that will help with your studies. For example, there is a whole section dedicated to ‘Effective Study and Revision’. This section is very popular with students and can offer ideas on how to approach the material differently, so that you understand it and can apply it to different contexts – instead of just remembering it to pass exams. There are also sections on ‘Academic writing’, ‘Referencing’ and other relevant topics to university study. Try to spend some time going through some of them.

Study plus banner

Our team also offers one-to-one appointments. During these appointments, you can discuss in confidentiality any issues you’re having with your studies. We can offer support and advice on a variety of topics, including effective study strategies, writing academic assignments and English language help. And the good news is, this year we can offer both in-person and online appointments so we can accommodate the needs of your specific circumstances. You can book an appointment via Study + (Click on ‘Academic Success’) or directly using this link: https://10to8.com/book/sgul/

Finally, if you have a quick enquiry for us that might not require a one-to-one appointment, or you’re not able to find a date and time that suits you, you can contact us directly using this email address: AS@sgul.ac.uk. We check this email regularly and try to respond as soon as possible.

We look forward to meeting you!

Photos of Learning Development lecturers, Rosie and Olga.

Preparing for online assessment

In this post, the Learning Development team, who run the Academic Success Centre and Study+ on Canvas, offer advice on preparing for assessments which have been moved online. We cover pre-exam preparation, planning for the assessment period and what to do during the exams itself, as well as who you can speak to if you’d like to talk to someone about preparing for assessments.  

Pre-exam preparation

Even though the format of your assessment will have changed, it’s still important that you prepare for the exam period in the usual way. Aim to revise the course content well in advance, so that you can go into exams feeling confident that you know what material might come up. Even if you are not doing time-constrained exams, and may be allowed to consult resources during the assessment window itself, you won’t have enough time to learn new information, apply it, and write a convincing assessment answer within the exam period itself. Make sure you revise as fully for these exams as you would for any others.

Most people find it helpful to prepare a revision plan some weeks before the exams themselves. Make sure you know what topics each exam might cover, and then think about how confident you feel about each topic, and how much time you have available to revise each one. Create a schedule for each week in which you plan which topics you’re going to study and when – doing so now can help manage anxiety around how much content you need to cover, as you break it down into manageable chunks. This resource from the University of Liverpool has lots of advice on preparing for online assessment, and in particular the section on creating a study plan may be useful to you at this point.

When creating a revision schedule, always remember to schedule ‘downtime’, including exercise, self-care and family/ social time. These are all vital for staying healthy during the exam period. Try not to block out every hour and day in your calendar with planned revision activities, but instead leave some free space each week to catch up on things you haven’t finished, reflect on what’s worked well, and ‘re-revise’ any topics that have proved more difficult than expected.

During the assessment period

It’s worth taking some time to think through your schedule during the assessment period itself, particularly if it’s going to be unlike any assessments you’ve done before.

You will have at least a 24-hour window during which to choose when to take your assessment. This is to accommodate the varying time zones, technological resources, and home-study set ups of all the students on your course. Depending on the format of your exam, it may be that you choose your start time within the 24-hour window and then have a fixed period (e.g. 2.5hours) immediately following this start time in which to complete your work. For other types of assessment, you may be able to read the questions at the start of the 24-hour window and then be free to work on them at any time during the window, provided your answers are submitted on time. However, this doesn’t mean you should spend 24 hours doing the work! For long answer or essay-style questions your programme team will give you a word count to indicate how much detail they expect in your answers, which will help you figure out how long to spend on them. This shouldn’t be significantly longer than you would spend in a more conventional exam, and certainly shouldn’t take longer than a normal working day.

Try thinking through the following questions in order to feel prepared for the assessment period:

  • When in the window will you access the assessment? Is there a time of day when you work best, and/ or when your home life is most conducive to unbroken concentration?
  • What exactly are you being asked to do in the exam? Check that you’re fully aware of the instructions (i.e. how long you have to submit your response, and how long it should be) in advance.
  • How does the online system work? You should be given the opportunity to do a ‘practice run’, possibly completing a general knowledge quiz or similar, before the assessment itself. Ask your programme team if you have any doubts about this process.
  • Who will you contact if you have any difficulties during the assessment period? Have the contact details for IT support on hand, as well as your programme team.
  • What can you be doing to make sure you’re in the best possible frame of mind when you complete the exam? Think about how you’ll plan your day to make sure you’ve eaten well, rested well, and feel physically fit to concentrate.

During the exam

During the exam, be ready to apply the usual time management strategies and exam techniques you would in an in-person exam. For example, know how many questions you need to answer, how many marks are available for each, and how you plan to divide up your time to ensure you don’t spend too long on any one section. If there are different sections covering different topics, will you prefer to start on those you’re most confident on, to build momentum, or those which are trickiest, and may be freshest in your mind from last-minute revision? Do you have time to read through all of the questions before you start answering, or will you be up against the clock, and needing to keep a very strict eye on time?

If you’re not sure of an answer, or if you have a choice of questions and don’t know which one to go with, you may find it useful to jot down some ideas next to each question to help you decide. Be careful with how long you spend on this, but do allow yourself some time to plan answers as this will save you from waffling and mean more efficient use of your time overall.

If you are doing any work outside of the main submission portal (e.g. in a Microsoft Word document) remember to save this regularly or make sure auto-save is turned on. Alternatively, have some note paper next to your device so that you can jot thoughts down separately from the assessment itself.

Try to leave at least 10% of the exam time free at the end, for you to review your answers. This is important for proofreading of long answers, and checking you’ve followed all the correct procedures for shorter questions, i.e. that you haven’t missed out any questions or ticked any wrong boxes along the way. This is where you can get easy marks from rectifying simple mistakes, so it’s definitely worth saving time for!

If you’d like to speak to somebody outside of your programme about preparing for assessment, one-to-one appointments with the learning development team are available via Microsoft Teams. Click here to book, or visit Study+ on Canvas for more information.

Ten tips for adjusting to remote learning

In this post, the Learning Development team, who run the Academic Success Centre and Study+ on Canvas, offer advice on adjusting to remote learning and continuing to engage with your course in the era of social distancing.

The last five weeks have seen unprecedented changes to life as we know it, with inevitable disruption to your studies and daily routine. Teaching, learning and assessment are now continuing remotely, and as we all shift to this new way of working, it is necessary to reflect on and adapt our study practices to fit with the new environment.

This post is adapted from the Study+ resource on Tips for Distance Learning. Log into Canvas for more information, or contact Rosie MacLachlan at rmaclach@sgul.ac.uk with any queries

1. Get organised, within reason 

It’s easy to think that, with restrictions on socialising and being outdoors, we’ll now all have lots of extra time on our hands and you’ll find it easy to smash through all your work. Maybe you will, but don’t fall into the trap of expecting too much of yourself and then getting demoralised and demotivated if you can’t meet unreasonable expectations. Be gentle with yourself, and acknowledge the impact anxiety and disruption can have on your work rate. Now more than, ever it is important to get organised, prioritise tasks, and ensure a healthy approach to study.

2. Plan your days 

It’s difficult when working from home but try to emulate your daily routine from before the lockdown. Treat studying as you would a job, getting up and going to sleep at your usual time on weekdays. It may be tempting to study in your pajamas, but getting washed and dressed every day will help you feel more engaged and connected to reality. In terms of what to study and when, it is important to break tasks up into manageable chunks, and set yourself achievable tasks for each (short) study session.  See the Study+ page on Organisation and Time Management for help with this. 

3. Find a dedicated study space

As far as possible, try to set up a dedicated study space in your home, and use that space only when you’re studying. This will help get you into professional mode, and create a separation between your home and study life. If this isn’t possible for you, can you follow a schedule where a space (e.g. the kitchen table) is used only for study between certain hours of the day, after which you’ll put your materials away and return the space to its usual purpose?

If you’re asked to attend an online seminar, try to do so from a private space without those you live with passing through. Try too to work from a table and chair as much as possible rather than a sofa or your bed – following the usual habits of professional life will help you engage better in these unusual circumstances, and help to prevent stiffness and backache.

Photo of person studying at a desk.
Find a dedicated study space

4. Don’t try to study through your mobile!

As more of your learning moves online, it will be important to ensure you have access to the best computer set up you can manage. A good internet connection and up-to-date computer/laptop/ tablet are essential – speak to St George’s Learning Technology Services (LTS@sgul.ac.uk) if you have any concerns about this. Although it may be tempting to access Canvas etc. through your phone, such a small device is not conducive to good learning or healthy posture, so please try to avoid this. If possible, it’s also worth investing in a USB headphones and microphone set, as these make the online experience more immersive, removing distractions and thereby improving concentration.

5. Take regular breaks

Most people can’t concentrate on one task uninterruptedly for more than about half an hour. Don’t expect yourself to be able to work non-stop from 9 to 5, it’s important to take regular breaks. The Pomodoro Technique utilises principles from educational psychology to recommend concentrated study period of 25 minutes at a time, followed by a 5 minute break, with a longer break every two hours. See if this works for you – we’ve found it really helpful, particularly when struggling to get started. It’s easier to tell yourself you’re going to read a textbook for a 25-minute-stint than to sit down thinking you’ll get through the whole thing before you stand up again.

6. Aim for variety

You may find that the majority of your learning will necessarily be coming through your computer. However, staring into a screen all day every day isn’t good for anyone, and is unlikely to promote effective retention of information. Aim every day for some variety in what you’re physically doing. If you’re watching lectures or reading online, can you break this up with times of physically making notes on paper, or talking through your learning with somebody else? Many people find it easiest to synthesise their learning in a visual form, creating a mindmap or diagram of large concepts. See the ‘After’ section of our Learning From Lectures resource for examples of visual notes you could produce on scrap paper. If you haven’t already, it’s also worth reading through the Effective Study and Revision page, for ideas on how to be ‘active’ in your independent study.

Blank example of a mindmap
Try to do a mind map to consolidate your learning.

7. Talk to whoever’s around you

Learning is an inherently social activity. We learn most effectively when we’re discussing ideas with other people, asking and answering questions, and confirming understanding through debate. If there’s somebody at home who can help you with your study, ask if you can talk things through with them (they don’t need to have any prior understanding of what you’re studying) for five minutes at a time. If you can explain something clearly to somebody with no prior knowledge, that’s a sign you’ve fully understood it yourself.

8. Stay connected to your classmates

Try to stay engaged with peers on your course. It can be really helpful to impose some ‘accountability’ on yourself through agreeing targets or deadlines with peers, and then checking in regularly. For example, you could text a friend to tell them what you’re planning to study on a particular morning, and then video chat with them at lunchtime to compare notes on how the morning went (as well as having some important social downtime) – all the better if they’re working on the same topic as you. You might like to think about setting up a study group using one of the many options for online videoconferencing or chat software. Everyone should be able to access Microsoft Teams through their St George’s email address, or you could use your existing social media channels. Within any new group, it’s useful to discuss the purpose for meeting – what are your priorities and aims, and does everyone agree on these? Set small targets for each session, rather than a vague ambition to ‘do’ a whole topic. 

Stay connected

9. Be active when you study

In a face-to-face lecture, there is a time pressure for the lecturer to convey as much content as possible in only 50 minutes. When studying remotely, this time pressure doesn’t need to apply. Just as when reading an academic paper, it’s useful to pause and reflect on what you’ve read at regular intervals. When following a lecture on Panopto, aim to stop it every 10 minutes or so to ask yourself what you’ve understood from it. This is more productive than aiming to take notes as you listen, and encourages more genuine engagement. Try watching short blocks of the video, and then intersperse this with something more active: writing a summary paragraph or series of bullet points on what you’ve just learnt. Better still, write questions about what you’re still curious on – taking ownership and determining your priorities, rather than passively receiving information. If you’re using this approach, you may find there’s no need to take lecture notes at the same time as listening. Although it may take longer to keep pausing the video, you can be more confident that you’re retaining the information if you’re actively engaged with it. 

10. And finally… we’re still here for you!

While the university campus may be shut down, remember that most of your learning resources, and particularly St George’s Library, are available via remote access. You can use Hunter to access thousands of learning resources from home, or contact the library for one-to-one support from a Liaison Librarian. The Academic Success Centre, which provides one-to-one advice on study strategies, has moved to remote appointments. Click here if you’d like to book one of these. 

There is still lots of support available.