You are here

Study Skills Survey 2021

study skills survey 2021 landing page header

The results of our Study Skills Survey are here! We understand the impact of the pandemic has been tough on Higher Education, and wanted to find out how those delivering academic/study skills support have coped during this unprecedented time.

We received 170 responses from UK-based education professionals, including higher and further education lecturers, course leaders, academic skills tutors and Learning Development advisors. This is what you had to say...


How has the pandemic changed the amount of academic skills support you provide?

academic support pie chart graph

72%  I have had to increase the amount of support I provide
22%  Nothing has really changed
6%  I have had to decrease the amount of support I provide


The vast majority of people stated that they saw support provision during the pandemic increase. This is probably not a surprise, as we all know how tough and stressful this year has been for everyone.

If you are still struggling, we have some quick tips for you!


mental wellbeing during social distancing


students and lecturers, MANAGE STRESS AT UNIVERSITY!


how to be a happy academic



Why did students require more support?

laptop icon

I’ve seen students struggling more during the pandemic / struggling with learning online

book icon

Student demand has increased

clock icon

I have had less time available / an increased workload

speech icon

It’s been harder to communicate with students online



 Which three areas have you provided the most support on?

areas of support bar graph

18.6%  Critical thinking/analysis
14.9%  Essay planning and writing
12.4%  Wellbeing/pastoral care
11.6%  Referencing/plagiarism
11%  Report/dissertation writing
9.4%  Learning online
8.6%  Broader academic writing
4.7%  Time management
4.7%  Exam prep/presentations
4.1%  Other


Diving a bit deeper, we wanted to have a look at which specific areas were the most critical. Critical thinking, Essay planning and writing and Wellbeing/pastoral care turned out to be the ones that required the most support. Here are some resources to navigate these subjects:


Critical thinking


Essay planning and writing


Wellbeing/pastoral care


What types of resources do you expect to use most to deliver skills support in the new academic year?

Let's think about the future! Times are changing and education is constantly evolving, so which tools and resources are going to be the most popular during this new academic year? These were the most popular answers:


ebook icon


Naturally, eBooks and eTextbooks have seen an increase in demand during the pandemic. They are a valuable resource for online teaching and learning.


paper icon

Lecturer's slides and notes

These are always great tools. Try the LATTE recipe for maximising your students' online learning experience or check out these books that come with additional online resources to support teaching.



cog icon


Workshops and webinars are a great way to brainstorm ideas, share thoughts and work together, often on practical projects or subjects. Running out of ideas? Here are 100 activities for teaching study skills!



lightbulb icon

Our own created resources

Everyone has had to adapt and get creative in order to keep teaching and learning during these difficult times!




Don't forget that any of the resources from the Sage Study Skills Hub can be used in your teaching and shared with students online or via their VLE.


What type and level of student do you most commonly provide academic skills guidance for?

student level support graph

23.3%  2nd-4th year undergraduate
21.2%  1st year undergraduate
20.5%  Postgraduate
15.4%  Mature students
10.9%  International students
7.7%  Students with learning difficulties
1%  Other

Finally, let's have a look at which types of students required the most support. It looks like everyone has been struggling a bit, especially undergrads. The transition to university during COVID-19 must have been pretty hard without face-to-face guidance. Even continuing students needed extra support as adjusting to a new learning method such as online/remote learning can be tricky.

Whilst the transition to normality is still ongoing, check out our resources for online teaching! And don't forget our Study Skills Hub offers students a lot of tips and advice on how to maintain a healthy, stress-free and successful lifestyle at university.







return to the study skills hub




Reading list recommendations: