Institute of Archaeology


IoA Study Skills Guide

The IoA Study Skills Guide provides you with relevant resources and guidance for your studies.


Studying at university means that much of your learning will be self-guided, using a range of different resources (libraries and online publications, museums, laboratories, collections etc.). The IoA Study Skills Guide provides you with resources and guidance on how to plan, research, write and present your work in accordance with disciplinary practices in archaeology and heritage.

Some of the academic and writing skills you will use at the IoA may be new to you, or specific to the disciplines of archaeology and heritage. You are expected to research your subject, write clear and concise essays with correctly presented referencing, produce reports, give presentations, take exams, and manage your time effectively.

Investing in developing your academic and writing skills will ease the transition to university life, as you face new demands on your time and energy. It will also improve your academic work and employment prospects – both for part-time work while at UCL and for full-time work when you graduate.

Writing support at the IoA

The IoA Academic Writing support team is available to help UCL Institute of Archaeology students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, improve their academic writing skills through one-to-one sessions and a series of workshops that run throughout Term 1.  Whether students wish to improve existing writing skills or are seeking advice on structure and style, or are struggling to convey their responses to essay questions, the Academic Writing team can help directly or refer them on to specialist resources at College level. Help is also available for international students who are seeking advice on UK-specific academic writing conventions.   

Information about writing workshops and how to book tutorials can be found on the dedicated IoA Academic Writing Moodle site.  If students have further questions they should contact the Academic Writing Tutor, Dr Julia Shaw.

Other Resources:

UCL has a number of resources available to help students improve their academic and writing skills:

The UCL Academic Communication Centre is a free service which provides support to enhance academic writing and research skills for students.

The Writing & Language Support Programme is offered by UCLU to assist non-native English-speaking students, through a range of tutorials and workshops, with their academic writing and speaking skills.

The UCL Language Centre offers (paid-for) full and part-time English for Academic Purposes and foundation courses for international students as well as foreign language courses.

The UCL Academic Support website provides useful resources for developing the skills that will support students’ academic performance, including research and digital skills.

Table of Contents


  1. Assessment and Feedback at the IoA
  2. Preparing for your assessments
  3. Reading critically
  4. Researching online and in the library
  5. Writing an essay
  6. Writing a review
  7. Writing a scientific report
  8. Giving a presentation
  9. Dissertations
  10. Referencing effectively and the IoA guidelines
  11. Avoiding academic misconduct
  12. Using generative AI and other software
  13. Revising for examinations