Essential skills for study and work

A student using a piece of engineering equipmentSome skills highlighted by students as areas where they value help include improving planning and organising, understanding team roles, and presentation skills. This section looks at these areas in turn, and is followed by an example of a skills checklist to help you track your progress.

Project planning skills

Top Tips on managing a study project or assignment

  1. Split project into its component tasks and plot them on a Gantt chart, or you may prefer to construct a Critical Path Analysis. It may be easier to work backwards from the deadline for the completed project.
  2. Decide on the order and allocate a length of time with a start & finish date for each (be generous!)
  3. Note that starting some tasks will depend on the completion of others, while other tasks are likely to overlap.
  4. Give special attention to the core research (gathering data) and final report writing or presentational tasks - if possible break them down further; remember that refining the product towards the end and producing it in presentable format can take a surprisingly long time!
  5. Anticipate likely obstacles, especially delays in accessing other people and resources/ equipment. Make allowances for other commitments.

The acronym OATS can help with personal time management:

O utcomes – what do I want to achieve and by when
A ctivities needed in order to achieve above
T ime each activity will take
S chedule tasks, allocating time for the biggest first

(Source : Britain in Business)


Task 5: Project and assignment planning


A mini project funded by the HEA Engineering Subject Centre