Academic Skills Know-how (ASK)

Academic SkillsThe Academic Skills Know-how (ASK) team provides academic skills strategies to support your studies at the University.

ASK specialises in the area of Academic Communication, including academic writing, critical thinking and presentation skills.

We work with students in all disciplines and at all levels of academic study, from Foundation to PhD students. You may wish to consult ASK for a one-off session on, for example, revision techniques or book a series of appointments in order to develop your essay structure and build critical thinking into your work.

ASK offers an inclusive learning environment and supports students from a wide range of educational backgrounds. We welcome students who have been away from education for a while, international students, and those who are looking for tools to become independent learners.

What ASK provides

ASK offers you friendly, professional and confidential learning development during your studies. It can help you:

  • Develop effective practices for studying at university
  • Have a clearer understanding of what tutors expect
  • Make studying less stressful
  • Become a confident, successful and independent learner

ASK can support you with:

  • Essay structure
  • Critical thinking
  • Academic writing
  • Effective reading and research skills
  • Note-taking techniques
  • Referencing and citation
  • Reflective writing
  • Revision and exam techniques
  • Dissertations

and much more!

How ASK works with students

ASK works with students in three ways:

One-to-one Tutorials

These confidential sessions last for 30 minutes and we will discuss your requirements when we first meet. You can book a tutorial by using ASK’s online booking calendar. You will be given the option of an online tutorial via Teams or a face-to-face meeting.


Our weekly workshops take place in a relaxed environment to allow for an informal discussion. We focus on key topics specifically requested by students and believe working in groups, sharing and tackling problems with others in a similar situation, can often be a highly effective way to address common difficulties. We aim to provide the right balance of theory and practical examples with plenty of time for your questions too!

Current students can find details of the workshop programme on ASK’s pages on the Students’ Union website.


Drop-ins are a very effective way of receiving support for all those last-minute problems that require a quick-fix solution. The great thing about the University campus is that you are never more than 10 minutes away from a drop-in!

Current students can find time and location of the drop-ins on ASK’s pages on the Students’ Union website

What students say

“Thank you for helping me in overcoming the challenges that I faced … Without your help I would not have been able to successfully complete my LLB.” (Law student, 2021)

“Got my results back. It was a 2:1. Just wanted to thank you again for all your help and your patience! Looking back over my scores there was a noticeable improvement in my grades as soon as I started getting help from you and I think it made a lot of difference in the end.” (Psychology student, 2021)

“Without your help, I would not have been able to make those improvements and I loved working with you. You did not just help me with my academics but also you made my time at the university better.” (Business student, 2020)

“Thank you for all the help you gave me this year. Sometimes words are not enough to describe someone’s feelings of gratitude and this is exactly how I feel, I simply have no words. The appointments I had with you were crucial for me … because it was a quite challenging year for me but with your help, I did manage to overcome. Thanks for giving me confidence and for teaching these academic skills … [T]hanks for your kindness and expertise and for making me feel understood and valued.” (Law student, 2020)

“Finding the academic skills 1:1 sessions was like finding a treasure …  With the help of the Academic Skills Tutor, my presenting skills became much better [and] I grew more confident …” (Business student, 2019)

Contact ASK

For more information, please contact ASK at


Royal Literary Fund Fellow

The Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow

Each academic year the Royal Literary Fund places professional, published authors in universities around the UK to provide one-to-one academic writing tutorials to students and staff.

Karl Whitney

The Writing Fellow at The University of Buckingham this year is Dr Karl Whitney, author of two books of non-fiction: Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin (Penguin, 2014) and Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2019). In 2013 he received the John Heygate Award for travel writing. He contributes to the Irish Times, the Guardian and the London Review of Books.

Karl is based in ADR001 on Mondays and Tuesdays, and sessions can be booked by emailing him at The RLF website provides more information about Karl and his work: