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Resources for My Subject

Medical Sciences and Veterinary Sciences Tripos: Study Skills and Support

Developing your study skills

How to Get the Most From Your Lectures (online course)

This online course helps get first year sciences students off to a good start with advice on how to survive lectures, taking effective notes, structuring your first essay, and lots of other helpful resources to support you throughout your first year.

While aimed at Part IA students, this course is open to anyone who wishes to use it so if you need to refresh your skills after some time away from university, enjoy!

Getting started with critical reading in Biological Sciences (live session)

Being able to critically evaluate the science that you are reading about as part of your studies is a key skill to develop, and this live introductory session will help get you started. You can find out more information about the session and booking your place on the University Training Booking System (UTBS).

Finding and managing your references with Zotero (live session)

Finding and managing any reading that you need to do is another useful skill to develop. In our live introductory session we will introduce you to reference management tools, with a focused look at Zotero, to get you off to a good start. You can find further information on UTBS.

Many of our libraries offer specialised training in managing your references, such as the Psychology Library's online guide to APA Citations

Literature Searching for Your Dissertation or Project (online and live sessions)

Our online course introduces those working on final year dissertations or projects to the fundamentals of building up your search strategy, searching effectively using a range of different methods and resources, managing what you find, as well as advice on how to critically evaluate what you find and its relevance to your work. 

Participants can take our self-guided course through Moodle before taking advantage of follow-up live sessions with a member of the Biological Sciences Libraries Team, or through booking a 1-2-1 to discuss any needs in more detail.  

These sessions are aimed at final year biological sciences undergraduates but resources and support are open to anyone who needs them, including first year postgraduate researchers.

Engaging critically with your literature: reading, writing and referencing productively at Part II (live course)

This live session is designed to help students moving up to their third year to start building skills in reading and assessing research articles for Part II studies in biological sciences. We cover how to approach reading for different purposes such as lectures versus project work, how apply different reading strategies, and critically evaluate articles. We also look at techniques for managing what you’ve read (or not yet read) as well as writing your literature review, plus how to select items to include and reference them properly. 


All live sessions will be delivered via Zoom during Michaelmas Term 2021. 

If you require any help before any of our live sessions, such as accessibility support, please email George Cronin, Library Manager for Biological Sciences. 


Blue tit bird sitting on a branch looking upwards with 'Other support' text overlaid

The University of Cambridge has many services available to students that are centralised due to the nature of what they cover. Here we have listed some of the possible places that you may look to for additional support. 

Accessing ebooks

There is a dedicated ebooks team based at the main University Library who look after all of our online book resources. They have an excellent ebooks guide to help you explore what we have on offer as well as information on how to reference an ebook, what you can do with an ebook without breaking any rules, as well as what it means if an ebook isn't available. 

Accessing ejournals and databases

You can ask for help with using online journals and databases from any of our librarians but there is also a dedicated team who makes sure that all of our electronic resources work. If you find something that looks like it should work but doesn't, or are unsure as to whether we have access to something you need for your work, the eresources team at the University Library will be able to help. 

Using Apollo 

Apollo is the University of Cambridge's institutional repository. It is used to store the many different research outputs, as well as a lot of other things, from members of the University. If you want to look for research papers from your supervisor or find out what theses have been written on your topic of interest, this is a great tool to use. You can search Apollo through the iDiscover interface or go into it directly. 

Apollo is managed by the Office of Scholarly Communication, based in the University Library, so if you have any questions or need help accessing something, they are the people who will be able to help. 

Monkey skeleton with 'biological sciences support' text overlaid

The Biological Sciences Team is spread out across Cambridge. You can find members of the team in the following places:

In the event that you are unable to access these places in person, or aren't sure if your question falls under any of these subject specialisms, you can email the team as a whole using our shared email address. We will be then be able to find out who can help you in the best way. 

1-2-1 support

You can book an appointment with a member of the team to talk about a whole range of things. Some of the things we can help with:

  • Managing your references
  • Searching for resources and literature
  • Using specialist databases
  • Effective note-taking and other time management techniques
  • Critical reading approaches
  • Understanding the scientific publishing process
  • Navigating social media for your career

This list is not exhaustive so if you're not sure who to ask about what, ask us and we'll be able to put you in contact with the right person!

Appointments can be carried out remotely via phone, email, or an online tool such as Zoom, Google Meet or Teams.

Cambridge University Libraries Accessibility Service

The Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service was established in November 2020 and is based at the University Library.

The service works across the Cambridge University Libraries network to ensure that library users have equal access to services and resources regardless of their accessibility needs. The service also works closely with other key areas of the university such as the Disability Resource Centre. 

For more information about how we can support you in accessing resources, please either contact your college or departmental library, or visit the dedicated Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service guide for details and further contacts.

The Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Service has a curated wellbeing reading list with lots of online resources on a wide range of themes such as mental health, gender identities, and race. To make suggestions about new additions to this list, please contact the Ebooks Team to make a recommendation

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