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for Undergraduates

UG CamGuides: What skills will I develop as an undergraduate?

Generic academic skills useful to all students

What's in this section?

view from above of person working at a computer with notesUniversity may feel like a completely new way of learning, very different to how you were taught at school or college. This requires a new and varied skill set. Your department and college know that you are unlikely to start with these skills fully developed, and this section will help you gain these.

This section introduces you to useful generic skills that you will develop during your time at Cambridge. There will, of course, be lots of subject-specific skills which you'll also need, requiring different approaches. For some students there will be very little contact time, while others may find themselves engaged in departments all day, as well as for part of the weekend. As you look through this section it may be helpful to be aware of areas that are new to you and to think about how you might develop those skills. But don't worry: your tutor, Director of Studies, supervisors and librarians are here to help you. We hope that knowing about these skills before you start university will help make the course even more enjoyable.

TOP TIP: The Time Management section has been identified by Cambridge students as a really useful section of the Guide

TOP TIP: Critical Reading: a short introductory course. This short 45 minute course will make all the difference to your reading as you start University. It is free for anyone to do. The course is also available on Moodle, Cambridge's Virtual Learning Environment. You will need your raven login to get to the Moodle course.

lightbulb iconWhat does your course entail? 

It might be helpful to refresh your memory.

Take a look at the course directory, and find your course. Read through its learning outcomes, and see if you can identify the contact you might expect, how and where you'll be taught, and the research elements in your course. In particular, look for the skills and practices that you'll be expected to develop during your degree.


As you go through this guide, if there are any terms that you are unfamiliar with, click on Terminology in the menu. This page lists words from across the whole of CamGuides for Undergraduates which may be new to you or have a specific meaning at Cambridge and provides a definition to set them in the context of studying here.

Using CamGuides for Undergraduates

Go to Using CamGuides for Undergraduates for information about what is included in the resource and how to find your way around it

There is plenty of support is available when you start in Cambridge. However, if you'd like to ask something specifically about using CamGuides for Undergraduates, email

  • CamGuides for Undergraduates is completely optional
  • It comprises five sections
  • It is aimed at all new undergraduates
  • You can revisit it at any time
  • You don't need to sign up to any platform
  • There are optional tasks to complete next to the lightbulb icon in a grey box

What Skills Courses are on offer while I'm at University?

Image advert of skills catalogue

Image credits

CC0 by William Iven via Unsplash

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