Promoting Your Academic Success through LSST’s Academic Support Centre

Article Date | 10 August, 2023
Photograph: Olivia Peren at LSST Elephant and Castle

By Olivia Peren, Academic Support Tutor in Health and Social Science at LSST Elephant and Castle, Article Date 10 August 2023

LSST’s Academic Support Centre is a team dedicated to promoting your academic success throughout your time at LSST. We feel that the transition to becoming an outstanding higher education student and familiarising yourself with a new environment is a novel and exciting opportunity. Further, the need to be malleable and adapt quickly as a student can sometimes be overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to understand what facilities and support services are available to you as a student at LSST.

Harvard Referencing

Whilst there is a multitude of important skills to master throughout your accredited degree at LSST, referencing is one of the most vital constituents of your academic journey. You will be expected to accurately reference in nearly every type of assessment that you undertake.

There are numerous different styles of referencing, but Harvard referencing is one of the most widely adopted formats. Harvard referencing is a universal way of acknowledging the input of another author or authors’ words or ideas to your work. It improves the credibility of any arguments you put forward and shows that you have conducted additional reading outside of core materials.

It consists of an in-text citation (appearing in the main body of your work) and a more detailed entry in your end-of-text reference list (a collation of all the sources you have accessed). From this, the reader can validate your claims and view the source with ease.

Your academic support tutors are available to deliver workshops during class or one-to-one appointments to enhance your referencing skills. They have a variety of electronic and physical resources at their disposal, available to students upon request.

Below are some useful links to help you structure your citations and reference list successfully:

Scribbr’s guide

The Open University’s guide

Mendeley’s guide

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Most Higher Education providers have unique online platforms that can take some time to understand and use efficiently. The virtual learning environment used by LSST is LSST Connect – the hub of knowledge throughout your time at the institution. Here, you can retrieve additional reading materials, assessment information, as well as content covered in lectures. It increases the accessibility of learning, meaning that students can begin to prepare ahead of their scheduled classes and revisit content when completing assessments. LSST Connect is also the platform where students may be expected to upload their work, so it is vital to be able to navigate it properly.

Depending on your awarding body, you may have an additional VLE system to become acquainted with. You can check this with your academic support team, who can provide you with the relevant links for these platforms and assist you in piloting them.

You can access LSST Connect here.

Presentation and Communication Skills

Each interaction that we have with another individual involves some level of communication. Therefore, developing interpersonal communication skills is beneficial not only to academic accomplishments, but likely in familial, friendship, and employment settings too. A 2016 LinkedIn survey discovered that employers valued communication skills as the most desirable characteristic in candidates (Berger, 2016).

Throughout your time at LSST, you will likely be involved in group projects and other teamwork-based activities. It is imperative to be able to adapt to both leadership and collaborative roles within the team to gather the best qualities from each member.

Soft skills like active listening and conscious body language are great ways to promote successful communication (Jahromi et al., 2016). By maintaining eye contact, having positive facial expressions, and posing questions, you show the speaker that you are acknowledging and then engaging with their points. Additionally, you should be mindful of your non-verbal communication methods. Factors like dressing appropriately and outward presentation also contribute to your overall ability to communicate with the other individual and display professionalism (Indeed, 2023). Moreover, preparing yourself physically and in terms of what you are planning to say or discuss shows respect for other members of the group and aids to boost your confidence.

Your academic support team will deliver sessions on both verbal and non-verbal strategies to help you as a learner. Students are also welcome to come and practice their presentations ahead of delivering them to their class or lecturer – we are happy to listen!

Academic Writing

It is important to understand that written communication in an academic setting is different to that in everyday life. It adopts a more formal tone and delivers information with precision, rather than being vague or too general. Academic writing also requires students to present arguments from an objective viewpoint, absent of their own opinions unless otherwise specified by assessment criteria (Sultan, 2013).

Additionally, the style of writing will vary dependent on the type of assignment you are completing. Some of the assessments that you may encounter are:

    • Essays
    • Portfolios
    • Oral assessments
    • Reports
    • Exams
    • Dissertations

Each will have different expectations in terms of its structure, linguistic features, and presentation (Routledge, 2021). Schillings et al. (2018) propose that face-to-face dialogue feedback is promising in its ability to improve academic writing skills for learners. This approach permits students to be more conscious of their own strengths and weaknesses and endorses collaborative learning (Tsui & Ng, 2000; Yucel et al., 2014).

If you need help deciphering the requirements of the assessment, visit your academic support centre. The team will be able to assist you and offer some interactive exercises to revise/test your knowledge and make sure it has been retained, as well as discuss prospective ways to improve your academic writing.

Research Skills and Statistical Analysis

Valuable research is at the forefront of our civilisation, leading us to new conclusions and developments every day. Cayuse (n.d.) proposes that research “is what propels humanity forward”. Investigations into health outcomes and behaviour have led us to understand our species better, as well as the long-term impact of our lifestyle choices. Without such valuable insight, our life expectancies may be considerably shorter, just one instance of why research is so central to society (Nass, Levit & Gostin, 2009, p25).

Some research will offer its findings in a quantitative (numerical) way, using statistical analyses. It is crucial to be able to understand the purpose of these numbers so that you can understand what the research is concluding. These skills will help you to access and comprehend scientific or governmental research, as well as produce your own (Scribbr, n.d.).

Digital application packages like IBM SPSS are designed to help you in conducting and interpreting statistical analyses. Your academic support team can help to access and install the software and offer valuable insight into its usage. Practising tools like these with a trusted individual can help you to gain confidence and fortify your skills ahead of exams or assessments.

We understand that adapting to Higher Education life can come with a degree of complexity and that there are high expectations of students to develop skills in many different areas over a short period of time. Your LSST Academic Support Tutors are available to offer one-to-one support in pre-arranged appointments, as well as shorter drop-in sessions for any of the above facets of your academic journey.

If you have a query that isn’t listed here or are facing struggles in any other area of your qualification, please contact Academic Support directly at If it’s outside of their areas of expertise, the team will be able to guide you to a support service that is equipped to help.


Berger, G. (2016). ‘Data reveals the most in-demand soft skills among candidates’. Available at: [Accessed 01 August 2023]

Cayuse. (n.d.). ‘The importance of research in the advancement of society’. Available at: [Accessed 01 August 2023]

Indeed. (2023). ‘Nonverbal communication skills: Definition and examples’. Available at: [Accessed 01 August 2023]

Jahromi, V. K., Tabatabaee, S. S., Abdar, Z. E. & Rajabi, M. (2016) ‘Active listening: the key of successful communication in hospital managers’. Electronic Physician, 8(3), pp. 2123-2128.

Nass, S. J., Levit, L. A. & Gostin, L. O. (2009). Beyond the HIPAA privacy rule. Washington: National Academies Press.

Routledge. (2021) ‘What is academic writing? (And other burning questions about it)’, Routledge, 15 June. Available at: [Accessed 02 August 2023]

Schillings, M., Roebertsen, H., Savelberg, H. & Dolmans, D. (2018) ‘A review of educational dialogue strategies to improve academic writing skills’. Active Learning in Higher Education, 24(2), pp. 95-108.

Scribbr. (n.d.). ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Statistical Analysis’. Available at: [Accessed 02 August 2023]

Sultan, N. (2013). ‘British students’ academic writing’. Industry & Higher Education, 27(2), pp. 139-147.

Tsui, A. B. M. & Ng, M. (2000) ‘Do secondary L2 writers benefit from peer comments?’ Journal of Second Language Writing, 9(2), pp. 147-170.

Yucel, R., Bird, F. L., Young, J. & Blanksby, T. (2014) ‘The road to self-assessment: exemplar marking before peer review develops first-year students’ capacity to judge the quality of a scientific report’. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(8), pp.971-986.

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