Two people meeting with a laptop and paper pads

Thrive in your studies

Discover the additional support and resources you can get when you connect with our service

The Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) can help you access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, assistive technology tutors and study skills resources.

You can get additional academic support on a 1-to-1 basis, in groups or online through ASDAC's virtual resources.

Academic support

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise the challenges you experience as a student, allowing you to develop as an independent learner.

The adjustments you will have depend on your individual needs. Reasonable adjustments may include:

  • Course materials in alternative formats
  • Access to assistive technology
  • Timetabling adjustments to help improve access
  • Specialist support to develop study skills strategies
  • Extra time during timed assessments

Exams and assessments

Support is available for your studies, including exams and assessments. Where appropriate, we will make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are given every opportunity to demonstrate your learning.

Exam adjustments

ASDAC can work with you and the academic department to provide reasonable adjustments at not only exam time but where appropriate throughout your studies.

This may include:

  • extra time for formal assessments
  • word-processing facilities
  • rest breaks
  • assistive technology
  • alternative methods of assessment

For further information, see our policy on Adjustments for Disabled Students from our Examination and Assessment Regulations.

The University has an anonymous marking policy. So all students are assessed equally and this is based on the academic standards and outcomes of the course. 

Specialist study skills and strategies

Specialist study skills and strategies sessions help you develop your own individual skills so you can work independently. The sessions take place on a one-to-one basis and you are encouraged to discuss the areas you wish to concentrate on with the support of the tutor.



Virtual resources

Studying at university will develop your academic skills. To get you started, take a look at the short animations below and discover more resources on Moodle.

Planning your study time

Planning your time helps you manage your independent study time alongside other day to day activities. Watch this animation and take charge of your time to get the most out of University.

Planning your study time. Being a student can be stressful sometimes. In this short video, we'll look at how we can make the most of our time at university and meet our long term goals.

Often we don't realise the number of things we have to get done. And it can be hard to prioritise everything from the start. Imagine this jar represents the amount of time we have during the day. Right now, it's filled with rocks thrown in randomly. The rocks represent all the things that we can do in a day. The bigger the rocks are, the more important the task is. Our aim is to fill the jar so that all the bigger rocks fit in, above all else.

The first step we need to do is to identify our long-term tasks, so we can prioritise them. Log into your Moodle account to view your briefs and assignments, and write down your deadlines. Mark them on your Google calendar and always keep track of them as you complete them one by one.

Make sure you spend some time doing extracurricular activities that involve physical effort to maintain your health. And of course, use your leisure time doing activities that help you unwind and have fun.

Remember, the more you get done in a day, the better you'll feel. 

Getting started on research

At uni, you will be expected to do individual research using reliable resources. The Boardroom Table Approach shows you how to make a positive start to your research.

Getting started on your research, 'The Boardroom Table Approach'.

Faced with research, we can feel daunted about where to start. If the topic at hand is rather intimidating, it seems like an impossible task. The boardroom approach will guide you through your research and planning so that you are fully prepared.

The first thing to do is to work out what the question is asking and then sketch a provisional plan. Identify research areas and then set yourself some questions to focus on your research.

What has already been written about your topic? Don't panic. There will be scholars who have written about many of the issues addressed in your work . You just have to find out who they are and what they wrote, so you can bring them to your table.

A good place to start is your module's reading list. This will help identify useful books and articles. The University of Portsmouth library website also has a 'My Subject' area. When you search online, use keywords or phrases that are important to your work. Now you can organise your research and begin to read. Don't panic – not everything in the book is needed for your work. Just select the most useful snippets and then read these slowly and carefully. Look for useful information and ideas – these will help complete your assignment. Don't forget to invite that scholar to your table.

Once you have a number of scholars sitting around your table, each with ideas or information to contribute to your assignment, keep these nuggets together and create a file to store and organise them. You can organise this file with whatever system works for you.

Make sure you keep track of your sources. For referencing, you need the author, publication year, publisher, place of publication and page numbers.

Now your table is full of scholars, you can develop your own thoughts using the information you have gathered. You can revisit your plan and adjust it at any time if needs be. Your plan should reflect your informed view while incorporating contributions from around the table where relevant. Make good use of those scholars!

Every time you introduce a point from a scholar at your table, give them credit for their point by referencing them. Scholars have copyright of their work and referencing acknowledges that ownership. See the University of Portsmouth referencing guides for further help.

Now you're ready to get writing.

Software to enhance learning

There are many software tools and strategies that will compliment your study. In this animation, we discuss different types of software and how they can improve your learning experience.

Software to enhance learning. This software enhances learning , whether you’re using your creative ability, or knuckling down to do some research. This is more than just a study aid to get you through University; it is used widely by commercial institutions, giving you transferable skills into the workplace, and is particularly useful if you’re the sort of person that finds studying a challenge.

So why would you want to use Assistive Software? Because software such as Inspiration and Mindview provide Mind Mapping to improve your ability to plan and organise your work in a clear, customisable way. This helps with transfer of thought from publication, to notes, to a finished project or dissertation.

When it comes to reading and spelling, Assistive Software such as Read & Write and Claro, aid literacy and understanding of text, especially for those with Dyslexia and English as a second language. They read documents out loud, highlight text, and convert books by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to Word documents or audiobooks.

For users with impaired vision, screen magnification and reading software, including Zoom Text and Supernova, make digital information accessible, and give you customisable ways to review your work. From file management to surfing the web, you’ll know where you are and what you are doing on screen.

Training for this software is available through ASDAC and a variety of training tools are on Moodle. To find this software, just search through AppsAnywhere or Spotlight on every networked computer across the University. 

Further resources

Have a look at our other resources that detail strategies for planning, reading and structuring your written work.

Access ASDAC study resources on Moodle



External resources

Explore the resources below for even more help, advice and support for your studies.

MS Office 365 voice-recognition and Speak text-to-speech

Voice recognition and Speak text-to-speech are built into the latest version of Microsoft Office.

Get Microsoft Office free.


A powerful spelling and grammar checking add-on to MS Office and your browser.

Get Grammarly.

Present Pal

Presentation support app which acts as a set of interactive flashcards on your smartphone or tablet, fully integrated with Microsoft PowerPoint.

Find out more.

Specialist Mental Health Mentors

This short video tells you more about the role of a Specialist Mental Health Mentor at university.

Watch video.

Academic Phrasebank

The Academic Phrasebank provides support with phrasing for academic writing.

Assignment Survival Kit

The Assignment Survival Kit is a tool to help you plan backwards from deadlines.

My Study Life

My Study Life is an advance planner that includes rotation schedules, assignments, revision, exams.


MyStudyBar has 15 apps including tools to customise font and colour backgrounds, a talking dictionary, help with text input, converting text-to-speech and speech-to-text.