Below are links to web pages and documentation that you may find useful, both in terms of guiding students and answering their general queries, and seeking advice for yourself as a Personal Tutor or other provider of pastoral support and guidance, especially with regard to support and IT tools.
- If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try our FAQ.
- For enquiries within your School regarding the Personal Tutor System, see the Senior Personal Tutor Directory.
- For all other enquiries and general support, please get in touch with the Personal Tutoring Support Staff in Infohub: email@example.com or the Dean for Student Support firstname.lastname@example.org
- Where can I refer students for help?
Student Home Page with access to topical quick links and other information
Support services for students
- Student Services & Support- Services and Support for academic and non-academic issues such as disability advice, financial concerns, personal issues, visa renewals
- University Careers Service- Careers advice
- Counselling Service- Support for students
- Chaplaincy- Support for students
- IT Services for Students - information about email, printing, wireless, IT support, PC classrooms, IT security, working off-campus, and more.
- International Office - situated within Student Services & Support
If a student has a query or problem relating to any of the following, please refer them to Students’ Infohub:
- ID Cards
- Making payments to the University
- Student Records
The University has produced an online Enquiry System for students, this could also help PTs direct students to the appropriate place for all general enquiries.
Resources for studies
- Assistive Technology Service - guide on finding the right tools to develop complimentary strategies in order to become confident in their studies
- Catalogue of Courses - course descriptions
- MyAberdeen: Students - guide to the University's virtual learning environment, powered by Blackboard
- MyAberdeen: Collaborate - video guide for web conferencing
- MyCurriculum online course selection - user guides and video guides
- MyTimetable - video guide on signing up for tutorials, practicals and labs
- Student Learning Service - Academic skills workshops and study advice sessions for students
- Timetable Clash-Checker
- University Calendar - programme/degree requirements
- MyAberdeen Collaborate Training
- Assistive Technology Services
- Available study spaces on campus
- Leaflets & guidance on difficulties which arise often
Leaflets and Guidance on Difficulties which Arise Often
- Worried about a Student?
- Sources of Student Support
- Student Support - Flowchart & Email Template
- Absence Report Response Email
- Confidentiality and boundaries
- Jury service excusing letter - exam clash - letter template for Personal Tutors
- Writing an Academic Reference for a tutee
- Guide to Supporting Students - for staff
- Making the IT systems work for you
Student Record System
Request online via Management Information Systems Online Request Form
Send a request, including your Personal Tutor Reference (PXXX) and your username to email@example.com
MyCurriculum & MyTimetable
As above, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding help in using Student Records, creating email lists and lists of students
You can use the Personal Tutors Guide to Using Student Records. In addition, there are a number of other "How to ..." guide for SRS and generating records (see under 'Reports' section) prepared by IT which may also be of use.
You can print and view your own list of tutees from SRS live records using this new Guide to help you.
There are currently several different systems you can use to help you support your tutees and we have produced guides to step you through each.
The system you use will depend on what you want to do:
I want to…
See our guide on…
View my students’ timetables
View a list of my students
Email an individual student
View a student'senrolment details and course selection summary, and record notes
Search for a student
Create and modify meetings with students*
View and save a list of my students
Setting up an Email List for Students
View a student's record
Print students’ record cards
View a student’s monitoring history
Create or print a photographic list of students
Create or print a list of my students
*Set up a virtual meeting with a student
While face-to-face meetings are preferred, you may (particularly when you are off campus) also use Microsoft Teams as a ‘virtual meeting room’ for one-to-one meetings or Collaborate MyAberdeen for group meetings. Your tutees will need to have access to a webcam or mobile device. Collaborate rooms could be set up by assigning students to individual groups (creating groups comes with the option to create a bespoke Collaborate room for each group accessible only by members and staff).
MyAberdeen Collaborate Guide for Collaborate
For further guidance, see our Meeting Preparation pages.
For information on IT requirements for your students, see our IT Essentials section
- Workshops & Training
The following courses will assist Personal Tutors and pastoral and guidance leads in their personal development and is likely to increase their confidence in working with students, alongside the leaflets and guidance referred to above. Personal Tutors and pastoral and guidance leads should remember, however, that it is not part of their role to give mental health advice. If a Personal Tutor is concerned about a student, the Personal Tutor should contact their Senior Personal Tutor or the Dean for Student Support as soon as possible, who will work with the Tutor in seeking more specialist guidance and support for the student.
- Student Records for Personal Tutors training sessions - Tutor led sessions organised by IT Services and Registry. Note: Workshops to be held mid-late August, You can also access Student Record System User Guides for photographic lists of students, automatic email groups, record cards etc
- Coaching and Mentoring - advice from the University’s Staff Development team
- Understanding Mental Health - Key Challenges and Available Support
Mental Health First Aid
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid (2 day certified course)
As a key part of our mental health strategy the University has provided free places to staff on Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) 2 day course and 1 day refresher. This has been popular training and there are MHFA’s in schools and departments across the University.
This is a voluntary role, the activities of MHFA’s contribute to improving mental health in the workplace through encouraging openness, challenging stigma and providing listening support to University staff experiencing difficulties with their mental health. MHFA’s also provide appropriate signposting into workplace based professional support as well as services more widely available.
All MHFA’s are encouraged to take part in regular network meetings and have resources and support provided by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team. A webpage will soon be available with additional information, meantime for further info contact: email@example.com .
The University has a number of mental health awareness courses available to book, further information can be ound on the Staff Development intranet pages at: www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/working-here/staff-development
For other training and development opportunities, see Staff Development pages on StaffNet.
Equality & Diversity
The University has launched an Equality and Diversity e-training facility for all staff. The e-training is an easy way to ensure your knowledge on Equality and Diversity matters is up-to-date. This will help to ensure that the University creates a learning and working environment which is accessible and inclusive.
Two modules are available. 'Diversity in the Workplace' provides basic training on the legislative framework and its practical implications. All staff are required to complete this module.
The second module, 'Diversity in Teaching and Learning', focuses on the specific issues for teaching staff. It allows colleagues to reflect on their teaching practice and provides guidance regarding developing an inclusive learning environment.
Each module will take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete. They can be started, saved and returned to at your convenience.
If you are having any difficulties with registering or accessing the training modules, please contact Shona Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Assessment & Exam Preparation
Assessment preparation meetings will be held for Level 1 students in November.
This Level 1 Resource can be download for later use
Across their Level 1 curriculum, students will experience a range of different types of assessment. Some courses will conclude with a traditional end-of-course unseen exam; others will have 100% coursework assessment. Students taking a 6th-century course, for example, will have 100% coursework assessment and no exam. Some courses have exam exemption if students achieve a certain level of marks in their coursework.
Students may also find it helpful to discuss the other forms of assessment which they may encounter, especially if they are new to them. Our students come from a variety of educational backgrounds.
Ideally, revision is a planned process! It is generally not a good idea to leave revision until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute 'cramming', it is widely accepted that for most students this is not the best way to approach an exam.
Potential discussion areas include:
- What does revision involve?
- What works?
- What might you try?
- What resources are there to help?
Some suggested resources for revision and exam techniques:
- Course-specific information about the format of each exam, other forms of assessment and preparation techniques should be given by the relevant course coordinator/team.
- Past exam papers are available through the Exam Papers Database. These can guide students as to the type of exam questions to expect and can be used as timed practice questions before the exam. Students should check that the past papers are still a relevant example of the exam that they will be taking.
- ACHIEVE generic resources on Revision and Exam Skills for students include tips on planning and managing revision and exams.
- Student Learning Service Revision and Exam Techniques Workshops. All workshop places will be bookable in advance through the SLS website.
Some points for students to consider:
- What is the format of each? Examples: Will there be multiple-choice / short answer / essay questions?
- How many questions will they have to answer?
- Will there be a choice of questions?
- How will each form of assessment be marked? Examples:
- Will there be multiple-choice / short answer / essay questions?
- How many questions will they have to answer?
- Will there be a choice of questions?
- How will the exam be marked? Will there be equal weighting given to each answer?
- What is the deadline for completion or where will the exam be held?
- How did I submit my answers?
Exams: the process
How does it work at Aberdeen for formal exam diets?
- Students receive their exam timetables through their Student Hub or MyTimetable, which include the time, date and location of each exam. Students with special provisions/adjustments (extra time/use of computer/own room etc.) are informed of their particular arrangements. There is exam timetable information for students on the Infohub website:
- Students are advised to arrive at the exam location in good time as they are normally admitted into the exam hall/room approximately 10 minutes before the start of the exam.
- Students are not allowed to join the exam after the first 30 minutes.
- Students will be given all necessary stationery (exam booklets/graph paper) but must bring their own pens and pencils. Take lots.
- Food is not allowed; bottled water can be taken into the exam room.
- Mobile phones must be turned off and left with bags/coats in the designated place in the exam room. Phones cannot be used as clocks / calculators or dictionaries.
- It is sometimes possible for students, for whom English is not their first language, to take a paper copy of a dictionary into an exam but they should check in advance that this is permitted. No electronic dictionaries may be used.
- Students are not permitted to leave the exam room during the last 30 minutes of the exam.
- Some courses may have online exams. Usually these will be completed over a particular period (48 hours or more); sometimes students are to complete these over a fixed period within a longer period (eg 3 hours within 48 hours) and occasionally at a specific time. Course coordinators will provide details of this.
- Course results, which will appear as a single Common Grading Scale (CGS) grade for each course, will be issued to students through their Student Portal. The pass grade for all courses is D3.
- Feedback & Assessment Reflection
Feedback & Feedback Logs
Information about feedback and feedback logs at the University of Aberdeen. Also, a discussion point for reflecting on exam performance and preparation, for all year group meetings.
Feedback Logs are a means to promote students’ engagement with feedback. At the introductory meeting with Level 1 students and at other meetings focused on feedback for different Levels of students (or indeed at any other appropriate time) Personal Tutors can encourage their Tutees to keep a Feedback Log to record and reflect on feedback given in courses across their programme of studies. Students can also note what actions they have taken/will take to improve. It is hoped that by engaging with the Feedback Logs, receiving, reflecting and responding to feedback will become a more meaningful and beneficial practice. By sharing their Feedback Logs with their Personal Tutors (as well as with other appropriate academic and support staff) students can allow staff to gain a contextualised overview of their progress, as well as identify areas of difficulty.
All students are provided with a Feedback Log template to use in MyAberdeen, which leads them to create a shareable portfolio. Instructions on to how to develop, maintain and share the Log are also available.
Feedback Log template
As shown above, students note their name, degree programme, year of study and courses; they also note the total number of credits being taken per half-session of each academic year they are studying here. For each course, the template provides two distinct areas in which each student records:
- A copy (or file) of feedback received for each assignment undertaken + a brief summary of the key points of the feedback. Students can also note or cross-reference to any other form of feedback received (which may exist elsewhere e.g. in a lab notebook).
- The actions the student has taken/will be taking in response to the feedback.
Students are asked to complete both sections for each piece of feedback they are given during a course. If the feedback is in electronic form (written or recorded) they can attach a copy. If it is handwritten they can scan the original in any MFD, email it to themselves and upload the pdf to the Log. This will allow a record to build up over the student’s time in the university, which documents all feedback given, the understanding of the feedback and the actions taken in response.
Example of a Feedback Log in progress
How does sharing a Feedback Log work?
If a student wishes to discuss any aspect of feedback with his/her Personal Tutor (or with any other appropriate member of staff) the member of staff can request access to the Feedback Log. This will enable him/her to see the student’s record of all feedback received to date. The information will provide a broader context for discussions about the student’s progress overall and help identify any areas of difficulty, which may (or may not) be confined to certain courses.
If the student has completed the Log, the reader will gain a quick overview of the student’s interpretation of feedback received across his/her courses of study. If the summaries of written (or recorded) feedback are accompanied by copies of the originals, the reader can also check to see if the student’s interpretation is accurate! Many misunderstandings of feedback can and do occur. Any action points or responses noted will allow the reader to see what measures (if any) the student has taken/is undertaking to act upon any recommendations for improvement given in the feedback.
If nothing is recorded against a particular course, or courses, then this can prompt a conversation between the student and the reader to determine why this is the case. Resulting conversations can be more focused according to the similarities or differences noted across the range of courses.
Download the above page regarding feedback logs as a pdf
There is extensive information about feedback on the University's feedback web pages which will be of use in your preparation for meetings on this theme.
Exam & Assessment Reflection
You can download this full resource in pdf format.
LEVEL 1 or Direct Entry (DE) students - January meeting:
Meeting focused on exam reflection
As this will have been the first set of assessments for this cohort of students, there may well be questions in their minds as to what happens next. At the time of your meeting, the students may not yet have received their course results. Some of the students may not have had any formal exams but instead will have had to submit course work for their final assessment(s).
Receiving and interpreting the results
- All course results will be delivered via the Student Hub.
- For each of the courses they took, students will receive a final course grade, which will be expressed as a single grade on the Common Grading Scale (CGS), which will be issued to students through their Student Hub.
- They will need to understand that a final grade of D3 or above indicates a pass and they will see noted ‘A’ (for achieved). A final grade of E1 or below indicates that they have not passed the course and they will see noted ‘NA’ (not achieved).
- The calculation of a final course grade will take into account all marks achieved in summative (the results count toward the final grade) assessments. Each assessment will form a percentage of the final grade (see relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Online Course Catalogue for the percentage weighting of each assessed element).
What happens if a student does not pass a course?
- If a student does not pass a course there will be a resit opportunity, during the resit period to try to complete the course. The prescribed resit format for each course can be found in the relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Catalogue of Courses.
- If a student was unable to sit an exam due to notified illness, or other circumstances, there will not be a final course result. The opportunity to complete the course (in the prescribed format for that course) will be during the resit period in the summer.
Will there be feedback?
The University policy on providing feedback can be found in the Institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback on Assessment (page 2):
Feedback on examinations should:
- Be provided as soon as possible after the exam diet.
- Where appropriate, be offered as generic feedback.
- Be available to individual students upon request
Students should also be encouraged to speak to their course coordinator about feedback they have received on other forms of assessment.
Suggested questions for group reflection on assessment preparation:
- How did you go about preparing for your assessment? When did you start? Was this early enough, do you think?
- Did you sit with your lecture notes and read and re-read them over and over again? This ‘passive’ learning activity is generally shown to be unproductive.
- Did you do any active learning, reconstructing the material into a different form when revising? This is generally shown to promote greater understanding and deeper learning.
- Did you test yourself: use online tests/quizzes, brainstorm with friends, use quizzes in textbooks etc? These too, are active learning activities.
- Did you access past exam papers (through the Library database) and practise timed answers?
- Did you engage carefully with the nature of the assessment?
Suggested questions for group reflection on the exams:
- How was your time management?
- Do you think you allowed yourself time to read through the instructions and the questions on the paper thoroughly?
- Did you struggle in the exam to show what you know while still answering the question?
- Did you move beyond just reciting your notes?
- Were there parts of the assessment that you found easy? Which bits were difficult? Why was this?
- How can you improve in the areas you found tricky? (e.g.: Did you find essays more difficult than Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)? Why do you tihnk this is? What can you learn from the experiences and practices of your peers?)
- Did you think you show understanding and thought as well as knowledge?
- Do you think you showed what your ideas were building on?
- Did you acknowledge the critical work of others?
Some questions to consider on receiving the results:
- Are your results as you expected?
- Are your results as good as you had hoped for?
- Do you think your results are a fair reflection of the effort you put in?
- What techniques did you use?
- How do you think you could improve, e.g. did you find essays more difficul than Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)?
What can I do to improve?
- Request individual feedback on your exam paper(s) and assessment if generic course feedback still leaves you feeling unsure
- Access online resources on revision and exam skills on ACHIEVE
- Attend a Student Learning Service workshop to help develop your revision and exam techniques
- Request an individual Study Advice Session with the Student Learning Service to help develop your revision and exam techniques
- Attend in-course revision and/or exam techniques sessions, if offered
- Access the Library past exams papers database to practice exam answers
- Graduate Attributes
In common with many other universities, nationally and internationally, the University of Aberdeen has underpinned the student experience of its curriculum and co-curriculum with a defined set of qualities that all students will have the opportunity to develop and enhance during their time at university. These form the nineteen Graduate Attributes, which students from Aberdeen will take with them into the world of further study, employment or life experience.
Download this full Graduate Attributes resource which includes information for all year levels or you can review materials for the level you are preparing for if you access resources for meeting content by Year Level for September and March.
What are the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?
They are grouped under four main categories:
- In-depth and extensive knowledge, understanding and skills at internationally-recognised levels in their chosen discipline(s);
- A breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills beyond their chosen discipline(s);
- An ability to participate in the creation of new knowledge and understanding through research and inquiry;
- A contextual understanding of past and present knowledge and ideas;
- An intellectual curiosity and a willingness to question accepted wisdom and to be open to new ideas
Critical Thinking and Effective Communication
- A capacity for independent, conceptual and creative thinking;
- A capacity for problem identification, the collection of evidence, synthesis and dispassionate analysis;
- A capacity for attentive exchange, informed argument and reasoning;
- An ability to communicate effectively for different purposes and in different contexts;
- An ability to work independently and as part of a team;
- A diverse set of transferable and generic skills
Learning and Personal Development
- An openness to, and an interest in, life-long learning through directed and self-directed study;
- An awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses;
- A capacity for self-reflection, self-discovery and personal development
- An awareness and appreciation of ethical and moral issues;
- An awareness and appreciation of social and cultural diversity;
- An understanding of social and civic responsibilities, and of the rights of individuals and groups;
- An appreciation of the concepts of enterprise and leadership in all aspects of life;
- A readiness for citizenship in an inclusive society
Why did the University develop the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?
- To reflect an increased focus on the breadth of the student experience.
- To encourage staff and student engagement with a reflective and developmental process that would extend across the curriculum and co-curriculum, at all levels of undergraduate study.
- To enhance student employability in the global employment market.
How are they to be embedded in the student experience?
Through engaging staff, student and employer awareness and development of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes.
Through stating explicitly in each course how it supports the development of Aberdeen Graduate Attributes and encouraging students to articulate their reflections and development of them.
Through establishing ACHIEVE, a central site located in MyAberdeen, which offers undergraduate students resources to assess and reflect upon their skills and development needs in the curriculum and the co-curriculum. ACHIEVE also refers them to relevant support services, including the Student Learning Service and the Careers Service.
Graduate Attributes Meeting Content L1-5
How can a Personal Tutor include discussion of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes in PT meetings?
First Year - September meeting:
Initial welcome, introduction to Graduate Attributes
Before the meeting: the students could be asked to look through the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) and come prepared to talk about why they think we have them.
At the meeting:
- Now that you have had time to look at the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, let’s discuss why we have them
- Do you have any questions about them?
- Which skills do you think you might seek to develop during year 1 at University?
- How can students reflect upon and develop them during their time at University?
- What is the difference between the curriculum and the co-curriculum?
- Where can students find resources to support them in recognising and developing these attributes? ACHIEVE
Focus on assessments, self-reflection of Graduate Attributes, year to date and considerations for next academic year as well as co-curricular opportunities
This meeting might include a recap and discussion of the students’ thoughts on and experience of the Graduate Attributes thus far.
This can be done as an individual exercise, or in pairs or small groups.
Explore the pack of 19 Aberdeen Graduate Attributes cards. Arrange your top NINE Aberdeen Graduate Attributes into a diamond hierarchy, in which the top line (only one card) is the most important/relevant, the second line (two cards) features the next most important/relevant, the third line (three cards) the next, and then decrease through two cards to the final one card to complete the diamond. Each can then discuss why and how decisions were made to select and prioritise the final DIAMOND NINE.
- Download: Diamond 9 Quick Guide for Personal Tutors
- Download: Graduate Attribute cards - Active Citizenship
Second Year - September meeting
Suggested questions to explore with returning students:
- Which of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes seemed most relevant to you in your Year 1 curriculum and/or co-curriculum? Why? Can you give examples?
- With a thought for the future, which of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes do you think you might seek to develop or enhance during Year 2 at the university?
Focus on assessments, honours entry and self-reflection of progress with Graduate Attributes
Suggested questions to explore:
- How do you think you have progressed and developed during this academic year?
- What challenges have you faced or overcome?
- Can you give examples to evidence this?
They could also be directed to the Bringing Graduate Attributes to Life website.
Third Year - September meeting
Suggested questions to explore:
- How would you identify and articulate your development of Graduate Attributes to potential placement/internship providers and employers?
- How could you evidence or provide examples to support what you say? Remember that the Graduate Attributes will be developed and enhanced through both the curriculum and the co-curriculum
Repeat the DIAMOND NINE exercise. Have your priorities changed since Year 1? If so, why?
Focus on aspects of employability
Suggested reminder question that could be part of this discussion:
- In what ways could you identify and articulate your development of Graduate Attributes to potential placement/internship providers and employers?
Fourth Year / Fifth Year - September/January meetings
Suggested questions to explore:
- How do the challenges of final year dissertations/projects draw on your development of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?
- How do the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes relate to the qualities and competencies sought by employers or postgraduate course (academic or professional) recruitment teams?
- What sort of evidence/examples will you be able to give to support your employment/course applications?