Five picks for the new student

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Welcome to HAMK, new student! Academic study requires new skills that you will learn as your studies progress. Here are five useful guides that help you get a jump start on your studies and also help you settle in the student life.

Use HAMK ID to access the e-books. If you are unfamiliar with e-book use, for more information see HAMK Finna.


Lengefeld, U. A. & Crisp, M. (1994). Study skills strategies accelerate your learning. Revised Edition. Crisp Learning.

One of the most useful skills for a student – and anyone else, for that matter – is that of critical reading. This concise guide introduces you to a reading strategy that consists of five steps: survey, question, read & underline, recite & write, review. The technique is called SQ3R, and it helps you reduce study time and better grasp the essential information.
In addition to critical reading, Lengefeld and Crisp also cover other useful topics, such as time management, note taking, memory training, exam strategies and more.


Read, S. H. (2018). Academic writing skills for international students. London: Macmillan.

Once you have tackled critical reading, you are ready for the next step. Written assignments belong to higher education, and their requirements far exceed those you have got used to at school. This invaluable guide helps you get familiar with the conventions of academic writing and the main types of written assignments. You will learn how to structure paragraphs and build your argument, how to analyse and discuss. Helpful book support features promote independent learning and the numerous examples and clear models help you transfer your new skills to your own written assignments.


Lowes, R., Peters, H., Stephenson, M. & Turner, M. (2004). The international student’s guide: studying in English at university. London: SAGE.

If English is not your first language, this is a book for you. It addresses all the main questions associated with studying in a new and different environment and in a language that is not your own. It gives you advice on how to work in seminars and groups, how to give oral presentations and attend exams, how to read and write in an academic setting. The last chapter discusses coping life as an international student.


Moles, T. (2011). Xenophobe’s guide to the Finns. London: Oval Books.

Studying abroad has its own practical and cultural challenges. This is a book that may help you better understand us Finns and hopefully help you with the culture shock. Much of what is said is in fact correct, though Tarja Moles does at times exaggerate for dramatic effect. The book has been written with humour and is highly entertaining to read. I would advise you to take most of what she says with a pinch of salt, though.

For more books on Finnish culture and society, see our recommendations on Finnish culture and society.


Elkin, A. (2013). Stress management for dummies. 2nd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Starting academic studies is a major life change at the best of times, let alone when coupled with the challenges of living in an alien country, far away from family and friends. Elkin helps you manage and indeed, eliminate, much of the stress before it causes you serious harm. You will learn to recognise and understand stress and how it affects you. More importantly, you will learn to control your emotions, worry less, and lead a more stress resistant life. If you are already stressed with the amount of reading you have to do, you can skip to chapter 17 which lists the ten habits of highly effective stress managers.


For more picks, see our list of further recommendations.

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