Letters to a New Student

Letters to a New Student. Tips to Study Smarter from a Psychologist by Dr Gary Wood. Published by Routledge Books

Pic: Book Cover for Letters to a New Student by Dr Gary Wood

Read a sample of the book (or buy it): Amazon UK  or Amazon USA 

Read a sample of the book (or buy it): Amazon UK  or Amazon USA 

Read Gary’s blog: How I came to write a study skills book problem-page style

The Blurb

Letters to a New Student is a study skills book with a twist. You decide how to read it.

Based on a series of short, informal, problem page letters that you can read in any order, the book uses principles of human psychology, teaching, and coaching practice to offer a refreshing approach to study skills and learning techniques. The letters form a brief ‘survive and thrive’ study guide to work smarter not harder and offer advice on topics such as motivation, stress, revision, and assignments. It’s a tried-and-tested, blueprint to make information stick with less effort.

The book takes a holistic approach to learning. It covers health and wellbeing, the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ shortcuts, the obstacles, and the pitfalls. It also includes short learning principles and cross-references to other entries, with practical advice in response to the frequently asked questions many students ask during their studies.

Letters to a New Student is for any student under pressure, parents and family who want to offer support, or anyone with interest in lifelong learning. It’s written by a psychologist, teacher, academic coach, and advice columnist, with over 20 years of professional experience.



  1. AN INTRO OF SORTS . . . What’s different about this book and how to get the most out of it.
  2. ATTITUDES – how attitudes shape how we learn.
  3. STRESS – how stress affects learning, how to relax, and why a little stress is a good thing.
  4. WELLBEING – how health factors impact on brain function, emotions, mental states, and learning.
  5. MOTIVATION – how to get started, how to manage time, and stay on track.
  6. COGNITION – how to work smarter not harder – using human psychology rather than fighting it.
  7. CONTEXT – how where we learn affects how we learn.
  8. EMOTIONS – how to deal with the emotional ups-and-downs of studying.
  9. TECHNIQUES – how active learning strategies beat passive approaches.
  10. ASSIGNMENTS – how to get your point across in essays, presentations and teamwork.
  11. REVISION – how to prepare for exams and make knowledge stick.
  12. SUPPORT – how to help other people to help you.

Also includes:

  • A Summary of Learning Principles
  • A bit of an outro . . .
  • The Exam
  • About the Author
  • Get in touch
  • Notes
  • Index

About the Author

Pic: Dr Gary Wood (Line drawing)Dr Gary Wood is a Chartered Psychologist, solution-focused life coach and broadcaster. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has taught psychology, research methods, and learning skills in several UK universities, at all levels. Gary is on The British Psychological Society’s ‘media-friendly psychologists’ list and is widely quoted in the media offering expert analysis, quotes, and coaching tips and as a featured advice columnist (agony uncle) in magazines, on radio and television. As a consultant, he has worked on social policy research projects and reports, for government bodies, broadcasting regulators, health organizations, NHS Trusts, charities, and media companies. He has published in academic journals on a range of topics in and around psychology and is the author of several self-help books including Don’t Wait for Your Ship to Come In . . . Swim Out to Meet It, which has been translated into several languages, and Unlock Your Confidence. He also wrote The Psychology or Gender for the first wave of Routledge’s The Psychology of Everything series. Gary is in private practice as a personal and professional development coach, an academic coach, trainer, and research consultant, based in Birmingham and Edinburgh, UK. See www.drgarywood.co.uk

To discuss academic coaching with Gary Wood, get in touch: