12 Examples of Academic Skills (And How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 25, 2021

Academic success often relies on a particular skill set that helps people study, retain and apply information. The skills developed while in school are also useful when you're entering the workplace. Understanding how they support your career can help you achieve your goals. In this article, we discuss what academic skills are, explain why they're important and provide a list of common academic skills to improve for both academic and professional success.

What are academic skills?

Academic skills are the abilities, strategies and habits that can help learners succeed in an academic setting. They generally build on students' mastery of literacy and technical subjects like mathematics and science. Developing academic skills may help improve the ability to learn, take tests, interact with other students and complete projects. Many of these skills also apply to other parts of life, particularly professional settings.

Examples of academic skills include:

  • Written and verbal communication

  • Listening

  • Note-taking

  • Reasoning

  • Technical literacy

  • Attention to detail

  • Data analysis

Importance of academic skills

Academic skills are important because they can increase your productivity and success at school. Beyond helping you earn the academic credentials you may need to enter the workforce, many skills are also transferrable to the workplace. For example, learning to complete multiple assignments, work in teams and process information quickly is beneficial to your career. Developing and expanding on your academic skill set may prepare you for your future career and help improve your overall performance.

12 academic skills that apply to the workplace

Here are 12 academic skills and how they can help you in your future career:

1. Time management

Time management is the ability to organize and schedule your time efficiently. In school, you might've used these skills to study more effectively or devote sufficient time to working on several assignments. While working, you may often have deadlines, and understanding how to manage your schedule can help increase your productivity. Try to keep a planner or set timers to improve your time management skills.

Read more: Time-Management Skills: Definition and Examples

2. Research skills

Academic assignments, like projects or essays, often require students to conduct research. These skills involve knowing the questions you want to answer, finding credible sources and using effective search strategies. Careers in journalism, analysis and even some medical fields all benefit from well-developed research skills.

3. Reading comprehension

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand information you've read. This skill can help you study for tests, perform research and write papers. In the workplace, you may use these skills to understand written instructions, gather information or communicate with colleagues. You can improve your reading comprehension skills by reading books and articles, taking language arts classes and increasing your vocabulary.

Related: 7 Simple Strategies To Improve Your Reading Comprehension

4. Computer skills

Understanding how computers function can improve your performance at school and work. You may use a computer to draft written assignments, create graphics, perform research and use software. Consider taking a computer skills class to enhance your basic computer knowledge.

Read more: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Self-discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to motivate yourself. Much like time management, effective self-discipline can help you focus and prioritize your tasks. Many jobs involve working independently or with limited supervision, so improving your self-discipline may allow you to work in solitary conditions effectively. Setting goals and using organizational techniques, such as planners or to-do lists, may help you stay focused and motivated.

Read more: Self-Discipline: Definition and Examples

6. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a skill that helps you effectively analyze information. It allows you to solve problems and understand concepts. In the workplace, you may come across challenges or urgent situations that require you to use critical thinking to address them. To develop your critical-thinking skills, try mindfulness techniques, learning more about your field or using apps that focus on improving these skills.

7. Group work

Many classes assign group projects or other activities where you have to collaborate with other students. Learning how to work productively in a group can improve your communication, leadership and conflict resolution skills. In your career, you may work on projects that involve a team or other departments. Try practicing your collaboration skills by volunteering or participating in extracurricular activities.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition and Examples

8. Presentation and public speaking skills

Presentation skills are a group of abilities that allow you to give an oral presentation confidently and effectively. These skills include knowing how to use eye contact and body language to your advantage, engage in assertive communication and create helpful presentation materials, likes slides or printed documents. You can improve your presentation skills by taking a public speaking course or practicing in front of friends or family and asking for feedback.

Related: How To Improve Your Presentation Skills

9. Writing

Strong writing skills can improve your ability to take notes, produce essays and communicate. Many jobs communicate primarily through written channels such as emails, memos and progress reports. Writing clearly and effectively can help you express your opinions and may even improve your collaboration skills. Consider taking a class or workshop or reading guides to strengthen your writing.

10. Goal planning

Learning how to set and manage achievable goals can help you focus and may improve your productivity. You can use goal planning skills to create and monitor your goals for both work and school environments. Try to learn about SMART goals or other techniques to help develop your goal-setting skills.

11. Taking constructive criticism

While in school, teachers critique your work to determine whether you understand the material. In your career, supervisors and managers may give performance reviews or comment on your job performance as you work. The ability to process and respond effectively to constructive criticism can help you maintain positive relationships and learn to use that feedback for self-improvement. Asking questions, using active listening techniques and learning to control your emotions can help you accept criticism.

Read more: How To Accept Criticism

12. Multitasking

Multitasking is the ability to work on several projects at once. In an academic setting, you can use these skills to complete assignments for all of your classes. In the workplace, you may have multiple responsibilities and tasks. Improving your ability to prioritize, organize and perform these tasks can increase your chances of success. You can read articles about multitasking techniques or take organizational skills courses to develop these skills.

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