How PAL can help you

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a student-to-student support scheme aimed to support your academic confidence and wellbeing, and your sense of belonging to a learning community.

If you are a Foundation or year 1 student, and your course has PAL, your PAL sessions will help you:

  • connect and collaborate with other students
  • gain a deeper understanding of course content and expectations
  • boost your study habits and potentially, increase your marks
  • get involved in wider University activities
  • find out about what the following year of your course is like, as well as placements.
Group of students working at a table.

How PAL works

How peer support is delivered

PAL sessions normally take place on campus, but some schemes may have a mix of online and on campus sessions.

All PAL participants are encouraged to stay connected with their PAL group and PAL Leader in between sessions through their PAL-specific team area on Microsoft Teams. This is an informal and supportive online space where you can post questions, share resources and suggest topics for upcoming sessions.

How PAL is different from other forms of academic and study skills support

  • PAL sessions are led by trained students (PAL Leaders) who can understand and relate to the questions, challenges and experiences you have. They have been where you are now and understand your worries, fears and confusions.
  • PAL sessions are collaborative group study sessions in which you can share your own processes and approaches, hear other people’s questions and explore answers together in an informal environment.
  • PAL sessions are not drop-ins so you can come along without a question and without needing help. If you only take one thing away, it could boost your marks.
  • The subject support and study skills tips are provided by students who have studied your programme content recently.
  • Session content can be driven by you and your peers.
  • PAL focuses on the process, not just the outcome. In other words, PAL doesn’t just help you know the answers, but helps you to come to the answers yourself.
  • PAL is where you can share ideas, talk about issues and make mistakes without fear of judgement and where communication is informal, authentic and personalised.

Who runs the PAL sessions?

Sessions are run by your PAL Leader(s) who are normally from the academic year above in the same discipline. They have been where you are now, and:

  • have received training and are in regular contact with the PAL Team and academics on your programme to ensure that your PAL sessions are relevant and well-structured
  • will create opportunities for you to ask questions about course material and university life, explore ideas and concepts in more depth and develop your study skills in a relaxed and friendly environment
  • will share their experiences, provide support and advice, and signpost you to other services at the University where you can get help
  • will guide and support you, but will not teach you, check your work or provide all the answers.

"It makes you realise you're not the only one struggling, it helps to consolidate knowledge or learn it in a different way that makes more sense."

PAL participant, First year

PAL participant First year

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Get PAL support

  1. Step 1

    If you are a Foundation or year 1 student and your programme is on the below lists, then PAL should be in your timetable and therefore something you are expected to engage with on a regular basis.

    We recommend you listen out for 'PAL' during Starting Block and find out who your PAL Leader is.

    If you miss the first few sessions in Term 1 or have to skip a couple of sessions in Term 2, please do not worry. You can join back in at any point in the academic year.

    If your programme is not listed, please contact the PAL Team at or look at the information below about how to access other forms of PAL support linked to your academic success and wellbeing.

  2. Step 2

    Your group will be small enough for you to work together - sharing ideas, problem solving, completing tasks and checking understanding.

    Sessions at the start of the year are usually focused on settling in, getting orientated to the campus, and the University’s secrets to success. Later on, sessions are more linked to content that you have covered in lectures, seminars or workshops. You can also receive support and advice on exam techniques, assignment/project preparation, referencing, presentation skills and how to act on lecturer feedback.

    How to make the most of your PAL support

    • PAL is about gaining a deeper understanding of your programme content and creating an informal learning community. So even if you aren't struggling or have a question, attend your PAL sessions - you'll get something out of each session.
    • Participate in PAL activity during Starting Block so you can get to know what PAL is, meet your PAL Leader(s) and find out who is in your PAL group.
    • Take some time to familiarise yourself with Microsoft Teams, the virtual platform for PAL sessions, to ensure you feel confident using it. View our guide to using Microsoft teams.
    • Before each session, let your PAL Leader know the topics you would like to explore with your peers in your PAL MS Team.
    • Be willing to share your ideas, ask those 'silly' questions and reflect on your own learning. Active participation is especially important during group work activities in breakout rooms.
    • Stay connected with your PAL group and PAL Leader(s) between sessions through your MS Team.
    • Don’t expect to be taught. PAL Leaders are facilitators and mentors, not teachers or content experts. They will help you to help yourself.
    • Ask your PAL Leader about learning strategies.
    • Give your PAL Leader constructive feedback.
    • If you miss a few of your timetables sessions, don't worry. Engage with your PAL Leader and PAL group via your PAL MS Team in your own time. You can also rejoin the live sessions again at any point during the semester.

PAL workshops

The following peer-led workshops are open to all students across the University. They are facilitated both on campus and online in Microsoft Teams. Information about each individual workshop can be accessed via the Events Diary. You can secure your place via InfoHub. If you have any questions about booking onto one of these PAL workshops, please email the PAL Team at

Wellbeing PAL

Wellbeing PAL workshops offers practical tools and techniques to better manage university pressures so you can survive and thrive through challenges, change and uncertainty – whatever your year of study. Dedicate time to your wellbeing by attending one or more these student-led sessions and get top tips on:

  • how to beat nervousness, loneliness and procrastination
  • how to be more mindful
  • how to connect with other students
  • how to practice self-care.

Find a workshop

Academic Skills PAL

Our series of interactive Academic Skills PAL workshops offers practical tools and techniques to boost your academic skills. Topics range from academic reading to incorporating sources into your writing and revising for exams. You will be able to share ideas and pick up top tips from your peers – all this in a friendly and collaborative learning environment. 

Find a workshop

What to expect from PAL

Find out what happens in a PAL session.

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