It’s funny: when you go to uni, you’re expected to study – but never are you actually taught how to do it. Which is slightly mad, because for the majority of courses, knowing how to study effectively is the difference between a pass and a fail.
Any study tips you’ve picked up so far probably come from your own experience of learning and revising for exams in high school and college. But when you make the leap into further education, the techniques you use just might not be good enough anymore.
Whether you’re heading to uni this year or you’re mid-way through your course and want to up your study game, follow this basic how to guide on time effective studying:
1. Organize, organize, organize
Wondering why you can’t ever seem to keep track of your readings, homework, projects and assignments? It’s probably because you don’t rely on anything other than your brain to remember them.
Give your overworked noodle a break and get yourself a diary or a planner to jot down all your important tasks. That way, you can start studying earlier, without the last-minute pre-exam panic. Keen schmeen, don’t listen if your friends find your organization habits funny. You’ll be the one laughing when you pass your year with flying colours.
2. Use someone else’s study notes
We know what you’re thinking: “What in the *$£%?!” But no, we’re not suggesting you cheat, or cop out of making your own notes. Using someone else’s study notes, specifically those that have been sold to reputable institutions online, is actually a very bright thing to do.
If you’re studying law, for example, and you’ve got a horrendous exam coming up that you don’t know how to revise for, there are plenty of law revision notes for you to access online. These have been written by students just like you who passed their exams with firsts (so basically, they’re near geniuses).
3. Study in small chunks
Uni has a bit of a reputation for being the sort of place you can do an all-nighter at for the sole purpose of cramming for an exam. Two words: not recommended. Unless you want to fall asleep at your exam desk, avoid last-minute revision at all costs (and nobody wants to do a Will from the Inbetweeners, either).
Learn to split your study into smaller, more manageable chunks. You can’t possibly remember everything all at once, and science has found that chunking is a far more effective way to learn.
4. Routine and reward
Routine doesn’t really exist in uni, not when you’re eating Maccies at midnight and sleeping in until the early afternoon. But one thing that really needs a bit of structure is your study. Get into the habit of studying at the same time every day, no excuses.
Not sure you can manage it? Give yourself rewards for your efforts. Food, for example, is a fantastic incentive. Maybe promise yourself that midnight Maccies only after you’ve finished your assignment on the history of obesity.