Manoeuvring student life can be a challenge in many ways; from moving out of home into university accommodation to meeting new people and having to fend for yourself for the first time. But whether you are embarking on a university degree or enrolling on a distance learning course, there is one thing which all students will have to face: studying.
Depending on your course, you may have to study in different ways, such as researching scientific studies, reading novels or revising from textbooks in preparation for a big exam, and no matter how much you enjoy your course, simply getting up the motivation to study is often the biggest hurdle. By following our Oxford Students Guide to Studying, you can see how top students master their studies and make sure you stick to an effective study routine to help you pass your course with flying colours.
Do What Interests You
Most UK universities offer a modular system, whereby you get a certain degree of freedom over what subjects you choose to study. When it comes to distance learning courses, you have even more freedom as you can choose from hundreds of online courses which fit around your current commitments. With so much choice, it can feel overwhelming to choose what you want to do, especially as a huge 44% of students don’t know what they want to do once they graduate according to Concrete Online.
Many students therefore panic and choose degrees and courses which they think employers will like the look of, or degrees which they think are easy, however to truly do well in your course (and enjoy it!) pick something you love doing. Whether it’s an art degree, a business management course or a childcare apprenticeship; if you are interested in what you are learning then studying won’t be this monumental weight over you, instead it will be something you enjoy.
Go to Your Lectures and Seminars
Following on from the first step; going to lectures and seminars will be significantly easier if you are engaged in what you are learning. Online and in person lectures are vitally important if you want to do well, as not only are you learning the key information which you will have to use in your assignments or exams, but you can see the way in which your tutors want you to approach topics, as well as getting essential information about assignments. Attending your classes means that half the work is done for you, as you then don’t have to cram in learning more information the night before the big exam, but just revise what you’ve already learned.
Get Better At Note-Taking and Research
Going to your timetabled classes is one thing, however learning how to take quick and concise notes can help you get the most out of your lectures and seminars. Oxford University have a handy guide to carrying out research and taking notes, so you can really study like an Oxford Student! Having good note taking skills can help you obtain the key information from your classes and when it comes to study time, you have a complete set of key notes to remember for the exam or assignment.
Arrange a Study Timetable
Make a plan of when, where and how long you will study for; finding a study space free from distractions. With our guide to Creating the Best Study Space, you can ensure you have the right environment to study effectively and not waste time on distractions or by procrastinating. Once you have found your study spot, get your diary out and see when you can slot in your study time; making sure that you aren’t trying to multitask and can dedicate a good amount of time to study and have regular breaks. Using your schedule, you can ensure you have enough time to fit in all of your studies and save yourself from cramming the night before the deadline!
Test Yourself with Practice Papers
The best way to learn a new skill, learn a song or revise for an exam is to practice, practice, practice. When it comes to studying, tasting yourself is a great way to ensure you have retained what you’ve learned, and using practice papers can help gear yourself up to answering exam questions without being intimidated by them. Most courses offer past exam papers online, so you can find practice papers on your University website or via your online course system. If possible, it’s also a good idea to get feedback on your practice papers from tutors, so you can make your final exam or essay the best it can be.
Teach Someone Else
For years we’ve heard that teaching something to someone else is one of the best ways to ensure you have learned and understand it. According to TIME, the protégé effect is a scientifically proven method of improving your learning’ with studies showing that children who have use the “teaching others” method of learning score higher in tests. By becoming the teacher, you ensure that you are clear and have a thorough understanding of the topic, as well as the “pupil” being able to ask questions and highlight anything you might be unsure of. Try to speak to as many friends and family members as possible to make sure you have a good understanding of what it is you are studying. The more connections you make for yourself, and the more you practice talking about it, the more likely you are to remember what you need to.
Look After Yourself
Last but not least; take care of yourself! Get enough sleep, eat healthily and relax. Furthering your education shouldn’t be a painfully stressful experience, and if you stress too much about your assignments then you can take the joy out of learning. Make sure that even during tough exam periods and assignment dates, you are: