So, it is coming up to the end of the first term at university. This means coursework deadlines are arriving and Christmas exam season is just around the corner. After learning so much content it can be hard to know where to start with your studying and revision. Figuring out how you are going to be able to get it all done can be quite a challenge. But do not worry! I have created a list of student study hacks that will help you get on the right tracks to achieving those top grades by revising effectively.
Make use of your library
One of the biggest mistakes some people make is to not use the resources around them. A lot of students will try and study in their room but what they don’t realise is that they are only being half as productive as they could be!
When you split up your home time to your work time, it will have a big effect on how much work you can get done. Some students will not have desks or any workspace in their rooms, and along with the distractions of your flatmates it can be a task to take in what you are trying to revise or write down for your coursework.
Book a room
So, a big tip is to go and check out your university library. In some library’s you will be able to book a room or a table so that you know you have a space waiting for you and you are not aimlessly walking around. Alternatively, if you know your library does not get very full then rock up when you set time for revision, find a seat, and get started.
Of course, it can be good to study or revise with your friends or your course mates. You can help each other out on the bits you do not understand or do flashcards together. But if this is something that distracts you then let them know that you need to work on your own. The worst thing is spending all day in the library to only have written 100 words on your essay. To help with this, libraries usually have different areas, some areas where you can chat quietly and some where you must be silent. With everyone else working hard around you, it can motivate you to keep going as well. Which is another reason why it is better to study somewhere that is not your bedroom.
When you spend hours and hours at the library you can sometimes lose track of reality and you just want to do as much work as possible. But remember, if you are not drinking enough water and staying hydrating then your body will want to stop you working so hard. It will make you struggle to keep going and stay motivated.
So, on your breaks make sure you top up your water and use the café that most libraries usually have if you don’t have a water bottle (and if you do not have a water bottle go and buy one now!)
Set a time in your week
When you know what you need to study or work on, sit down, and create a little list of when you will be studying each week. This can be done at the start of each week, or you can make a weekly timetable that you stick with every week. This will depend on how many other commitments you have and whether the times of them change each week.
By setting a time and a day each week it means you will not forget to do it. It can also help to motivate you because you can then tick it off your list when it is done.
Give yourself breaks
Another major tip you need to follow that leads to successful studying is to take regular breaks. If you do not take breaks, then you will become tired and start hating the work you are doing. It will make it harder and harder for you to go back to it.
Depending on how you best study, and what methods you use, you need to work out when is the best time to have your breaks. For example, you could stop and have a 5-minute break every 15 minutes. Or if you can manage to work for longer periods of time, you might want to set a break every hour. A good idea is to set a timer so you know you will have a break coming up and you just have to keep working until you hear that timer.
Set targets and make to-do lists
If you know you have an exam coming up with 6 large topics on it with 4 weeks to go then you know that you need to ger through 1 topic and a half of another per week. This way you know that you can stay on track and revise everything before your exam. Alternatively, if you know there are 6 topics then you can split it into 6 different study sessions and timetables these sessions in, so you have time before the exam to get them all done.
You can do the same thing with coursework, if there are 6 subsections you need to write then you can split these up between your study sessions to get them all done in time.
During each study session, before you get going, set yourself some targets and write out some lists of what you plan to get done. So, if you are looking at one topic in study session, then write down a list of the key things in that topic you need to cover. Of course, you will not be able to go over every single thing before your exam so do not be upset if you cannot get it all done. A good idea is to prioritise your list by writing down the bits that you know that least and need to cover.
Discover how you study: methods
There are many different methods available to you to help you study so you need to work out which one suits you. If you are looking at revising for exams, then flashcards or mind maps might be good for you if you are a visual learner. Alternatively, you might prefer writing out condensed notes onto pieces of paper.
A great idea that can aid you with your revision is to use Jamworks to help record and transcribe your lectures for you so that you can use this to help you revise.
Another great method is to look over past exam papers as sometimes there are repeat patterns of questions that show up.
As mentioned earlier, student study groups can be a great way of learning. If you don’t know how to do something, the probability is that someone in your group will know, and they can teach you. When you teach someone something it means you can refresh your own knowledge and make sure you have got it right.
Discover how you study: study timings
If your friend can work for 4 hours straight without needing a walk around or a break for food, then that is what works for them. It does not mean that is what you should do. As mentioned earlier, try different ways to break up your time. Try working for 15 minutes then having a mini break to stay focused.
Put your phone away
I don’t know about you, but this is something that I always struggle with. I end up leaving my phone on the table while I am working, then I get a notification and check my phone. This then turns into an hour of scrolling through Instagram and TikTok and I get carried away. Not only do you start wasting time, but you lose track of where you were and what you were doing. The best thing to do is either turn your phone off completely or put in away in your bag and only get it out for your breaks.
So that concludes the best tips you need to follow to hack your studying. These tips can apply for most courses at university whether you are revising for exam, working on your art project or if you are writing up your coursework. Of course, these tips might not work for everyone, but it is definitely worth a go trying these out. The main thing you have to do is keep motivated and do not give up even when you are struggling. All you need to do is take a little break before trying again. If you start to struggle to the point where you don’t know how to figure it out, then reach out to your tutors who are there to help.
Another part of your revision could be a one to one with your tutor who can help you out with a certain topic you are struggling with… then you can cross it off your list!