Student Study Skills
Whilst it is often forgotten, the main reason for going to university is, in the end, to study. But with so many parties, new friends, and late-nights, studying can often be hard! Here at Freshers Festival we have compiled a list of our top tips that will help you to smash your student exams without any need to stress.
Organisation is key to studying at university. With so many things happening, you need to have a clear idea of your schedule and your plans in order to make time to study. Here are a couple of our favourite tips for organising your life at university:
1. Plan Ahead:
One of the major reasons people are disorganised is that they only concentrate on short term plans. This means too many things can suddenly arise at once, giving you less time to complete all your tasks. Planning in advance is an excellent strategy. Note down all your major deadlines, such as student assignments, part-time work days, and even your friend’s parties. This will allow you to plan ahead. If you see that you have three assignments due in 4 weeks, as well as a party, then you will not want to wait until that week to do all your tasks. Planning ahead if crucial to organise yourself and your time effectively.
2. Keep a List:
Lists are crucial for any student looking to stay organised. Writing down a daily ‘to-do’ list is highly effective, as it ensures you know exactly which tasks need to be completed every day. We suggest using classic pen and paper lists as the most effective solution. Whilst phone / laptop lists can work, they are too much a part of our everyday lives to make the list properly stand out. Having a notepad list by your bed or your desk is something you are very unlikely to forget about, and this makes it more likely you will complete your lists. Moreover, it is much more satisfying to ‘cross off’ each completed task on a notepad, than simply deleting the completed task from a laptop or phone.
For a complete list of our top 5 ways to stay organised at university, click here.
Another interesting idea is that fact that handwriting many of your notes, calendars, or lists can actually be better for organisation and revision than typing them on a computer. Research has shown that handwriting can have benefits for creativity, critical thinking, and productivity. Check out our handwriting vs typing guide here.
Organising yourself is one thing, but preparing for exams is a much more stressful experience. Most universities have exams each year, and it is important that you prepare for them well in advance in order to make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.
Here are our top 5 revision tips for exams:
1. Make a timetable:
The first thing you need to do, before you start any revision, is to make a timetable. This should be extremely detailed, outlining the exact topics you will revise each week. Timetables are important for a number of reasons: They help you organise your time effectively, they encourage you to stay on track even when you’re feeling demotivated, and they ensure every subject of your course is being covered. There is something extremely satisfying in ‘crossing off’ your day’s revision from your timetable, and it can really help motivate you to revise!
2. Start early:
This is perhaps the most important thing about revision. If you start too late, you will be under huge pressure, and you will not have time to install facts into your long-term memory. Also, the first couple of weeks of revision are usually when you make notes or try to understand broader topics, and this means they are not as effective as your last few weeks of revision. We recommend starting revising at least 8 weeks prior to your exams (preferably more)! This will give you a 2 week grace-period to make notes, and still give you 6 solid weeks of revision.
3. Past papers:
Just like in school, past papers are crucial to success in any university exam. In fact, universities often ask very similar questions year after year, so if you can get hold of previous year’s papers then you will have a much better understanding of what the questions will likely be. If possible, try to do past papers under timed conditions, and send them to your supervisor / tutor to mark. They will usually be happy to look at any past paper you attempt, and their feedback will be crucial for understanding how you can improve and get the best possible result when it comes to the real exam.
You will need to make some form of notes, particularly at university when you won’t have a simple CGP Textbook like you may have had at school. Some people type notes, and some people handwrite them, but whatever your preference, you need to ensure your notes are concise, readable, and relevant. The most successful students will colour-code their notes or turn them into spider diagrams. Most people’s brains prefer visual content, so if you have a visual aspect to your notes, rather than simply words on a page, you will likely remember the content better.
This is an obvious one, but sleep is crucial to succeeding in exams. If you stay up revising every night, your brain will not function optimally, and revision will be much harder as a result. Similarly, exams usually take place in the morning, and you need to get used to waking up early so you’ll be ready to get up on the day of the exam! Many people actually revise better in the mornings, so even if you hate getting up early, you should give it a try!
We know how stressful university can be, and this only becomes worse if exams do not go well. If this is the case, you may be faced with dreaded re-sits. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 7 tips to help you ace your re-sits.
You may also face mental health struggles when dealing with exam disappointment. This is normal, but should still be dealt with in order to avoid spiralling out of control. Here are 5 tips for dealing with exam disappointment.
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