Let’s be honest, studying is hard. You need to concentrate on topics that you might not necessarily be interested in, and there is often lots to remember.
But there are some tricks to help get the job done. Here are our top university study tips to help you pass those exams.
You may have heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. When it comes to studying, the theory holds up. You need a plan to follow and some structure to your revision over the coming weeks – it’ll make studying much easier if you know what you’re going to do each day. Start by making a list of everything you need to work on, and then build it into a timetable to follow.
Be honest with yourself – you’re not going to sit down and study, without interruption, for eight hours straight. Your schedule needs to be realistic, so allow yourself a break every now and then. Going out in the fresh air and playing sports is a productive way to spend your down time. Alternatively, you can read a book, play some FIFA or have a cup of tea – anything that helps to clear your head.
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The only way to know if you are studying effectively and taking in the information is by testing your knowledge and your memory. There are often quizzes available online for certain topics; another good idea is to ask your lecturer for past exam papers or write down questions at the very beginning that you don’t know the answer to and see if you can answer them after a couple of days of studying.
We’re used to typing, but research proves that putting pen to paper can really help you to retain information. If writing on paper feels wasteful or you want a backup of your notes, you might want to get a Rocketbook. It allows you to take a picture of your notes and upload them to Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, iCloud, Email, or whatever other platform you use, via the app. The ‘Everlast’ and ‘Wave’ books are also reusable – just wipe the pages in the Everlast book with a damp cloth or put the Wave book in the microwave and the page will be clear for you to write on again.
Some people find saying their study notes out loud helps to remember them. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try, even if simply to break up the monotony of reading all day.
Schedule rewards into your day. It could be anything – watching some Netflix, a walk outside or some food. Whatever your vice is, schedule it into your day as an incentive to keep up the hard work.
That said, we know how difficult it can be to indulge in your hobbies when you’re busy studying. If you want to clear some space and put something distracting away during the exam period, contact us to see how we can help.
We know that sleep is important for physical and mental health, but it’s also important for your memory. Research has shown that sleep can boost memory and recall, so make sure you get your forty winks.
When trying to get your head around a tricky exam topic, Google isn’t always the best resource. Speak to your teachers instead to ask questions – that is what they’re there for, after all.
Research shows that movement aids concentration and learning. If you’re reading over notes, why not walk around your room while doing so, or go for a walk as your scheduled break activity?
Try to think of water as food for your brain. It keeps you healthy and will help you concentrate. Keep a big bottle or glass of water on your desk and set yourself the task of finishing it over the course of the day.
Studying in a group can help to keep you motivated. Speak to classmates and others who have a similar working style to you and group together for some studying sessions. Just make sure you don’t study with people who will distract you from your work.
Moving on to the second half of our university study tips list, this one is all about removing distractions. Try to identify what distracts you throughout the day – is it your phone, the TV or your PS4? Whatever it is, remove it from your working space or create obstacles to using it during revision hours.
Meditation is proven to help you stay calm and improve concentration. There are apps to help you meditate and also YouTube tutorials on how to do it. It doesn’t take long and is the ideal way to start your day.
Omega-3 fatty acids help with brain function and development. Foods like salmon, flaxseed and walnuts are naturally high in Omega-3, or you can buy supplements instead. Shops like Holland and Barrett have good selections.
Most people find the internet the biggest distraction when trying to study. Apps like Freedom, Sense and AntiSocial all help to reduce your screen time by setting limits on what apps you can access at different times.
Most people work better either in the morning or the evening. Try to identify when you work best and work your study schedule around it.
Research shows that exercise protects memory and thinking skills as it increases the size of the hippocampus - the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. So get out for a walk or run whenever you can.
If you have the space, try to create an area that you use solely for studying. That way, you won’t feel like studying is taking over your life, and you’ll have somewhere fresh to go and relax at the end of the day.
Don’t let your friends guilt you into skipping studying to go out instead. Studying is important and there will be another night out.
Try to set yourself mini goals and targets for your studying sessions so that you feel like you’re making progress. These could be based on page numbers, chapters or understanding of individual subjects.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t be able to learn a whole subject or syllabus in one day either. Break down your topic into reasonable chunks. Before you know it, finals will be over and you’ll have a long summer in front of you.
Hopefully these study tips will help you get over the line. If you need some storage for your things over the summer while you go home, we have stores close to loads of unis, including Access Self Storage Bristol, Access Self Storage Kings Cross and Access Self Storage Manchester.