Getting used to studying at uni can take time, and one of the biggest adjustments for many of you is likely to be having to manage your own time outside your uni contact hours.
The single best thing you can do to get on top of your work is create a weekly schedule - treat studying for your degree like a job, giving yourself set hours when you’re committed to studying. If you’re feeling on top of things, you’ll be able to relax a lot more when you’re not studying 🙂
Planning your weekly routine will look different for each of you, but here are some suggestions:
• Get yourself a planner - here are a couple of options:
- Study timetable: A4 one-pager per week to print off
- MyStudyLife: create daily and weekly schedules, with reminders, task lists, etc.
The Calendar function in Outlook is also a great tool.
Enter into the planner your fixed commitments (eg your uni classes, work shifts, sports training, events), and also any deadlines.
• Most of you will have online lectures this year. Even if these are available for you to watch whenever you feel like it, perhaps the best bit of advice we can give you is don’t let them pile up until the end of term! Watch them during the week that you’re expected to watch them, and add them to your schedule as fixed commitments.
• Block in time for independent study: If you think about each day as having three ‘blocks’ (morning, afternoon, and evening), you’ll want to put in ten decent ‘blocks’ of work over a given week. This could be Monday-Friday, or you could mix it up a bit.
• Work backwards from your assignment deadlines, quizzes, presentations, etc: figure out how long you realistically need to put aside to complete that task, and then decide which blocks of time you’ll allocate to working on it. Allow yourself some ‘buffer’ time in case things take longer than you expect! And review your plans every few days, to make sure that you’re still on track to meet your deadlines.
• Think about when you study most effectively, and plan the work that involves more concentration for those periods.
• Think about where you study most effectively: you may want to have a regular study space (say a favourite desk in the Academic Centre), or you may like to mix it up.
Wherever you’re working, ensure that you eliminate distractions - in particular, keep your phone off, and out of sight!
Here’s a useful article about creating a study space.
• Build texture into your day: include breaks to stretch your legs and clear your head at least once each morning and afternoon.
And here are a few study tools which you might find helpful:
It’s likely that in 2021 your lectures will be delivered online, and quite a few of your classes may be online as well.
As noted above, do make sure that you watch your lectures as they’re released, rather than letting them all pile up for your future self to have to deal with ...
If (like most of us) you can struggle with motivation to watch an online lecture, then find ways to be accountable to others, such as agreeing to watch a lecture at the same time as a friend (even if your friend is watching a different lecture).
If your classes are online (as well as your lectures) here are some articles which might be helpful:
Key things to be aware of if your classes are online are being an active participant in the classes, and making sure that you stay in touch with your uni friends, and with your tutors and lecturers.