If you’re heading to university, you’ll need to polish up on your study techniques to ensure that you retain as much information as possible from every lecture, seminar, and tutoring session. In this guide on how to study at university, we’ll explore good study habits that will make all the difference.
The study skills you’ll need at university will likely differ from those you used in high school. But don’t let this worry you, as it’s easy to develop new study habits once you start your course and get to grips with your university assignments.
Below, we’ll guide you through our top ten tips on how to study at university - from planning and note-taking to time management and motivation. So, take note if you’re heading off to uni soon!
It can be tempting to dive straight in without collecting your materials and thoughts in an organised way - but this really doesn’t make for effective study.
Creating a study plan will help you to assess your tasks and break them down into bite-sized sections or chunks. This will give you a better perspective when you look at everything you must do - and the whole list will likely feel much more manageable than you first thought.
We recommend looking at any set deadlines - such as exams, assessments, or module changes - to work out the major milestones of your learning process.
Next, try to decide what you want to achieve or learn by each of those milestones, whether that’s finishing a particular textbook, writing a certain amount of an essay or report, or achieving something you couldn’t before.
Don’t try to cram too much in! Your goals - large or small - should be easily achievable within your planned time frame. Remember to give yourself time for relaxation, socialising and, if relevant, any paid work you will be doing to support your studies.
This will make good time management far easier further down the line. If you don’t factor these other elements into your plan, you’ll likely to feel stressed or burnt out very quickly.
The development of good note-taking is a vital studying technique and it’s important to think about how you learn best as an individual.
Do you prefer reading and writing handwritten or typed notes?
Consider making lists, colour-coding, using dividers, post-it notes or flashcards, and even decorating your pages with images or designs to help you to focus on your notes and make them more visual.
When it comes to note-taking, there isn’t a one fits all solution, so don’t be afraid to try different strategies to find out what works best for you and your learning style.
Spread Out Your Studies 📖
Careful time management is vital - and that doesn’t mean working as many hours as you can to remember huge amounts of information quickly. It means taking time to understand how and when you work best.
Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening person? Try to organise the larger part of your studies at the time you feel most productive.
How much time do you need to give yourself for non-study activities? Having some downtime is important, not just for your well-being, but also to enable you to process and take in what you’ve been learning. So, remember to give yourself plenty of breaks between study sessions for the best result!
There’s so much going on at uni, and while extra-curricular activities are a vital part of your student life, they can be very distracting!
Have fun but remember to keep an eye on your study schedule to avoid falling behind and becoming stressed!
Stay Active 💪
Remember to exercise your body and keep moving. The endorphins your body releases when exercising can help you to fight stress, and stimulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin - which all aid in concentration.
Never forget to make time to relax. Factoring some downtime into your schedule is a must!
Do something you enjoy, whether that’s spending time with friends, going for a walk, working out for even grabbing a coffee. Whatever you find relaxing, remember to take some time out.
Beware of Multitasking ⚠️
A lot of us expect too much of ourselves. Yes, we may be highly organised, focused, and ready to take on the world one day - but we might be exhausted and foggy-headed the next.
To account for this, always focus on just one task at a time. This allows you to give your full attention to each and makes for far a more effective study.
Do Not Use Essay Mills ✒️
There is a significant risk of plagiarism associated with essay mills, and if used it can lead to study suspensions or terminations.
What’s more - as a student, you will have enrolled in university to learn and to develop skills within a certain field. By handing over your assignments to a third party, avoid a fair test of your skills and miss out on the opportunity for valuable, constructive criticism from your lecturers.
Embrace Self-Testing 📙
There are plenty of mock exams available to download, for you to test yourself before your exams. Alternatively, you and others from your course could even come up with your very own exam questions and challenge one another.
Don’t rely on your memory of a lecture, seminar, or tutoring session from months ago; taking time to study will help you improve your understanding of the subject you are studying.
A combination of careful planning, notetaking, good time management, self-care and focus can contribute to academic success.
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In this guide on how to study at university, we’ll explore good study habits that will make all the difference.
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