Smart Study Tips to Start Now

Annabel Hogg shares the study tips that she'd reccomend you start from day one

Annabel Hogg
27th September 2021
Image: Pixabay @kaboompics
Starting University is one of the most exciting things in life – unfortunately, however, the thrill of the endless freebies and messy nights out of Fresher’s Week goes by in a flash. Somewhere in between losing your Soho virginity and graduation day is your degree, and when that initial buzz dies down, you might find the change a little daunting.

Thankfully though, with the right motivation and study system, University is nothing that you can’t handle. So, without further ado, here are my smart study habits to implement from day one!

  • Keep everything organised

It may sound obvious, but mundane things like having a different folder for each of your modules, starting a new page for every seminar and making sure things are accurately titled is a huge step in academic performance. There’s nothing worse than writing an essay and having to flick through badly presented notes, desperately trying to find what you’re looking for.

  • Reference as you go

Would this really be a study tips article if I didn’t offer this piece of wasted advice? Spend time familiarising yourself with the referencing style and create your bibliography before you even start writing. The last thing you’ll want to do after finishing an essay is google the difference between Harvard and MLA (trust me; I never follow my own advice).

  • Use a table for research

Using a table for research is such a great way of keeping everything easily identifiable. Start with the name and citation of the paper, then how it relates to the question, any key quotes/points and then whether it’s for or against your hypothesis. This makes things so much easier when it comes to actually planning!

  • Have a good study space

Having a clean and tidy space for work that is separate from your ‘relaxing space’ is so important. Whether you enjoy studying in the bustling atmosphere of the library or with fairy lights at your desk, make sure you differentiate work from life.

  • Less is always more

You don’t need to write down everything the lecturer says. That’s it, that’s the tip.

  • Concentrate on active recall

Rumour is, if you say ‘flashcards’ three times whilst looking in the mirror you’ll get a 2:1 in all your assignments. On a serious note, active recall is such an effective way of studying. If your degree is science based, then perhaps quick questions and answers will be your thing. If you’re degree is essay based, then write a concept on a piece of paper and write everything around it that you can remember to see how much you understand!

  • Remember that contact time isn’t your only work

If you’re studying an essay-based subject, you may be surprised by the amount of contact time on your timetable – don’t be fooled. After my initial relief seeing I only had two days of teaching last year, it only took a few weeks for me to be up to my neck in scholarly articles and classic novels. If you struggle with self-motivation, it might be a good idea to timetable pre-reading into your week the way you would with proper teaching.

  • Have a vague idea of what comes next

Before your course starts it’s worth having a look at module catalogues to familiarise yourself with chronology of the course and when various deadlines occur.

  • Take care of yourself

If you take one thing away from this article, please let it be this. 8 hours sleep and something other than a pot noodle every once in a while does a whole lot of good. No student is going to tell you that they’ve never missed a 9am lecture or never gone a day without a single vegetable – it’s simply a rite of passage. But brain food, rest and taking a break when you need it goes a long way.

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AUTHOR: Annabel Hogg
she/her| second year english literature student| relationships sub-editor 21/22

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