Tuesday 11 September 2012

Ten tips on studying from a distance

Distance education allows people to study and still meet other commitments such as work or family. However it takes some extra dedication to successfully study from a distance.

It is important to recognise that study skills are a bit different too. There are steps you can take to make studying from a distance easier and more successful. Here are ten tips which should aid you in your pursuit of attaining your degree:

Do the ground work

One of the keys to succeeding at study is making sure other areas of your life are well organised and not worrying you. It’s particularly important to take care of your finances, accommodation arrangements and your health.

Set a study schedule and stick to it

You will know, from looking at your course load, whether this means four hours per week or 35. Stick to your schedule in order to keep up with the pace, meet deadlines, and ultimately succeed.

Set goals

And meet them. Your first goal may just be to organise your workload and that's a great place to start when you first begin studying for your degree. But set even bigger goals for yourself as you move on, like aiming to complete your bachelor’s degree!

Know your sources

Make sure you get your information from trusted sources. Use the study materials that come with your course as much as possible and call your tutor for assistance. Do not immediately trust publicly edited websites such as Wikipedia, be sure to compare the information with another source to check if it is valid.

Don’t get distracted

21st Century life is busier than ever before, with hundreds of different distractions out there to get in the way of your studies. Fight back: close Facebook. Turn your phone off. It’s not always easy, but you’ll learn far more through three hour’s uninterrupted work than any amount of time spent ‘working’ with distractions every five minutes.

Keep in touch

It’s really important if you’re studying for a degree by distance learning that you keep in touch with your tutor and stick to scheduled appointments. If you’re running into any problems talk to them.

Communicate effectively

If you study for a degree by distance learning you will not be forming the same sort of relationships that you would if you had regular taught sessions and tutorials. Be aware of the way you communicate with your tutor – online or over the telephone. Misunderstandings can easily arise particularly when you may never have met.

Don't wait until the last minute

As with any course it is more than wise not to procrastinate completing your coursework. With distance learning, you have to remember that you are relying on the postal service or on technology

Take practice exams

Practice makes perfect. Time yourself while taking practice exams so you know whether or not you are assessing an exam within the allotted time.

Make or join a study group

Two heads are often better than one. Many distance learning programs can link you up with your classmates. If not, contact your tutor and ask to be put into contact with a few classmates. Your group can then meet in the real world or via email (or another electronic method) or telephone. Such groups can also keep you motivated.

Create a workspace

Believe it or not, your environment plays a big part in learning. Make a clutter-free, comfortable space with adequate light. Make this space your learning space and nothing else.

Distance learning has special challenges. You will probably never see or meet the teacher. You won't have classmates. You don't have a campus full of people studying the same thing. But you can succeed if you plan on it!

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