Thursday 25 February 2016

Study tips for students

The world of tertiary study is very different to what you were used to the school classroom. For one thing, you will be required at university or college to use more of your own initiative and find additional sources to supplement the information you are given in lectures or seminars. You will have to work more independently than you may be used to, without the same level of guidance you received at school.

Here are a few tips to help you adjust to your new world of study.

Time management

This is something you'll want to develop and refine as soon as possible. From now on, in both your studies and your future career, time management will be an important skill to have.

One of the best ways to manage your time is to plan your schedule for each day in advance. Every day, create a list of things that you need to do, and a list of the things that you want to do. Obviously the first list will be more urgent, but it's important that you also plan leisure time and other activities in order to create a balanced lifestyle.

Next comes the really important part – prioritising your list. Work out the importance of each item, and then work through them from most important to least important.

Make sure that you allocate enough time to accomplish each task – you'll find that you get better at this the more you practise.

Be organised

It's much easier to work efficiently and get things done if you are organised. Organise the place where you study by yourself. Organise all your books, files and papers from the very start, so that you always know where to find items that you need. You'll waste a lot of time otherwise, searching for things.

Take regular breaks

There's a reason why lectures only last for a certain amount of time – they're based on the optimum concentration and information absorption levels that the average person has.

The same goes for you when you study alone. Work for about 45 minutes at a time, with short breaks in-between. This will help to keep your mind fresh and your concentration levels as high as possible.

While it may feel "wrong" to take all of these breaks, especially if you are under pressure, you will find that you are able to focus better this way, rather than studying for extended uninterrupted periods.

Look after yourself

It's not for nothing that there is the truism: healthy body, healthy mind. You can keep your brain working in top condition by eating healthily and getting enough of the right nutrition. Try to eat low GI foods as these will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.

Get enough sleep. We know that there are many reasons to lose sleep when you're studying at university or college – from workload to partying. Nonetheless, try to get enough regular sleep, as you'll function far better if you are properly rested.

Exercise regularly. Physical exercise stimulates the brain and helps to relax the body so that it is better able to deal with stress. You'll also find that you can concentrate better and have more mental stamina.

Let's start a conversation. Let me know what you think here or connect with me on Twitter (@EduloanSA)

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