The Iglu Guide | Blog

7 tips for organising your study

Feeling a bit disorganised with your studies? Interested in finding out how you can be more time efficient? As exams approach it’s even more important to have all your ducks in a row so you can crack out some serious study sessions. But if you’re not quite feeling on your study A-game, all is not lost. Fortunately, there is still time to get your house in order before exam season hits. If you’re reading this article, you’re already halfway there.

1. Keep a study diary

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of students that are missing out on this great study habit. Whether it’s a real live paper affair that you actually write in, or an app on your phone, it really doesn’t matter. Use it to note down all your deadlines, exam dates and assessment requirements as well as any key moments that will need attention. Having a helicopter view on your entire schedule will help you plan out your time, understand where the opportunities are for studying and give you a realistic sense of approaching deadlines. Combine this approach with setting a weekly study schedule – and stick to it. Identify the gaps, and set that time aside each week for working and recapping. You will quickly settle into a routine and it’s a great way to establish good study habits going forwards. Try the free cross-platform planner app My Study Life or Classify to get you started.

2. Keep it on file

Organisation is absolutely crucial when it comes to effective study, and ensuring you make good use of your time. If you spend valuable hours searching around for lost notes each time you want to work, that’s one study habit worth avoiding. The tried and tested solution is to keep a filing system both online, and on the shelf. Real life folders are the perfect way to store your study notes, lecture notes, gathered information and anything that will be useful come exam time. Compiling a digital filing system on your computer serves a similar purpose. Separate out the folders by subject, and use tabs or subsections to indicate important information that helps you find information quickly when you need it. Everything has a place and you know exactly where to find it.

3. Back up back up back up

It’s hard not to emphasise this enough. In the digital age it’s easy to forget that machines can sometimes go wrong. Unfortunately, technology can fail, and your work is way too good to take that risk. Make sure you have an external hard drive to hand for regular back-ups, or set up Google Drive or Dropbox for storage in the cloud. The benefits are enormous, and it’s one study tip you’ll definitely want to pass on to your friends.

4. Keep a to-do list

Whether you’re happier keeping it digital or prefer to see your piece of paper stuck on the fridge, get it written down. The physical act of determining the next course of action, as well as the ability to tick it off as you go is constant reassurance of your progress. Break each task down into achievable sections. Repositioned as separate actions, they are much more achievable and far less overwhelming. Get into the habit of compiling a to-do list at the end of every day, and be sure to move any unfinished tasks forwards to prevent them getting lost along the way.

5. Create a study space

If possible, create a designated study area in your student accommodation. Ideally, this would be a quiet place where you can leave your books and papers out, all ready for you to return and pick up just where you left off. Ensure it is well lit, has few distractions and is well organised with everything you will need. Take regular breaks and keep yourself active as this will help refresh your mind. Some students prefer to work out of the library or in a private study space within their student accommodation. Find out what suits you the best, and stick to it.

6. Join a study network

Life is definitely more fun with other people in it, and that includes studying. Revision can be a lonely task and it’s easy to get stuck in a study rut. Buddy up with other students on the same course and create a study support network where you can share notes and ideas, and workshop solutions. Have a regular meet-date in the diary so you always have something to break up the rhythm. You can even cook up some group meals with concentration-boosting recipes to hand. Group work is always beneficial in that you have other people to bounce ideas around with, as well as reassurance that you are not alone in your endeavours.

7. Don’t worry

Seriously, do not worry. Nothing is insurmountable and if you are having feelings of anxiety or stress, worrying will only exacerbate the problem. Lean in on your social support structure and talk to friends about any concerns you are having. Everyone is going through the same experiences and sharing some coping strategies can be a good way to manage your symptoms. It may be that you have simply taken on too much, and stepping back from some activities will help you get the work done. If you feel this is not enough, and that your symptoms are worsening, talk to your Iglu RL or seek support from your university counselling service.

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

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