Whether at the start of your studies or when you’re preparing for an exam, it’s important to use your study time efficiently. Modules will be loaded with deadlines, presentations and essays all focussed on different concepts and theories that require their own in-depth study. So, be sure to check out our top study tips below to help cut down on time, remember your notes and keep on top of all of the work coming your way.
Discuss Work in a Group of Colleagues
When faced with having to learn many different topics, you may be drawn to certain ideas more than others. It’s completely natural for you to completely ‘get’ something immediately, and to struggle with other areas of study, while others will ‘get’ what you need a little longer to learn. Why not take advantage of this fact and discuss what you’ve learnt as a group?
By getting a small group of fellow colleagues together, you’ll naturally strike up discussions about what you thought was interesting, if something needed greater detail, which research needs to be carried out and where caps in your knowledge are. As a result, you’ll each start to fill in each other’s gaps and reach a group understanding of the complete material.
Just think, if five people research different topics in greater detail following a lecture and then discuss it together afterwards, each person comes away knowing a lot more than if they each spent hours alone in the library!
Utilise Post-It Notes Whenever You Can
Sticky notes can be handy for remembering titbits of information, but they’re far from throwaway pieces of paper. Making your way through a textbook and know you’ll need information for an upcoming project? Grab a range of coloured notes and attach strips of them to the book so you can instantly go back to pages you’ll find useful.
They’re also great for planning the structure of essays and presentations. Decide the main points you need to make, write them onto large notes and attach them to a board or blank wall. Attach new notes in different colours under each of them so that you can see everything you can use in front of you. One colour for case studies, one for quotes, and so on until your wall is covered with everything that needs to be included in your work. Then it’s a matter of rearranging the notes under your main points and presto! Everything’s organised and you’re ready to get to work!
Teach What You Learn to Someone New
One of the most effective ways of making sure you’ve learned something thoroughly is talking through the subject with someone else. After going through lecture notes and taking part in seminar discussions, it’s refreshing to test yourself about a topic by teaching it to someone else who isn’t part of your course.
As they haven’t been part of your studies, you’ll need to explain everything from a straight-forward point of view, meaning you’re instantly tested on how concise you can make your points and cover broad ideas using examples. They will also raise basic questions you may have forgotten about as your revision gets more detailed. It’s very easy to dig deep into academic articles regarding one area of interest, and forget about the basic understanding of others.
Whether it’s on a regular basis or a few minutes whenever you can, try your best to teach your friends what you’ve learnt, and you’ll find yourself remembering much more as well.
Use Google Search Operators for Efficient Results
When looking for online articles and news stories, searching for them in Google is easy, but what you might not realise is that how you search greatly affects how easy it is to find what you want. Simply entering keywords associated with what you’re looking for may generate some positive results, but often you’ll find a range of unrelated news articles and blog posts.
Get into the habit of using the search operators in the table above. They’ll help you find exactly what you want much quicker as well as some alternatives you may be able to research. When looking for academic articles, you can specify the file type to PDF using “filetype:pdf”, sequential periods can generate results between two dates and when a term is crucial to your research, include it in quotation marks.
You can also use these tools to search specific websites for content, only find work by certain authors or look up instances a specific quote has been used. By doing what you can to remove unrelated search results you not only cut down on time spent finding what you need, but you also resist the temptation to procrastinate.
Create Mental Associations Between Topics
During your studies, you’ll be reading a lot of quotes, case studies, academic articles and whole host of things to reference in essays and recall in exams. It’s very hard to simply remember a long list of items, but much easier if you can associate each item with a separate idea. By remembering the link you place between two things, you’ll be able to recall more information on cue by following lines of association.
Let’s say you have to remember four key concepts for an upcoming exam question. You’ll be able to recall each concept easier if you associate each of them with characters from a film you enjoy, or members of your favourite band. Creating word associations is also highly effective, by taking the first letter of each concept and creating a new word out of it.
For example, you may be asked to write about the criteria for setting team goals in a management capacity. Rather than remembering that the goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely, commit to memory that you need to set SMART goals.
Think about how you study and see if you can integrate the tips above into your regular routine. You may just find yourself conquering topics you’ve always struggled with and feeling more prepared than ever. Let us know what tips you’ve found for studying by tweeting @montroselondon.