Master the art
of studying

Getting into a balanced study routine will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to tackle your assessments. Here’s how.

15 Feb 2024

Mastering the art of self-directed learning is a crucial skill for achieving your academic ambitions at university. Here are our tips to help you enhance your study sessions and make sure you are prepared for exams, coursework, and practical assessments.

Create a dedicated study space
Set the stage for success by establishing a dedicated study environment. Find a quiet space, free from distractions, with good lighting. Preparation is vital, so ensure you have all the materials you will need within reach to avoid unnecessary interruptions.

Set clear goals
Before diving into your study session, set clear and achievable goals. Define what you aim to accomplish during each session: whether it's reading a specific chapter of a book or perfecting a particular technique. Having defined goals will keep you focused and motivated.

Use a planner or calendar
Organise your study schedule using a planner or calendar. Break down your exam preparation, coursework and/or rehearsals into manageable tasks with specific deadlines. This will help you stay on track, manage your time effectively, and prevent last-minute cramming.

Mix it up with active learning techniques
Passive reading is often less effective than actively engaging with the material. Try summarising information in your own words, creating mind maps, teaching concepts to an imaginary audience or a friend, and creating flashcards to reinforce key points. These methods not only enhance understanding but also improve long-term retention.

Seek additional support and resources
Did you know that UCA's libraries have Learning Development Tutors and Liaison Librarians who can work with you to build your skills in everything from essay writing and dissertations to presenting your ideas and critical thinking? They even have online resources on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Copyright.

Stay consistent
We're all unique, so creating a routine that works for you is essential. Whether studying at the same time every day, or dedicating specific days to each subject, finding what works for you and being consistent with it will help you form good habits and make it easier to manage your workload.

Stay connected with your classmates
While independent study is important at university, staying connected with your classmates can provide valuable insights and support, too. Form study groups and engage in discussions with classmates to gain different perspectives and enhance your learning experience.

Take regular breaks
Add regular breaks into your study schedule to avoid burnout. You could try the Pomodoro Technique, where you complete 25 minutes of focused study followed by a 5 minute break. The aim is to help you maintain your concentration and prevent fatigue during longer study sessions.

Whatever you do, building a healthy balance between your academic commitments and self-care is key. Prioritise sleep, exercise, and downtime to recharge your mind. A well-rested and balanced you is more creative and better equipped to tackle the challenges ahead. Implementing these tips will help you create good habits and really enjoy your learning.