Study Tips and Resources

Congratulations, you've made it to college! If you're obtaining a degree, chances are that you care about your studies and where you're going. Most of us don't realize just how important their college years are, but the choices you make now can determine your future. Whether you're doing a postgrad degree or pursuing a vocational course, find out how Time Management, Study Tools, Study Environment and good writing skills can help you stay ahead of the curve!


Time Management

Your time management skills determine what you make out of your life. When it comes to time, we're all equal because nobody gets beyond 24 hours a day!


Here are some tried and tested time savers:

  • Prioritize goals and schedule accordingly.
  • Break the day into smaller parts, allocating time for each task, e.g. commuting could take an hour, eating another hour and so on.
  • Leave 20% of your time free for unexpected events that might crop up.
  • Learn to say 'no' wisely but stay flexible. In short, be 'balanced'.
  • Study the difficult subjects first, when your concentration level is high.
  • Get rid of unnecessary clutter, so you won't waste time searching for things.
  • Periodically evaluate your schedule, determine where your time is going and if possible, restructure it better.
  • Plan how you'll complete the task - a well-planned approach saves you more time as you go along.


Study Tools


  • A planner helps you keep track of what needs to get done and when.
  • Keep an informal log and compare the time you spend studying as opposed to what you'd planned.
  • Find a study partner or group, divide tasks between yourselves, teach and learn from each other.
  • Record lectures if possible!
  • If you're taking notes during lectures, jot down keywords, phrases and concepts; summarize these, relate them to each other and then restate them in your own words.
  • To review what you learnt through the day, retype handwritten notes made during lectures, highlighting main ideas and concepts as you go along.
  • For an overall grasp of the topic, quickly preview a chapter before breaking it down into chunks for intensive study.
  • Working a little every day is better than cramming at the last minute!


Study Environment


  • Set aside a fixed time and place for studying. Reschedule all other activities around that.
  • Avoid all visual distractions - keep your study area away from a window or the TV.
    If you're studying on your computer, turn off the Internet and instant messengers.
  • Keep a 'reminder pad' or set reminders on your computer. When you remember things that need to be done, note them down and tackle them later, instead of worrying about them or wandering off during your study time.

Writing the Right Way


  • Understand what the topic demands before you start writing. Sometimes you're asked to 'compare', other times you may have to 'critique', 'explain' or 'discuss'. To help write a plagiarism free paper, use Controlling Online Plagiarism as a resource to assist.
  • Determine the hypothesis, the purpose of your assignment. This ideally sums up the point you're trying to make. The rest of the paper should either support the hypothesis or debate opposing points of view.
  • Organize your thoughts. Outline the basic skeleton and then flesh it out.
  • Secondary resources supporting your point of view score brownie points with professors.
  • Remember to cite sources or you run the risk of plagiarism.
    Sum up your work with a hard-hitting conclusion that ties up all loose ends.
  • Review your work and cut out the fluff.
  • Spell check your work and get someone to proofread it.

Check out these links for some smart study tips that will help you through college:

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