With many students starting to self-isolate and study from home, study habits are adapting and evolving to become online only. And while many of you are very familiar with how to study online, from home, we know that for some, this is a brand new experience.
So we asked some online students to share their best study tips with us and their peers, to help other students ace their studies from the safety and comfort of their own home during these unexpected circumstances.
Write a to-do list, breathe and read, read, read
Eddie Ladmore, University of New England
Be kind to yourself and be organised with a to-do list each day. Include in that the right to take breaks and definitely go for a walk or relax with a cuppa if it seems overwhelming.
"Don't forget to BREATHE and if a day comes unstuck, it's okay, that's what tomorrow is for."
Prioritise to accomplish those important things on your list. Recognise when you do something well and enjoy that feeling.
Chocolate, bikkies, and everything yummy is allowed in your survival kit.
Now... read everything carefully, make notes, read other students' posts for clarification, give yourself time to proofread, redo, check before you submit an assignment.
Beware of procrastination, it is amazing how even housework seems appealing, or cobwebbing the cornices is a must. If you just start your study, your brain will kick in even if you don't feel it.
My study space: A nice sunny spot in the house, items possibly a bit more orderly than usual, the plants bring something lovely and natural to look at and whilst my trusty teapot doesn't usually sit there it is a reminder to spoil yourself on a break with a cuppa and a treat.
Get up to speed with your reading materials
Allex Dalton-Quinn, University of New England
A great way to study at home is in your own space. If you prefer silence, or music, it’s your choice.
"Make sure you use the time you are being isolated to get up to date on all of your reading."
Decide which topics you’ll be working on for your first assignments, gather the reading materials and make a start on the assignments.
If, at this stage, you get a little bored, or can’t focus any more on reading, type up the reference lists, using the articles and books you’ve already gathered, and know you’ll be researching from. Start now and you can add the page numbers later. Once you have them all in, it will be a load off at submission time.
Avoid distractions whilst writing your assignments
Dan Robinson, Murdoch University
My big big tip is to turn OFF your wifi while you are typing up assignments so that you don’t get sidetracked by social media etc.
"One “ding” can ruin a train of thought and have you in a deep dive to procrastination."
Keeping it simple: ‘A desk in the corner of the dining room is my reality! Next to the Dyson!’
Make a study timetable and stick to it
Te Aroha Wyllie, Murdoch University
My tip is on time management - set a time to study and stick to it. iPhone reminders and calendars are great, and I use them often.
I am a school teacher and work full time, have a busy household and allocate a certain time and make sure I’m not late to meet my appointment with my study schedule.
Remind yourself why you're here
Simon Froiland, Murdoch University
Draw a map on paper of where you are and why you want to study.
List all the reasons you commenced studying, being the negatives, such as “I don’t like my current job, unfulfilled, want to do something else... etc”. This on the left-hand-side of the page.
On the other side of the piece paper - the right-hand-side, write out the benefits of completing the study such as “new career, knowledge you are hungry for, etc....”
Sit back and look at it. Make a decision. Do you want to stay where you are or do you want to move toward your goal?
This one next task that needs to be done will take you one step closer to where you want to be.
Do it - do it now. Don’t stop until it’s done. And get on with it.
Keep it for the next time you get stuck in procrastination mode, until you memorise it and don’t need to look at anymore. From there, your mind will be wired to simply do the task you’re procrastinating on, and you’ll find your procrastination decreases over time.
That’s what I do, and it works every time.
Organise your essay notes in a spreadsheet
Alfred Milliken, Murdoch University
My tips are about how to organise your notes when writing an essay:
- Gather all your sources
- Create an excel spreadsheet with these columns; page number, source title, brief description, area of interest, in-text citation, reference
- Number all your sources and fill the columns
- Organise your sources into logical groups in the spreadsheet
- Go back to your readings, and scan read each source. Highlight the areas that stand out
- Re-read those areas and paraphrase them into your draft essay
- Finally read your entire essay and organise your paragraphs into subject areas
- Join the paragraphs together with sentences to make it flow (you can try using the PEEL method for this)
- Finally, add all the references you have from your spreadsheet
Get creative with mind mapping and mindfulness colouring
Kevin Kingswell, Murdoch University
For what they're worth, I suggest LOTS of coloured pencils, for Mind Mapping, on A3 paper if possible. Easily folded into A4 size sheets, for filing.
In my preferred manilla folder system of 'hard copies'.
Trust me, the creative drive in us all will 'kick in' allowing us to go 'Disney Cartoon crazy' ! The more the 'thumbnail sketches', the better. Check online for mind mapping examples.
And to get us 'in the mood' I highly recommend Mindfulness colouring books/ your own versions - and not just for young children.
They allow us to 'tune out', even if only for a few minutes.
Mandala colouring-in books are especially effective.
All the very best for a magnificent year.