Wednesday, 4 September 2013

School Series - Student Tips/Organisation Tips

It has been September for a couple of days now which in England means everyone is starting to go back to school, so it's the perfect time for some study and organisation tips!

Tip #1 - Have something to get yourself organised in!

Whether its a diary/agenda or your phone, some people I know even used a notebook and just wrote down everything in there and ticked it off as they went along.

Make sure you have somewhere you can write down any assignments, readings, essays, tests etc so you can keep track and know exactly what you have and haven't done and you can't say you didn't know about it. Those who prefer technology, use the calendar on your phone (you can also combine that with reminders or a do to list app). I personally use the calendar on my phone to keep track on any important dates for exams, tests, placement dates and also assignment hand in dates!

If you get a syllabus at the start of a school year, try to jot down all the important examination or hand in dates in your chosen form of organisation and then keep it safe somewhere (I just put it in the front of my binder, then I know exactly where it is!)

Tip #2 - Don't cram!

As much as we all like to procrasinate truthfully not everyone's brain can absorb all the information the night before. Try to think of your brain like a sponge, it takes time to absorb everything. 

Try and do a little bit every week or every couple of days, so it doesn't seem such a large task!

Tip #3 - Find your unique revision style!

No-one learns the same, what works for me might be the complete opposite of what works for you. So it's time to straighten out the kinks, take some time to try out different methods of studying and revising and see what works best for you.

Whether its using flash cards, rewriting your notes, re-reading your textbooks and/or notebooks or just giving yourself little tests. Find what works the best for you and use it, even if its different from everyone else!

Tip #4 - Colour Coding

I find it so handy colour coding in my diary, notes, anywhere and anything!

In my diary I assign colours to different subjects so that if I glance at my week I can see exactly what subjects I've got work for that week. 

In my notes and flash cards, I use highlighters and coloured pens for different things like one colour for vocab words, a different colour for names, dates, events. I also use yellow highlighters for anything that's super important or is going to be on the test!

Tip #5 - Have somewhere peaceful 

You'd be surprised how much having somewhere peaceful can have an impact on how well you study. For example I study at my desk in my room upstairs, this way I can shut my door and shut out any of the noise downstairs, my desks also faces the window so there's no distractions facing me. 

I also find it more efficient for me not to study on my bed or the floor as on my bed I tend to get too comfy and I fall asleep (especially if I'm doing work after a day at uni!) and on the floor I have the opposite problem, I can't get comfy and in turn I can't concentrate on my work!

If you find it hard to study in silence like I sometimes do, go to your iTunes and pick a random radio station and have that on quietly in the background. As a rule I try not to listen to anything too current otherwise I start singing along and get distracted! If that's all you like try turning it down slightly lower, so you'll be less likely to sing along. I normally put on classical music or a radio station that is specifically just someone playing the piano. 

Tip #6 - Turn off your distractions

This ties in with the last tip but turn off all your distractions. If you have a tv in the room you study in unplug it, turn your phone off and unless you genuinely need the Internet for your homework turn it off! 

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vine can wait till after you've finished your homework and you'll be able to focus more with them further away from you and unplugged! 

Tip #7 - Have a break!

As hard as it seems taking a break might help you finish that assignment quicker or help your revisiosink in better! 

I was always taught when doing any work don't work, over 50 minutes then to take a break! Have 10-20 minutes of phone time, get up and go for a walk in the fresh air, go play with your animals for 10 minutes, anything to get you away from that desk and get your mind away from that work!

Tip #8 - Feed your brain!

As much as this seems like a simple thing, make sure your getting regular food/snack breaks and always keep a bottle of water with you at your study area. When your hungry or dehydrated your body and your brain can't work as effectively as it should. 

I always keep my Starbucks cup filled with ice water and I make sure I have healthy snacks if I get peckish! There is a post on healthy snacks and school lunches to come! I will admit I am guilty of spending all day working with just drinking cups of tea, a extremely bad habit that I am nearly out of! If your like me, set reminders on your phone. Have on go off at your mid-morning snack and another at lunchtime and your late afternoon snack etc for as long as your doing your work.

It's all good feeding and hydrating yourself but try and make good choices, an apple instead a chocolate bar, water instead of a can of coke. Granted they might not seem that attractive but I will say I've noticed myself craving fruit instead of sweets and believe me your waistline will thank you for it. They call it The Freshman 15 for a reason guys and it can be avoided!

Tip #9 - The neater the better!

Have you ever tried to revise off messy notes?? It's not easy in the slightest! The best way to combat this......write neater notes. Yes that may mean if your not a neat writer that you have to rewrite your notes but believe me when I say that it's worth it. 

It makes it so much easier to revise because you can clearly see the information. You can also format it any way you want, you can add colours, highlighters, tables, charts etc and you've got the time to do it! I also find that the information sinks in as well because as your rewriting your notes, you've actually got to read the information and process it so it sinks in more and you remember a significant amount more!

Tip #10 - Get some shut eye!

The most important tip I think is getting some sleep, trying to recall things when you are half asleep or shattered is near impossible! If you can't study when your tired, how can you expect to be able to take a test or complete an assignment when your that tired?!

Making sure you get your full 8 hours sleep is the best way to go about it. I also found using the app Sleep Bot helped, it's completely free on the App Store and you can set a smart alarm so that it gradually brings you from your sleep at the best time. I've found this better than the sharp alarm that happens with any phone or alarm clock, more often than not I find myself falling back to sleep or waking up tired and cranky!


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