University Series #8: Organisation & Study Tips

It’s getting to that time of year where university and college students are either sitting or preparing to sit exams, so I thought a post on organisation and some study and revision tips that help me might be useful; organisation is of the utmost importance throughout your time at university, and especially when it’s coming up to exam time. This might be a bit of a lengthy post, so grab a cuppa, a pen and some paper and take some notes that might help you!

Keep a diary – A diary is one of the best tools for organisation. Personally, I prefer to have an actual organiser that I can write everything down in, (plus I think it’s really satisfying to tick things off when it’s completed!), whereas some of you may prefer to use your phone, tablet, laptop etc. Whichever method you use, it is important to note down any appointments, deadlines, important dates and meetings to ensure that you don’t forget anything. It’s also useful to check a couple of weeks ahead every now and again so you know what you’ve got coming up. A revision timetable is also really useful to create.

Have a folder for each unit – I like to keep all my notes from lectures and any other paperwork relating to a particular unit in a folder, so that when it comes to revision or if I need to find something in particular, I can quickly look through the file. Use dividers to separate different topics or sections within the folder. You could also have another two sections within the folder: one for paperwork that is frequently used, such as an assignment brief, and another for less frequently used paperwork that is still important, such as a past assignment with feedback. I also keep important dates at the front of the folder, like exams, deadlines and meetings.

Take notes – This might be a pretty obvious tip, but I’m always surprised when I see people turn up for lectures and just sit there throughout without even pulling a notebook out. I won’t lie and say that I write every single thing down, but anything that sounds important, any definitions or theories, or anything that may come up in an exam, I make sure I write it down. I like to have a notebook with divided sections, where I can write on the tabs which unit each is for. You might prefer to take a laptop with you, which is also great!

Tidy desk, tidy mind – Another obvious point, but one I need to listen to more!  I gather the essentials and spread them on my desk, after clearing away any clutter or anything that might distract me. Unless you need your laptop and phone, turning them off may help you to focus solely on the task at hand. I like to play a little music in the background, and I’m sure I was told in school that if you revise a certain subject to a certain song, when taking the exam if you think of the song it also helps you remember what you learned while revising!

Revise actively –  For some people, like me, reading a textbook and writing down important notes works, but for others, it doesn’t. Varying your revision techniques also makes it more interesting, so you’re willing to take more information in; mind maps, post it notes stuck around places you look regularly (on your mirror or around your desk), flash cards and colour coding notes are all also really useful.

Take a break! – Although sitting and revising for four hours straight may make you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot, chances are about half way through you stopped absorbing information. Every now and again, go for a little walk maybe to make a drink, to the bathroom, or even for some fresh air for 15 minutes or so. 

Stay healthy – Making sure you get a good nights sleep regularly, drinking plenty of water and doing some physical activities will also benefit you, not only in terms of health, but will also make you feel less sluggish and tired when it comes to revising. It will also reduce stress, which is never good for you! 

These tips work for me, though you may do things completely differently which is fine! I’d love you to comment below with any more tips that you use, which will help me too. Thank you for reading.

Amy x


1 Comment

  1. 9th February 2014 / 9:45 am

    My biggest tip from university would probably have been to turn off the phone and social media for an allocated period of time – half an hour or 45 minutes and do some serious intensive study, then have a Facebook/Twitter break, then another study period. It's much better than doing 7 hours of half-arsed attempts between checking other sites etc.

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