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Rosh's 'Doing Well at University' Study Tips

Rosh's 'Doing Well at University' Study Tips

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Published by rrrosh
An overall guide to approaching how to achieve well at undergraduate level university. Includes advice on time management, prioritising, how to plan your semester and balance multiple subjects with work and home life, and how to approach assignments to achieve well.
An overall guide to approaching how to achieve well at undergraduate level university. Includes advice on time management, prioritising, how to plan your semester and balance multiple subjects with work and home life, and how to approach assignments to achieve well.

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Published by: rrrosh on Jan 29, 2012
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Rosh
s Study Tips
Sorting Yourself Out For Achieving Well This Semester
Plan, Plan, Plan - Set realistic priorities and stick to them
At the beginning of semester, or as soon as you get the chance (even if semester has started), write a tableof what you will cover each week. Include in this table when each assessment item is and how much it isworth.
It is important to have this clear in your mind, and it is important to do this before you start studying, ratherthan at the end of semester when you are preparing to study for exams. It gives you a context to fit each
week’s worth of material into, so it is easier to understand how everything fits together.Make yourself some simple rules (don’t get too ambitious, and don’t have
too many of them, otherwise you
won’t follow through with any of them) at the beginning of semester about how you will approach your
study. These should link in to your table of what and how you will cover your material each week. Examples:
 
I will make my study notes for each week on the day, or at the latest within the same week, as the
lecture is, so I don’t fall behind.
 
I will make a plan of how I will approach each assignment, and a skeleton plan of what it will include,on the day that I receive it, no excuses.
 
I will not be a perfectionist about writing out my study notes perfectly and prettily, I will study frommaterial which has all the information I need, so I will not procrastinate unnecessarily.
 
I will try to attend all of my lectures.
 
When feeling stressed with my studies I will manage thisRemember, your course outline is your BIBLE
 –
it has everything you need to know about your assessmentitems, what they want you to learn in the course (i.e. what they will assess you on). Uni is not actually aboutlearning what you want to learn, it is more about telling the teacher what they want to hear. What I mean bythis is, the teacher is teaching you a small portion of the field, about which there is a whole lot moreinformation out there. Your task, as a student, is not to learn everything else out there and impress themwith this knowledge
 –
rather, your task as a student is to learn what has been prescribed for you to learn. Ittook me a long time to get my head around this, as I wanted to impress the lecturers and be noticed assomeone with brains (yes, the ego trip and all... ah, but you know me...). Anyway, when learning, look atwhat has been prescribed for each week, and
Lectures
To Attend or Not To Attend
Even if you think you know the stuff that’s in a lecture, it can be more useful than you’d think to attend the
lecture as subconsciously, you will learn this information in the context of the course, i.e. your brain will
absorb the content of the lecture and place it in relation to the content you’ve learnt in past weeks, and will
learn in subsequent weeks, so when it comes time to study for your exams or write an assignment, it will befresh in your mind and linked in to the other concepts.
This is particularly useful for the initial few weeks of 
 
semester, which are usually refresher information that you may have covered in previous weeks, where itcan be tempting to skip these lectures, however attending them as much as you think you know this stuff can often make understanding new concepts in subsequent weeks much easier.
This said, University is all about
prioritising
, so if you need to get an assignment done and you don
t have thetime to go to your lecture, then your assignment (which is work a percentage of your total assessment) mightcome first. Try and plan your time, however, to ensure you can attend your lectures if possible
 –
it mightsound strange, but it can make studying at the end of semester easier, from your subconscious mind
sperspective.
Taking notes
 By far one of the best ways to learn is by taking notes. If you can, before classes start in week 1, email thelecturer and ask them whether the lecture notes will be available each week for you to download. You canexplain to them that you find it too rushed in class to take down what
s on the slide as well as make notes onwhat is being said, and request that they do put them up, if they say that they aren
t going to. Often lecturersdon
t put up slides as it discourages students from attending class, but if you explain that you want to use theslides to learn more effectively, they often put them up.If the lecture notes are available for you to download, then when you
re in class (whether you print them outand bring them with you or not, it doesn
t really matter), do not copy what
s on the slide as a means of taking notes
 –
this is useless, pretty much, as it is only repeating information.When taking notes, listen to what the lecturer says
 –
they often will outright say that x or y will be in theexam, they
ll make hints about what is important and what isn
t, and if they talk about something in detail orfor a long time, chances are it
s important. The notes you take in class don
t need to be the notes that youstudy from
 –
you can make proper
study notes
later, either during that week or later in semester, to studythe final exam from. But the notes you make in class are made in class, based mostly on what is being saidand discussed.
 
Juggling 5 Subjects At Once
 –
Organisation, Prioritising and Time Management
 
It can be challenging to juggle assignments, weekly lectures, and other demands of one subject with thehome life, work and social life that most uni students have, but how do you successfully balance this all withhaving five subjects, and not only surviving them but doing well in all of them?Two key things to keep in mind:1.
 
Be organised
 –
set structured goals realistic priorities2.
 
Plan your time, then act on your plansThese are the keys to doing well at uni.
Being Organised:
It is of vital importance to be organised
 –
and in this, stop trying to do everything perfectly, because if you tryto do it that way, you won
t get things done (again, from five years experience as a high achieving student,and from teaching classes). Being organised helps you to allocate appropriate time to each subject, and tomake sure nothing creeps up on you at the last minute. It also allows you to be in control of your time andassignments, rather than they being in control of you. There are many different ways to get organised, and itis largely up to the individual to find what suits them through trial and error, but when you do find somethingthat works, notice and stick to it.One of the most important aspects of being organised is to set goals (these you will get from your courseoutline and your teachers, you won
t have to work them out for yourself at undergraduate level, be thankful
 –
postgrad is much harder!). Make sure you break these goals down into workable steps
 
, so they don
t feeloverwhelming, and even make notes on how you can achieve each of these steps so you feel more likethey
re do-able.
Time management:
When managing your time at uni, it is important to set priorities
 –
this is really important. When you have awhole bunch of things to get done, don
t freak out and allow yourself to become overwhelmed and wallow.Instead, stop, breathe and make a list of what you need to do by when, the steps involved in each thing,break it all down into bite sized pieces. Then, look at what
s most important to get done first, and organiseyour list this way, then sit down and do them.When planning your time, remember, it is not enough to just make the plans
 –
remember to actually act onthem, otherwise you
ll just end up stressed and anxious and depressed.When balancing your uni life with your home and personal life, it is also VITALLY important to prioritise. It
sreally important to have balance between study, work and fun, but make sure you make informed choices,i.e. don
t work when you don
t need to but your boss wants you to, when you really need to get anassignment done, and of course the cliché, don
t go out with friends if you
ve got an assignment due in twodays that you haven
t started. Think to yourself, to put things in perspective when making these choices,
in 5years time, what will I value more?
 

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