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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Uni advice: 26 Study Tips

Howdy ^^
Today, as part of my university advice series, I'm going to cover probably the most important part: studying. Obviously I'm not an expert, this is just what helped me to get a first last year. Everyone is different but this might help someone :)
Let's go straight on to the study tips: 

1 Find your best environment to study in. Sometimes this is in the isolated basement of the library with absolutely no sound whatsoever. Or you could love revising with a bit of music in the background. Experiment and see what works. 

2 Use the breaks between lectures and go study in the library! (Bring a friend if you want) 

3 Do the set work. Even if no one is chasing you. Do all the practise problems and wider reading. 

4 Make notes on the wider reading you do throughout the year (in my exams we got credited if we referenced authors by name) it doesn't have to be much, just the main gist of the argument. This saves you having to read the whole article again in revision time. 

5 Make flash cards and study on the go! Grab every spare 5 mins (this is especially true for Kanji and vocab)
6 Get the easy marks! Our japanese mark included homework. (submitted on time= 1 mark) Some unis even have marks for attendance! There is no excuse not to get these marks!!! 
7 If you fall behind, go talk to your tutor/ lecturer. As the ever awesome Captain Awkward once pointed out, having difficulties elsewhere in your life and not giving a fuck about the class look pretty much the same to a lecturer. 
9 Hand in essays on time. Here at Leeds you lost 5 marks for being even 5 mins past the deadline, and then 5 marks more per day after that. It's silly to lose these marks. 
10 Plan study breaks. Try the pomodoro technique.
11 Think about whether you will have a job in term time. Japanese is fairly intense in terms of hours and workload: and out of the 58 or so of us, only a few had a job, and none of those were the highest scoring. Studying is your job in term time.
12 Exam revision: think whether group study is actually the most effective use of your time. 

13 Ditto late night studying. 8 hours sleep is probably going to boost your grade more than 3 hours and a frantic last minute cram session.

14 Establish set times to study so it becomes a habit
15 Noisli is a website that has relaxing/ productivity enhancing sounds such as rainfall etc. personally I'm finding it really nice to study to, either on its own or combined with classical music like Joe Hisaishi (he wrote the soundtrack for lots of Ghibli films)
16 Have study cues that you do every time, this helps you to get in the 'zone'. For me this is putting my lamp on, green tea/ coffee and water and fake glasses ^^;;
17 Cal Newport's books have so much sensible advice. 

18 Find your best time to study and stick to it: waking up early to study is better for me than trying to study past midnight. Be honest with yourself. 
19 A little bit of concentrated revision is better than a whole day staring at one page of the textbook ^^;; work hard and then go and have fun 

20 On the day you get an assignment, write a to do list and start the first step.

21 Essays done over a few weeks slowly will almost always be better that one rushed on the last day.
22 Reference as you are writing an essay. I don't understand how, but some of my friends would write a whole essay, and then go back and try and reference quotes that they had lost the page number and didn't even know what book they are from. Nightmare. 
23 Make sure your referencing is correct as well- there are tonnes of tutorials online and it is an easy way to lose marks. 

24 Have a system for storing class notes so you'll be able to easily find them in revision/ in an essay crisis. 
25 Try and make your notes as easy to understand as possible. Although my handwriting is horrendous, I use headings etc. so they are easy to navigate (and no one needs to be able to read them except me anyway, hehe ^^)
26 Plan your essays in exams! A quick 2 minute plan- so you can write a good introduction and know the points you are trying to make- will make your essay so much more cohesive. A good structure could push you up a whole grade boundary. 

That was just a few tips that helped me this year. I'd really recommend Cal Newport's books and his older posts on his blog study hacks. Now he is more focused on performance at work, which is still a really interesting read. I have "how to become a straight a student" and I read it whenever I need motivation. 

Thanks for reading ♪( ´▽`)
Do you have any uni advice? I'd love to hear ^^
- Amy xoxo


  1. Flash cards are so useful. It really helped me to isolate certain words or terms I needed to learn. :]

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  2. Lots of my friends laugh at me for carrying round stacks of flashcards everywhere, but if it works it works, right? :)


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