Returning back to university after Christmas or your summer break may feel impossible, especially if you have exams or coursework deadlines looming. There are ways you can get into study mode such as planning, working with pals and revising at set times. Read on for more information on how to get back into studying.
1. Make a plan and stick to it
If you’ve got a clear plan, the likelihood of you succeeding is much higher. Make a note of when your exams or assignments are due in and plan your study sessions accordingly. If you have a specific event or special occasion like your birthday in one of the weeks, allow yourself enough time to enjoy it – otherwise, you’ll never stick to the plan. Ensuring to give yourself enough downtime balanced with study time will enable you to focus properly while you study and help you to incorporate it into your life more effectively.
Draw up a timetable with daily and weekly tasks and stick to your deadlines. The feeling of ticking off and handing in those projects will all be worth it!
2. Make notes you can follow
There’s nothing worse than getting home from a lecture and not being able to understand your notes. When coming back to study after a break, it’s even more important to make notes that are coherent and organised.
A great way of ensuring your notes make sense and are easy to follow is by colour coding them. Use different colours for different topics and organise them into sections to make it easier for you to grab the right notes when it comes to revising or writing your essays. Anything you can do to make your life easier when getting back into studying will help massively.
3. Find a study spot
Taking yourself out of your home will give you space to breathe and help you focus on your work rather than procrastinating. Make an effort to go somewhere to study as this should incentivise getting the job done. Ambient noise such as that found in cafes has also been shown to improve creative thinking, making it the ideal study environment.
4. Don’t study alone
If you find yourself getting distracted or feel your mind wandering when you study alone, why not buddy up and have a study session with a friend? While you may think you’d be distracted by another person, the motivation should actually spur you on. Set each other deadlines or tasks and stick to them. A bit of healthy competition in this situation might help you to finish that essay!
Furthermore, if you’re working on a joint project or both revising for the same exam, this is a fantastic way to learn. Make flashcards and test each other as then you’ll see how much progress you’re making.
Alternatively, join forums or groups on social media for your classes and subjects. If you’re stuck on a question or need help, you can always ask on there and hopefully get a clear answer.
5. Study at set times
We’ve already emphasised the importance of planning in your study time, but you should set times within these periods to really knuckle down. It’s extremely common to become distracted by your phone or the need to check social media or answer messages when you’re studying.
Try the Pomodoro technique. This technique, named after the Italian word for tomato, was developed by Francesco Cirillo. He used a tomato-shaped timer to set himself 25 minutes to work without distractions and then gave himself a 5-minute break. After four 25-minute study sessions, you should then give yourself a longer break of around 20-30 minutes.
The technique allows you to focus entirely on the task at hand without becoming distracted. Knowing you’ll have a short break soon allows your mind to concentrate, and the 5 minutes feels like a reward after your hard work. Take a walk, make a cup of tea or do some stretches in your breaks to refresh your mind.
Need any more study tips? Visit the Study section of our Student Journal for loads more advice!