Spring cleaning shouldn’t only mean daring to look on the top shelf of your cupboard or revamping your wardrobe – your study habits could also use a refresh at this time of year. Read on for a few key pointers to keep your year on track…By Rachael Davies
Despite winter trying to cling on for a few weeks more with the late snowfall, spring has well and truly sprung on campus, and with a fresher season comes the opportunity to refresh your study style. Being over halfway through the academic year means that while you might have your tactics for coursework and exams sorted, you might also be slipping into the monotony of repetitive schedules.
With Term 3 and revision season looming, now is the ideal moment to try out a few new techniques and habits that might help liven up your working day and keep you focused for the second half of the year. Here are some of my tried and tested tactics.
Sort out a daily routine
The biggest pitfall I always seem to encounter is planning a productive day… and then somehow sleeping in far too late, getting distracted with a one hour shower and hair-drying session, then somehow it gets to the evening and I’ve barely glanced at a book. Sorting out a regular schedule, waking up at the same time every day, and making sure some element of work gets done on every working day is a key part of staying focused in the long run. Particularly during Term 3, when regular timetabling gives way to sporadic revision lectures, keeping a sense of routine in your life is vital.
Get the tools for your trade
Some people laugh at my obsession with stationery and aesthetic notebooks, but I firmly believe that I would not be doing as well in my degree without my trusty Rollerball Liquid Ink Pen. Whatever study tool it is that tickles your fancy, from the wonder of the smooth script from a Rollerball to feeling fresh with a Kikki K notebook in the library, make sure you are stocked up and ready to go before the Easter break starts. Having something new to work with, even if it is just a new set of biros, can help studying seem a bit more engaging, and let’s face it, if you don’t spend the first week of any essay religiously colour-coding your notes for no good reason, are you even a student?
Find the ideal study partner
This doesn’t mean hunting down last year’s library boy/girlfriend and declaring your undying love – although I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad idea. Having someone from the same course or even better, the same module, can go a long way to keeping you focused. Two heads are certainly better than one: sharing ideas or revision techniques gives both of you a fresh perspective you might not have considered before. Above all though, having a study partner brings together the academic and the social, helping keep a healthy life balance throughout your year.
The second half of the year can often seem like the slower half, so give yourself milestones and rewards to work towards. Plan to watch a movie you’re excited about, pencil in a night out, even think of a tasty meal you could make to reward yourself – anything that will motivate you to work towards a specific point in time can be a massive boost to your morale, and break down the monotony of seemingly endless work.
Try something new
While these are some of the tricks that help me stay fresh and focused all year long, it’s worth taking some time to look at other potential new tips. Take on some habits that course mates swear by but you’ve always steered clear of; think back to the advice in your school days that you ignored at the time. Everyone has their own way of learning, but experimenting might reveal some unfound treasures that might change your working world.
Start with these few tips, but make sure to keep an open mind when thinking about studying, particularly during and after the Easter break.