Forget all-night cramming sessions and frazzled nerves! If you’re looking to crush finals week, here are some tips to help you study for uni exams and get the grades you want.
How is COVID-19 Impacting Studies?
Figuring out how best to study for your uni exams can be challenging at the best of times. With disruptions like lockdown and a switch to distance learning affecting the academic year, you might be feeling more daunted than usual at the prospect of hitting the books. These study strategies will help you cope.
Major UK university hubs like Oxford and Edinburgh have been responding to lockdown challenges by making more online resources and communication channels available to students. Read up on your uni’s latest COVID-19 updates and student advice, to help you start planning your study schedule.
How to Study Efficiently in University: Ten Tips
- Prepare ahead of time. Don’t leave studying to the last minute. Cramming the night before is not only stressful but inefficient; it’s unlikely you’ll retain that knowledge very far beyond the exam. Instead, set up a study timetable for yourself a few weeks (or even months) before exams. Organise your studies around which exams you’re sitting and when.
- Prioritise. Some exams require more hours of study than others, so make sure you prioritise your time accordingly to make sure each subject gets the focus it needs.
- Arrange a study group session. Get together (online or in-person) with some friends or classmates to study a chosen topic together. This is a good opportunity to bring up any questions or concerns you have about the subject matter, and get feedback from your peers. Being accountable to others can also help to keep you motivated to put in the work.
- Practice. Practice answering potential exam questions, either by quizzing yourself or a study partner, or completing a past version of the exam. It’s helpful to get used to the format of the questions you should be expecting and see how much time you might spend on each question.
- Take control of your space. The right study environment can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your mind focused. Make sure your study space is comfortable and uncluttered, with good lighting to read by. Give yourself enough space for your textbooks and notes, and minimise distractions in the space.
- Take breaks. Taking regular breaks will help prevent you from feeling overworked and overtired, plus it can help with long-term knowledge retention.
- Change it up. If you find yourself struggling to focus on certain topics or sections, it could help to change your surroundings for a bit. Switch your usual study space for the library, the common room or your favourite local coffee spot. A change of scene can help to refresh and refocus your mind.
- Ask for advice. Arrange to meet with your professor or your TA to discuss any concerns or questions you have, and get some advice on the best way to prepare for a particular exam.
- Get to know your study style. Everyone has different ways of learning and retaining information. Some prefer to study with background music, others need silence and solitude. Some find mind maps and flow charts really helpful, while others learn best when they discuss what they’ve studied with a partner or a group. Figure out the type of study tactics that work best for you.
- Look after yourself. You’ll be better able to write your exams if you go in feeling well-rested. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat regular (healthy!) meals and drink plenty of water during the run-up to exams.