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Top 5 Tips from Learning Strategies

Peer Learning Assistant exam care package from 2013.

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Keep up with coursework without spending your life in the library: here are our top 5 tips.

1. The 50/10 rule. Rather than studying in huge marathon chunks for hours on end, work for 50 minutes, then take a 10 minute break. Multiply that x3 to make a 3hour study block. Research says: the human attention spans drops after 50 minutes, so it’s best to take a break and come back to your work after your brain is refreshed – this way, you are optimizing your brain efficiency!

2. Work 9-5. Treat school like it’s your job: ten work hours per week per course and five courses per week means a 50-hour work week — and that’s a full-time job! Research says that your brain likes it when you study during daylight hours, and using that ‘found time’ between classes to do schoolwork allows you to free up your evenings and weekends for non-academic activities. Creating your own weekly schedule can help you achieve this.

3. Keep track of due dates in one place. When you get your syllabi for your courses, look at all the due dates – weekly quizzes, labs, larger assignments, midterms – and transfer them onto one big term calendar. This will let you know what’s coming up, so you’ll know when you may need to spend more time in the library, and when you can spend less time in the library!  See our online resources on Managing Your Time at University.

4. Find your ideal study space. Sometimes your room isn’t the ideal study space (too many distractions); and for some students, the library isn’t ideal either. Check out our list of super study spots around campus and the city.

5. S-T-I-N-G. Use the STING method to help you get stuff done:
                 S       Select 1 thing to do
                 T       Time yourself – set a timer for 50 minutes
                  I       Ignore everything else for that 50 minutes
                 N      No breaks during that 50 minutes!
                 G      Give yourself a reward after the 50 minutes is up

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