My first semester at university was a bit of a mess in terms of organisation. In September I was so busy meeting people and moving into halls that I didn’t realise there was a course guide I should know about until about 4 weeks in. And then I was super behind on reading but had essays coming up so they had become my focus. Essays finished and exams began and I realised that my notes were all over the place. Thankfully, the second semester was much better.
But then I went on holiday for 3 months and promptly forgot many of my study hacks!
I’ve just started my fifth year of studying with the University of Aberdeen and I finally believe I have this down.
Want to save time and not find yourself sitting in the middle of a chaotic mountain of notes come December? Read on…
- You can get a free copy of Microsoft Word through the University! Make use of it.
- Course Guides are a thing. If you haven’t already, go onto MyAberdeen ASAP and have a scan of your course guides. They should include a note of your lecture timetable, your weekly readings and your assessment deadlines. Make a note of them.
- On that note, academic planners are invaluable. If you’re a new student you will have one on the back of your New Students’ Notebook.
- If you’re taking a laptop to your lectures, check MyAberdeen just before the lecture to see if the lecture slides have been uploaded. That way you can download them and just make notes of any extra things that the lecturer says directly onto the PowerPoint (or onto a Word document if you copy the notes over).
- However, don’t underestimate the power of handwritten notes. Apparently writing notes out helps you to remember them so both note taking styles are good.
- Do the readings for your tutorials. I’ve found that exams have been so much easier for the subjects where we’ve had real discussion in tutorials because I don’t have to revise as much. I just remember having the conversation.
- Around exam time, take a look at the Learner’s Toolkit online resources that you can use to aid your studying (and make it more fun and colourful). You might find MindManager, GoConqr, and Evernote useful.
- Make use of the interactive resources that are available at the University. The Student Learning Service offer frequent workshops about topics such as study skills, essay writing, and time management. Additionally, if you are a first year, you have the option of speaking to a mentor student who can advise you on academic and personal issues through the Student 4 Student scheme.
- Unfortunately… There is almost always something to do. We all work differently and some people are good at cramming. However, it helps to get started early and so if you know you don’t do well under pressure, try getting ahead of your lecture readings when you have a spare moment.
- Mainly though, try not to stress too much. Take breaks and enjoy your time at University. Student Life is about so much more than just studying and if you have fun things to look forward to then staying in the library until late to finish your essay won’t feel quite so hard.
- Whichever year you are in, if you feel you are getting behind with your studies or that life is all getting a bit too much, try to talk to someone about it sooner rather than later so that provisions can be made.