Our lovely Student Learning Developers have put together some of their top tips to help you during this exam and assignment season – so you can #Stressless and achieve more.

Most of all remember – independent study is about finding what works for you. We’re all different which means some things work for us and some things work better for others. Finding the best way you can study is an ongoing process so we’ve put together some of our top study tips to help you get started. 

Managing your time 

Make a calendar your new best friend. It could be a paper wall planner, a pocket diary, your university Outlook account calendar or maybe you’ve found an app for your phone. It doesn’t matter the format, just make sure you have easy access to it and commit to noting all your classes, appointments, study time and even some ‘you’ time for however you like to relax. You might be balancing paid work and/or family life with your studies so add those commitments to your calendar as well. Refer to your calendar every day and you will stay on top of those deadlines. Chat about your weekly commitments with your family, housemates or friends so they can support you as you work towards your deadlines.  

Note taking 

Try to be prepared. If you do some reading before your lecture or seminar, you will start out with some questions in mind and this will help to enhance your learning. Spend a few minutes after every lecture, seminar and one-to-one appointment summarising the topic of the session and the key points raised, making connections to any previous notes you’ve taken. This will help you process what you’ve learnt and make it easier to skim through your notes when it comes to exams or assignments.  

Highlighting 

Only highlighting texts when researching means that it goes in and goes out again with every next highlight. Try creating a colour-coded key and make notes at the same time; summarising your learning and key points for your assignment. This will help you to understand the text, lead to better paraphrasing and it’ll also save you from rereading the text to find out why you highlighted the first time. 

Making a plan 

Give time to planning both your research and your assignment structure beforehand.  Good planning will help you to focus your study, keep you from deviating into less relevant topics and keep you on track when you need to take a break! Why not try using PEEEL paragraphs to help with structuring your plan (Point, Explain, Evidence, Evaluate, Link). 

Redrafting your work 

Just because you have finished writing, does not mean your assignment is ready for submission. Reading your work out loud and editing is an important step in any assignment process. We’ve boiled re-drafting down to three steps: 

  1. Redraft using the module outcomes (provided by your course) as a checklist. Have you covered all the requirements? 
  1. Use the assessment criteria to self-assess your work. Are you meeting all the criteria? 
  1. Read through your work again but only focusing on your spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

Use your support networks 

Sometimes studies can feel overwhelming, but remember it is unlikely you are the only one feeling this way. Speak with your friends and peers to create a study group; share your ideas, learning experiences and assignment fears for friendly advice and guidance. Utilise technology such as WhatsApp to reflect together on your learning. Remember, you can also work on projects together live by sharing the files you save to OneDrive.