Study your way to success

By StudyLink

Many of you have written in, asking for ideas on how you can get into the course of your dreams, or win a scholarship that will help you get there. One way to opening the door to success in the future is by improving your academic results today.

Whether you are at high school, completing your undergraduate degree, studying English, or working on your post-graduate qualifications, you need to prove to your teachers that you have the ability to succeed. And the better your results, the more choice you’ll have for further study in the future.

Plus, you’ll also improve your future career and salary prospects. A recent study in Switzerland looked into whether being a good student is important. It found that graduates with higher grades found jobs with better career prospects when they graduated. So, it is clear that having good grades will affect your salary prospects.

Studying is the ability to learn, understand, and analyse information, and put that knowledge to use. This might be through an exam, essay, assignment, or practical use in an internship.

Study smarter, not harder

We’ve talked to study experts around the world, and come up with a guide on how your can make your study time more effective. It’s not about the time you put in, but how smart you study. And when you are trying to fit study around all the other busy parts of your life, such as part time work and family, this is essential.

We have split our top twelve study tips into the way your mind, body and spirit can help you study.


Mind

1. Pick and mix your study techniques
There are many different ways of learning and revising. Try a few, and see what works for you.

  • Tape your classes, and listen to them on the way home or to work
  • Review index cards with key words or points
  • Organise the course information to make sense of the big picture
  • Mind map or colour code different elements of your subject
  • Make more notes as you read your own notes – find different ways of explaining things

2. Make a plan
Set up a revision timetable in your diary or weekly planner. Allocate time for assignments well in advance of the due date

3. Review often – and quickly
Never wait for the day before your exams to review your notes (also know as ‘cramming’). Read over your notes straight after class, and then again in short frequent bursts. Do some coursework every day.

4. Ask questions before a test
Before a test, ask your teacher what material will be covered and what kind of questions to expect. They may have some sample papers for you to practice on.

5. Edit a friend’s paper
Offer to edit an assignment for a friend. It’s a great learning experience, as everyone approaches their work differently.


Body

6. Eat, exercise and sleep
You need to stay fit and healthy to concentrate and learn.

7. ‘A’ students never miss a class
Sit in the front row if you can – it improves concentration. And don’t skip the first and last minutes of a class, when there is often important information about tests and assignments.

8. Know yourself
Do you study better at night or early in the morning? Plan your study time around when you work best.

9. Location, location, location
Choose a quiet, well-lit room to study in: your school library, an empty classroom or a study room. Put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign at home. But make sure you take a short break every 90 minutes.

Spirit

10. It’s all about attitude
Stay positive – you can do it! Write positive messages on your wall. Be enthusiastic about your subjects.

11. Trust your instincts
Don’t doubt yourself in an exam or essay question. Just go with your instincts – and stick to them.

12. Better together
A study group can help you stay motivated. Share your ideas, and test each other. You may also find an online group, where you can study with students from other universities or even other countries. It’s a good way to get a fresh perspective on your subject.

You may find that not all these tips are right for you, or for your course. But hopefully you are now inspired to try a new way of remembering information or preparing for a test. For more specific information on exam techniques, writing essays, or researching assignments, the British Council has a good online reference

We’d love to hear your own top study tips – please share them with us by commenting below. And don’t forget to contact one of our student counsellors when you are ready to take the next step – and study overseas!

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