Hey all! We’re now way into exam season so your Welfare & Outreach team have put our heads together and come up with a list of our best study tips for you & attached some useful links.
- Stay organised: We all use different methods of organisation: to-do lists, http://www.todoist.com, bullet journals (http://bulletjournal.com/), schedules and colour-coding. Find a method (or methods) that work for you and stick with it. Try not to get upset if you don’t manage to keep up with your schedule – it happens to everyone. Make sure that your goals are achievable (SMART targets anyone?! http://topachievement.com/smart.html)
- Treat yo self: Promise yourself a reward after study sessions: meet a friend for coffee, watch some Netflix, whatever works for you. It’s often worth setting a time-limit for rewards as well.
- Take breaks: You’ll learn better and potentially cut down on stress if you take regular breaks. Try using the pomodoro method (25 minutes of work, 5-10 minute break) or adapt it to your attention span/work pattern. http://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-pomodoro-technique-1598992730
- Getting started: It can be difficult to motivate yourself to start. Try setting yourself small goals like just setting up your stuff up to work, working for 5-10 minutes etc. to get yourself started. Often you’ll find that once you’ve started you’ll be able to work past the time you allocated. http://www.growinghappiness.com/2008/04/21/getting-work-started-a-tip-for-procrastinators/
- Look after yourself: keep hydrated, stretch, take breaks from screens etc. Treat yourself the way you’d like a close friend to be treated. http://www.thefreedomexperiment.com/2011/10/28/55-gentle-ways-to-take-care-of-yourself-when-youre-busy-busy-busy/
- Mental health: there’s a variety of different techniques that you can use to help calm down. Try breathing exercises, getting some fresh air, exercise, meditation or chatting to a friend. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/ways-relieve-stress.aspx
- Challenge your thinking: It’s easy to get caught up in the importance of an exam. Try talking to someone outside of university, meditating or thinking as rationally as you can. The world will carry on turning if you get a lower grade than you’d like. Often acknowledging this can remove a significant amount of anxiety that may be making it difficult to study.
- Study your way: There’s so much information on studying out there – try them out and then stick to what works for you. Maybe you work better in silence, with some white noise or with music on. Everyone works differently and each way is valid.
- Recognise if you need help: Pretty much everyone gets anxious around exam time. If you’re struggling to cope you can contact Nightline (http://www.nottinghamnightline.co.uk/) or us (email@example.com) to talk it through. If your anxiety is more of an everyday thing than exam specific and is having a debilitating effect on your life it might be worth talking to your doctor or a counsellor about it. (Cripps mental health: http://www.unhs.co.uk/unhs/your-health/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health/mental-health.aspx , University Counselling Service: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/index.aspx)
Good luck and best wishes to you all,
Zoe & the Welfare & Outreach team