Organising your studies

Feeling the pressure? You’re not alone – we’ve all been there! Here are some tips to help you keep on top of your studies.

Time management – a balancing act!

  • When you begin university there is a lot of ‘free time’ between lectures and tutorials. Class time makes up very little of your weekly schedule, but you should devote an average of 10 hours per week of independent study per unit. That’s 20-40 hours per week depending on your workload – so be aware that study can be busier than working a full-time job!
  • Time management is a skill that gets easier with practice, and thinking about long-term goals can help you stay focused and motivated. Ask yourself:
  •  – Why am I at university? What am I passionate about?
     – What am I already good at and what do I want to improve?
     – Where do I want to be when I complete my degree?

Your study space is important.

A clear desk means a clear mind!
This is a challenge for many of us, but it is worthwhile to occasionally clear your desk and only have in front of you what you need for the task you are currently working on.

Find a regular study space that works for you.
It sometimes helps to have a regular study space, and know when the quiet times will be. If you need quiet time and can’t find it at home, study at your CSU Library, a CSU Learning Commons, or visit a local Library branch near you.

Spend some time offline!
If you get easily distracted by the internet, turn off your mobile and WiFi, and study for some time without it. You can use this time to read books or articles that you’ve downloaded or printed. Although challenging, it may surprise you how much this improves your focus and attention. If you really struggle with online distractions, try a web time tracker app – these are designed to limit your access to particular sites at particular times of the day.

Managing your study resources.

Keeping your readings, notes, assignment documents and web bookmarks in order is an essential part of good study practice. Here are a few suggestions to make this easier:

  • For hard copy notes and print-outs, keep them in separate binders for each unit.
  • Organise your notes according to the unit’s weekly topics – this will make them easier to find. 
  • Use sticky notes to mark important places in books, articles and print-outs.

Digital file management
Carefully labelling and managing files will save you a lot of stress later on! Here are some suggestion for how you might organise your folders and files:

  • Create a folder for each semester and a subfolder for each unit, e.g. IKC101 
  • Create further sub-folders within each unit, e.g. Readings, Notes, Assignments, etc. 
  • Under ‘Readings’ put copies of your subject readings, and any other relevant readings you find – this is a great place for you to download eReserve readings for future use!. 
  • Under ‘Notes’, keep your own notes taken from lectures, tutorials, and also from readings. Type up any handwritten notes, so that you have everything in one place. Re-writing or typing also helps you to remember and recall information.
  • Under ‘Assignments’ you can put plans, drafts and final copies of your assignments. Saving new copies of each draft is a good idea in case a file gets lost or is corrupted. Include information about the unit and the assessment in the file name, e.g. IKC101 Assessment 1_draft3 

Finally, ALWAYS make a back-up copy of your assignment, and remember to take breaks – There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither!