Time Management for Students: Part 2

Part 2: Keeping up with your studies 
Before we start the academic year a lot of us have this perfect idea in our heads of all the work we are going to do and 
how we will be on top of everything all the time. Although this is a great aspiration, it rarely ever holds true throughout the whole year because most of the time life just gets in the way and there is nothing wrong with that!

But there are ways to limit the stress of studying, keep on track and cope with what life throws at you along the way. I’ve found the key is to start early. If I could give one bit of advice to other students it would be start making notes and/or revision material as early on in the year as possible. 

The method I use to get all my notes done starts with printing of the lecture notes the weekend before they happen. I have a read, do some extra reading around the subject  and then take the printed notes into class with me. As I already have the printed notes, if the lecturer adds something or says something of worth I then write it down underneath the relevant slide. This saves me time as the lecturers move so quickly! Then for each module I have a specific notebook (most likely a Muji…) which I write-up in neat all the necessary notes. I then go through these notes and pick out key information which I write onto a revision card. I then use the revision cards to refresh my memory of the topic and use the notes as an extra reference. This is quite a long-winded method, but for me it pays off. It’s all about finding something that works for you.

Another way to keep on top of your studies is to create a topic list for each module. Once you have completed a topic and written up the notes you can tick it off, then when it comes to revision you know you already have the correct notes. You can find free, excellent quality topic list printable online which saves you time, or you can make your own to fit your specific requirements.

Integrating your studies into daily life is another way to keep on top of them. What I mean by this is you find ways to mix studying with everyday activities. An example would be meeting course mates for a coffee whilst discussing topics from that days lecture or whilst travelling home get out your notes and read them (if possible). All these little things add up to help you achieve your goals. 

Even though keeping up with your studies is primarily down to you, being organised and being focused, do not do it all in solitude. Ask your lecturers for help, get them to explain things until you understand it! Ask older students, ask fellow classmates, ask anyone you think could help as you have nothing to lose. You can even dm me on instagram @diaryofaphysicist and I’ll see if I can help! If you do not ask, you will never know, so there is no harm in trying. 

More importantly, if there is something going on in your life that means you cannot study as much as you would like, go see the university advice and counselling department, they are there to help you and can give you suggestions in how to cope with an issue. It’s not your fault you cannot study, so don’t carry it on your shoulders like it is! The staff are there to help and will try there best to get you back on track with your studies when you can. 

I hope you have enjoyed part 2 of time management, it’s a bit more anecdotal but that’s because it is something I have battled with myself all through academia! The final part to this series will be on acheiveing a good work life balance, this will be posted in the coming days. 

Lottie x 

Revision: my top revision methods 

In today’s article I’m going to address the issue of revision. We all have to do it at some point throughout are academic education, so we might as well ace it! 

I’ve complied the article into a kind of cheat sheet (more on cheat sheets below) on the top revision methods and how to make them most effective! 

Firstly I’d like to discuss my favourite method, revision cards. To me revision cards are the most productive revision method. They do not take a long time to make and are a great way of condensing you notes into the most important points.  They can be used anywhere due to their size, so if you have to take a bus journey you can pop a few in your bag. I find a great way to revise from them, is to try and learn them off by heart, read them over and over again until the information is stuck in your head. I think of the revision cards as pockets of knowledge and once I feel I know them well enough I get someone else to test me! 

This is great for learning facts and methods, however you cannot cover every piece of information you might possibly need on revision cards, this is where practice papers come in. Once you feel you have a topic down the best thing to do is test yourself on some practice questions. These can be from a past paper, your text book, or even a question your friend has made up! Not only is this a great way to prepare for the real exam and reaffirm your knowledge, but it shows you where the gaps are and what topics you need to re revise. 

For your weaker topics that need extra revision, I find mind maps a great way to get all the information I need onto one page. This means that any topics I don’t understand I can cover efficiently by jotting everything down at once. If like me, you have a photographic memory, this method is particularly good as you can memorise the whole page! 

Close to the exam, get a group of your course mates together and try and teach each other different topics. If someone doesn’t understand your first explanation, no worries! This enables you to learn how to explain the information in different ways, which benefits the both of you!  

These four methods have been tried and tested by me for the past 15 years! They don’t always work for everyone, so it’s about finding what works best for you! But they are a good place to start. 

Happy revising! 

Lottie x 

Summer study tips 

For some students out there the summer is the perfect time to learn a skill or start a new hobbie you don’t have time to do in the academic year. So here are an accumulation of tips for helping you achieve a productive summer. 

Learning a language 

1. Apps 

A great way to start learning the basics of a language is to use apps such a Duolingo or Memrise. Set yourself a reminder and work on them for a short period each day, eventually it will become a habit and you’ll have cracked the basics in no time! 

2. Go visit the country 

If you have the time and money, I’ve found the best way to tackle a language is to visit a native speaking country. A great way is to live with a family, you can find out how to do this through companies such as workaway.info or woofing. 

Learning an instrument 

1. Buy second hand instruments on sites such as eBay or gumtree. This will reduce the over head cost. Then use YouTube videos to find free tutorials, go into charity shops to find second hand music books or find a friend who plays the same instrument to give you a few pointers. 

2. Set a reminder on your phone and practice for at least half an hour as many days as you can in the week. Not only will it become a habit, but you’ll get the hang of your playing the instrument more quickly this way. 

3. Pick a piece of music and give yourself a time limit. Select a piece you would like to play and give yourself a set amount of weeks to be able to learn it. This way you will keep focused as have you a short hand goal in mind. 

Further reading

1. If like me you like to be ahead on your studies, look up what modules will be coming up in the next semester. If there isn’t a suggested reading list already posted, email your lecturer and get their opinion on which books to read. Get yourself a nice notebook and start writing up some notes for next semester. It may seem boring, however it will make a huge difference when you go back in September! 

2. If reading and taking notes during summer is not for you, try watching YouTube videos and documentaries and making notes via this format. This way enables you to save videos and perhaps watch them when you are travelling or have no internet. 

3. You could also create a group chat of friends on your course and compare notes and ideas over the summer. This is a more interactive method and also means you get to see your friends! 

I hope this helps give you some ideas for summer study! 

Lottie x