Most high-performing students don’t get successful results from sitting back and doing nothing at university. Whilst last-minute cramming sessions can work at times, for most students, graduating in the classification that they want is a result of effective working habits that they have developed throughout university. Send My Bag have put together this blog on the common habits of high-performing students, which, when developed over time, can also be a great way to deal with stress at university. These habits are based on the idea of studying smarter, rather than harder!
Breaking It Up
Successful results don’t mean having to spend all day, every day studying and doing assignments. Studying smart is all about quality over quantity – small amounts of productive studying over a period of time can pay off more than cramming a big amount of studying into one or two days. For this to work, the key is to set out a routine that schedules in short, but regular study periods. Leaving time for a little bit of studying across multiple days is known to better your long-term memory, helping you to store information for longer, and making it easier to retrieve this information when it comes to an exam.
To study smart, it is also good practice to set yourself small, manageable goals for each study session. For example, if you have several areas under one topic to learn, break them up and challenge yourself to learn X number of points within the next hour. Also, set out rewards for yourself as a motivator to complete the goals you want to achieve – anything from getting a coffee, going outside for fresh air, taking a walk, chatting with your friends, and so on.
Planning and Prioritizing
You can study smart by planning and doing your work in an organised way, by, for example, prioritising your study time in order of what areas are the most difficult and need the most focus. A habit that many students have is to leave their most difficult task to last because it seems like too much to tackle. However, these tasks require the most effort and energy, which you are most likely to have at the beginning of your working day. Also, the bottom line is that it difficult task have to be tackled at some point, so it’s best to get them over and done with. As much as planning ahead can be hard to stay on top off, it will pay off when assignments and exams start piling up. This could mean small things like making study notes in advance, organising your lecture notes and handouts into folders, and having access to all the books and any other resources that you might need. You don’t want your deadlines creeping up on you, only to find that you have nothing prepared, as this can only result in even more stress.
Learning from Mistakes
Most success comes from learning and improving, which in turn comes as a result of facing difficult challenges and making mistakes. So, if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped in an assignment or an exam, don’t be too harsh on yourself – treat it as a learning curve and try to correct any mistakes that you have made. Behind every successful person there is likely to be a mistake or more than one mistake that they have made.
Lack of sleep decreases the brain’s dopamine levels – a neurotransmitter needed for concentration, memory, and motivation. Lack of sleep can also increase stress, and stress can then make it harder to sleep, so it becomes an endless circle. It is therefore recommended to switch an all-nighter in the library for sleep to refresh and refuel!
Have time off
A perk of breaking up your time, and having small, yet regular study sessions is that you can then have more time off. You will feel better for getting a few hours of studying done during the day and then rewarding yourself by taking the rest of the day or evening off – hanging out with your friends or binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix. It may be harder to take time off if you also have to work a part-time job, but do find the time to relax, even if it’s only for a short amount of time each day – doing nothing but studying and working can catch up with you and take its toll. By having time off, you are likely to come back to your work with an improved mind-set and to be more productive as a result.
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If you are struggling with money at university, you are not alone! The Guardian reported that in a study of 2,000 students, more than half regularly run out of money after receiving their student loan. In a UK national survey by Save the Student, 70% of students said that they would like to have had a better financial education before university. Send My Bag has put together this blog to give you key budgeting tips for university.