Quick Guide to Students Success

To support students in this particularly challenging year, we created a Quick Guide to Students Success with tips on time management, most effective study practices and staying motivated. Please share this interactive version of the guide with your students (which is also compatible with screen readers). 

Quick Guide to Student Success

Effective Self-organisation

You might have heard this advice many times – organising your time at the university is a necessity. It will enable you to enjoy your learning and balance your study and social life.

1. Schedule, not to-do list

Make a detailed weekly schedule of:

  • attending all your synchronous sessions including preparation time
  • watching Panopto recordings and going through all activities on Blackboard
  • working on your assignments
  • seeing your friends, exercising and resting!

2. Planning Fallacy

Be aware of the Planning Fallacy – you will probably need more time than you think! 

Remember the schedule is there to help you, not to make you more stressed. Following it can be challenging, so think about its purpose and what it will help you to achieve. If it does not work, change it!

3. Find your method

There are various planning methods, so choose the one that works for you. 

  • Traditional paper calendar may be best for those who find writing helpful. 
  • If visual reminders work for you, it may be a good idea to get a wall planner.
  • Finally, all AU students have their own Outlook calendar which allows you to categorise tasks and it is synced with your timetable!

Efficient Study Strategies

Cognitive research identifies various ways which makes learning more effective. Although passively re-reading your notes may be easier, these strategies are proved to work better and can save you a lot of time!

1. Use effective note taking 

There are several methods to help you become more engaged with the notes you take. One of the most popular one is Cornell note system

2. Make material memorable

It will be easier for you to remember the material if: 

  • You elaborate on it by asking yourself questions, like ‘how?’ and ‘why?’, and linking it to things you already know. 
  • Give examples from your own experiences. 
  • Use dual coding – read and then analyse illustrations, and the other way round!

3. Practice strategies

There are three practice strategies which will enable you to work more effectively:

  • Retrieval practice: recalling from memory, e.g. by using flashcards!
  • Interleaved practice: switching between topics and changing the order of topics you study.
  • Spaced practice: revising material with a couple of days in between. 

Finding a way to feel motivated

Feeling unmotivated is common especially now, but there are several specific things you can do to impact how motivated you will feel.

1. Your thoughts

Maintain growth mindset: your intelligence, skills and capabilities can be developed through hard work and good strategies.

Try to ask yourself why are you at the university, establish what goal you are trying to achieve and keep reminding yourself about your purpose. Create a ‘dream board’, reflect and update it regularly to keep focus on your goals!

2. Your environment

What environment makes you feel motivated?

  • Some people prefer to work in groups, if that is the case try to organise a virtual study sessions with your classmates.
  • If you prefer a quiet atmosphere, go to a library. 
  • If smell of coffee and a background noise is your preferred option, a local cafe may be the best choice!

3. Your actions

There are also specific actions you can take to improve your motivation:

  • The way you start your day is crucial, make sure to maintain regular healthy morning routine.
  • Eating sugar, irregular sleeping patterns and lack of exercise will all contribute to poor concentration.
  • Break things up: approaching a large tasks can be overwhelming. Try to focus on one manageable part of it at the time. You may want to look at the Pomodoro technique!

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