Photo credit: Karyn Christner (via Flickr)
Advice

Why organising your study time is important!

By Hannah Newberry

Unfortunately, we can’t all be prime students that spend our evenings reading ridiculously expensive books our lecturer recommended or immediately grasping an understanding of the most concise and elusive parts of the exams we spend the whole year dreading. While the thesis of what I’m trying to say will be met in the most ironic way due to the tradition of starting your year off with outrageous Fresher’s parties, it’s true that the first month of University is the most crucial.

The first tip I’ll share with you is that it’s so much easier to get a notebook per module as buying one huge book to contain the course will be the first error you make. Shoving random sheets inside one tattered notebook will make it near impossible to decide which notes belong to which module later on, and hence the struggle begins.

Falling into the danger of copying and pasting from lecture slides will leave you wishing you were never born when it comes to memorizing them at the end of the year, so for me, organization means finding out how you’re going to learn best and getting into those habits from the get go. If that means twenty quid down the plughole for snazzy gel pens because boring monologues aren’t going to get read, then so be it if your 2:1 will thank you in the summer.

Organizing your work even before it needs to be learnt is important – if you know the topic you’re going over comes up every year, then take extra notes and make notes of the important lectures on revision cards to tuck away until the new year. Color code everything from case law to key dates and revision tips.

The worst part of revision is actually starting it, so why not ease yourself in? A lot of students fail to realize that they dread exam season because they look at their pile of neglected work and realize that it’s beyond saving because it’s too late. Hence the general decision is to move to the coherent textbooks and learn things you weren’t taught before, and suddenly your syllabus and general knowledge blurs into one and you’re not really following what the question is asking you.

I fully believe that organization is more important than studying because learning from a mess just leaves an even bigger mess in your head. Habits such as coming home and writing out the lecture notes you speedily typed in a neater manner may seem like torture, until it becomes a regular habit, and you have the whole course written out in your words by spring. Organization is easy if you know what to look for – tutorial prompts, ‘key’ cases or slides, a commonly debated topic etc. It may be advice that makes you recoil at the thought of it, but doesn’t exam season seem so much more welcoming when the initial struggle has been done bit by bit since you started lectures?

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