January can be a tough month; you’ve got through your first semester at uni, enjoyed some restful time off over the seasonal period, and now you’re back to reality (and lots of studying). Not to mention it is cold and rainy outside, and your student loan hasn’t come in yet!
Although you may be tempted to spend your January hibernating in bed, catching up on your favourite Netflix series and over-indulging on leftover Christmas chocolates, now is a great time to get ahead with your studies, dissertation or revision. Need some motivation to get started? Check out our top tips for kicking off your New Year studies.
1. Get creative.
Studying doesn’t have to be boring (no, really!). Why not have fun with it by turning your flashcards in to songs, quizzing yourself or asking your friends and family to test you, and making colourful mind maps and diagrams of key study notes to stick up on your walls at home. It may sound weird but it really works!
2. Make a realistic plan.
If, for example, you have five exams to revise for and two weeks to do it all in, make a timetable of the topics and you need to focus on and how many hours a day you will spend on each topic or exam. Check out more advice on making a revision timetable that works, and try free apps like MyStudyLife for an easy way to plan your time. It might take a bit of effort to set it up, but you will be much more productive in the long-run!
3. Put on some background music.
Many people claim that listening to background music can help you focus. If you aren’t the kind of person who needs total silence to study, try listening to some of your favourite tunes, or search “studying” on Spotify to discover new music that will help you concentrate and get your work done.
4. Create the perfect study space.
Your study space is a key thing to get right; an effective one can really boost your productivity and concentration. The perfect study space will differ depending on personal preferences. Some people will prefer to study in the university library, others in their bedroom at home. If you are lucky enough to live in a Pure Student Living building, you may choose to use one of the communal study rooms! Check out some tips for making your ideal study space.
5. Get a study group together.
A big part of uni life is working on group projects and presentations with peers. A key skill to master therefore is how to work well within a team, and this can come in really handy when it comes to revision and self study. Get a group of your course friends together during a free period or evening, and run through you recent lectures or seminars. If you are confused about any topic or module, talking it through with peers can help you to develop a deeper level of understanding of your syllabus or research area. Read more about the benefits of study groups.
6. Buy some January sale stationery.
There is nothing quite like a new set of colourful highlighters and a new jazzy diary to kick off your New Year’s studies. Get yourself down the shops this January to purchase some shiny new stationery – and then get studying!
7. Give yourself little rewards.
After a day or week of non-stop studying or revision, don’t forget to reward yourself with little treats to keep yourself motivated and acknowledge all the hard work you have put in. Anything from chocolate bars to a big night out; your favourite takeaway meal to a bubble bath and your favourite movie – pick and choose your favourite things!
8. Stay positive.
And lastly, try not to get down or overwhelmed. If you are struggling with the requirements of your course, have a chat with your tutor, course leader, or a lecturer that you trust. They can help you to put together a plan for managing your studies and workload effectively. You can do this!