For many of us, studying at university is a challenge. We do not know where to begin or what to focus on, and it can be especially hard to remember how to study after a couple of gap years. It is also challenging for those of us that are used to writing open-book exams at home, to adapt to a new concept of studying and examination. Therefore, I have collected the best tips and tricks and created the ultimate study guide for you to get inspired from!
1. Don’t read everything!
In the beginning, it can feel overwhelming to realise that you are expected to read hundreds of pages before every lecture, and it is usually the first mistake you do as a new student. If you read everything the results are rarely in your favour. You become tired, stressed, and do not have time to hang out with friends or enrol into fun committees or nations. Instead, read after the lectures, use the books as a complement. Why read everything and get stressed if you have someone who tells you what is important? Compare your notes with the literature and focus on the parts that you did not understand during the lecture or add parts the lecture did not cover.
Just because you do not read before the lecture does not mean you should not prepare for the lecture at all. Studies have shown that the best way to memorise new information is through taking notes by hand. If you still prefer to use your computer, ask your professors to share their PowerPoint the day before. Go through the PowerPoint and transfer the bullet points to a new document by using copy and paste or a converter easily found on Google. Now you have a brief understanding of what to expect and a good starting point for your notes the next day. Using this method, you can focus on listening and writing down what they say beyond the bullet points, and not wasting your time on writing the bullet points down. If the professor does not use a PowerPoint, write down the headings from the literature and the main concepts below. If you write by hand, print the PowerPoint out and write directly on the paper.
3. Be active!
In my experience, active learning is the method that produces the best results. By focusing less on passive reading you have more time to spend on doing as many exercises as possible throughout the course and discuss with friends. This gives the information context, and it becomes easier to memorise. Also, the exercises are great tools for understanding what is important. At the beginning of the exam period, it is a good idea to look through at least two old exams. Make notes of what is recurring and what the main themes are, it is common that a lot of the questions are similar with only a few changes.
4. Take breaks!
While studying it is important to take an occasional break to have the energy to stay focused. It is easy to just keep on going until you lose focus and stare into your books. It has been proven that you get more productive learning time if you take a break every 45 minutes. You can keep track of your breaks by using your timer on your phone.
Hope this will help you get through your next exam! Remember to listen, be active, take breaks, and not overwork. If you do not feel like you have the time to enjoy the wonderful life of Lund, you are doing it wrong. Lastly, do not forget to use the help the university provides and, especially, the help we can provide to each other.