Good Evening Night Owls!

This idea behind this article is courtesy of a member of ‘Campus Society’. Therefore, I am going to try my very best to write an article around this topic. Now, I do not know how useful this article will be as I do not really believe I have a specific way of ‘studying’ or if I even have any ‘study techniques’ – but here we go!

To kick this article off, I’ll describe how I ‘study’ – if you can call it that, you be the judge.

When it comes time to study an assignment or do an exam, I seemingly always go about it in the same way. Usually, with the first couple of weeks, I’ll pull a couple of days/week straight of working at home/library and get all my research and planning done. Therefore, everything will be ready. Plan, quotes, structure, reference and bibliography – everything, done. However, it seems as soon as I’ve done this, my motivation splits into another dimension. I literally end up leaving the writing part until a week or two before the deadline. Why? I have no idea. I truly do believe I work better under pressure – as a lot of students do, but yeah, that’s how that happens. My record so far is writing a 2,500-word assignment in two hours. I mean, if all the planning and research is there, writing it up is not too difficult.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have friends who literally leave ALL their work until the last week (or sometimes the last few hours). I have friends that will be in the library at every possible chance up until the deadline. I have friends that do a couple of hours a day or a set amount of hours a week – it all depends on how you study best. I do believe that all students will agree, there is nothing like writing in an assignment in a blind panic. That’s always fun.

Now I’ll attempt to set out some steps you could follow when studying. I’m not saying they are tried and tested and it is most definitely not what I do – so, in some way, I am being hypocritical. However, they may work for you. Like I said, everybody works in different ways.

  • As soon as the assignment is given, plan out your time. Look at how long you’ve got until the due date and look at how many weeks you have between then. Then look at how many hours a week you want to dedicate to studying and so on.
  • From there, create a study plan. What do you want to achieve per week, set yourself little goals and strive to achieve them.
  • Find yourself a little corner of the library and surround yourself with books upon books. My key tip is do not think you have to read EVERY page of these books. Look at the contents and look at specific chapters that will benefit you, only read these and collect quotations.
  • Whilst collecting quotations build up a bibliography – at the end of the day, you’ve gone through a lot of books. You can say which ones you referenced later.
  • Then, break down your question into sections and plan out your assignment. What do you need to answer? How can you answer it? Plan your structure and paragraphs.
  • Go through your quotation list and select the ones that will be most beneficial to your argument. Maybe highlight them and rank them on the most useful and the least useful.
  • Once you’ve done all this, take a week’s break and a breather and let off some steam.
  • Return back to it and get writing! Write like you’ve never written before!

And before you know it, you’ll have completed it! Obviously, you can do first and second drafts and so on but that is pretty self-explanatory! You can either use parts of my list or completely ignore it – whatever you feel is best. As I’ve said, everybody studies differently.

My MAJOR advice to the first years is this. Although you may not think first year counts and for some universities, that’s true. Do not think you can just slack off and give it a half-hearted effort. Use this year to understand the kind of work you need to put in to achieve specific grades – understand how you work best and carry this over to the following years. Don’t waste this time!

Best of luck all years with any upcoming assignments and dissertations!

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