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Going back to uni? Here are five study tips to make your life easier.
1. Get ‘appy
Back in the dark ages of undergraduate study, you’d show up to a lecture with a handful of pens, a notebook and a clunky laptop (if you had one at all). The internet also made that weird dial-up sound when you connected, but this isn’t about how old you are, okay? We’ve moved on now – hurrah! Today, it’s less about notebooks and highlighters, and more about using one of the thousands of study and organisation apps out there. From Fetchnotes (which lets you organise your study notes by hashtag) to SelfControl (an anti-procrastination tool) and RefMe (which creates a citation for you when you scan the barcode of a book), apps can take over a lot of the drudge work you used to have to do yourself. Get on to it and save yourself heaps of time. And highlighters!
2. Or, go retro
If the thought of browsing the app store makes you feel queasy, never fear. Be that person who uses a notepad and pen without even trying to be ironic. Embrace your highlighters, a pen, a ring-bound notebook – if you’re feeling extra reckless, you can even treat yourself to a wooden ruler – and study old-school style. Sometimes the tried and true works just as well.
3. Practice makes perfect
Habit is a key to success, so hit the books as part of your daily learning routine. Whether you get up for early morning study time, get to it after the kids go to bed, or approach it with the same dedication as your regular gym sessions, make it a same-time, same-place event every day.
4. Organise your chaos
Have you ever stepped into an office supply store and thought ‘today is the first day of the rest of my life’? All those folders, notebooks, highlighters, storage and organisational solutions are a symbol of hope that maybe you won’t actually die alone in your apartment, crushed to death by piles of old paper. Treat yourself to a few items that’ll help you stay focused when it comes to your studies – maybe it’s a wall planner so you can see all your assessment items for the month, some document folders to keep your printed notes neat and tidy, or a desk organiser to keep all those random bits of stationery under control. You might even try out some virtual organisation tools – there are some fantastic document plug-ins to manage your reference libraries and do all the formatting for you at a click of a button!
5. Everyone loves a freebie
Studying today is no longer about sitting in cavernous lecture halls listening to someone droning along in front of a boring Powerpoint presentation. New online degrees, free short courses at universities around the world and a whole range of online resources are making it easier than ever to learn what you like, when you like. Keen to expand your skills? Start by checking out free short course options – it’s a great introduction to postgraduate study.