University can be the time of your life. With the chance to see your friends nearly everyday and seemingly endless summer holidays, it can be easy to forget about the stress of assignments and exams. If you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to lift your grades, check out these 8 tips and tricks to help you study smarter not harder.
1) Get set before class
There’s nothing worse than your bladder deciding to remind you of its presence in the middle of a lecture. As you squirm in your seat hoping that your class will finish soon, you may wonder why you didn’t go to the bathroom before class. The precious time before classes are important so use them wisely. This is your chance go to the bathroom or grab something to eat to avoid the dreaded tummy rumbles. If you’ve got a jam-packed timetable, it’s a good idea to try to get some fresh air between classes or move around a bit to avoid sitting still for extended periods of time.
2) Know when to call it a night
It’s easy to get carried away on a night out, ‘just a couple of quiet drinks’ can quickly turn into a solid session. There’s nothing wrong with letting your hair down but knowing when to call it a night is a skill your morning-after self will thank you for. Lectures and tutorials can be a struggle at the best of times let alone when you’re sleep deprived with a pounding headache. So, next time your friends say ‘c’mon, one more drink’ just remember that it’s ok to head home – you won’t miss much by wrapping up at 1am.
3) Learn your way around the kitchen
Granted, Uber Eats makes it easy to order your favourite food but you’ll soon find the costs add up pretty quickly. You can save yourself a ton of money by learning the basics and building a bank of easy, go-to recipes. Pasta is the real hero here – one food, so many possibilities. Go green with pesto and chicken, get a comforting carbonara with cream and bacon, or stick to mum’s spaghetti with mince and tomatoes. Another benefit is that it’s easy to meal prep and store in the fridge or freezer. Try planning out a couple of different meals for the week before writing a list and hitting the shops. Also, try to avoid shopping when you’re hungry because it’s harder to resist cravings so you’ll end up buying things you don’t need.
4) Speed reading and avoiding tricky questions
Some lecturers assign extra readings as if theirs is the only subject that’s important. If you’re pressed for time and can’t get through it all, there’s a simple answer: speed reading. A quick glance over the material helps keep you up-to-date with the main topics and general concepts. Keep an eye out for easy to absorb information such as headings, summaries, tables, graphs, examples and case studies and use a highlighter to add colour which increases memory. Though speed reading isn’t a substitute for doing the full reading, it’s certainly better than doing no reading at all.
If you haven’t even had time to speed read, there are some simple tactics you can use to avoid being asked a random question in class. Step one: avoid eye contact and look busy. Pretend to be preoccupied with taking notes so your tutor is less likely to ask you a question. Step two: listen intently. Try to make sense of what is being said by your tutor or in work groups. Step three: answer early. When the class is open to discussion, answer early to avoid your answer being said by someone else or getting stuck with a tough question at the end.
5) Don’t sweep issues under the rug
Living with other people can have its pros but it’s good to remember that sometimes things don’t go to plan. If an issue arises, it’s important to talk about it because simply hoping it will ‘sort itself out’ never works. Sometimes, it can be an awkward conversation but it’s better than letting things escalate further and creating tension. If your housemates also happen to be your friends, it can add a whole other layer of complexity but if you approach the conversation with a constructive mindset to address the issue, then your friendship should be able to weather the storm.
6) The dreaded B word….Budget
Budgeting might sound boring but you’ll thank yourself for it when you still have money for food at the end of the week. Working out a budget is only half the battle, step two is sticking to it. It can be easy to overspend and before you know it, rent is due the next day and you’re short. To avoid this, try keeping your accounts separate. So when you get paid, transfer money for rent, bills and other living expenses into a separate account to remove the temptation to overspend.
To help stretch your budget further, try to take advantage of student discounts. Students who travel to Uni via public transport may be eligible for a travel concession while those who drive may be entitled to reduced car rego. There are also discounts available for other Uni related costs such as books and computers. Also, keep an eye out for retailers such as cinemas and restaurants who offer student deals.
7) Unfortunately, cleaning is a part of adulting
The key is to get it done before it gets out of hand. It’s much easier to wash your dishes after dinner than facing a pile of dirty dishes at the end of the week. Likewise, running a load of laundry every now and then means you don’t have to resort to random items of clothing because it’s the only clean thing left. When it comes to living in a share house, a cleaning roster can be a good way to make sure that everyone pitches in and all common areas are kept clean.
8) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Uni can be quite fast-paced, one minute it’s O-week and the next you’re buried under a ton of assignments with exams around the corner. If you’re struggling to keep on top of all of it, speak to your tutors who are there to help. If there’s a question or topic you don’t understand, your tutor can try explaining it a different way rather than you spending valuable time poring over your books trying to teach yourself and getting frustrated.
Uni can be the best days of your life but it can also be intense with the pressure of assignments and exams. It’s important to develop good habits early and have a solid game plan in place to get you through and help you smash your 2019 goals.
* The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.