Biology, ecology and biomedical science at Brighton

University of Brighton biosciences blog

Top 5 study tips

University can be an amazing experience, living in a new city meeting new people and getting involved with activities you never pictured yourself doing can be life-changing.

However, once all the excitement of the first couple weeks wears off, you’re going to realise that most people are there for the degree at the end of the tunnel. With the Christmas break over and first semesters exams looming, I figured the best topic I could write about are my top 5 study tips!

  1. Go to all your lectures

This might sound so obvious that it’s stupid, but you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to justify not going. You might tell yourself you study better alone, or that you don’t pay attention, or maybe that you just don’t like the lecturer. Don’t fall in to this trap! Remember, the lectures are what you’re paying for, and while Brighton does a great job of giving you access to all the PowerPoints, the lecturers will often tell you what they want you to focus on in the lecture.

  1. Study to understand, not just remember

Turning up is half the battle, but the other half is making sure you actually understand the content. I’ve been guilty of blindly taking notes and losing track of what I actually just learned. Raw memorisation won’t get you a first, but engaging with the topic and studying it further will. Remember that the lectures are just a skeleton of expected knowledge and do your own further reading and develop your own ideas!

  1. Use every resource you can

It’s the 21st Century, and the internet is a magical thing. Google and YouTube can be your best friend when it comes to refreshing your brain on a topic! There are hundreds of fantastic videos, often by university professors, that can help explain a topic in a way that your lecturer might not have been able to. Don’t forget about more traditional approaches too, as a student you have access to the entire library, as well as eBook copies that you can look at from home. A quick refresher read of a textbook chapter can be invaluable. Hunt around and find something that works for you instead of banging your head against a dry PowerPoint that isn’t doing the job!

  1. Talk to your classmates

It’s often said that teaching is the best way to learn, and for me the most successful change in my learning approach was realising the value of talking an idea through. Finding a group of people where you can take turns teaching or helping each other on topics you’re struggling with can be a great exercise to test your knowledge Just make sure you’re actually meeting to study and don’t get too distracted!

5. Don’t panic!

Remember that it’s just an exam, and to take it easy when you need to. Staying up until 5am pounding coffees and energy drinks for that last-minute cram isn’t going to be as helpful as staying calm and getting enough sleep. A bit of self-care can go a long way.

Jamie Mccluskey • January 7, 2019

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