6 small steps to take control of your learning.

University of Leeds
3 min readNov 9, 2022


Feeling stressed about exams and assessment? Are you overwhelmed with the amount of work? Good news! You don’t have to study 10 hours a day to get results. Try these 6 small steps and take control over your studies without pushing yourself too hard.

Choose a time and place.

Environment really matters. For most people, the perfect study environment will be quiet and distraction-free. Maybe it’s your bedroom early in the morning, maybe a quiet café or a library. Choose a place where you can focus and feel comfortable. Find a guide to our Libraries, and a guide to cafes on campus.

Choosing the right time to study is equally important. Determine when you are the most alert and able to concentrate. Is it in the early morning? Or maybe you work better at night? Make use of your natural preferences and make it a habit to study then.

Interior of the Brotherton Library
Brotherton Library

2. Study everyday

It sounds like a lot, but you don’t have study for hours every day. Yet, it is important to make studying your habit, so set yourself a bare minimum, like reading 10 pages. On the day you don’t have much energy or you’re really busy, only do your minimum — it’s much better than not doing anything — and study more when you can.

3. Be an active reader

Even if you’re only reading your 10 pages, make sure you make the most of your time. Simply reading and re-reading text is rarely enough. There are many ways to be an active reader: you can underline key words and phrases; make annotations on the margins (make sure you use post-it notes if you’re reading a library book!); ask critical questions like ‘who wrote this?’ or ‘How does this text links with others in the module?’, you can try to summarize what you’ve just read and identify gaps in your knowledge to come back to later. Learn more about critical reading from Skills@ Library.

4. Revise your notes

As you go along, your knowledge builds up on what you’ve learnt previously. Therefore, it’s extremely important to remember and understand what you learnt in previous weeks and months. Review and revise your notes at least once a week. This way you’ll have the knowledge you need when you need it. Remembering what you’ve learnt and where you’ve learnt it from will make revision to exams way less stressful and writing essays so much faster and easier.

Two young women talking in a classroom.
Be active during your seminars

5. Make the most out of your lectures and seminars.

You’re already there, so why not use this time in the most productive way to aid your learning? If you followed the previous tips, you’ve already done your readings, you understand the topic, you know how the themes links with the rest of the module, and you remember what you’ve learnt before. Equipped with all that knowledge you are ready to ask questions, take part in discussions, and be open to nuances which will give you even deeper understanding of the topic. To shy to speak up? Check out the resources about boosting your confidence and self-esteem recommended by the Support and Wellbeing Team.

6. Look after yourself

As you know, academic education is important but being healthy and happy is even more important! Moreover, it’s crucial to perform well in your studies. You won’t get great grades long-term if you don’t get enough sleep and eat well. Caring about your wellbeing is simple: move your body, eat nutritious foods, hydrate and connect with others. There’s no prescribed way to that, choose what works for you. Find more tips on wellbeing.

People walking and running along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Move your body