The new semester is here, so now is a great time to reset yourself and identify good learning habits that can help you boss this semester, before you get too bogged down in work. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help get you started on making a fresh start to your learning!
“We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.” — John Dewey
Before you look forward, start by looking back on your learning last semester and on the assessments you’ve just had to figure out what worked well and what didn’t work well for you. Identifying what your strengths and weaknesses were will help you understand what you need to focus on to improve this semester.
Maximise your learning in lectures
Personalise your note-taking
There are lots of different ways to take note of information, you can:
- Write it down
- Type it out
- Use visual formats, such as flow charts and mind maps
- Or record and listen back to it.
Think about what style is the easiest and most engaging to you and what will help you retain the information better.
You could also categorise and order your notes into different themes and topics using keywords or visuals (such as coloured stickers) in the margins or headers. This will help you find relevant information, quickly, when it comes to studying and writing up coursework.
Make the most of recorded lectures
If your lectures are recorded (or your lecturer gives you permission to record them yourself), take advantage of that! This will help if there’s a point you missed when taking notes or if you need to go back over something in more detail.
If you’re going to record them yourself, make sure to sit as close to the front as possible and position your phone away from anything that might make noise. Just remember — never record your lectures without your lecturer’s permission.
Asking questions is a big part of learning. It helps you explore and understand information better, and questions also lay the foundation for critical thinking.
If you don’t want to ask a question in the middle of a lecture, talk to your lecturer afterwards, or save it for a seminar or workshop to be able to discuss further with your classmates.
It’s also important to continue asking questions outside of lectures. Noting down questions you have about the content when going over your work will help you identify areas that you may be struggling with (and may need additional support with) and it’s also a good way to indicate potential research topics for assignments.
Make time for regular study sessions
Having regular study sessions to go over content you’re learning each week will really help you in the long run:
- You’ll be more prepared when it comes to your exams and assignments;
- You won’t feel the need to cram in a last minute monster study session;
- And you should feel more organised which will help you better balance your studies with other things in your life.
By implementing some or all of these tips now, at the beginning of the new semester, you’re giving yourself valuable time to prepare before assignments and assessments creep up, which will hopefully minimise feeling overwhelmed by your work!