Tips for efficient and focused study

Does if feel like your life stops when exams start? If you feel this way, mature student Kate has shared some of her tips on efficient, focused study you might find helpful. Kate is in her third year of a BSc Philosophy and runs a research and consulting business. I think efficient might be her middle name.

Just reading stuff and writing down notes wasn’t working for me – it was an utterly dull way to learn, so I turned to storyboards and hey presto, study became more fun and my GPA increased.

Take your notes, probably 30-odd pages for a semester, and start organising and condensing them onto big A2 desk-sized pages according to key topic areas making giant cheat sheets. Organise your notes into a structure using bullet points and adding notes and leave out information you know. I use felt pens, sticky notes and draw pictures and diagrams to get new information to stick in my brain. Then hang your cheat sheet on the wall.

One of Kate’s cheat sheets.

Breaks are really important while studying. After each A2 cheat sheet that you create, take a break. Set your alarm clock or meet a friend – I use my dog as an alarm clock to take a break and go for a walk at the beach. When you come back to do the next cheat sheet, review the previous one before getting started.

Kate’s ‘alarm clock’ is ready for his study break.

As the exam gets closer, aim to reduce your cheat sheet knowledge from an A2 to an A4 or smaller – the more you review the content the smaller and more concise your sheet should get. Rewriting a cheat sheet onto smaller sizes of paper as you grasp the ideas gives you confidence that you’re learning the material.

It’s a myth that you can study for 12 hours straight and digest all the information. If you’re a ‘C’s get degrees’ student, it’s fine, but if you want to actually learn and do well, I find two hour study sessions with breaks, spread over a week or two, is a better approach.

Extra tip: when you read new content, try to find real life examples of how it applies, it makes you more likely to remember it. Or attach the content to a real life memory, for example, if I’m learning about an engineering problem that is abstract, I think of ways it might be used in my life or I think of some wacky analogy – it helps when needing to remember lots of stuff.

Do you have a handy study tip? Share it with your classmates in the comments section below.

GradFest – it’s for postgrad students

Autumn Gradfest is 11 – 15 June and features a variety of sessions to help you on the thesis journey. You will also have opportunities to meet other postgrad students during the breaks and at the welcome social and showcase awards.

Many of the sessions are designed to give you practical tips about different aspects of the research and writing process. For example, you can learn more about note-taking and writing your literature review.

When you need to read and understand large amounts of material, it’s important to make the best use of your time. At GradFest you can also learn how technology can help you stay up-to-date and be more efficient.

Other sessions are focused on careers and cultural communication. These can help prepare you for applying and interviewing for jobs, as well as interacting with people from different backgrounds. There is also a new session where postgrad students discuss what helped them the most during their studies.

Whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or end of your thesis, there is something you’ll find helpful at Gradfest.

Register here>

Check out the full programme here>
See the timetable for everything on offer during GradFest>

Mid-year exam room allocations

Room allocations for the 2018 mid-year exams were released today, Friday 1 June.  You will receive an email with your personal timetable and the full information will be posted on the examinations dates and timetables webpage. From next week, this information will also be available on noticeboards in the Engineering, Central, North Arts and South Arts, Mere Mere (Business and Law) and Ōtakaro Lecture blocks.

Please double-check that you have recorded the right course codes, days and times of your examinations. On the day of your exam, make sure you are at the exam room at least 10 minutes before the official start of your exam.

If these are your first university exams or you need a quick reminder, please spend some time familiarising yourself with the UC examination instructions especially the new regulations regarding cell phones/watches (both digital and analogue) in exams and the UC Calculator policy for the identification of standard non-programmable calculators in exams. Exams which require a calculator with an ‘approved’ sticker are indicated in the instructions. Students are responsible for ensuring that their calculators meet requirements. No spare calculators will be provided to the exam room. You can get your calculator checked at the Student Services desk, ground floor of Matariki building.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact the Examinations team.