You are responsible for organising your time, planning your work schedule and making sure you meet deadlines.
Before making a plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I need to do?
- When is the deadline?
- How long will it take?
Create a long-term plan for the term ahead, which outlines all of your lectures, classes, deadlines and exams. Use a wall planner, month planner or diary - whatever you feel is going to be most useful.
Create a weekly planner outlining what you want to achieve daily. Block out contact time in University (lectures etc.) and work out how you are going to use your unscheduled time, such as time for private study, extra-curricular activities and socialising.
Try writing a daily 'to do' list so you know exactly what your targets are. You’ll feel better when you cross off tasks you have completed.
Be realistic about what you feel you can achieve - it’s very demoralising when you don't complete anything.
Remember to leave time for other activities - take time out for sleeping, eating, exercise and recreation.
Plan ahead - don't leave everything until the last minute. Start assignments early.
To make your studies seem more controllable, break down large projects and assignments into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Instead of just putting 'write essay' on your planner or 'to do' list, break it down into essay plan, introduction, main arguments, conclusion, references etc.
After breaking these larger tasks into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks, set target dates. Put your list of reasonable objectives where you can see them.
Try to do the most difficult things when you feel at your best. If you know you find some tasks less interesting than others, make sure you work on these first. This will help you get them out of the way and enable you to start on more interesting projects.
Sitting at your desk for hours staring at texts doesn't mean you are learning effectively. Most people's concentration span is between 20 and 50 minutes. Working for much longer than 50 minutes will mean you lose concentration and won't take things in and you are unlikely to be productive.
Have a short break (up to 10 minutes) every hour - stand up and move around, make a cup of tea - don't just sit at your desk.
Don't go and watch TV or play a computer game! If there is something interesting on, you won't go back to studying.
Don't push yourself too hard if your concentration is flagging - it won't help your motivation for learning.
Stop when you have completed a task, and reward yourself.
At intervals, it’s a good idea to review how things are going and possibly rewrite your plan or 'to do' list appropriately. Understand what gets in the way of your learning and try to minimise these distractions.
Remember! Unexpected things always happen. Be flexible, don't get upset when plans have to change but don't give up - reschedule!