To get the most out of your university education, it is important to develop good study habits.
How do you work best?
There is a lot that affects your studies: motivation, prior knowledge, study habits/methods, study/living environment, and, of course, who you are and your experiences. Everyone learns in different ways. Start thinking about how you study and what type of environment you need to have to get as good a set-up as possible to succeed with your studies.
- Where do you study the best? At home, at the campus or the library?
- When do you read best? Are you an evening or morning person?
- How do you learn the best? By listening to the material? By discussing it with your course mates?
Use the time you are most alert to work with the most difficult study material. Start with mental preparation and focus on what you need to do. Limit study sessions. It will be easier to both get started and stay focused if you know it’s for a set time. Take one thing at a time. To begin with:
- make a rough plan for the whole term
- make weekly plans for each class
- set goals.
Take breaks and find motivation
Something important to stay concentrated is to take breaks and find motivation.
- Try not to read for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Then take a short break. Review the new things that you have learned. The more often you review, the easier it will be to remember.
- Take regular breaks to move and counteract tension in the body. Try some relaxation exercises.
- Take a break to eat, the body and the brain need new energy.
- Motivate yourself. Practice a positive inner dialogue. Think about what you have achieved.
- Think about the goal of the course and focus on the task at hand. Focus on today and now, not on yesterday or tomorrow.
Are you a procrastinator?
Do you have to put pressure on yourself to get started with a job, or are you a person who is mostly ready in time before the deadline? If you identify which your procrastination patterns are, you may recognise the next time the thoughts come and you can try to work against them.
Reading strategies – tips
Think of the reading process as a three-step process: before, during, and after
Consider what the purpose of your reading this particular text is. What is it that you hope to get out of it? Try to get an overview of the text by reading the tables of contents, subheadings, captions, and looking at the illustrations. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you think this text is going to be about?
- What do you expect to learn from this text?
By familiarising yourself with the text this way, you will make it easier for yourself to read reflectively, and also to remember what you have read afterwards.
Consider which parts of the text to read carefully (deep reading) and which parts you could skim (surface reading).
When you readthe text, ask yourself questions and actively search for answers in the text. Some examples of questions you could ask are:
- What is the aim of this text?
- What is the main argument of the text?
- How is this argument supported?
- How is this text similar and/or different from other texts I have read on the same topic?
Take notes while reading and make sure you use your own words in your notes. Use a pencil, computer, or recording device (such as your phone) to make short summaries of what you have read.
Read topic sentences
Read the first sentence in each paragraph of text. These are called topic sentences.
Note down key words in these topic sentences. For some students, it might be helpful to make a mind map, other students prefer a more linear note-taking system. See what works best for you! No matter what kind of notes you take, writing down key words will help you to remember main points when you read the text in more detail.
Now it’s time to move on to deep reading. But it’s still ok to skim over the details! They are usually just there to provide examples of the main points. Try to take notes or record short summaries of what you’ve read. Ask yourself what the author is trying to say.
Try to remember what the text was about. Consider what was difficult. Look up this particular thing. Were there words or concepts that seemed important? Do you know what they mean? If not, look them up.
Over the next few days, try to remember what the article was about. Ask yourself what the aim and main argument of the article was. Try to formulate this with your own words before you look at your notes.
Writing strategies – tips
Writing has many challenges – from organising your thoughts logically to being able to proofread and see the details in what you have written.
Try to begin by planning what you want to say in your text. Make sure you understand the assignment…what “job” is the text supposed to do? Is your text supposed to persuade the reader? Or is it a neutral discussion? Or something else?
Once you have planned your text, you will start the practical work of writing. You may wish to activate a language-checking program that can help you identify grammar and spelling errors. As a student you have also the opportunity to download spelling programs.
Listen to your text – you can often hear things that need to be changed. You can either read aloud to yourself or listen to your text by using a free text-to-speech tool.
When you think that you are finished, ask someone you trust to proofread your text.
Guide to study strategies
The course Guide to Study Strategies is an online non-credit course in Studium, where you study independently to improve your study skills. The course offers advice on how to plan your studies, note-taking techniques and academic writing, for example.
The Language Workshop
Throughout the writing process, you can book an appointment with the Language Workshop for tutoring in academic writing.
The libraries offer course literature, reading places and support for reading disabilities.
The Student Health Service
If you want advice and individual support, you can contact Student Health Service. They offer individual counselling and lectures and courses that are connected to life as a student.
Coordinators for targeted study support
If you have a ldiagnosed reading and writing disorders/dyslexia, you can get targeted study support during your time at Uppsala University.