If you’ve just begun your year at uni, let me tell you that everything’s going to be different now! After being accustomed to a lot of guidance at school, you’re going to have to cope with new-found independence and, most importantly, far greater masses of information. The key to success is to get into good work and organisational habits right from the beginning.
- Don’t get behind
It might look easy, but going to lectures is sometimes an effort when you’re a student. With the advances in digital technology, many lectures are now available online and it can be hard to make yourself get out of bed. But nothing replaces attentive listening and note-taking. So, a word of advice: remember to set your alarm!
- Plan your revision
Right from the beginning of the year, you’ll be working eight-hour days, on average. That includes not only class time but also the time spent working on your own. It’s important to make yourself stick to this arrangement, so block your revision sessions in your timetable: tutorials, library, in small groups of two or three… Revising with other students is a good way to get to the bottom of notions that might be a bit hazy. With SCRIBZEE, you can make these work sessions even more effective by sharing your discussions with your group of friends by e-mail or on the social networks.
- Don’t skip over any subject
Forget about different subject weightings! Focusing your work on the subjects with the highest coefficients is a very risky bet. Work on all of your subjects, don’t skip any: it’s the best way to pick up those valuable extra marks that might come in handy at the end of the year.
- Use a variety of sources
University lectures are packed with information and you’ll have a lot to take in. It can be difficult sometimes to note everything down and remember it all. The best tactic is to round out your lectures by reading books by specialists on the subject or students’ theses, which you can find at the university library, or even watching films, if you know that they are historically accurate.
- Take handwritten notes to aid memorisation
For best results, nothing beats regular attendance at lectures and taking notes in a notebook. Bear in mind that you remember more of what you’ve heard if you write it down. Note-taking plays an active role in memorisation and in analysing concepts and ideas. Write clearly and legibly so you don’t waste time deciphering scribbles later on. If you skip lines and leave a margin, you’ll have room to fill out your notes later. Lastly, invent your own system of abbreviations to save time.
- Work on your weak points
By the time you get to university, it’s assumed that you’ve mastered various skills such as summarising, handling abstract concepts and organising your ideas. In practice, though, students sometimes have a bit of trouble with one or other of these skills. These skills are fundamental, though, for your studies, so don’t hesitate to subscribe to reviews, take writing courses or do grammar or conjugation exercises (there are lots of them online).
Don’t hesitate to approach your teacher at the end of a lecture if you haven’t understood a concept or if you’d like them to recommend further reading on a particular point. Remember that the university library is a perfect spot, not only for revising but also for finding documentation.
- Manage your timetable
At university, unlike secondary school, timetables can regularly change throughout the year. Carefully note down your timetable, then update it whenever necessary. Include your personal revision time every week, too. Your diary can be your best ally when it comes to time management.
- Once the day’s lectures are finished, get organised!
Once you’re back home, take out your notes and make crib sheets setting out just the key information, dates, names and notions to remember. Create your own colour code and go mad with the highlighters. Then file away your lecture notes each day so they can’t get mixed up or lost. Here again, a notebook is the best way to keep everything together and organised. But you can also scan them and file them in your SCRIBZEE app, just to be on the safe side!
- Have fun
Admittedly most of your time is going to be taken up with uni, but it’s essential to know when to stop, too. Several times a week, get out and unwind: see a film, do some sport, volunteer, go for a walk…
- Take the sting out of revision
Every evening, read over the day’s notes, then again, before the next lecture. If you’ve scanned your notes with SCRIBZEE on your phone or tablet, you can use the travel time to and from uni to read them over. That way, when the mid-year exams come round, a large part of your memorisation work will already be done and you’ll be spared the all-night cramming.