Make essays easy: 17 basic study tips for university

Now you've been thrown in at the deep end, it's time to find out how to swim...

Getting back into the rhythm of studying may seem a little daunting when you’ve had a whole summer off. But when you’re equipped with the right tools and techniques, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Studentbeans.com has put together a list of simple study tips that can make all the difference to your uni year.

Take good lecture notes

It may sound a bit obvious but if you take down good notes it will save you a lot of time come revision time. Make sure you start a new page for every lecture, keep any hand-outs in a folder and don’t bother taking down entire sentences – key words and concepts are all you need. When you get home, expand on the notes you’ve taken, this way you’ll revisit the lecture for a second time.

Gather all your notes in one space

A lot of timewasting occurs when you’re busy sourcing the material you need to study. Keep everything organised together in one space, so when you do quickly need to see that sheet from last term again, you don’t waste hours trying to find it.

Make it visual

Many students are visual learners which means just reading something over and over again isn’t going to cut it. Visual learners need sights, images and visual concepts to make things stick. Organising your material into charts, maps and diagrams.

Vary the way you study

Not everyone is a visual learner, there are plenty of other study methods out there that may be more suitable to you. You might be someone that learns by doing things; in that case record yourself reading out your notes and listen to it over again. If you’re someone who remembers song lyrics easily, check to see if there are relevant podcasts available of your course.

Get somebody to test you

Asking someone to test you is a productive break from the dreary monotonous studying routine. This will also allow you to see where you’re strengths lie and what sections you need to re-visit. Also, knowing that in an hour your housemate is coming down to test you may spur you on when you’re studying.

Group study

Forming a study group will make you feel less alone when you’re studying. Make sure everyone in the group is on the same page; braggers, slackers, and super-stressed people won’t make you feel any better.

Find old exam papers

Using a past paper, undertake a mock exam under exam conditions. This will help you practice writing under time constraints. Past papers will help you get an idea of the topics and questions that are likely to come up and reduce any nasty surprises on exam day.

Don’t study in bed

Your bed is for sleeping and watching repeats of Come Dine With Me – your brain won’t be switched to knowledge in-take gear if you study under your duvet.

Take breaks

Break up your revision schedule with short breaks. A good study break consists of an activity that allows you to take your studying. Don’t go on Facebook or watch the Hollyoaks Omnibus, or any other activity that will suck you in a procrastination warp though – keep it short.

Reward yourself

It can’t be all about study, study, study. If you have achieved a study goal, or mastered a particular tricky bit of material – do reward yourself with something you like doing.  Quick game of Fifa, a new coat of nail polish or a chat with a mate.

Change up what you’re studying

Don’t stick to one topic; instead study a bunch of different material in one sitting. This technique will make sure your brain doesn’t go into auto-pilot.

Learn the general concepts first

Don’t worry about learning the details until you have gotten the hang of the main ideas. If you don’t actually understand what you’re studying, it doesn’t stick.

Explain it to a five-year-old

Ask a friend to pretend they’re five years old (bear with us here...) and try to explain what you are studying to them. This means you are going to have to simplify what you are learning and break it down, which will ultimately help you out too.

Avoid cramming, but revisit your notes before an exam

We all know cramming is a no-go. You stress yourself out and the material quickly exits your brain. However, calmly revisiting key notes and flash cards will allow you to feel prepared. Everything will be fresh in your mind when you take the exam.

Feed your brain with water, sleep and healthy foods

Don’t let a diet of energy drinks, chocolate bars and sugary tea ruin all that hard work you’ve done. You want your brain to be in optimal condition for all that information to sink in. Stay hydrated and don’t let your body crash. Keep your blood sugar up with healthy snacks like nuts, raisins, bananas and slow releasing energy foods like oats and apples.

Find your perfect ‘study time’

Some people are ready to go from the movement they wake up, whilst others remember the most at around 3am in a silent library. Experiment with different times so you can figure out what suits you.

Lastly, stay positive

Be confident and don’t let your nerves get the better of you. If you feel stressed, make sure you relax, take some deep breaths or do some exercise.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot