Organisation is key to study success. The idea of organising your time is that you become much more effective, you work at your most productive times and assignments are worked on bit by bit each week, so you are not stressfully trying to complete these at the last minute. Putting time in now to plan your term ahead will pay off in the weeks ahead.
With a mixture of face to face sessions and online learning, this gives you more flexibility to study at times that suit you, but this also requires you to be more skilled in using your time effectively and organising your work schedule. Follow our tips below to help you manage your studies in the online environment.
Start by doing a list of all the things you need to do in a week. This is likely to include: attending weekly tutorials, engaging with online course content, reading set texts and working on your assignments. You will also need to check your module roadmaps and/or weekly plans and keep an eye on your timetable in Outlook to check for any changes. Do this for all your modules, remembering to also include any other social and sports commitments you may have.
Next you need to work out how much time you should allocate to each task. You need to view studying as your full-time job – so look to allocate 35-40 hours a week on these tasks. You could split this evenly between modules (looking at about 9 hours a week per module if you have 4) and then allocate these hours to the weekly tasks. Don’t forget to allocate some time to work towards your assignments each week.
Now you need to create a weekly timetable, which you can do on your phone, though having it on paper and placed on the wall near to where you study works well.
Start with allocating your fixed appointments, like online or face to face sessions, and sport’s training. Somethings will need to be done in a certain order. For instance, you will probably need to engage with your online content before attending a tutorial. Also consider when you study best, and mix up your study practices (reading, writing, listening) within one day to help keep you engaged. You will also need to plan in regular breaks. Try and take longer breaks within a day, ensuring you step away from your device, and get some fresh air and exercise. This is not only important for your mental and physical health but will also help you to study more effectively.
You need to ensure you work backwards from your assignment deadlines and set yourself some weekly goals. So, as well as a weekly planner, we suggest you create a termly planner, like the one below.
Again, start with all the deadlines you have for all your modules; your upcoming assignments can be found on your Blackboard modules. Then for each assessment you should set yourself some weekly targets – and these are what you should be concentrating on in the time you have allocated to assignments each week. In the early weeks, these targets are likely to focus on getting to grips with what you are being asked to do and doing some initial research. You’ll then move through to planning, writing and editing assignments.
To use your study time effectively you need two plans: a weekly timetable, so you have an idea of what you are planning to do each day; and a termly planner, so you have a plan to work towards your assignments each week. For any of the plans to work you need to work at times when you can study best, so devise a plan around this. Do though try to have a regular routine, getting up at the same time each day and sitting down to begin your study at a set time each day. Put your plans somewhere you can see them. And finally, adapt your plan if it doesn’t work for you and swap things around using your gaps, if needed, to ensure you’re keeping on track