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Seven tips for studying at home

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Published: 20 April 2020

University of Sunderland in London student studying in the Library

As the University of Sunderland in London and it's staff enter the fifth week of lockdown, you might feel like you’ve gotten used to studying from home. Patterns can set in; when you get up, when you eat, how you study, when you take breaks. That kind of repetition is good for , which is important. But it can also lead to a drop in focus, which means you’re learning less. Take a look through our tips to find out how you can study smarter, not harder.

1) Active studying

Active studying is simply asking yourself questions about what you’re studying before, during and afterwards. It can give you a direction and focus, and help to reinforce the information you’ve read.

Before studying, ask yourself:

  • What am I about to learn?
  • What do I already know about the subject?

Whilst you’re studying: 

  • How does what I’m reading fit into the wider subject?
  • Do I understand what I’m reading/can I simplify it in my own words?
  • What key ideas or words can I write down?

After you’ve finished:

  • What can I take away from what I’ve just read?
  • What do I need to look at next time?

2) Get a good night’s sleep

, but sleep is one of the most important things a student needs. According to the NHS, lack of sleep makes it hard to concentrate, which makes it harder to study. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can give your brain the chance to rest and process the information you’ve learnt while studying.

3) Early bird or night owl?

Everyone’s rhythms are different. Some people find they are more productive in the mornings, others later in the day. It’s important to work out when you study best and build your schedule around that. 

4) Your study space

Where you study can be almost as important as how you study, especially when you’re confined to your home. Make sure you don’t study where you rest or, if possible, where you eat. Also, keep your study space clean and organised. It’ll help to keep your mind organised as well.

5) Eat properly

The lockdown has affected all of our eating habits. Snacking is very much on the rise. While your brain needs to stay fueled, it’s important to not overindulge on unhealthy snacks which can lead to tiredness and less brainpower. Have a look for healthy snacks you can munch on whilst you study. 

6) Get the washing up out the way

One of the biggest differences between studying at the University and studying from home is you have all the distractions you could want now. It’s easy to feel productive if you, for example, do the vacuuming or the washing up. But if you’re doing it because you don’t want to study, then it has the opposite effect. To avoid the temptation of this kind of productive procrastination, get your chores out of the way before you sit down to study. That way you have nothing to distract you. 

7) Timetable your day

When you’re at home all the time it’s easy for your days to merge into one. Right now, you don’t have the pattern of home-university-home. It can be hard to shut off when you start studying like this. It can also be hard to start studying. The best way to get around this is to set your own timetable. Right down when you’ll be studying what and keep to it. Most importantly, when stop when you say you’re going to stop. You need to rest too

Don’t forget that everyone is different in how they study. It’s important to find the pattern that works best for you. Don’t try and push yourself beyond what is healthy, but make sure you’re getting the most out of your time at the University of Sunderland in London. If you want to talk through any health and wellbeing issues that might be affecting how you study, book an appointment with our team at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk.

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