Published: 6 April 2020
Classes might be happening over your computer for a while, but life at the University of Sunderland in London still goes on. It’s been said a lot, but developing routines and habits is the best way to look after your mental health while we’re in lockdown. What better habit for a university student to practice than studying!? Try out some of our five favourite study habits and learn some life-long skills.
Make a schedule
Number one on any list of study habits has to be making a schedule. Writing down what you’re going to do and when gives you something to build your days around and lets you keep an eye on your progress. There’s loads of guidance on writing a study schedule online. But start by making it simple, work out what you want to achieve that week, then that day and break your day up into manageable chunks.
Create your environment
This one is so important while we’re on lockdown. Finding your own space can help you focus. But it also means that, when you leave that area, you can switch off and relax. Make sure it’s a quiet spot where you’re less likely to be disturbed. If noise is unavoidable, try wearing headphones. There are loads of free playlists to listen to that help give you focus. Also, try to avoid studying on the bed or the sofa.
Study in bursts
Treat your brain like a muscle. You wouldn’t work out one muscle for eight hours a day because you’d very quickly tire yourself out. So don’t try studying all day non-stop. Instead, try working in short bursts then taking breaks. One popular method is the Pomodoro Technique. In it, you work for 25 minutes then take a five-minute break. Repeat this four times but on the fourth break rest for 20 minutes. You should find you’re able to focus better.
Of all the tips on this list, this could be the most important. Studies show that sleep plays an important part in memory both before and after learning a new task. The NHS recommends you sleep for eight hours each night. There are loads of tips out there for falling, and staying, asleep. But try simple things like avoiding caffeine after 12pm and turning off screens an hour before you want to fall asleep.
Find a study group
Studying with other people is a great way to stay on top of your workload and help you to see things from a different perspective rather than trying to work everything out on your own. Plus, whilst we’re in lockdown, a study group could help you keep in contact with people outside of your home. Try the Halo app for finding students near you or connect with your classmates over social media or video conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype or Whatsapp.
There are, of course, hundreds of more tips out there. But studying is a very individual thing, so spend some time finding out what works best for you. Share your favourite study tips with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.