Tips and Tricks to Make the Most of Your Studies

By University of East Anglia Modified on July 29, 2019

Maximize your potential by focusing on how you learn!

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University of East Anglia Philosophy students and lecturer Fiona Roxburgh.

Successful academic study is not only about what you learn ? it's also about how you learn. Whether you are absorbing knowledge in a lecture or by reading, you want to make sure that you maximize your potential. What exactly can you take to achieve this?

The Basics

To get the most out of your lectures (pdf), it's extremely helpful to come properly prepared. This includes ensuring that you have studied the recommended or required texts. Take notes (pdf) while reading. This will allow you to contextualize the information of the upcoming lecture a lot better. Read critically (video) by assessing the quality and relevance of the information you find. The amount of material may seem overwhelming, but remember that academic reading is not necessarily about absorbing every word on every page. Rather, it's about selecting what is most useful and relevant for your purposes. To help with this, you'll need to read widely, understand key issues and debates, evaluate ideas and theories, and bring these together with your own ideas.

Taking Notes

It might sound obvious, but it's a good idea to come ready to listen while taking adequate notes. Note-taking helps you recall content and stay focused. Making notes in your own words can be an active way to engage and may help you to check for comprehension. While you may find it easier to type notes on a laptop or tablet, be careful that you don't fall victim to the distractions of other applications and social media. Please, put your phone away and put it on silent! It's highly likely that you won't need to get everything written down, so balance listening and writing. If you find your professor is speaking too quickly, you can ask if he or she will consent to being recorded. If the answer is no, find a buddy in your class that can support you.

Review and Reflect

Finally, try reviewing your notes and check for understanding. It is important to know that your classmates and even your professor will be able to assist you with any questions or concerns that arise. In some cases, you may want to re-organize your notes or put them in a different format than you are able to during the lecture. It might take some time and trials to find the ideal structure for your notes. Nevertheless, they should be clear and concise.

Now's the time to take your learning into your own hands. We hope you've selected a subject that excites you! If so, you'll be motivated to read, pay attention, and take notes. Remember to choose what works for you. Most universities will have a student support team to help you develop strategies to help you succeed. Make sure you get the assistance you need to make the most of your university career!

Content is based on UEA's Learning Enhancement Team materials.

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