Blog: My top tips for studying at home

Author, Ana Ghaffari is a 1st year Law student at the University of Liverpool.

Hi everyone! I hope that you are all keeping safe and well. With exam season approaching soon, I wanted to share a few of my favourite tips and tricks for successful studying at home.

1. Know when your “study time” is

We have all been in that boat where we’ve said we’d spend 2 hours on our coursework to get it over and done with. Yet, in reality it takes 4 hours to complete 2 paragraphs because we’ve had Netflix in the background, listened to PARTYNEXTDOOR’s new album and eaten almost everything in the snack drawer. Remember that time?

Well, one thing I’ve learnt from my many mistakes is to know your study time and set an appropriate duration for this time. For example, I know that on a Monday-Friday my study time is in the morning, and usually lasts about 3 hours. At this time, not only am I the most productive as there are no distractions, but it also creates a sense of routine that I can stick to every day.

It’s important to note that not everybody’s “study time” is the same, as some people work best in the evening (Or at 1am – you do you.). It really is just trial and error to see what times work for you. Nevertheless, having that study time for yourself is key to have a successful study session and get everything you want complete!

2. The “Eat that Frog” method

I must admit I learnt this method quite recently, but it has honestly changed my life. Brian Tracy is the architect for this incredible technique that will make studying (or any goal) easy to accomplish.

The first step is to prioritise all your tasks that need completing in order of importance. Then, the idea is to complete the biggest / most important task first. The concept behind this is that it puts you in a much more productive mood to get more, smaller tasks complete. It also gives you a sense of relief because you have completed the task that was at the forefront of your worries – so your study session can only go up from there!

3. Engage with your studies

Studying is fun. Controversial, I know. But it really is.

By studying, we open our minds to new concepts and ideas and in turn become more knowledgeable. There are so many ways we can interestingly engage with our studies at home to execute our study goals.

An example of this is watching documentaries or films about topics relating to your course which help to contextualise what you are learning about in a more interactive way. For my law coursework, I watched the ITV show “Quiz” to contextualise my understanding of the courtroom process, and picked out all of the errors that I could see. I had learnt about the court system in my lectures, so by picking out which elements were misrepresented helped me to engage with my studies and deepen my knowledge.

If your course does not have relevant documentaries, using images or pictures around your room to remember facts is a great way to engage with your studies in a smarter, more effective way.

4. Use apps to make studying “app-ier”

Let’s be completely real with each other, I’m not paying £50 a month for my iPhone, for it to then be sat in another room when I study. Your phone is only a distraction if you let it be. The magic of “Do not Disturb” or even “Airplane Mode” help to keep distractions away and become your study device.

Apps like Forest (£1.99 I know, but if you want a cheap version “Flora” is similar) can help you to assign certain time limits to certain tasks whilst simultaneously planting a virtual tree for your virtual garden. But, each time you use the app effectively, you collect coins that can count towards planting a real tree in the real world. Who doesn’t want to plant a tree by simply studying smarter?

Or, if you’re not much of a nature person, apps like “Quizlet” can help you create flashcards online if you are short of pen and paper at home. There are many apps in the Appstore that can help encourage you to study smarter – all you need to do is have a look!

5. Know there’s always someone to talk to

Being at home can make us feel incredibly overwhelmed when there is a concept you don’t understand and nobody you can physically turn to for help. I have been there. But, realising that there are people to talk to is always something to remember and remind yourself in these hard times.

It is paramount to know that lecturers and tutors are always available on email to clear up points that you are not so confident in. As well as this, group chats and course friends are also always available to help you in areas of confusion.

It is important not to overwhelm yourself. The likelihood is that if you are struggling, someone else in your course will too and by interacting with one another you are also helping each other. You are not alone and there is always someone to speak to.

I hope you have found some of my top tips useful! We are all in this difficult time together, and there is no doubt that we are all more than capable of smashing these exams and getting the goals we want to achieve. Thank you for reading, stay safe, and don’t forget to wash your hands!