How to Excel in the First Year of University

Pace yourself

Plan ahead, time manage. Yep, you’ve heard it before but nowhere has it been more important. At university, you need to plan head. You’re possibly juggling multiple jobs as well as study, family and social commitments so finding out about deadlines or your assessment pieces the first thing is integral.

After you’ve plotted them all in your calendar, work backwards and plan out weekly and/or daily sessions to help you achieve the grade you want. 

Yes, this can be overwhelming if you’re only just becoming familiar with campus and uni life more generally but to achieve those high distinctions you need to enter those early weeks at uni with an action plan otherwise that first piece of assessment will creep up on you out of nowhere.

Use memory devices

Mnemonic devices or memory devices are shortcuts that assist the retention or retrieval of information, particularly in exams. They can be a rhyme, acronyms, anagrams, lyrics or poems. Whatever works to jolt your memory. 

We recommend writing these down as soon as you’re allowed in an exam so you can clear your head and focus on the task at hand.

Ask questions

Actually talk to your lecturers and classroom tutor and ask detailed questions if once a concept has still been introduced, you don’t quite understand it. 

If you’re too shy to ask in a lecture room or in a tutorial, wait behind after class, email the lecturer or call and set up an appointment. They’re there to help after all!

Interact with the content

Reading the course material over and over again may seem like a great idea but research shows it’s not effective. Write notes as you study, quiz your friends, draw out some concepts, find a metaphor or create a mind map. A true mark of understanding a concept is being able to explain it to a beginner.

Talk to a past student

Often students are struggling with the course lecturer and structure just as much as the course content. Past students have already gone through all that stress before. Not only do they understand the content, they understand your lecture, the assessments and the pain you’re going through. 

Know yourself

Know your learning style. Are you predominantly visual (words, pictures), auditory (sound, music), verbal (words) or tactile (touching, doing)? Find out (take this free quiz) and play to your strengths. 

Put these methods into place and you’ll save yourself a lot of tears. There are a tonne of different study hacks and if you have any sweet tips we want to hear from you.

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