How This Melbourne Mum Studies…

Thanks for stopping by to check out my little explanation on how I prepare for classes and study for exams. I’ve studied at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels over the last few years and am now moving on to a Masters by course work. The way I’ve studied hasn’t changed and I’ve enjoyed my time as a student. It helps to have a very fond love for learning and knowledge, but a tonne of behind-the-scenes preparation is what makes or breaks you as a student.

First of all, I gather equipment. Pens, highlighters. white-out, pencils, sticky notes, a ruler, an eraser, two notebooks per subject, my trusty laptop and a few USB sticks to go.

(I buy two notebooks per unit as I use one for assessments and one for note taking and classes).

My favourite equipment: Zebra Mildliners, Unipin fineliners, Faber Castell pencils, Leuchtturm and Moleskine notebooks (in A4 and A5 size)

I have a notebook spare which is always used as a study-related bullet journal. At the moment, I am using a Slim Leuchtturm1917 in the A5 size with square grid pages.

The first notes to jot down include log in details and important sites to keep track of. As I have said in previous blog posts here on This Melbourne Mum, I don’t recommend keeping login details in your everyday journal that travels with you in case you misplace it. Instead, keep login details written on a piece of paper and stick it to your desk or up on the wall near your PC, where the details are visible when you need them most.

My next step in preparation for new classes involves making a list of important contacts that I will be required to communicate with throughout the semester. I add email addresses to my university mailing list so they are always on hand. I also jot down the email address of the coordinator for each unit on the first page of each unit’s notebook.

I then create a semester timetable in my study journal, which outlines my classes and due dates for all units I am enrolled in. I add any due dates in to my everyday journal which comes to work with me, so I can track my shifts and effectively plan my time around those dates each week. Up until this point

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, more than just study keeps me happily busy. I am also a mum of two little ones (which is a full-time job and a half in itself) and I work part-time in a job I absolutely love. This is where my next tip for you comes in handy: create daily and weekly study plans!

Whether you use a timestamp or chronodex or not, my best tip is to note your priorities and goals for each day. Depending on your other personal commitments, allocate blocks of time to rest and to study. DO NOT underestimate how important it is to do both when you are a busy student! I’ve been run down into the ground and it took so many weeks to pick myself up again. And trust me, it is not worth the heartache. You only have so many hours in the day, so make sure you create a balance between rest and study.

In terms of how long you spend studying each day, will depend on what you have to do, how long you have to do it, your other commitments, how rested you are, how distracted you become and your stamina! The Pomodoro Technique is one time management tool you could try to split up your tasks into manageable chunks. You can read about the technique here. However you manage your time, just remember that you will know best what works and isn’t working for you and that you shouldn’t ever risk your health by studying for days on end without appropriate breaks.

Next step (and the most dreaded for me): READING. Once I get access to my unit materials, I find the articles and chapters in books, make a mini “to do” checklist with Titles, Authors, Page Numbers, date to be completed by, and a box to tick once completed and start reading. The issue for reading with me is that I don’t take enough of the information in when I just read. I tend to want to highlight and note take and this has worked for me. I also like to write and re-write my reviews of articles and chapters until the information sinks in! Time consuming, I know. You don’t need to tell me that! But that is the only way that I have found that works for me. I’ll be creating a “how to note take efficiently” post in the next few weeks so please stay tuned here on This Melbourne Mum……

I use the above technique for preparing assessments and also for studying for exams. It has worked well for me so far and I have been able to maintain a Distinction to High Distinction average.

One weird thing I tend to do, is to take my study gear with me wherever I go. I have breaks in my day where I can get a bit of reading done. I study on my work breaks and get to work early so I can study in peace and quiet. My most solid advice to you would be, especially if you are just venturing into the world of tertiary study, is to use your time wisely. You are paying a lot of money for your degrees and certificates, so make the most of the experience by being prepared and staying focused on your study planning.

What study tips would you pass on to a group of new students?

I’d love to hear what works for you.

Stay tuned for the next posts:

  1. My Study Bullet Journal- Exposed! and
  2. My Top 5 Creative Heroes- you might be one of them, you just never know!!

This Melbourne Mum


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