Yes, it’s time for a holiday; however, it’s also a time to reflect on what you did this year and how you can improve next year. The break can prove to be an excellent opportunity to think about what can be done to make the next year less stressful, increase grades, be more organised and so on.
Here are some simple strategies that can help you to start the year off smoothly:
🟣 Get organised now
🟣 Brush up your computer skills
🟣 Do some pre-reading
🗓 Get organised now
Use your computer or phone calendar, or treat yourself to a printed diary. There are many binders and diaries available in the discount stores that don’t have to cost everything you earn.
Miss out on a milkshake or a few coffees and use the money for a diary.
Start practising by setting up reminders and entering important dates such as birthdays.
As they say, “if you don’t plan, you plan to fail”.
A quick check of what is due and when it is due is essential to keep on track. It’s also not sufficient to only write in the due dates.
Set up a study plan for writing an assessment, so that you are not writing at the last minute.
Most assessments are given at the beginning of the term or semester. The reason the assessments are given early in the term is to give you time to understand what is needed and to find the information, read the information, take notes, and plan your answers with time to revise your work several times before handing it in.
🖥 Brush-up on your computer skills
Time and time again, I see students with laptops and software, but they do not know how to use all the features. As a minimum, you should know the following:
✅ Add a front cover without headers, footers and page numbers
✅ Insert footers and headers, including page numbers
✅ Insert an auto table of contents, so that the page numbers are automatically updated
✅ Create charts and diagrams using the Smart Art tool in Word
✅ Create and insert tables
✅ Insert in-text citations to show where you sourced your information from. There is a referencing tool in your computer, but you can also use Mendeley or other software to do this.
Create a List of References, using the built-in tool or referencing software such as Mendeley.
Another problem is leaving learning how to use the necessary software until the day before the assessment. If you do this, you are going to be struggling with not only understanding the topic but understanding how to present your answers correctly. You can lose marks for poor presentation and poor referencing; this can be as high as 20-25% of the overall grade.
📚 Do some pre-reading
If you know the books, you have to read for next year, get a head start and read them now.
Many students use the excuse that they can’t buy the book/s; however, they nearly always can visit their local library. When it’s scorching hot outside, the air-conditioned library is an excellent place to be.
You can also become a member and borrow books.
You can go into your local university library, where you may sit and read. Many universities allow public membership for a fee.
There are also free books available for your devices. Kindle is a free app that can be downloaded onto laptops, and other mobile devices, including your mobile phone. The classics can be downloaded free of charge, so if you’re reading Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and others from this period in history, download the books.
Please feel welcome to download the “Study Tools Checklist” from the downloadable resources page, and follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest to receive updates on my latest podcasts and YouTubes.
Best wishes Julie