Summer studying – should you bother?

Summer studying – should you bother?

OK, we accept that the last thing most of you want to think about as you finish for the summer is doing more studying…you deserve a break after all.

We recognise that some of you will be studying anyway – due to resits, masters deadlines, doctoral work or 3-trimester academic years. Some of you will also be spending the summer working, which is great experience and will develop employability skills for the future.

But many of you will waste a lot of time this summer doing very little. Be honest, you know who you are! If that is the case then YES you should bother! It doesn’t have to be crazy amounts – just something to stop you forgetting important stuff and give you a slight head start moving into the new academic year. Here are our 5 top tips to make sure you hit next semester running…

  1. Declutter your notes
  2. Map your modules
  3. Read ahead
  4. Up-skill
  5. Take control of something

1. Declutter your notes

organise-notes

If you have left Hull for the summer, you probably just bunged your notes into a box which is still sitting in a corner of your bedroom or the garage. If you are a local student then your notes are probably still in disarray somewhere in your home. The summer is a great time to buy some smart folders and organise everything ready for the new year. Discard the rubbish and keep anything that may be of use in future work.

If you use a computer for your notes, you could probably do with a bit of file housework on there too! Organise you files into suitable folders, combine smaller files into larger documents, delete files you no longer need and give your hard drive a summer clean with the disk clean up tools.


2. Map your modules

Some of your previous modules will relate to modules you are taking next year. Look at the module specs and map the relationships between them. This will help you decide which notes are the most important to look over again before each semester starts. There is nothing worse than knowing you have already covered something that would make you understand new information more easily…but you have forgotten it all.


3. Read aheadYou will be laughing in September if you're already ahead of your reading.

If you are taking a module next year that ran last year too then you could see if last year’s reading list is available at http://readinglists.hull.ac.uk. Just type the module code or a keyword from the module title into the box to look for the list you need. If you aren’t in Hull then you should look to read at least one of the online items – if you are still in Hull you may get better access to the books over the summer that are in high demand at other times of the year.


4. Upskill

Upskill-WordIf you never have the time to increase your IT skills during semester time due to other pressures then take the opportunity of this less pressurised time to get your skills up-to-date. At the very least, we would expect students to be competent in:

Use the links above to go to our own pages which have step-by-step help and videos. We also have more support on other packages here: Academic Software Support.

Alternatively, why don’t you teach yourself to touch-type and save lots of time when writing up your assignments. Just Google “Learn to touch-type” and you will find lots of free online courses. You could do it in two weeks with just half an hour a day!


5. Take control of something

free-booksThe summer is a great time to read some self-help books and learn new approaches. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle app, these books are all under £5 or even free!!:

Get to grips with Time Management:

Get motivated:

Master your Presentation Skills:

A bit of everything:

 


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Should be revising? 5 common procrastination excuses and what you should do instead

Should be revising?  5 common procrastination excuses and what you should do instead

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a student in need of revising, must find any excuse they can think of to avoid doing so. Here, we try to give you some simple strategies to minimise the effects of procrastination in the run up to exam period.


Procrastination 1: “I can’t revise unless my desk/room/the entire house is straight and I can concentrate”


OK, fair enough there is some mileage in tidying your stuff so that you can find the books and files you need to actually revise. However, a sudden need to irrationally clean things that you have ignored all year must be kept in check! Try to limit tidying to half an hour in your study space only before your first stint of revising – and then no more than 5 minutes each day before you start to keep on top of things.

If you really need a major tidy up then do it at your least productive part of the day – it really does not need much mental input. If you are naturally a morning person, do it in the late evening when your brain is going fuzzy. If you are a night-owl, do it first thing in the morning when you are a bit bleary and mindless tasks are all you can manage. Don’t waste your best times vacuuming!

Procrastination---Cleaning

 


Procrastination 2: “I just need to check in on [insert preferred social media app here] or I may miss out on important stuff” ….an hour later…


Nobody is saying you need to go cold turkey on using social media during revision and exam periods – but there is a limit to how much is sensible. Use social media as a treat to look forward to after you have reached a certain point in your revision – but set yourself a limited time [use the timer app on your phone to alert you when time is up]: “After I have revised topic A, I can have a cup of tea and catch up on SnapChat for 20 minutes”

Alternatively, use fragments of time when it would be difficult to revise – walking to uni (though take care not to walk in front of a bus!), sitting on said bus, waiting for the kettle to boil etc for quick catch ups.

Procrastination---Social-Media

 


Procrastination 3: “I can’t revise all the time – watching TV helps me relax which is important isn’t it?”


Yes…but…it all about amount isn’t it. You know yourself if you are watching too much – if you are feeling even slightly guilty about watching something then you probably shouldn’t be. There is a lovely righteous feeling when you know you have revised effectively and you are simply relaxing at the end of the day to wind down a bit – if you don’t have that feeling then turn off the TV!

There is a reason for catch up TV and recording devices…you can catch-up with your fave programmes when you have finished your revising and the exams are in the bag. You wouldn’t enjoy them as much knowing you should be revising anyway.

Procrastination---TV

 


Procrastination 4: “I only went onto to BuzzFeed/YouTube to get some study hacks – I just got a bit sucked into the trending stuff”


Sure, because BuzzFeed or YouTube are the best sources for revision advice. Don’t kid yourself, you just wanted some instant gratification and an excuse not to buckle down! Tim Urban has written a set of brilliant and very funny blog posts about the battle between instant gratification and procrastination which we thoroughly recommend reading – though they are quite long so please do not just use them as another source of procrastination!!

If you genuinely want revision advice then please see our own Exam and Revision Techniques web pages. Not only are they full of useful information and tips, they also have links to other great resources produced by our colleagues at other universities.

Procrastination---Buzzfeed


“I can’t just sit around and revise, I need to be more active so I go for a run/to the gym/play sport”


If you are naturally an active person then the forced inactivity of revising can be a real issue and can cause stress in itself. Again, it is all about balance. Create a revision timetable that includes time for the activities you need to do to feel human – but ration them during the next few weeks to take into account the higher priority that study needs to take before and during the exam period.

Procrastination---Running

You can always try to combine exercise and revision – download appropriate podcasts or even record yourself reading key information and listen to it whilst power walking or jogging. It is amazing how much imagining yourself doing such activities during the exam helps you recall the information you were listening to.

Short walks to get some fresh air and clear your mind can also be an excellent precursor to setting down for some serious study. As you walk, try to recall what you already remember about the topic you intend to revise next – this is a great way of connecting any new stuff you read to what you already know – which makes it easier to remember during the exam.


Here’s hoping you beat procrastination and do really well in all your exams!