Happy New Year! It’s a fresh year and a fresh start, the perfect time to adopt some of these new habits to make sure you make the most out of 2018… By Rachael Davies
Here is some inspiration for New Year’s Resolutions that could help you get on your way to achieving a 2:1. The calendar might have refreshed, but the academic year is well under way, so there’s no time like the present to bring a fresh outlook to your study habits. It takes 66 days to build a habit, so if you’re still doing any of these by 7th March, then you’re onto a winner.
No, that’s not a typo. The Pomodoro Technique, or the tomato technique, created by Italian Francesco Cirillo, is a study policy designed to keep you focused and productive in the most efficient way possible. The way to go about it is to study intensely for 25 minutes, then take a short five minute break, and repeat throughout the day. During breaks, make sure to get up from your desk and take a walk, go to the loo, get a cup of tea – anything to get your blood circulating, as it helps focus your cognitive functions and keep you concentrating for longer. You can find ‘tomato timers’ online, like this one, which plan out your time for you, so you can concentrate on the study tasks at hand.
Focusing solely on one topic for hours at a time can make your brain switch off from learning. Split your day up into blocks, and study different modules or topics within them. Be wary of overloading yourself, however, and avoid multi-tasking. Stick to a plan: having three or four different areas to focus on throughout the day is enough to keep your interest going, but not so much that you won’t be able to retain the information. Bring this into your new year by drawing up a rough timetable of your week, planning out when you can work around your seminars. Not only will this make your studying more efficient, you’ll also be able to see clearly when you can plan to do the more fun things that often get overtaken by work deadlines.
It might sound obvious, but having a list every week of the tasks that you need to complete will make sure you don’t forget anything, and also gives you an easy starting point if you ever find yourself with some free time. Building routine is important, and so keeping a piece of paper on your wall, or investing in a new diary for 2018 (who needs an excuse to go to stationery shopping?) and writing in it every week will not only help you keep on top of your to-do lists, but also reinforce positive regular behaviours. Plus, you get the added buzz of accomplishment when you get to tick something off your list.
Endeavour to find some new spots to study, aside from your bedroom or the library. Even just moving to a different room in your house or flat can help to break up the monotony of studying. It has been proven that studying in one place ties our knowledge to that location, and means you won’t remember it as well outside of it, so unless all your exams will be taking place in your bedroom, be bold and dare to move the books elsewhere. Set yourself the goal of working in a new spot every week: by the end of February you will have a wealth of locations to choose from.
Taking on even one or two of these tips could make a real difference to your study habits in 2018. Take on something new today that you’ll thank yourself for come exam-time in the summer.
Let us know if you have any other resolutions you’re taking on this year by tweeting us: @warwicklibrary
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