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Studying and Courses

Tips and Tricks for Keeping up with Classes

Managing a busy university schedule is one of the biggest challenges of student life. Tejinder is here to share her advice for keeping ahead of class work and getting the best results from studying.

Whether you’ve been in university for many years or it’s your first year, everyone can always use a reminder of some tips which can help you from falling behind in your classes. Also, trying different study styles and methods can always be a refreshing change of pace which may help prevent things from getting mundane. It helps to try many different things so that you can find out which study method works best for your personality, lifestyle, learning strengths and study habits. So, this list of tips may have some things you’ve already tried or have thought of trying, but they are just suggestions to make sure you perform at your optimal capacity!

Use Office Hours and Email Profs:

There have been many times where I have not gone to my professor’s office hours or emailed them about questions I may have because I am too lazy or I procrastinate it until it’s too late. However, it is crucial to make use of these hours to go ask questions because they have allotted this time specifically for us to clear any concerns. Most professors are very quick to respond to emails as well and set up meetings outside of office hours if need be. I have sent emails to many people with a long list of questions and they have been very prompt with their help - this is what they are there for! It is important to avoid leaving questions for the future because we think “I can ask my friend about this later” or “I’ll research this later” or whatever other excuses we may come up with. This is because we inevitably leave it until it’s too late and then that exam is so close, or that assignment is due and we’re left stressed because we still haven’t gotten answers to our questions!

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way:

Studying/reading even for 1 hour every day can go a long way to help you not fall behind. This may seem pretty obvious but many times it is hard to keep up with this. Everyone has social obligations, part-time jobs, clubs, sports, etc which also require time on certain days, so I know saying something is easier than actually doing it. However, if you hold yourself accountable to do a little bit of work for school each day, it can really make a difference. Instead of leaving things for the weekend, try to do something each day so that your weekend can have a lighter load of work.

Group Study:

This method may be a hit or miss but it’s worth giving a try. If you can find like-minded and focused people to create a study group, it can be very beneficial to set up times here and there to discuss and review material you need to know for assignments, classes or tests with your peers. Obviously, I would not recommend learning the material together. This is meant to be more of a session in which you meet up after each person has gone over the material by themselves first; in which you can each talk about material, ask questions and determine whether your understanding of the material is correct. Many times, we may think we understand a concept until we have to explain it to someone else or talk about it. I’ve been in many situations where I have had wrong information about something or understood it differently than others, so having a different perspective can be beneficial. It’s also nice to have a mock deadline like a group study date because it forces you to go over the material at least once.

Library Study:

For myself, I found that a change of environment from my bedroom can sometimes force me to get work done. One example of an ideal environment is the library (McClay Library is very good for this). When I am forced to be in such a place where other people are being productive and getting work checked off their lists, it motivates me to also study. Also, I find that it gives me an internal sense of guilt if I sit in the library quiet study area and spend time on my phone, YouTube, Netflix or social media. I feel accountable to the community around myself in which people are doing their work (I don’t want them to judge me!), whereas in my bedroom there is nobody to stop me from partaking in distractions!

Meal Plan or Prep:

This may seem completely unrelated but trust me! We don’t realize how much time we may spend on thinking of what food we want to eat, and then cooking it (or we end up eating takeout, which isn’t the healthiest choice!). If you create some sort of meal plan for the week, or even prep some of your meals, it can save you time and effort in thinking of your meals. Alongside, it helps you to eat healthier because you will be less tempted to buy takeout for a quick bite if you already know what to cook or already have a meal ready to eat. Meal prepping has helped me save so much time, money and effort while also making my diet healthier in general and my eating habits have become more mindful. Healthy eating will also help you be more productive in studying whereas unhealthy food will make you feel tired, sluggish and unproductive!

I hope these tips give you some semblance of help or at least give you some new ideas of how to keep up with all your classes!


Tejinder Gill

Dentistry| 2nd year | Canada

I am a 24-year-old Canadian girl through and through! I came to Belfast in Sept 2017 to start my degree in Dentistry. While I do have a degree from Canada (in Biochemistry), coming to Belfast has been an entirely new experience. I am part of the Canadian American Student Association and I am also a Residential Assistant, so if you see me around, say hi! I love reading, sports, singing but above all, I am a coffee fanatic, so I am always up for a chat over a delicious cup of coffee!

Photo: Tejinder Gil
Tejinder Gil
Student blogger, BDS Dentistry