How Should a University Student Study?: A Simple Approach for all

Being in University involves truly learning about what study methods work best for you. There have been times where I have felt that I cannot relax, especially with midterms, labs and extracurriculars on my mind. Trying to balance a social life in tandem with my schoolwork used to feel like a lost cause. Over time, I have learnt the best way to schedule my time and study methods that have helped me make the grade. While I have found this pattern of studying to be helpful for me, please be mindful that what works for one person may not work for everyone else. Try to keep an open mind while learning what works best for you!

 

Planning out my time

How to make a schedule

In my opinion the most important aspect of study regimen is scheduling out one’s time. It can help get rid of the stress of “when” you are going to have time to study. I find that making a weekly schedule at the beginning of the semester works best. Then depending on how busy I am during the week; I may choose to modify it accordingly to best fit my needs. That being said, you may find it easier to make a new schedule every week or every day!


Here is an example of a weekly study schedule:



​Time Period

M/W/F

Time Period

Tues/Thurs

6:00am-7:00am

Study Pharmacology

12:00-1:30pm

Study Human Genetics

7:00am-8:00am

Get dressed and eat breakfast

1:30pm-2:00pm

Break

8:00am-9:30am

Study Molecular Biology

2:00pm-3:15pm

Pharmacology Class

9:30am-9:45 am

Break

3:15pm-4:15pm

Study Pharmacology

9:45am-11:00am

Study Human Genetics

4:15-5:00pm

Watch Human Genetics Lecture

​11:00am-12:30pm

Extracurricular work

5:00pm-6:00pm

Break

12:30pm-1:20pm

French class

6:00pm- 7:00pm

Study Molecular Biology

1:20pm-2:00pm

Lunch

7:00pm-7:15pm

Break

2:00pm-3:30pm

Watch Molecular Biology Lecture

7:15pm-8:15pm

Study French

3:30pm-4:00pm

Study French

8:15pm-8:30pm

Prepare for tomorrow’s lecture (print-out notes)

4:00pm-5:00pm

Break

8:30-9:00

​Break



The Tuesday/Thursday schedule was modified to show what it would be like to start studying later in the day. However it can be adapted to resemble the Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule if needed.

 

Study methods


Pomodoro Method

A study method that I normally use to study is the Pomodoro method. The pomodoro method involves an individual studying for a set length of time, then stopping for another set length of time for a break. The standard times used are studying for 25 minutes, then taking a break for 5 minutes. This cycle is repeated 3 times, after which a longer break is taken. I have personally felt that 25 minutes isn’t enough time for me, so I have modified this method and I use longer time intervals and I give myself longer breaks to compensate for it.


PQ4R method

The PQR method is the method that I use when actively studying. This method has helped me organize my studying better and has helped me optimize the time I set aside for studying. PQ4R stands for preview, question, read, reflect, recite and review.


Preview

For the preview section, I quickly skim over the notes that my professors provide. I tend to look specifically for terms/concepts that I recognize.


Question

At this point I would try to come up with questions that would be relevant to the material I have looked over


Reading

During these sections, I would be actively reading, with the goal of understanding the material. Additionally, I would be taking notes.


Reflect

During this section, I would make sure that I truly understand what I have read


Recite

During this point, I would either make flashcard, or recite aloud key points that I have learnt throughout my study session, so that I am able to remember the information in future.


 

Why are breaks important?

Taking regular breaks are imperative when studying because it allows our brains to refresh. The optimal time for a break is between 15-20 minutes. Anything longer than that can have a negative effect on our motivation. Moving around, meditating, and doing a new task, are all things that can be done on our break.


To conclude, take your time to get to know what study method works best for you. We are all different, and there are so many study methods out there that may be a good fit. Be patient and I wish you all the best in your studies.


 

Sources:


https://www.swinburneonline.edu.au/blog/the-importance-of-study-breaks

http://homepages.se.edu/cvonbergen/files/2013/01/How-to-Study_The-PQ4R-Method.pdf


 

About the Author


Tee-Tee

Hello everyone! I am a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Science majoring in Genetics. This is my third year as a Healthy U volunteer, and I have learnt so much during my time volunteering. I am extremely passionate about Healthy U and cannot wait to contribute another year helping to support and educate students at our university.


In my spare time, I enjoy jogging, playing the piano and baking.