Here at Skills@Library we’ve got a team mantra – “Everyone’s an individual”, we say several times a week, and it’s true! Your question is different from someone else’s, their worry isn’t the same as their classmates, and so on. One thing that most students struggle with however, is fitting in all of their work on a tight schedule. Again, everyone’s different in this, but have you ever heard another student complain that they don’t have enough to do? No, us neither.
Getting all your work done and working out a way to do this around your scheduled classes, social stuff and life generally, is quite a learning curve. We’ve come up with some suggestions for you, and if you want to take this a bit further, read our pages on Time Management , there are some great tips there too.
You probably don’t have to read everything
If you’ve been given reading lists this semester, you might be wondering if you really have to get through every last text. Usually the answer to this is, ‘no, but you do need to identify and read the most important ones.’ To identify what’s important to you, you’ll need to look at lecture topics to find out which you need to either get an overview of before the lecture, or read more about after the lecture. You can also look at the assessments coming up for that module, and think about which topics you need more information about to be able to complete these.
You might have more ‘free’ time than you think
Take a look at your timetable and look at the optimum times that you naturally have for extra study, and work out where you’ll be on campus at those times. The chances are that you’ll be able to find a regular place to get down to work nearby. If you’re in the Roger Stevens Building for lectures for example, you could use our Health Sciences Library (https://library.leeds.ac.uk/locations) for quiet study (you don’t have to be studying medicine to use it!).
Do your lectures start at 9am on Mondays? You could flip some of your study to the hour before this. Early birds find that the campus is extra quiet and they get the pick of study spaces when they arrive before 9. We all have preferred optimum times for concentration, so think about what yours is, and try to work with this. Working with your body clock probably means you’ll get more done when you are studying, rather than forcing yourself to concentrate at a time when your brain is resistant.
Reflect on the week
Build in a regular slot every week to reflect on your learning and review your progress on long term tasks like essays or presentations. Weekends are ideal for this, and you can simultaneously plan your week ahead. If you don’t have a system for doing this, you can use an online calendar or simple pen and paper system. Colour coding can work brilliantly for task planning, so you could try giving each module a colour code to help you identify what’s coming up at a glance.
Got a problem?
If you’ve got a question, query or problem with a piece of work try to get it resolved as soon as possible. The longer you wait for an answer, the more momentum and motivation you are likely to lose. Our tip is to ask the lecturer or staff member responsible in person if you can. This means that if you’re struggling with their response, you can ask follow up questions at the same time (politely of course!).