Stella Cottrell is Director of Continuing Education at the University of Leeds. For more than 20 years, she has been working with students and postgraduates and knows firsthand about the difficulties that arise on their way. Why is it easy for some to study, while others are often sent to retake? What should I do to make my studies at the university productive?

Most students have problems with academic writing. As a student, I used to talk to professional writers, when I needed to edit my paper. According to the author, it is important to master certain skills, and problems can be solved by themselves. 

So, “The study skills handbook” is a book that has been used by more than 250 thousand students. It is accessible, using practical exercises, explains how not to make a mistake in such an important role to yesterday’s students. At the same time, it is not only to get the coveted diploma but also in the future to become a good employee and specialist.

First rule: Use the K-R-E-M-I strategy

K – creativity (listen to yourself and confidently use your own strategies, turn on your imagination).

R – reflection (analyze and evaluate what is happening, learn lessons).

E – efficiency (organize your day properly, set priorities).

M – motivation (create long-term and short-term tasks, clearly define goals, and keep yourself in good shape).

And -initiative (actively participate in the learning process, both physically and mentally).

Rule two: remember, the best expert in the world is you

Be less critical of yourself. It happens that the school years put on a person the brand of “incapable student”, “three-year-old”, which pursues him further, forcing him to doubt himself and his abilities. There are a number of practical classes that allow you to get rid of this “disease” and become a successful student. And in any difficult situation, you need to imagine yourself as an expert (professor, inventor), who will definitely cope with such a difficult task.

Rule three: Embrace all your feelings

So your brain will receive a variety of information from a variety of sources, which will allow you to see the full picture. The result will not take long to wait — knowledge will be postponed, practical experience will be gained and mastered.

Rule four: if you are studying, then only active

Personal interest in any business is the main component of its successful completion. The study is no exception. Be careful, analyze, compare the data obtained, and make decisions. Choose your level of study, be prepared for it, and take the process seriously — even a small task should interest and involve you.

Rule five: Create or find your own way of learning

There are many great learning strategies, methods, and styles. Experiment with them, choose the most suitable ones for the current task. Do what is convenient and interesting for you. For example, you can order a complex and, at first glance, impossible test work to order. And then, while preparing for the defense, learn the topic or practice being studied, clarifying the incomprehensible points from the author of the academic article. For example, if you have a good auditory memory, record lectures and educational material with a voice recorder, listen to audio recordings found on the topic you are studying.

Rule six: Imagine your career growth from the first days of school

What is your main goal? For sure, to become a good employee and professional. During your studies, you plan to gain the necessary skills to enter a good and well-paid job. Therefore, you need to stick to this goal from the very beginning and not miss anything. So the learning process will teach you self-organization, teamwork, creativity, and decision-making skills. To do this, use everything — internships, buddy programs, participation in conferences, master classes, etc.

Rule seven: monitor the effectiveness of the educational process

Record your steps taken to achieve your goals and objectives. This can be done in various ways: fill out a questionnaire, install a thematic mobile app, and so on. It is very important to be aware of what you have learned to do, what skills and abilities you have acquired, and what experience you have. Believe that such self-assessment and self-analysis are good companions throughout life, allowing you to achieve considerable results in any of its areas.

Rule eight: Use the information for its intended purpose

Even the correct solution of the problem, if it is irrational, can lead to a decrease in the expected result. Therefore, it is important to learn how to use the acquired knowledge and practical skills to the maximum and the point. At universities, teachers often pay attention to how students operate with facts and isolate the main thing from them.

Rule nine: Don’t forget to rest

The study may not bear fruit for many reasons. One and the most important of them is fatigue. You don’t hear what they tell you in the lectures, because you are distracted, and your thoughts wander elsewhere. You can’t analyze the information you receive, and you don’t link it together. You do not specify unclear points, do not ask questions, and do not make important notes. You memorize the educational material by heart without understanding, do not relate it to reality, do not see a practical application. Relax, get ready and act, then your studies will definitely be successful.


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