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Study Guide - Semester

Week 1: Start the semester on the right note


You should have a completed timetable by week one. If you don't, organise it now.Make sure you attend all your first lectures. The first week is often when course outlines are distributed and important information is delivered.This week you'll be finding out about upcoming assignment deadlines. Now is the time to plan your workload for the semester.Don t get into the habit of skipping lectures. You ll regret it at assignment and exam time. If you must miss a lecture, arrange to get the notes from another student or talk to your lecturer about what you ve missed.Know where you should be. You need lecture hall/ room information.Arrive at your classes on time.Come equipped. Make sure you have the stationary and equipment you need.

Week 2: Surviving your reading load


The first rule of surviving a heavy reading load: remember academic material is not meant to be read; it is meant to be ransacked and pillaged for essential content. Try these tips: y Set a realistic time frame for reading tasks. Don't try to do it all in 10 minutes if you know you need an hour. y Be selective and read with a purpose. Know why you are reading (tutorial preparation? assignment research?) and what you are looking for. y Make sure your reading is relevant. Read with specific questions you want the text to answer. y Never start reading a text at page one. Preview it first and look for the summary, introduction, conclusion, subheadings, etc. y Read only as much as you need to get the information you are after. y If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of reading you need to do, break it up into small chunks. Aim to do one chunk at a time and reward yourself when you ve done it!

Week 3: Setting up a study area


In order to study effectively, you need a good study space. You should be able to answer YES to all of the following questions: Is my study area free from interruptions and distractions? You ll study best in a quiet environment that is free from interruptions. Turn off the phone and turn the music down. Don t try to study in front of the television. Can I access my study area whenever I need it? The best study space is one that you can access whenever you need to. However, if the only space available to you is shared with others, work out a schedule so that you know when you can use it. Does my study area contain all the materials I need to work? Set up your space so that you have the following in easy reach: y reference sources (dictionary, thesaurus, style guide) y supplies such as pens and pencils, paper, ruler y Equipment (calculator, USB drive etc.) y Whatever else you might need. Does my study area accommodate my computer? Make sure there is enough room for your computer and that there is a power outlet within easy reach. Does my study area have a large enough desk or table? Use a desk or table that is large enough to hold everything you need. It should have room for books, papers and notes to be arranged and stored in an organized fashion. You should be able to spread out if your computer is on your desk, make sure you also have enough room for writing notes. Does my study area have the right chair? While an uncomfortable chair can make it hard to concentrate, a chair that is too comfortable can make you drowsy. Select a chair in which you can sit in comfort for long periods. Make sure your chair and desk are the right height, especially if you are working on a computer.

Does my space have enough light? Avoid eyestrain and headaches and make sure you have enough light to read with. Does my study area have a comfortable temperature? If the room is too warm, you can become sleepy. If it is too cold, you can tense up and lose concentration. Select a temperature at which your mind and body function best.

Week 4: 5-minute study


Quick Study-activities that take 5 minutes or less Think you don t have time to study? Make optimum use of your time and try these quick activities. y Check your study planner and remind yourself about what you need to get done this week. y Write a To Do list for the day or week. y Skim a section / look over the subtitles of a book chapter or journal article. y If you use flash cards , review them (flash cards are good for learning: terminology, foreign language vocabulary, math formulas, pharmaceutical/medical terminology, etc ). y Check your course outlines and see what the lecture topics for the week are. y Check your course outlines and confirm assignment due dates. y If you re feeling stressed, pause and do some deep breathing exercises.

Week 5: 15-minute quick study tips


Think you don t have time to study? Make the most of your time and try these quick activities. y Skim-read a chapter. y Organise one of your notebooks. Rule up some pages for note taking, make sure that your lecture notes are clearly labeled with names, dates etc., organise any handouts neatly and in order. y Review and fill in your lecture notes from one of your courses. y Make study note cards. y Work a problem or equation. y Study a diagram. y Using your notes, quiz yourself over one of your lectures or textbook chapters. y Update your planner by recording any upcoming assignments or exams.

Week 6: 30 minute study tips


Think you don t have time to study? Make optimum use of your time and try these quick activities. y Read a few pages from one of your readings. y Work a few problems/ equations. y Review and fill in your lecture notes from one of your courses. y Develop a plan or an outline for an essay or assignment. y Review some of the readings you ve recently completed. y Organise a mini study session with a few classmates after lectures/ tutes or just prior to them. y Chat about the subject content Listen to a lecture that you have recorded.

Week 7: How should I present my assignments?


Handing in your first essays before semester break? Good presentation makes your work look professional and indicates to your marker that you take your work seriously. Assignments should: y be printed on A4 paper (single-sided) y have 1.5 or double line spacing y have wide margins (so your marker can write feedback) y use a clear, easy to read font (Times, Arial, Helvetica, at least 12 point) y have numbered pages y be firmly stapled in the top left hand corner y be within the word limit y be thoroughly edited and proof-read y be correctly referenced

Most assignments require an assignment cover sheet. Check with your tutor about where to find them. A final tip make sure you know when, where or to whom your assignment should be handed in. Most schools have a box for students to submit their essays, so double-check to make sure. You don t want a late penalty simply because you weren t sure where to go.

Week 9: Yikes, I'm Behind - How to get back on track


Each semester at uni can feel like running a race, Week one looms and the clock is ticking; before you know it, assignments are due. Planning your workload over a session and having a schedule is critical to success. However, even the most efficient students will fall behind at some time. Unforeseen events occur, life happens. What is important is to a) recognize that you are behind schedule and b) have a plan to catch up. Try the following: 1. Don t Panic. OK, you ve fallen behind, but now look ahead and determine what needs to be done. y Do you have any late work? If you haven t handed an assignment in, speak to your tutor about it ASAP and find out what your options are. y Do you have an assignment due in the next few days? Identify what is urgent - If you have an assignment due within the week, it is your number one priority. y What assignments do you have between now and the end of the semester? Time for some longer term planning. y Do you need to do any group work? Is anyone relying on your contribution to a collaborative project/ assignment? 2. Make a Solid Plan. After completing all urgencies create a solid plan that will get you back on schedule til the end of semester. Make a list of the assignments you have to complete and the due dates. Re-draw your Semester plan. Draw up a new weekly planner to accommodate extra work. 3. Just Do It. Now is not the time for procrastination and anxieties about excellence, it s the time for completing the work that is due NOW. Stay focused - it s better to produce something (whatever the quality) than nothing at all. Tips to get you through y Tell people Support is important, so let the relevant people know that you re behind and are working your way through it. Tell those you live with that you ll need some quiet for study; tell your friends you ll be MIA for a while. By keeping everyone informed, they can understand where you are at. y Maintain your current workload - No matter how far behind you are, don t skip one class/ assignment to work on another you re only increasing the amount of catching up you ll have to do. You still need to keep up with your assigned reading. y Maintain your sanity. Sleep and eat well. Avoid too much sugar and caffeine and avoid too many late nights. Don t work so hard that you forget to take short breaks about every hour. Breaks also include evening relaxation. Make sure you leave at least an hour between studying/working and sleep to unwind. y You still need some form of relaxation. Don t be too much of a hermit. You can still go out, just take it easy - spend a few hours with friends, but don t stay out till 2 a.m. y Be realistic about your workload and make some short-term adjustments. Can you (at least temporarily) work fewer hours and reduce or suspend your commitments to sporting activities, clubs etc.? y Sacrifice a few time-wasters: Facebook, television, Blogs, newsfeeds. Turn off your mobile and hang a do not disturb sign on the door. y Learn from your mistakes. Once you get caught up, make sure that you have a plan to continue to stay on track. Try to identify why you fell behind. Although some obstacles are unavoidable, if you fell behind through poor planning or procrastination, be conscious of your behaviors and try to change your habits.

Week 11: Studying for exams


Begin studying early. Ideally you should begin about four weeks before your exams. Make a revision timetable and plan how you will use the study time leading up to your exam. Study for set lengths of time. Don't study for longer than 50 minutes without taking a break. Concentration will slip. Work out when you study most effectively and schedule study times that suit your personal rhythms. Organize your material. Make sure you have a complete set of lecture and tutorial notes for each course. If you've missed lectures, borrow copies of the notes from another student. Once you haveorganized all your material, you can study by topic. Spend more time studying the subjects you find most difficult. Schedule these first. Make a study area y Choose a quiet place where you won't be easily distracted. y Make yourself comfortable y Make sure you have good lighting to read by. Set yourself a goal for each study session. Deciding what to complete in a session will help you keep track of what you are studying. Review past exam papers. Work through them and look at how they fit into the course. Practice doing the papers under exam conditions and carefully review your answers. Look at the wording of the questions and familiarize yourself with the clue words. Form a study group with other students. Swap practice exams and give feedback. Drill each other on study topics.

Exam Skills: Clue Words


What are Clue Words? In exams featuring essay or short-answer questions, most questions contain a Clue Word. Clue Words are the words that the lecturer uses to indicate the angle to take when you answer the question. Clue Words tell you exactly what to do in an essay, so they are extremely important in essay exams. Finding Clue Words in Exam Questions An exam is like a mental game in which the lecturers tell you what they want. To play the game successfully you need to be aware of the precise wording of questions and the precise meanings of the clue words. Once you have found the clue words and worked out exactly what they mean, you can answer the question as clearly as possible.
Exam Question: Compare the goals of liberal and socialist feminism Clue Word: The clue word in this question is compare. If the question asked you to "Evaluate the goals of... a completely different answer would be required. Below is a list of the most common clue words and their meanings in exam questions to help you prepare for essay exams. Because the list is long, it is a good idea to read through past exam papers to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used clue words in your discipline. Many schools have past exam papers in the library. Clue Word Analyze Comment on Compare Contrast Criticize Define Describe Diagram Discuss Enumerate Evaluate Illustrate Interpret Justify List Outline Prove Relate Review State Summaries Trace Meaning To find the main ideas, how they are related and why they are important. To discuss, criticize, or explain its meaning as completely as possible. To show both the differences and the similarities. To compare by showing the differences. To give your judgment or reasoned opinion of something, showing its good and bad points. However, it is not necessary to attack. To give the formal meaning by distinguishing it from related terms. This is often a matter of giving a memorized definition. To write a detailed account or verbal picture in a logical sequence or story form. To make a graph, chart or drawing. Be sure to label it and add a brief explanation if necessary. To present arguments for and against a point of view and reach a conclusion. The arguments must be supported with appropriate evidence. To list. Name and list the main ideas one by one. To give an opinion, supported by some expert opinions, of the truth or importance of a concept. Show the advantages and disadvantages. To explain or make clear by concrete examples, comparisons or analogies. To give the meaning using examples and personal comments to make something clear. To give a statement of why you think something is so. Give reasons for your statement or conclusion. To produce a list of words, sentences or comments. Same as enumerate. To give a general summary. It should contain a series of main ideas supported by secondary facts. Show the organization of the idea. To show by argument or logic that something is true. However, the word 'prove' has a very specific meaning in math and physics. To show the connection between things, telling how one causes or is like another. To give a survey or summary in which you look at the important parts and criticize if necessary. To describe the main points in precise terms. Use brief, clear sentences. Omit details or examples. To give a brief, condensed account of the main ideas. To follow the progress or history of the subject.