Passing a degree at university isn’t easy. Between having to fit studies around your social life, holding down some kind of job and, of course, sleeping, many students find there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Most academics would agree graduating from university is as much a test of character as it is a test of knowledge. Graduating takes time, effort, mettle and dedication. In most cases, discipline is the key – and that’s kind of the point because university is intended to set you up for later life. One thing people find as they get older is that learning to have discipline and structure is one of the most beneficial life skills to develop early.

However, building that kind of attitude takes time so here are some ideas to help you speed up the process and start leading a more organised and productive life at university:

Start right – study what interests you

There’s nothing worse than toiling at a subject that doesn’t motivate or interest you. Moreover, research has proven that people learn better and work more productively if they’re doing something that they enjoy or interests them. Choose a course you’re curious about or that you’re good at. Coincidentally, you’ll find these subjects are often one and the same.

Establish a structure to your day

Your lectures will be structured; if you have a job, your work hours will also be structured. However, for some reason, when it comes to studying, the rules often go out of the window. Try to organise your days around fixed points (for example, your lecture times) and think about studying right afterwards. Granted, you’ll probably be least in the mood to work right after a lecture but the information you’ve just learned will be at its freshest so always try to spend some time rewriting notes or quickly revising what you’ve learned. You will save hours further down the line if you reinforce this knowledge early on.

Study when you’re most active

Time spent on a task does not necessarily mean time spent effectively. People simply don’t work well when they’re tired. Avoid pulling late-night marathon study sessions – chances are, you’ll retain only a fraction of what you think you’re learning and will just make yourself more tired for the following day. Everyone is different but try to work out the times you’re most active, whether that be in the morning, through the day or at night.

Avoid wasting time

The internet is the greatest library in history – but it can also end up being an all-consuming distraction sometimes. All too often that marathon study or essay writing session turns into a jaunt across the popular social sites or through errant websites – normally completely unrelated to what you’re supposed to be doing. Try to stay focussed and avoid time-wasting distractions. If you do find yourself falling drastically behind on work, consider using the writing solutions offered by companies like Cambridge Academic Solutions Ltd.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today

The first step in any journey is always the hardest to take and you’ll find exactly the same applies to study. If you have time available, make a start as soon as possible to that assignment or study task. Completing a task that you’ve already started is always going to be considerably easier than having to start afresh. Unfortunately, human nature often does a great job of persuading us out of things – but try to make an early start on projects, even if you don’t actually intend finishing them immediately.

Give yourself incentives

All work and no play is never going to be an effective approach to study and it’s important to give yourself little incentives to reward yourself for your hard work. Rewards could be as simple as cooking something tasty, watching TV or going to meet friends for a quick drink – just something that acts as an incentive to get the job done.

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