Read the module outline
Begin the semester by reading the module outline. This way you’ll get an overview over what assignments and exams you will have to deal with for each individual subject. This will both give you an idea of whether the specific subject is more assignment or exam based (which should affect the way you study/revise for that subject), but more importantly it will make it easy for you to map out your assignments in advance!
Mapping out big assignments and exams at the beginning of the semester is the key to success!
End the semester by reading the module outline again. As well as reading the module outline in the beginning of the year, make sure to skim it over again right before your exam (or big assignment). The module outline should specify the main learning objectives of the subject and make it easy for you to know what to focus on during the revision time.
The 3-day perspective rule
Before handing in any assignment, take 3 days away from it. Taking a step back from the assignment allows you to get a fresh perspective on it, and more often than not you will find a few flaws you had read yourself blind on the first time around.
The struggle with the 3-day perspective rule is that you need to finish the assignment at least 4 days before the deadline, which we all know sometimes is just not realistic.
The 3-day perspective rule simplified
Begin all assignments in good time in order to allow yourself to have 3 days away from it before handing it in. The goal is to get a fresh perspective of your work.
Be strategic! Finish tasks in order of importance
One of the most important things your can do is to structure your tasks to ensure you always prioritise the most important things first. This allows you to never miss a deadline (and have time to use the 3-days perspective rule), and keep up with the day to day reading at the same time.
How I prioritise things
- Summative essays and assignments
- Formative assignments
- Group assignments
- Revise lectures
- Note writing
- Read core text
- Read supporting material
After a lecture
In the end of the day – or in between lectures – sit down and take some time to go over your notes from the lecture. Use the time to simplify and highlight in your notes to make sure you only have the most important things (the things that are most relevant to your exam) in your notes, this ensures an easy revision process at the end of the year.
Take advantage of office hours
Most lecturers and seminar leaders offers office hours where you can drop in and get help with any questions you might be struggling with, or even if you have questions about revising for the exam, so take advantage of it!
One thing that is almost always helpful is study groups, especially because it’s such an effortless way of studying. Get together with a few friends (I personally like it best with 3-6 people) and do some studying together.
I know some universities even have study group schemes where they match you with random people.
Reasons why study groups are amazing
- You will get more perspectives on the same topic
- Your friends might be able to explain a concept to you, that you struggled to understand when your lecturer explained it
- Explaining a concept to someone else will help you get a better understanding of it yourself
- Learn new study, writing and revision tricks from your friends
Keep in mind
When you’re creating a study group it can be difficult to figure out whether to choose your closest friends or people that may not be your bestie, but that you know are serious about their studies. So just know that it doesn’t make you a bad friend to prioritise people who takes their studies serious.
The marking requirements?
Probably the most important thing when you are working on a big assignment is to pay attend to the marking requirements. In most cases your lecturer or seminar leader will inform you about how they will be marking your assignment, so use this information to your advantage and write your assignment in a way where it will hit each point it will be critiqued on.
If you are not given the marking requirements you can:
- Ask for it – more often than not they will be happy to give it to you
- Look for it in the module outline
- Use one from another subject – usually the marking requirements will be similar within the same school (ex. within the business school, school of science etc.)
- Google it! As a last resort, you can always try to google university marking requirements for the given subject