Megan is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Essex studying BSc Psychology. She has learned how to study effectively at home during her first year of university while studying online and will be sharing some top tips to study at your best!

Tip 1: Ask questions

Don’t know the answer to a question? Ask! Google it, ask your peers or your teacher. Asking questions about information you’ve learned will let you fill in the gaps of your knowledge and have a deeper understanding about the topic.

Critically think about the topic and its possible downsides, unanswered questions, and missing content! Once you know the answers to your questions you can write them down, practice them and remember them.

Tip 2: Use pictures

Using diagrams, graphs or making your own pictures will help you memorise information better. Visual representations of information can stick in your mind and give you reference to a certain topic.

By creating your own drawings you’re breaking down the topic into a simple form, which is the key to help understanding and memorising. Also, as a bonus, drawing can give your mind a break from traditional studying while still being effective in helping you learn!

Tip 3: Teach someone else

The best way to learn a subject is to teach it!

You’ll have to think of simplistic ways to explain the topic to somebody else and find ways to recall and organise the information.

If you can make someone else understand your topic then you know it well enough yourself. Ask a friend, family member or even use a pet to teach! Just talking about the subject and recalling information without a book will show the extent of your knowledge so far - you can always check what you’ve missed afterwards.

Tip 4: Take breaks

Frequent breaks and not overloading your brain with all the information in one day will allow you to digest the information and not burn out. The longer you go without breaks the more your concentration will fall and thus not allowing your brain to absorb the information properly.

By using a technique called ‘spaced practice’, you can space out your study sessions and focus on a topic for a short amount of time on different days with different subjects. Try quizzing yourself every few days with your flashcards – you’re more likely to recall the information when you leave time between learning the content and quizzing yourself about it.

Tip 5: Take practice tests

Put those notes and knowledge into practice and complete a previous test paper, Quizlet, or online questions. Using practice tests will get you into an exam mind-set and test all the knowledge in your subject.

You’ll be more prepared for what exam questions will look like and you can figure out what your weaknesses are (making sure to spend extra time studying that topic).

Going into a real exam with the confidence of knowing the exam layout and likely topics that will come up will improve your performance!