Three study habits to take from school to university

Learning effective ways to study from home will help you throughout school and your journey into university.

Starting university after high school can be a big adjustment for lots of people. When you’re a uni student, you’re in charge of your course selections and timetable, so your study time is up to you. 

Learning how to stay on top of your work, study effectively and apply your learnings are useful skills to have, from high school, through university and into the workforce. Getting these skills now will help you work better in the future. Here are some handy tips that you can start applying today at home.

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#1: Practice active learning

 

Fun fact

Did you know that if you don’t use new information soon after you learn it, there’s a good chance you’ll forget it? A study from the University of Waterloo shows that if nothing is done with new information within 24 hours of learning it, most people will forget about 50% of what they learn. 

How to practice active learning

Try writing new information out a few times over, speaking it out loud, or explaining it to someone else. Reprocessing new information like this sends a signal to your brain that you want to hold onto it, and you’ll be able to retrieve and apply that knowledge at the right time later on in assignments, exams and real-life. 

When being taught how to spell, kids learn to look, say, cover, copy and check. This system can be applied to learning subject content at any level. 

  • When you read something, try to verbally explain it in your own words. 

  • Cover the page and write out your understanding of what you’ve just read. If you know other concepts that are relevant to what you’re reading, bring them in too. 

  • After you’ve written out as much as you can, check the material to see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten or misunderstood. 

Applying this tip to uni life

Once you get to uni, you can continue to practice active learning through study skills webinars, LinkedIn learning workshops, or browse RMIT Creds, a program of digital micro-credentials that are accessible to all RMIT students. 

#2: Get organised

 

Fun fact

The key to staying on top of your studies is learning efficiently. Sorting things into groups is the brain’s natural way of remembering; a long list can be scary and you might miss things from it. 

 

How to get organised

Collect your notes, write a to-do list, then sort what’s on your list into categories. Well-organised notes can help you recall relevant material and find information again when you need it for writing assignments and studying for exams.

Do you find that you’re easily distracted? There are even lots of study apps and methods out there to help you stay on track, such as the Pomodoro Technique, which uses a timer to break down work into 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks. 

 

Applying this tip to uni life

Learning efficiently doesn’t stop after school ends. When your uni classes start at RMIT, you’ll have access to a range of study support services, from the library to peer mentors. Peer mentors are other high-performing students from your course who can help you prepare for exams and build your study skills. There’s also the RMIT Assignment Planner, which gives you a customised step-by-step plan with advice for completing and juggling assignments.

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#3: Find your learning style

 

Fun fact

Learning styles are individual preferences for how you like to learn and how you retain information, and more than one learning style may apply to you. Identifying your learning style can help you improve how you study by using approaches that suit you. 

How to use your learning style 

  • Visual learners learn by sight. Try drawing the information in an infographic, chart or mind map to help you understand and remember it. 

  • Kinaesthetic learners learn by touch. Create hands-on activities to help you, like writing questions out on flash cards and asking someone to test you on the answers, or making physical representations of the content, like a model or replica.

  • Auditory learners learn by hearing. Speak the information out loud and pretend you’re explaining it to a variety of people - from your teacher, to a primary school student, or even your grandma. Speaking the information you’ve learned in your own words and learning how to think about it will help you understand it better. 

  • Reading and writing learners can benefit from making detailed notes and rewriting them to revise.

Think about when you do your best studying at home and optimise your day to be free to study then. It might be always in the morning when you’re by yourself, or at the kitchen table, or when you’re listening to music. It’s good to make a study space in your house that you’ll use for focusing and keep it separate from the areas you relax in, like the bed or couch. 

 

Applying this tip to uni life

No matter what style of learning suits you, the RMIT Learning Lab helps you improve your general academic study skills - from writing and maths to mind mapping and note-taking. RMIT has many services in place to help you on your study journey. Your lecturers, the RMIT student website, the Learning Lab and the library are all available to help you achieve your best.

One person reading in empty classroom.

Story: Hilary Jones

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