Struggling to study? Here are some tips to help you focus on your work and get the most out of your distance learning course.
1. Create a study environment
Find a comfortable, quiet, well lit place where you wont be disturbed. Don’t get too comfortable otherwise you won’t be able to focus and might fall asleep, but get into a relaxed position where you can allow your brain to think freely and your study won’t feel like such a chore.
If you’re studying at home, setting up a quiet corner as a mini-office can be a good way to stay organised and get your mind into the right state for studying. If you’re pushed for space, or if struggle to find a quiet place at home without disruption from family, consider studying somewhere different, such as a local library, coffee shop or other public space.
2. Get organised
There’s no point setting aside three hours to study if you spend the first hour finding your textbooks, hunting for pens and paper and trying to work out where you’d got to last time. Making sure that your study materials are well organised and that everything you need is kept in one place will help you get the most out of your study time.
3. Get motivated
Why do you want to study? Why did you take this distance learning course? Find a reason to want to study and stick with it. Setting yourself targets and rewards can be a great way to stay on track with your course.
4. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water, this will stop you from overheating or getting dehydrated. Water also keeps your brain alert so you won’t be falling asleep at your desk! Remember to eat well when you’re studying – your brain won’t function as well if you’re hungry, so having a healthy meal beforehand can increase your concentration levels.
5. Find your study method
Some people study better with blocks of text, some people prefer images and diagrams, others prefer quick tips and bullet points. How do you study? Try all 3 methods to find out what works best for you, then do all you can to focus your learning on this method. If you need extra materials or alternative sources of information, your tutor will be happy to help.
6. Know your sources
Make sure you get your information from trusted sources. Use the study materials that come with your course as much as possible and call your tutor for assistance. Do not immediately trust publicly edited websites such as Wikipedia, be sure to compare the information with another source to check if it is valid.
7. Make time
Study can be hard when your day is taken up with work and other business, that’s why with distance learning you can pass your course with only 3 hours of study per week. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s easy for life to get in the way so discipline is important. Clear a space in your timetable which is just for studying, and make sure you get the most out of it.
8. Don’t get distracted
21st Century life is busier than ever before, with hundreds of different distractions out there to get in the way of your studies. Fight back: close Facebook. Turn your mobile phone off. It’s not always easy, but you’ll learn far more through three hour’s uninterrupted work than any amount of time spent ‘working’ with distractions every five minutes.
9. Go easy
Don’t try to cram all your study into one night – your brain can only take in so much information at any one time, so there comes a point when studying for long periods becomes pointless. Spreading your study out over several shorter sessions can help you absorb more information than through a single long study session, so remember to take regular breaks and pace yourself.
10. Ask for Help
Your tutor is there for one reason – to get you through your course. If you’re struggling, don’t be shy – drop them an email or pick up the phone and get some help. Sitting for hours struggling with a question that your tutor could help you with is not a good use of your time, so make the most of their support when you need it.