Study Hack – Time management to the rescue!

Making a plan and sticking to it is often the hardest part of studying. If we can manage our priorities and commitments we can often get things done quicker and with less stress. With Easter coming up everyone is looking forward to a break. Having a break is just as important as studying, but how can you fit in a bit of R & R while still staying on track with your workload?

Why not look at some of the great time-management tools we have to offer to keep you on track and lower your stress levels.

To minimise cramming at the end of semester download a semester planner and stick it on your door, keeping track of your due dates in a visible place often helps you get things done sooner!

Assignment Calculator is a useful tool which breaks down your assessment into manageable chunks.

And if you manage to have the time for it check out the library’s website for some more quick tips and hints. To get started often simple things are the best. Why not write out a ‘to do’ list and highlight the important things?
StudyBreaks_JB
And finally, take study breaks! Everyone needs a rest every now and then to recharge. It can also unblock your mind and allow you to answer problems you were stuck on or see things in a different way.

Need more help? Come and see us in the Library and make a Study Solutions appointment.

Remember, good time management = less stress so why not give it a try?

 

 

Set up for study success this semester

The first week of semester is about meeting new mates, your tutors and lecturers and gathering unit information – assignment due dates, classes, exams. Staying on top of your study load and setting yourself up for success from Week 1 can be achieved with a little planning and bookmarking study support resources for when you need them.

Plan your semester

Planning is not about having your time set in stone, but more about seeing the bigger picture so you can afford to be flexible as things pop up during semester. Unexpected setbacks happen and when they do, a plan will help you to adjust your time so you can quickly get back on track.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • the academic calendar
  • an online calendar, like your QUT email calendar or Google Calendar – whichever works for you and you will refer to regularly

The academic calendar shows important dates related to your semester, such as mid-semester break and exam periods. Place or save the academic calendar somewhere you can access quickly, like your computer desktop. Next, input all your important dates over the semester, assignment due dates, exam study period, as well as your social and family commitments such as weddings or birthday parties. You’ll then start to see where you might need to start work on your assignments a little earlier if the due date clashes with your cousin’s 21st bash, for example. In your online calendar, block out time for your classes. Then add your regular work, family or other commitments. Setting up recurring appointments in an online calendar are time savers when planning your study load from week to week.

Now you have an idea of what your semester looks like and how much time you have for your coursework and assignments.

Handy tip: Bookmark the library’s Assignment Calculator to help you allow enough time for completing your assignments.

Keep study support within reach

Can’t make it to campus for a study skills workshop? Library staff have been busy over the summer preparing these workshops for online access through Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, either go to the community site directly and click ‘Enrol’, or use ‘Community Finder’ and search with the name ‘Library Back to Study’. By enrolling in the community site, you will have ready access to these resources from your Blackboard home page.

Topics include reading and note taking, undertaking research and returning to university study, with helpful hints and strategies.

Need help through the semester? Ask a Librarian – by phone, at the Library Helpdesk or online.

We’re here to help.

Be prepared: Getting the best out of Study Solutions!

" Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!" By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

” Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!” By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

At the Library, there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Did you know that the most common question we get asked is, “Where are the bathrooms?” Helping you to find the bathroom is just one of the many ways we can help in the Library.

Many students get stuck with pesky research, writing and referencing questions over the course of the semester. At every branch Library, you can have your researching and referencing questions answered straight away at the Library Helpdesk. Our staff are trained to help you get started and point you in the right direction to get your assignments started.

If you have a longer or more complicated question, the Library can provide support for your studies through a Study Solutions appointment. By booking a Study Solutions appointment, you can get a 25 minute face to face appointment for help with your study, research and assignments. From understanding your assignment question, providing feedback on a draft, to working in groups, or organising your work/study load, we are here to help.

You can book a 25 minute consultation from Week 3. Bookings open a week in advance and fill up quickly – so be prepared and book early.

If you miss out on an appointment, never fear! Drop-in sessions are available at both Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove libraries from 12pm-2pm, Tuesday to Thursday. The time of your consultation will depend on how many students are waiting – so be prepared and have your burning question ready and waiting to maximise your time.

So! You’ve booked a consultation or you’re planning on coming to a drop-in session…. what can you do to prepare yourself to get the best out of your Study Solutions session?

1. Be on time! Make sure to note the date, time, and location of your consultation. Write it in your phone, diary, or the back of your hand. Remember you can keep track of your bookings online.

2. Come to your consultation with something specific to work on. Whether it be your assignment question, your draft, a particular study issue you’ve been having, or a question about a resource – this helps us to tailor the support specifically to your needs. Please remember that library staff cannot proofread assignments for you, we can give you tips and strategies so you can proofread yourself (hint: read your assignment out loud to the mirror!).

3. Check our online study resources and see if your question is answered there. If you familiar yourself with resources such as Cite Write, Studywell, and Studysmart, you’ll be well on your way to being a top student on your own!

4. If you’re looking for specific academic language and learning support you can get in touch with Academic Language and Learning Services (ALLS) to arrange an appointment. Language and Learning Educators are specially trained to help students and staff who need help with speaking and writing.

 

Welcome to Semester 1

Think of the Library as your floaties... 'Flafloaties' by  shankool007 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Think of the Library as your floaties… ‘Flafloaties’ by shankool007 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So – you’ve found the library; worked out your preferred coffee shop; eaten some free pancakes; toga-ed up and perhaps even deciphered the campus map  to find your lecture locations. You’re feeling on top of things!

It’s time to get serious. Keeping on top of your coursework and managing your time to balance your study, working and, well,  life is no easy task but the QUT Library can definitely help! In February and March across the QUT, the library holds workshops to help any and all students with their researching, writing and study. These are free and open to any student. You don’t have to be new, just eager for some strategies and assistance! Sign up HERE

As the semester progresses, Study Solutions individual appointments can troubleshoot your assessment woes, or advise on how to get started. Free to attend and scheduled across the day at all library branches, sign up early for an appointment or attend a drop-in session to get your assessment off to the right start. Starting in Week 3, appointments can be booked HERE

If you’re not sure what you need to know, or don’t know what you don’t know, completing the Study Smart tutorials is a great way to learn some new skills and increase your understanding of university-level research and study requirements. They’re online, self-paced and easy to navigate. You can complete all six or just those where you think you need some help.

And lastly, but definitely not least, there are a variety of ways you can Ask a Librarian! for help: Chat to a Librarian operates during semester; you can phone or come to a Library Helpdesk at each library branch; you can Email a Librarian or perhaps check out the FAQs where others have come before you and already asked what you need to know!

There’s no such thing as a silly question and we are here to help!

 

 

#lifehack your exams

8391652926_1ebbff8178_k

If you’re looking at this picture then you’re prepping for exams as we speak! Who knew?!         “Newborn baby Alpaca” by TC Morgan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It goes without saying that good old fashioned reviewing, revising and throughout-the-semester planning will leave you in the best place regarding exam performance. QUT Library’s Studywell has some fantastic resources including an Exam Study Planner, advice on tackling exam anxiety and emergency exam preparation to get you on your way.

However, in addition to this, Jackson Chung of website MakeUseOf’s has come up with 18 Unexpected Lifehacking Tips To Improve Your Exam Scores which are worth a look. He gives top tips for what to do one month before your exam, one day before and on the day. Here are my favourites.

One month before:

  • Work for 25 minutes without disruption and then take a 5 minute break. Do this 4 time and then take a 15 minute break. This structure breaks the daunting task of studying up into manageable and not-so-daunting segments. This isn’t far from standard exam prep advice so is worth repeating.
  • Use some restriction apps to block your access to the places that most suck your time. ‘Self control’ blocks specific websites for up to 24 hours; ‘Cold Turkey’ blocks specific websites at certain times and ‘Freedom’ prevents you using the internet at all – this one is not so good if you are needing to access your QUT Blackboard unit page or download articles from the Library!

One day before:

  • Sleep on it. Sleeping increases alertness and decreases stress and also improves memory and cognitive function, i.e. essential exam skills.
  • Watch cute videos. Yes, you heard me. Apparently a recent Japanese study found that participants who viewed cute images improved their ability to perform fine motor dexterity-based tasks. Chung recommends searching for ‘sneezing baby panda’, ‘scottie pinwheel’ and ‘hamster eating a tiny burrito’ and I’d add ‘Four laughing babies’ to that list for maximum cuteness.

On the day of the exam:

  • Chew gum. Apparently studies have shown that chewing gum improves reaction time and accuracy
  • Formulate an answer first. In multiple choice exams, think of an answer yourself before viewing the choices available.
  • Sit up straight in the exam room. Apparently a study at Harvard Business School found that how you sit and stand can affect your confidence.

For even more exam preparation advice Ask a Librarian.

Writing great assignments

 

"Maze Starts Here" by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Maze Starts Here” by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The secret to writing great assignments is all about how you begin and end the process. Take the time to plan and edit to make your writing clear, logical, relevant and … great!

Before

  • Plan your time carefully so that you will have time to edit before the due date. Aim to write at least one draft. This will remove the pressure to write perfectly and you’ll build momentum.
  • Know what type of assignment you’re writing. Reports, essays, critiques, annotated bibliographies, etc. have different structures, tones and styles. Know the difference before you begin.

During

  • Break the assignment into chunks and divide the word count by the number of paragraphs you plan to write. Start writing whichever paragraph you like: there is no need to write the introduction first!
  • Check regularly to ensure that your writing responds to the task sheet, the marking criteria and any other resources available on QUT Blackboard.
  • Take short breaks every hour and reward yourself when you reach the end of each section.

After

Edit and proofread by asking  these five important questions:

  1. Am I answering the assignment question?
  2. Do I use clear examples and good evidence to support my ideas?
  3. Is my assignment organised and carefully structured so a reader can follow my logic?
  4. Am I referencing correctly and consistently?
  5. Is my writing formal and free of errors? Am I using the scholarly language of my discipline: the technical terms, words and theories that are used by my lecturers and are relevant to my subject area?

For any help with writing assignments, come and see us at Study Solutions!

 

Get ready for study

hpthemeweeks_getstarted

New in Semester 2? Welcome! Returning after Semester 1? Welcome back!

Whether you are new to QUT or returning refreshed from break and ready to tackle another semester, QUT Library has plenty to offer you. Now is the time to:

We look forward to meeting you in the Library and helping you get off to a brilliant start!

Editing your assignment

Cat waking up

Black cat, white cat by Oui-ennui (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Have you worked all weekend on an assignment only to feel that it still needs a lot of work, and you cannot bear to look at it another second? Feeling ‘over it’ is a great time to get help from the QUT Learning and Research Desk or make a Study Solutions appointment. The good news is that feeling ‘over it’ is an entirely normal part of the writing process. Acknowledge your feelings and plan for them. Know that they too will pass and that you will feel excited again as you rush towards the finish line.

Here’s a simple cycle for defeating your writer blues: break-scribble-break-rewrite

Break

Plan a break between finishing a first draft and editing your assignment. 24hrs is a good break from your work to get clarity—but even an hour or two can help you transition. During your break, print out your assignment, single-sided so that you have a physical document to scribble on for the next stage.

Scribble

When you return to your assignment, use a pencil or pen to make comments on your draft as though you were a teacher. Use arrows and comments to signify big changes. Making your work physical helps you identify flaws and improve logical flow to really boost your grade.

Break

Once you have finished marking up your draft, take a good long break, maybe take a walk, move to a different location or enjoy something totally unrelated to your assignment.

Rewrite

With your printed and scribbled-on assignment, make your corrections from beginning to end (to make sure you don’t forget any) on your computer.

You can defeat your writer blues using the break-scribble-break-rewrite cycle multiple times. The good news about editing is that you get better and better each time you practice. Just like learning guitar or surfing, writing and editing become easier with effort. Try to be gentle on yourself if you find it hard. It is hard, but it is worth it and you’ll feel great when you finally submit your work.

cat in the sun

A cat in the sun is a happy cat by Chris Pederick (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Need some extra help with getting assignments underway? What about trying Study Solutions?

The Learning and Research Desk is a great place to come when you’re looking for help , but if you think you might need some extra assistance with your study, Study Solutions might be exactly what you’re looking for!

Study Solutions is a free service where you can receive individual assistance from experienced staff who will work with you on your academic study issues.

Bring your assignment topic, project task or study challenge…solve tricky referencing, find the best information sources for your assignments,  write more effectively,manage your time better, prepare well for exams… or simply get better grades. However, there is one thing library staff won’t do and that is proofread your entire assignment.  What we will do, though, is help you to develop the skills to edit and proofread your assignments yourself.

Study Solutions is available at all branches of QUT Library.  To register for your free appointment, Book now or enquire at the Learning and Research Desk.

For extra study and research resources, visit  Studywell

Need some extra help with getting assignments underway? What about trying Study Solutions?

The Learning and Research Desk is a great place to come when you’re looking for help , but if you think you might need some extra assistance with your study, Study Solutions might be exactly what you’re looking for!

Study Solutions is a free service where you can receive individual assistance from experienced staff who will work with you on your academic study issues.

Bring your assignment topic, project task or study challenge…solve tricky referencing, find the best information sources for your assignments,  write more effectively,manage your time better, prepare well for exams… or simply get better grades. However, there is one thing library staff won’t do and that is proofread your entire assignment.  What we will do, though, is help you to develop the skills to edit and proofread your assignments yourself.

Study Solutions is available at all branches of QUT Library.  To register for your free appointment, Book now or enquire at the Learning and Research Desk.

For extra study and research resources, visit  Studywell