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Four organisational strategies for study success

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Starting a postgraduate qualification is a positive career step but deadlines, exams, and the challenging workload can quickly become overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to balance your work and home life with your coursework. One of the best things you can do to ensure your success is to get organised.

Even though you may already have a good grasp on how to manage your time, don’t underestimate the importance of taking time out to put the following three tips into practice before you commence studies.

Make a study plan

You’re probably aware that having a study schedule is essential to success, but that doesn’t mean you need to block out hours upon hours of study time. In fact, research completed by neurobiologists has shown that studying in short bursts over a long period of time is more effective than longer study sessions over short periods.

First, create a study calendar that includes deadlines for assignments and exams, your work schedule, and your personal commitments. With a single calendar that includes all of your commitments, you’ll be able to easily see when you have free time for study.

Once you’ve filled out your calendar, refer to it frequently to see when your major upcoming assessments and assignments are due. Block out time for studying at least two weeks in advance. As you do so, don’t neglect to schedule small blocks of time, even if they’re just 15 minutes, to knock out small assignments or small chunks of a larger task.

Establish a study space

While you may sometimes have to study on the run, having a designated study space will help you complete your work more easily and with greater success. Choose a quiet, comfortable, well-lit space that is free of distractions. If you’re planning to study at home, choose a room with a door you can close and post your study schedule on it so you won’t be interrupted.

Create an accountability network

One of the best ways to keep yourself on track with your studies is to create an accountability network. Share your study calendar with your spouse, your employer, and your family. Ask the people in your household to check in with you to ensure that you’re getting everything done. If you can keep everyone updated on your goals, they’ll be prepared to provide the support you need during stressful times.

In addition, get to know your colleagues in your course. Even as an online postgraduate student, holding a study group face-to-face or having online discussions about major assignments can help keep everyone motivated.

Connect with support services

From peers in your program to course conveners and support staff like tutors, the more people you have on your team, the greater your chances of success.

If you haven’t yet done so, introduce yourself to your course convenors so you’ll be comfortable engaging with during your studies. In addition, make sure to review the support services that are available to you.

Monash Online has a wide variety of support services, including study skills assistance. Take the time to make a list of contact information for any support services you may need. This will make it easier for you to contact them if you need them. 

By taking the initiative to get organised before your studies commence, you’ll set yourself up for success.