Study tips for new students from a current student

  "Laptop work space" by Photo by Alejandro Escamilla.

Philio Nguyen, final year Business and Management student, shares the study tips he has learned at Kent.

Moving from college/sixth form to higher education is a huge step and for some including me, it can be quite daunting. Luckily I have discovered many study tricks along the way which I thought I’d share with you.

Separating the important facts from the non-important facts

‘Like many of us, I tend to go a little overboard with the highlighting so that it becomes excessive and confusing later on. So how do you overcome this? Limit yourself and only highlight the most important or confusing parts that you can refer to later. This should help you save a little time when revision comes along and to your amazement, the page isn’t completely fluorescent.

Are you a kinaesthetic, visual or auditory learner?

‘Everyone has their own unique style of learning so try to find out what yours is! For me, I learnt through recalling facts and saying them out loud to myself, but others may prefer to see it on paper, writing it out or performing an action.

Flash cards

‘I found flashcards a really useful tool for revision and as a way to jog my memory during my exams. Overtime it came to me quite naturally and I found that I was able to recall the facts quicker the more you use and familiarise yourself with them.

‘Try using different coloured cards for each topic to make it easier and ask a friend to quiz you along the way. It’s less time-consuming and more effective than trying to regurgitate a whole text book.

Memory tricks

‘Use any memory tricks to your advantage. It’s a great way to recall the facts in a way that is more familiar and relatable to you. This will come in useful during your exams, especially when you need all the time you can get to plan and write the perfect answer. I found this most valuable for my Contract Law exam which required me to learn 150+ cases and be ready to apply them at any time during the exam.

‘Example: One of the cases I had learnt was regarding a noise complaint due to a plane and involved two individuals: Farley and Skinner. My trigger word here was ‘far’ from Farley. I was able to associate the word far with travelling and planes and thus, the word itself shares similarities with pieces of facts in the case, hence making it much easier to remember.

Study groups

‘I personally found forming study groups of 2-4 people was a great way to learn and build upon your knowledge. It allows you to bounce ideas off of each other and to discuss topics in more detail, and in a way that made the content easier to digest. You’ll also be able to know if you missed out any important facts which could be the difference between a 2:1 and first!

Don’t just copy everything down

‘I found this method to be quite ineffective for me and you’ll end up with pages of information that you don’t have the capacity to remember. Instead, try to write down the most important facts in a style you can understand as well as the additional facts from your lecturers which are not contained in the lecture slides itself.

Start your notes early

‘As tempting as a whole day in bed sounds, try to spend it wisely and take an hour or two out to finalise your notes from your lecture or seminars. It’ll save you a lot of time and stress during the exam season and allows you to refresh your memory as opposed to feeling that you’re only just learning the content from the beginning again. Trust me.

If you don’t understand, just ask

‘Learning is about understanding the concepts rather than just simply memorising them. Don’t forget your lecturers and seminar leaders are always there to help if you need more clarity or support. Just pop-in during their office hours or book an appointment with them when you get the chance.

I hope these tips will help you throughout your journey at Kent.’