journal with September calendar written out and highlighted in yellow

Managing your studies

Good organisation is key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.

Plan your time

– Plot and organise your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) around all your other activities (work, social, holidays etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them. Allow time for breaks, exercise, and social activities to maintain a healthy work/life balance

– Start each assignment as early as possible. Working back from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and meet your deadlines

  • Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks

– Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress

– Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule

Find termly and weekly time planners under Time Management on the SLAS website.

Set up a filing system

  • Group, organise and store information and work

– Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’

– Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version

– Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.

  • Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it

Keep on top of your work

  • Be pro-active

– If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it. Reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing

  • Seek help if you need it

– Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:

For guidance on all the topics mentioned above – including Getting organised and Time management – the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) provides 1-1 appointments, workshops and study guides.