Successful learning strategies

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Successful learning strategies


There are some simple things you can do to enhance your learning, improve your skills and get the most out of your tertiary studies.

Embrace the expectations

Right from the start, you should be honest and open with yourself regarding what you have agreed to do in each of your courses.

  • Read your course outline and course materials carefully, as this will help you to understand what is expected of you.
  • Your course outline contains details of the weekly lectures, tutorials, readings and activities.
  • All the important course dates and assessment information are also included.
  • Take a moment to consider exactly how busy you will be in each of your courses.

Plan to be busy

A little time management, applied early, can help reduce stress and avoid the pressure of deadlines.

  • Mark assessment due dates on a study calendar.
  • Mark ‘start work’ dates for these assessment pieces on the same calendar.
  • Mark unavoidable personal commitments on the same calendar.
  • Check the calendar on a daily basis, to remind yourself of how well you are tracking through the semester.

Read early and often

A little preparation can help you get a whole lot more from your lectures.

  • Take fifteen minutes to pre-read some of the recommended readings before the lecture.
    • Skim and scan the text and jot down concepts and ideas.
    • Pay extra attention to diagrams and graphs.
  • Skim the lecture notes before the lecture.
  • Review your lecture notes from the previous week.
    • This will get your mind back into the right space before engaging with this week’s activities.
  • Remember to read the rest of the expected readings as soon as you can after the related lecture. This Youtube video may help.

Listen actively during lectures

You will maximise the return on time invested in lectures by being fully engaged in the communication process.

  • Arrive early, and claim the best seat in the house.
  • Engage with the topic.
  • Take notes – embellish them with sketches, symbols, anything that adds value (meaning) to what you write.
  • Seek clarification for things that do not make sense.
  • Ask questions!
  • Associate new ideas and concepts with what you already know.
  • Use quiet moments to annotate your notes with ‘things to ask about later’ at tutorials.
  • Be tolerant of different delivery styles.

Revisit the scene

We will forget 40-50% of what we heard in a lecture within 24 hours, unless we actively revisit our notes, or the lecture itself.

  • Review and summarise your notes.
  • Add to your notes from your text if you missed any points.
  • Talk to someone about the lecture.
  • Identify areas of content that you do not understand and seek help or conduct further study to clarify.
  • Recite the main points.
  • Write a summary of your notes.

Participate in tutorials

Tutorials are the ideal opportunity for you to get involved with your course and with fellow students. Often, a fresh perspective from a fellow student can clarify your understanding of a difficult concept.

  • Prepare by completing the prescribed readings and assigned tasks.
  • Turn up with a positive attitude towards the course.
  • Listen attentively to what is being said.
  • Show interest in what others have to say.
  • Contribute to the discussion.
  • Take notes during your tutorials.

Ask for help if you need it

If you experience difficulties, do not be afraid to speak up. Questions, feedback and discussion are all important parts of the learning process. Ask a friend or another student for advice, speak with your tutor or lecturer, or contact an academic skills adviser and arrange for a free consultation.

More information

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