Successful learning strategies - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

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 studies.

If you experience any challenges or difficulties, do not be afraid to speak up. Questions, feedback and discussion are all important parts of the learning process. There are also lots of services available to assist you to succeed in your studies.

  • Plan to be busy. A little time management, applied early, can help reduce stress and avoid the pressure of deadlines. You can use the planning resources available on the Academic Skills Blackboard site to develop a weekly and semester planner. Mark assessment due dates on a study calendar and use the Assignment Calculator to work out ‘start work’ dates. Include personal commitments and check the calendar daily to keep on track.
  • Attend pre-semester Academic Skills Workshops to brush up on your academic writing, study and proofreading skills before the semester starts.
  • Access Library help to further develop your research skills and attend a library tour during Orientation. The USC Library has an extensive range of online information and resources to assist you with your research that can be accessed 24/7.
  • Improve your IT skills. The Train(ing) Station on Blackboard allows access to online training materials and video tutorials for a wide range of software packages used here at USC, through our external training provider – LinkedIn Learning). IT Services offer a wide range of IT support for students; contact the Student IT Help Desk for further assistance.
  • Understand your program. Many programs at USC have Inherent Academic Requirements (IAR) identified. If your program has IARs, you should read the IAR statement carefully to ensure you are able to meet these requirements. If you have a disability or ongoing health condition, contact a USC Ability Adviser to talk about the adjustments that may be put in place so you can meet the requirements.

  • Access your course outline on Blackboard and read your course materials carefully, to understand what is expected of you.
  • 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.

  • Listen actively during lectures.
    • Take notes to maximise the time invested and be fully engaged in the process.
    • Associate new ideas and concepts with what you already know and ask questions if there is anything that does not make sense.
    • Use quiet moments to annotate your notes with ‘things to ask about later’ at tutorials.
    • Be tolerant of different delivery styles.
  • Review your notes. We will forget 40-50% of what we heard in a lecture within 24 hours, unless we actively revisit our notes or the lecture recording.
    • Review and summarise your notes.
    • Add to your notes from your text if you missed any points.
    • Identify areas of content that you don't understand and seek help.
  • 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 and listen attentively to what is being said.
    • Show interest in what others have to say and contribute to the discussion.
    • Take notes during your tutorials.
  • Make the most of the Academic and study support available. Attend Academic Skills Workshops or book a consult with a Learning Adviser during business hours. You can also use Studiosity for free online advice outside of business hours, and participate in peer learning opportunities run by Study Leaders.

  • Review your course enrolment/study plan with a Program Adviser at Student Central to make sure you're on track to complete your program.
  • Review your direction. Many students decide to review their direction after getting started with their studies. Sometimes, this means rethinking your specialisation within your current program, other times it means applying for a change to a different program. Contact Student Central for advice if you want to check your enrolment/Majors/Minors/specialisations or apply for a program change.
  • Consult with the Career Development Team to help plan and clarify your career direction. They can help with career planning, goal setting, developing options, exploring personality work preferences, job search skills, interview coaching and overcoming career transition issues. Online Career Development resources are available for choosing your career path, developing employability skills and experience, fine tuning your job search skills and preparing for an interview. Choose a time on Student Hub for a face-to-face, telephone or Skype appointment.
  • Reduce your study load to allow time to concentrate on challenging content, or to better manage health, family or personal responsibilities. It is important to consider how a reduced study load may impact on your study plan, income support eligibility and visa requirements for International students. For advice contact Student Central.
  • Note important dates from the Academic Calendar in case you need to swap, drop or add courses to your enrolment. Doing so before the relevant dates (such as census) will ensure you don’t receive an academic penalty.
  • Seek feedback and support to address Work-Integrated learning/fieldwork placement issues. If you experience difficulties with work-integrated learning courses or fieldwork placements, you should contact your Course Coordinator/Supervisor for feedback and support. Student Wellbeing may also be able to provide support if personal, disability or health issues are impacting on your fieldwork/placement.
  • Student Wellbeing can provide support if personal, disability or health issues are impacting on your studies. Support services are available if you have a disability, or short or long term health or medical condition that affects your learning or access whilst on campus. After registering for support, Disability Advisers will work with you to assess your needs and develop a Learning Access Plan that will allow you access to appropriate learning arrangements and supports.
  • If special circumstances negatively impact your ability to study you may be eligible to have your financial and/or academic penalty removed. You must apply as soon as you are aware of your circumstances and applications received more than 12 months after any academic penalty is applied may not be considered.
  • Consider reducing work to increase chances of a better academic outcome. It is essential to be able to balance your study load with your work and other life commitments. Many students realise that they need to reduce their work hours to be able to fit in the time required to manage their study load.
  • Explore financial support options which may include applying for a Scholarship or Bursary. Saving, budgeting and being aware of Scholarships/Bursaries, student loan opportunities and government assistance are recommended to help you make ends meet financially.
  • Connect with other students to enhance your time at university. Consider joining a student club or society, getting involved with the Student Guild, participating in peer learning activities or playing sport to connect with others.