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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University. Join the course to learn more.


It’s really easy to get carried away with all the fun stuff when you start university but remember why you’re there in the first place.

At university you’re expected to be self-motivated to direct your own learning. If you’ve never experienced this before it’ll take some time getting used to. Don’t fall into the trap believing you have plenty of time to do all your work. Time has a way of creeping up quickly.

The key is to pace yourself. Here are some useful tips:

  • Set blocks of time for your study and make sure nothing interferes with it. Small or big chunks – it’s up to you.
  • Figure out which environment you study best, for example, alone in your room, at the library with friends, at night, in the morning etc…
  • Multiple deadlines? Work backwards. Split each piece of work, in order of sequence, into small tasks and estimate the duration for each one. Starting from your deadline date, place the tasks in order of end to beginning. With each step you set a mini deadline to help manage your workload.
  • When you’re studying hard, set reminders on your phone to eat or exercise. When you hear it, get up and do it.
  • Please sleep.
  • Develop your study skills. At the University of Reading new students are given access to a pre-university study skills course: ‘Study Smart’ to help build their confidence and to be prepared for the change in learning. Check what your university has available for you.
  • Find out what study support is available for you. If you start to struggle with your studies, speak to your Academic/Personal Tutor, Study Advice team or Student Services.

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This article is from the free online course:

Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University

University of Reading