Study skills online

An electronic guide to some of the best ways to study


    1. This document has no legal status; it contains the personal views of Martin Greenhow. I hope you find them useful during your studies.
    2. This web site will be shortly in need of a new host institution (college, university, charity, professional organisation or similar).
      Please contact martin.greenhow@brunel.ac.uk if you can help with this.
    3. If you cannot see a menu on the left-hand side, click here

Info

    1. Most of the users of this site are from the UK and USA, but the rest of the world figures in the log too - welcome to users from some very exotic places like Viet Nam, Chile etc. In order to be more helpful, I have added Google's automatic translator at the top of each page.

      I do not accept any responsibility for these translations but it might be better than nothing. On the other hand, if you plan to study in English, you should be able to read this in English and you might prefer to do that anyway.

THE QUICK GUIDE (for those in too much of a hurry to select the menu items on the left!)

    1. 1 Work/Life balance: do not let your studies get in the way of the reasons why you went to university in the first place! Danger signals to watch out for are: a) attending 9am lectures, b) doing any work that isn't marked.
    2. 2Attending lectures: be sure to avoid the trap of attending lectures simply because they are there. If you MUST attend, be sure to a) take your mobile phone so you can text people and access Facebook etc., b) sit near your friends for a cosy chat. However, it is far more efficient to promise yourself that one day you'll get around to watching the lecture recording, skipping over the boring bits of course ... Do this on the evening before, or even the morning of, the exam so the completely new material is fresh in your mind. After all, you only need to know this stuff for the duration of the exam, not before or after.
    3. 3Taking lecture notes is a waste of time, of course. Just photograph the screen or whiteboard from time to time ... your lecturer will be flattered by this. In any case, everything you need can be downloaded from the internet. Science students should watch the Discovery channel; arts students should watch the History channel; everyone should watch The Simpsons (your lecturers will have and so this avoids embarrassing silences in tutorials).
    4. 4Attempting problem sheets, especially those given out by maths lecturers, is likely to show you what you don't know. Why take the risk? It is far better to simply wait for the answers and simply check that you could have done them really, had you bothered.

    5. 5The trick with all written work is to download and tweak material from the internet. Be sure to include a reference or two; your marker will be so relieved that he/she doesn't have to investigate possible plagiarism that you'll get good marks in gratitude. Curiously academics still believe in books, so consider including a few randomly-chosen but serious-sounding references from the university catalogue (it is of course completely unnecessary to read them, or even know where the library is). Regardless of the subject, you must include lots of long words in your writing.
    6. 6 Some students seem to believe that academics are interested in students and talk to them. Obviously this is not cool ...

    7. 7 Rather than take out a student loan, you have two much better options: a) get a full-time job - at least you'll have something interesting to say on your CV and nobody will notice that you are not at university, or b) borrow money on your credit cards and declare yourself bankrupt at the end of the course.
    8. 8The sole purpose of doing the first(second) year is to be allowed to doss about in the second(third) year; unfortunately this requires you to pass your exams - or does it? It might be far more efficient to pass just one or two and do resits for the others at a later stage.
    9. OK I admit it ... all of the above is a spoof! However, it is based on some attitudes I have encountered in the past, although grossly paraphrased. However, if any of this reflects you in any way, then you really should change and this site will help you with that. I know that you ARE at university and hence ‘successful’ but to what extent and could your performance be improved still further? Read on ...

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