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Study habits: Introduction

Study habits


Study is an important part of your university life. Learning how to manage your study and developing good study habits will help you study effectively and maximise your learning at University.

What you will learn

  • Strategies for developing good study habits
  • How to manage your time effectively 

Image: Planner by Marijana1 Pixabay 

Start planning


The key to keeping on track of your studies is to organise yourself - carefully organising your study time so you can juggle family and other personal commitments. This means getting into the habit of planning!  Planning is the basis of good time management. It allows you to track what you are doing, monitor what you have already done and how much time you have available to you. Whether it's short-term or long-term planning, creating a plan will give you guidance and direction, allowing you to manage your time more effectively.


Semester plan

At the start of the semester, begin planning how you are going to manage your study load with your other commitments. Use your unit outlines to guide you in the planning process as it will give you a general overview of the whole semester, including assessment due dates. The university calendar is also useful as it shows semester breaks, study weeks, tuition-free weeks etc. 

Using planners (such as a calendar or diary) can help you record these dates so you are prepared for what lies ahead. 


Weekly plan

Once you have noted down the key dates for the semester, start planning for each week. Your lectures and tutorial times for the various subjects are usually scheduled at the same time each week so try and develop a weekly study routine. Your weekly plan should include both study and personal activities, for example:

  • Lectures and tutorials
  • Pre-reading material
  • Work commitments
  • Family events
  • Health and well-being activities (sports, gym, yoga etc)


Daily plan

Keeping a daily plan of all your activities can help you work towards completing your tasks within a set time frame. For example, "Complete introduction to essay " - by planning for this tasks you will hold yourself accountable and make use of your time effectively. You may also want to consider giving yourself a little reward for having accomplished the task.


Set goals


Planning and organising your study load is important, but it is also important to get the balance right so that you can go from the planning stage and move into actually getting started.


Having goals is a good way to motivate yourself and get you started. When setting goals, consider breaking down your work into achievable goals rather than being overly ambitious. Use the SMART goals method (below) to create clear and achievable goals that you can actually persists with:














Tips for setting goals:


  • set clearly defined goals - set specific goals so you are clear about exactly what you want to achieve
  • keep them realistic so the goals are purposeful and achievable
  • break the goal down into smaller goals (mini-goals), then breaking down the mini-goals into tasks
  • set a time frame for achieving these goals - set a start and end date
  • adjust your expectations - if you are feeling unwell on the day, you may need to modify your schedule accordingly. Do not feel guilty!

And remember to reward yourself when you successfully complete a task (e.g. call a friend, check emails, get a snack).



The activity below will show you how to tackle your assignment by breaking down your goal (of completing an assignment) into mini-goals, and into achievable tasks.


In the activity place the mini tasks for writing an assignment in the correct order.


Manage your time

Time management is an essential skill for studying at University. Students who manage their time well often perform better in their first year of University (Kitsantas, 2008). Finding ways of managing your time can help you cope with the pressure of studying, ensuring you do the right work at the right time.  
Time management is all about self management - managing you and what you choose to do in an allocated space that we call time. Managing you and your time is all about:
  • being aware that time is limited - you cannot get back time that has passed
  • organising your goals, plans and schedules to effectively use time, and
  • monitoring your use of time and adjusting to the distractions and changing priorities.


The key to managing your time rest on valuing what you do, prioritising and organising your activities.


Check out tips on some of the tried and tested techniques for time management.

Know yourself

Knowing who you are and what you are like is a critical part of managing yourself and the time that you have. Are you organised or rigid? Flexible or disorganised? Do you have a short or long concentration span? It is important to consider what works well for you in regard to how you manage your study load with time to rest and play. Get to know yourself and your habits and monitor your behaviour and actions so you can turn these into your patterns of study.

Ask for hlep


Get into the habit of seeking assistance when you are struggling with your studies. It is best to ask for help as soon as possible instead of wasting too much time trying to solve the problem yourself. Consider consulting your tutor and lecturer in the first instance but also remember that your classmates and friends may also be a great source of help.


You will also want to take advantage of the academic support programs that are offered by the university. For example, the Library offers online programs and workshops to help you develop your academic research and study skills.


And remember, it is important to take responsibility for yourself and your own learning!



Good Study Habits