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How to Study Smart

NCH Student Blog | July 31, 2020

As a Law student ambassador at NCH, one of my most common questions asked by prospective students is: “Law seems quite hard… how long do you spend studying?” To that, I would say that the key to doing well, particularly at NCH, is to “work smarter, not harder”.

By this, I mean that one should form a certain set of skills and the key to mastering these are by setting clear boundaries, managing time effectively, whilst being goal orientated. So, how do you go about doing this?

  • Control your environment: When working, I would suggest turning off your phone or putting it on “Do Not Disturb”. In addition, removing social media sites from your Bookmarks Bar is honestly revolutionary. Moreover, one can reduce the number of unnecessary distractions by going to the Library. I am regularly found in Senate House Library’s Economics Room on the 4th Floor.
  • Create “To Do” lists for the day, with all your tasks is a great way to motivate yourself. These set out realistic goals and clear intentions for the day – improving your time management skills. **Top Tip: Start with the hardest thing first ** Please, please, please do not start doing your Summative Assessment the night before it is due. Speaking from personal experience, the all-nighter is merely not worth the stress.
  • My biggest piece of advice is to work consistently throughout the year– however, this is definitely easier said than done. I would suggest blocking out 2-3 hours per day, every day to do preparation work for lectures, seminars and tutorials and research for Summative and Formative Assessments. It is also really important not to get bummed out or too knocked down from getting a bad grade on an assessment. One must simply reset and focus on the progress you need to make, be that essay structure or content. Contact your tutor, friends or lecturers if you need to go over things- they won’t bite!
  • Factor in time to have a good night’s sleep, do some exercise and see friends!
  • Concentration is incredibly important. Therefore, breaks are crucial- I recommend working in 50-minute bursts for optimal levels of focus and concentration. According to Parkinson’s Law, humans simply expand work by filling the available time for its completion. For example, if you allocate yourself 2 hours to do research for a formative, it will take you just as long. Perhaps it may be beneficial to mentally set tighter deadlines to ensure that you stay on top of everything.
  • Finally, having a positive attitude and sticking to a routine is really important. Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach, said that “we are creatures of habit, and so are our brains. When we establish routines, we can carry out tasks faster since we don’t have to ‘think’ about the task – or prepare for it – as much, and can work on autopilot“.

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