How can I study from home effectively?

At the University, there are a number of spaces available for you to work in. However, it is likely you will spend a lot of time working from home: whether in student halls, a shared house, or perhaps your family home. 

Environment

Create a designated study area – ideally a desk used only by you. Keep this area tidy and organised to help you work efficiently and reduce distractions. Although you may want a change of scene occasionally, avoid working in front of the TV, or in bed.  Creating a clear division between your workspace and other areas will help you switch off when you need to. 

Time management

Studying independently requires self-discipline. Most students find they are more productive if they take a proactive approach to organising their time. Find out more about time management on the Skills for Learning website. In addition, try joining a virtual “Study Café” (book on the Skills for Learning workshop timetable) so you can benefit from the feeling of working with others, with a skills tutor on hand to facilitate. 

Approaches to learning

Studying effectively isn’t opening a book and just reading passively, or listening to a lecture and hoping it will sink in. Few students can absorb information and generate ideas in this way. Research suggests that we learn best the more actively we are involved in the process. The Learning Pyramid demonstrates this theory. 

Think about how you learn best and what techniques you can use to make the most of your study time. For example: 

  • Remember, note-making doesn’t have to be linear. The column notes (Cornell) method, for example, can help understand and retain information. 
  • Mind-mapping is unstructured, so can boost creative thinking. Use pen and paper or an online tool such as MindMeister. 
  • Other visual methods include using timelines, flowcharts and tables to organise information. Flashcards are helpful for revising key facts. 
  • Use colour to highlight key points in a text and colour coding to categorise according to themes. Using colour will stimulate your senses, helping you to understand and remember information.

Self care

Look after yourself when working from home. This includes having regular breaks from work (however busy you are!) and eating and sleeping well. For more information about mental well-being when working from home, visit the LBU Student Wellbeing Team pages and the Mental Health Foundation website

Seek support

Although you may be working independently, that doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are lots of people and resources available to you. For subject-specific queries, speak to your module tutor. You can also discuss concerns with your Academic Advisor.

Skills for Learning have academic skills webinars and drop-in sessions you can attend online, from the comfort of your room (book on the Skills for Learning workshop timetable). You can also book a 1-to-1 online appointment with an Academic Skills Tutor through the Get Help page

Finally, just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from discussing concerns and ideas with your coursemates. Creating or participating in a study group can help you benefit from peer learning. Video conferencing platforms such Zoom and GoogleMeet can be great for this, as well as Whatsapp video calls and other social media.  

The LBU Student Blog Squad have more advice and tips for studying from home.

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