Especially for new students, the first academic year comes as a surprise with the variation in workload that exists between different courses. The amount of work required for basic courses may vary depending on the teacher. One teacher may want the course to be laborious group work or presentation, in addition to which there is an exam covering the entire course area and three books. For another teacher, just taking a course exam may be enough.
If you’re in your first years of study after high school, this variation in workload can come as a surprise. While it would be important to learn something in addition to passing the courses, for many, of course, the most important thing is to get a reasonable grade with a reasonable amount of work. Effective study is easy if you have the motivation and a good plan. This will save you time and effort instead of spending all your free time studying.
Invest in quality, not quantity
Especially in areas where there is a lot of exam literature, it is not worth trying to read each opus several times from start to finish. Taking exams is not the same as taking entrance exams, it is about mastering the whole. If you want to learn the right things, read the lecture slides before the lectures, listen to the lectures, and after the lectures look for suitable things in the exam literature.
When reading exam literature, focus on it holistically. This means a method that seeks to internalize large entities first, then focusing on the details. For example, it is a good idea to scroll through the songs you read before going into more detail. A holistic method is a key to effective study, leaving you more free time to relax.
Organize, take notes, and take breaks
In addition to the holistic method, it is important to organize reading into subject areas. You should use a pen and paper for this, as most of the organization does not take place in front of your eyes, but in the head. When you organize your text visually, you will remember it better. In notes, it’s a good idea to focus on the main points and also pick up keywords in the details. Make keyword listings for yourself, in addition to which you will learn smaller things from the text.
Also, be sure to take breaks. When studying, you should put your smartphone directly in airplane mode, as it is certainly the most disturbing thing for your studies. Instead, take the clock and count about 50-minute snippets, after which take a 10-minute break. Use half the pause for keyword lists and a half for thinking about other things. In addition, take longer breaks every few hours. Nice study!