How to Study Successfully: Tips from CAL Students

Online learning is an excellent education avenue for full-time workers to pursue, with the ability to gain a qualification (or even two) all whilst juggling full-time work, a family and social lifestyle. Often, the most helpful study tips and tricks come from fellow students working diligently through their studies.

We interviewed a few of our CAL Students who are excelling in their course work, some working very atypical hours and some even studying outside of Australia. Read our Student Case Studies below to find some great advice about fitting study into your daily schedule, what tools to implement when approaching course work, and actionable study tips.



David works in the motor insurance industry and is completing a Double Diploma of Business + Leadership and Management with us at CAL. David has done a fantastic job of working through his learning even with the birth of his second child. He offers some great tips on how to manage work/life/study balance and effectively tackle your study.

David's Interview


Tracey currently works as a Tourist Park Manager, but is upskilling with a Double Diploma of Business Administration + Leadership Management to combat the closure of the business in a few months. Tracey is an excellent example of being proactive and taking the leap to upskill. She offers invaluable advice on making the most of CAL support.

Tracey's Interview


Sunay is one of our students completing his studies overseas. Sunay is studying a Double Diploma of Logistics + Leadership & Management. Sunay is currently working in Zimbabwe as a Site Manager for a Commercial fuel filling station. Working extraordinary hours and with a very different study schedule to most, Sunay offers some excellent advice.

Sunay's Interview


Double Diploma of Business + Leadership & Management

Engineering Research Specialist

My role involves the project management of research & development projects in the motor insurance industry.

What does your typical study schedule and study environment look like?

I have a 38-hour working week, which is Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm.

My study schedule can vary from day to day. However, I am consistent in achieving one hour per day study through the week and two hours per day on the weekend.

The majority of my study is done during my working week (Mon-Fri) in the morning before work. I either get to work early and study for an hour at my desk, or I will study on the train to and from work on days I work in the city.

On the weekend, I get up early before my family wake up and study for around two hours each day.

My typical day looks like:

4:25am: Wakeup
5:30-6:30am: Gym
6:30-7:15am: Travel to work
7:30-8:30am: Study
8:30-4:30pm: Work
4:30-6:00pm: Travel home
6:00-9:00pm: Family time
9:00pm: Sleep, and then repeat!

What have you learnt from your studies that you have already applied to your workplace or life?

Time management would be the most valuable aspect that I have transferred, as it helps me for study, work and my personal life. I have learnt so many valuable skills from this course that I have transferred into my workplace including:

  • Time Management
  • Goal Setting
  • Document Writing (Reports, Policies, frameworks)
  • Project Management
  • Work Plans
  • Effective communication
  • Team work and collaboration

Did you have any struggles with balancing study and work? How did you overcome them?

Mid-2018 I celebrated the birth of my second child and balancing work/study/family life became a big-time struggle.

“I used the time management skills and techniques learnt from CAL to improve balancing work and study.”

I came to realise whether I had 20 minutes every now and then, or 1 hour to study, it was the quality of that time spent that mattered. Setting myself goals and expectations within that time helped me a lot.

How did you approach CAL coursework?

I am mostly a pencil and paper person, so I write down most of my schedule, to do lists and thoughts. Recently, I discovered the dictation feature in MS Word and it has changed my world! I am an incredibly slow two-finger typist, so now I can just talk to the computer and it types for me.

My routine to approach CAL work is not very special; watch the tutorials and do the activities, complete the quiz and then work through the assessments. Basic, but it works!

How did the coaching support your learning journey?

The access that we have to the coaches at CAL is amazing. I have studied online elsewhere in the past and received nowhere near the support I get from CAL. They are super supportive, knowledgeable and easily accessible. I use the help of the coaches for assessment feedback or if I am stuck or confused with something.

What is your top actionable study tip?

My tip is to schedule shorter time blocks into the day to study, usually around 1-2hrs. This creates a constraint and a sense of urgency to achieve something and not procrastinate.

Set measurable goals to achieve within this allocated study time. I find with setting goals for that allocated time-frame I have an expectation and a finish line to aim for.


Double Diploma of Business Administration + Leadership & Management

Tourist Park Manager


What does your typical study schedule and study environment look like?

I am currently working full-time as the manager of a suburban tourist park. I work 40 hours a week.

I am fortunate enough to be able to do most of my study at work during my work day.  I try to do an average of 2 or 3 hours of study each week day. Occasionally I join my daughter, who is in her first year of University and study at home.

My workplace is pretty quiet as the business is winding down and plans are to close permanently in July.  This has meant I can do the majority of my study during working hours.

This has allowed me to focus on my family life when I go home, and hasn’t impacted greatly on my time with my husband and children.  I have a daughter who completed VCE last year and has just entered University, and my son is in his final year of primary school.

What have you learnt from your studies that you have already applied to your workplace or life?

“This course has been instrumental in teaching me the importance of setting goals – both at work and in my personal life.  I have definitely passed on this knowledge to my family!”

I have also been able to write policies and procedures for my workplace and have a much better understanding of the importance of planning and implementing new administrative systems.

How did you approach CAL coursework?

I had not studied formally for over 25 years prior to commencing this double diploma and was extremely nervous starting with CAL.

The best source of information has definitely been communicating with my CAL learning coach, Meagan.  She has been instrumental in ensuring that I approached each new unit methodically and has been great to bounce ideas on and has offered some excellent advise and suggestions when I’ve felt stuck.

Google has been great when I wanted to back up my learning with some further examples to ensure that I am on the right track.

How did the coaching support your learning journey?

Meagan has been with me all the way throughout my journey.  She has been supportive and encouraging.  I have felt that she has taken the time to understand me – my capabilities and weaknesses throughout the process.

I can rely on her to listen when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stuck and she always finds a way to pick me up and set me back on track.  Without her assistance and motivation I would not have made it this far.

What is your top actionable study tip?

Most definitely stay in contact with your learning coach.  Sometimes just a quick 15 minute chat on the phone can help to reset any negative thoughts that can creep in. 

Listen to the advice your learning coach has to offer.  They understand the issues that students face studying remotely and the difficulty in balancing study with life.


Double Diploma of Logistics + Leadership & Management

Site Manager

I currently work as a Site Manager for a Commercial Fuel Filling Station in Zimbabwe.

What does your typical study schedule and study environment look like?

I work on average 12 hours a day, 6 days per week and occasionally 7 days per week.

The petroleum industry in Zimbabwe is extremely hectic at the moment due to the fact that demand often exceeds supply and therefore when the product is available, there is often a chaotic rush which needs to be delicately managed. This work lifestyle definitely affects my study time.

I generally like to study for longer periods at a time rather than short bursts, I have found that i can cover more ground this way. 

When studying, I found that the best method was to set aside days rather than a few hours per day. This worked well for me as the job I had while studying was site based and this meant that I had 8 consecutive days off in a month, which assisted me in my studies.

I always preferred to study at my desk where I had my computer for research purposes, all the required stationery for notes etc and a comfortable chair to ensure good ergonomics.

What have you learnt from your studies that you have already applied to your workplace or life?

“My studies have changed my entire mindset and thought process, as I understand what is required to be able to succeed in the professional environment.”

The saying “knowledge is power” is succinct and especially important in business, industry and life in general.

In my opinion, the greatest knowledge can be gained through experience. However, this experience is not possible without the theoretical fundamentals that are learnt through study.

Did you have any struggles with balancing study and work? How did you overcome them?

When I commenced my studies I faced huge challenges as work commitments often left me with little time for study.

When I found a job that allowed me the time to study, I saw an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. To put it into perspective, I covered 5% of my studies in the first 24 months and 95% in the next 14 months.

How did you approach CAL coursework?

I must compliment the CAL coaches for their assistance during my studies – they were of great assistance and often made difficult areas relatively simple for me.

I conducted research on the Australian business and logistics industries to identify with what I was studying, which assisted me to a great extent.

How did the coaching support your learning journey?

As highlighted above, the CAL coaches were great – I must definitely commend them. More than just assistance with specific topics, they provided valuable insight which allowed me to understand the concepts better.

What is your top actionable study tip?

One should never give up on studying or the idea of studying. Remaining focused and positive can yield the most amazing results.

“The course has given me the self-belief that I can succeed, and now the qualification I have attained can support this self-belief.

It has spurred me on to want more, and achieve more.”