Top Study Tips From A CAL Student

Top studying tips from a student

While online education is great for studying flexibly and in your own time, you may wonder how other students successfully achieve their qualifications. In this blog post, we’ve put together fantastic tips from one of our students on how they work effectively and methodically through their double diploma.

Study tip #1: Keep organised with structure

My first study tip is to stay organised! Here’s what I usually do:

  • Download all the course materials for my unit before starting and create a meaningful and logical folder structure to keep track of them all.
  • Create a checklist of all the modules, tutorials and tasks I need to complete.
  • Check off the tasks I’ve started, need help with or have completed. This helps me to keep track of where I’m up to and remember the tasks I want to ask about in my next coaching call.
  • Colour-code the tasks using a table in a Word document or similar. Here’s an example template:
Not Started Started Need help with For review Complete

Study tip #2: Check your progress

I find it helps to take the quiz before starting the unit and then again at the end of the unit. Taking the quiz at the start helps give an idea of what areas of study I need to work on the most. It can help me determine if the elective tutorials are something I need to complete to better understand and grasp the content.

Study tip #3: Think about how to retain information

For each tutorial, I recommend reading what is required to complete the activity or assessment task before you watch or read the presentation. This helps you pick out the most relevant pieces of information. Plus, you can work on the activity as you watch or read the presentation while it’s all still fresh in your mind. I also find this helps keep me focused on what I need to learn. It’s a really effective way to learn and retain the material.

How to Study Successfully: Tips from CAL Students

Study tip #4: Utilise all your resources

Download the presentation and transcript! Depending on how you learn, try reading the presentation and transcript and then watch the video or learn from the presentation and transcript. I find that I learn at a different pace from some of the videos, so this helps me when the video is a bit too fast (or slow!). Sometimes I watch the video but save the transcript to refer back to or re-watch the video for a refresher.

Tip: If you get really stuck on a task or part of a task, just move on to the next one. You can always come back to it later and sometimes a break and fresh eyes is exactly what you need – this is also where the checklist can really help to keep track!

Study tip #5: How to stop from losing focus or interest

One problem I experienced in high school is that when I get bored, I lose interest. So when I have a reasonable grasp on the study materials but find myself getting bored, checking out or losing interest, I request to have two units open simultaneously. Then I switch between them to keep things interesting. If you’re going to use this tip, the checklist from the first tip can massively help with keeping track of progress.

Google is your friend! Never plagiarise material, but if there is something you don’t understand or you’re unsure where to start, google some examples. Try rewording the question and google it to understand the question or problem from lots of different angles. Everyone learns, understands and interprets things differently. Sometimes having something explained differently or seeing examples is all you need.

Study tip #6: Ask for help

Your friends and family are great assets! You might think they can’t help if they don’t know much about your field of study, but that isn’t always true. For example, my partner didn’t really have any expertise in what I was studying, but I found their fresh perspective and different take on activities and questions helpful when I was feeling stuck.

Study tip #7: Keep positive

Don’t stress if a unit is taking you longer than you expected. Some units are harder than others depending on your existing experience, the amount of time you have, the type of learner you are, and lots of other factors. You will come out the other side!

A big part of studying online is remaining organised, focused and motivated. Some days you may not feel as motivated, and some days you may feel really unorganised. That’s normal! Try implementing a system that works best for you – either from these tips, by trialling different methods or speaking to your learning coach or student success advisor for extra guidance. Once you organise your learning and track your progress, you’ll feel more able and motivated to complete your course.

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