You might think that ‘time-managing’ your studies would be common sense to most people. Think again! From personal experience I can say that things do not go the way you expect: when studying a Level 3 Open University module, life just gets in the way whether you want it to or not.
I started by looking at the materials (Study Planner, books, etc) and decided that I was going to stick to the time frame set by these, thinking everything would work out perfectly. How naïve I was! You wake up and the evils thoughts of “oh I don’t need to study today – I’ll catch up tomorrow” creep in… then the same thoughts come the next day, until you realise a week has gone by and now “eeek” you are a week behind! Not so bad, you may think… but then engagements through work or family pop up, so you end up two weeks behind… then you freak out, get stressed and try to cram as much studying as you can into every free minute you have spare. Then if you are unlucky you may get sick, and this can knock you for six for a while (12 weeks in my case) and you just can’t study as much as you wish to… again putting you further behind, causing more stress.
Well, in order to help you have a less stressful experience than I did, below are some things I recommend doing to keep yourself on track:
- Ignore those thoughts of putting studying off… you may find there is a lot more additional reading to do for a level 3 course than you initially assumed, so it’s very easy to fall behind. Be strong and study when you plan to!
- Keep looking at the study planner! This has been created for a reason to keep you on track. It details where you should be in your studying, what you should be reading, activities etc.
- Don’t make notes on every single little thing! It’s easy to get into the habit of noting down everything you read… but this takes up a lot of unnecessary time. Only make notes on important things and make them short.
- Your tutor is there for a reason! Do contact your tutor as they have a lot to offer… they can give great advice on studying, help you understand something that may take you days to understand yourself and can offer an assignment extension if you do need it.
- Get ahead if you can or plan into your week ‘spare’ hours. You can use these ‘spare’ hours if you want to do extra research, plus if you don’t need to use them one week – BONUS! – you can just chill and have a coffee!
- Do plan your assignments! It’s easy to say “I’ll just type up what’s in my head, I don’t need to plan”…this is the worst thing you can do! Make a plan for each section of your essay (what’s going in each paragraph) and stick to it. It saves sooooo much time!
These are some of the things I should have done in hindsight! Hopefully some of these tips may be useful… but – trust me – it is easy to go off plan and end up way behind. If this does happen it is still worth pushing through it, even though it can cause a lot of stress… because there is no better feeling when you have accomplished something, particularly when you have struggled to do it.
So stick with it! I stuck with it and now have my Bachelors and will be going on to do my Masters in the next year or so. So it is well worth the effort!
Caroline Townsend, BA(Hons) Hum(Open)