Study Tips

Blitz this trimester! Six tips for getting organised

The beginning of every trimester is always the same. Vacations are over but it is difficult to get in the mood to kick off your studies again. Here you will find six tips that will help create a good study vibe while you organise yourself to get the best out of this trimester. 

Tip #1: Create a shortcut for each course on your browser
You will have to access [email protected] very many times during the trimester. Therefore, it is handy to be able to access it quickly. That’s why, at the beginning of every trimester I create a shortcut on my toolbar for each course. When I need to check some materials for a particular course, I just click on the icon on my toolbar.

Tip #2: Print your timetable
At the beginning of every trimester I’m always confused about which courses I have on which days and at what time. So, if you experience the same feelings, maybe you will find it useful to print your timetable and leave it somewhere visible in your home. I know that we can access the timetable online, but I find it easier to have printed right above my desk.

Tip #3: Make a weekly summary for each course
I am used to making a summary every week for each course, and it saves me a lot of time during my final exams. So, my tip for you is to try to organise what you learned that week in a certain course and even write down what you did not understand. It will guide you to look for answers and encourage you to more effectively study for your exams. Later on, I will recommend a very helpful app to assist you in organising your notes.

Tip #4: Install Momentum (a Google Chrome extension)
I am absolutely obsessed with Momentum, which is an extension to make new tabs on google chrome look more interesting. Every time you open a new tab you will get a beautiful background photo, along with a motivational quote, a space to set your main focus for the day, a to-do list, the weather forecast and links that you can customise to access pages that you like.

Tip #5: Install Pomodoro Timer (a Google extension)
Pomodoro is a time management program that intersperses 20 minutes of total focus on a task with five minutes of intervals to reward yourself. With Pomodoro Timer Google Chrome extension you can keep track of the time when you should be fully concentrated on your studies and once the alarm goes off, you can relax for 5 minutes (which is also timed). During that 5 minutes you can watch part of a video, look at your social media, meditate, stretch, do some push-ups – whatever feels good. This technique has been proven to help you focus and be more productive.

Tip #6: Use Notion for your lecture notes
It had been almost 10 years since I last stepped inside a university and, let’s be honest, at that time we still used a lot of paper to make notes and for our studies. That is why when I started my masters last year (in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic), I found it hard to organise all the online materials available for each course. It took me sometime before I defined my own way of organising the materials in an efficient and clear way, but it was still not the best. I have asked my colleagues which tools they use for their notes, and to my surprise most of them used the classic pen and paper! I’m not against pen and paper; I think technology should be used in a smart way and of course, there are situations when in fact it can slow us down. In my case, I noticed that using online programs could be beneficial to organising my studies. Therefore, I was so happy when I recently discovered an app called Notion, which is amazing to help me organise my study materials and lecture notes. Students and educators can even sign up using their school/university email address and enjoy the benefits of a free Personal Pro Plan account. The app is similar to Evernote, but I believe the interface is more friendly and it has many more interesting features. So, in case you were also looking for a way to organise yourself, I highly recommend having a look at Notion and checking out some of their tutorials about how to use the platform.

 Finally, don’t forget to keep your energy high and don’t let the world drain it out. Schedule things that make you feel good, and do them! Reward yourself. I hope these tips were useful and will help you to get in the study mood again. I wish you a great academic journey!


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