Graduate Blog

My Essential Study Guide


Studying is a minefield with books journals periodicals EBooks the media and a smattering of procrastination it’s a wonder we know where to start! If you’re anything like me studying means spending 20 mins looking at a relevant book or writing 10 minutes working out how to Harvard reference Wikipedia without mentioning wiki or pedia and then a further hour on Facebook, whatsapp, and any number of irrelevant memes!

So if you’re finding you know every loophole to the Facebook security system, and have seen every funny cat YouTube video you can, and you fear your ‘expected 1st is slipping further into an internet abyss don’t panic! Here are my top tips to get you back on study track!

My absolute most tippity topity tip is to get a study buddy! When this was first mentioned to me I thought I couldn’t imagine anything worse. In fact it is the best thing I can possible recommend (of course we all study differently but I highly recommend this). Ideally someone who is on a different course to you I find work better as you can’t stop to discuss the relevance of Mars bars to a business dissertation or such like! The aim with a study buddy is (ideally within a library setting ) you both set the same working time e.g. 30 minutes and you have to work quietly for that time without distracting each other you then have a SMALL break and then repeat. In theory you will both motivate each other. This works well for competitive a types like me as you don’t want to be the first to crack! You can take it to a whole new level by adding forfeits for the person who breaks the studying rule first.

My second most important rule is try not to overload your brain – I’m briefly going geek bear with me! Studies have shown that the optimum study conditions are 30 minutes study with a 5 min break or max 45 minutes study with a 10 min break! The brain can only register and take in so much information at once so don’t over load it!! However when I say 5 minute break I literally mean 5 minutes where possible without Facebook (duh duh duh!! I know it shocked me too)!

Thirdly I know it’s the cliché but trust me on this a revision timetable is the best way to go! I am a massive list fan I write a pre to do lists to plan my actual to do list! Spend a good amount of time making a comprehensive timetable include break times and mealtimes etc and it will make you feel so much more organised. Having you time planned out takes the weight off you thinking you’re spending too much time on 1 topic! Plus you can spend at least an hour making a great timetable that’s colour coded, and sub sectioned to the nth degree. A good cheats way out is to look online and find a ready-made template!

Now this one won’t work for everyone some people will read this next tip and think I’m crazy some will probably say I need to get out more and others will just assume I have wrists of steel! For me it’s all about writing! I write up the notes I make in the lectures neatly, I then write out the key points, I then shorten these key points to say 10-15 bullet points which then get written (I must stress) in BRIGHT colours on postcards these then get read over and over and over again then for the last 72 hours pre exam I write key words on postcards the aim is that these words will trigger the rest of the revision and incessant writing I have done to form an essay. Alternatively if you know the topics in the exam try writing an essay on it and then following the same process whittling it down to just a few key words for the intro, objectives, main body, and conclusion.

Finally it’s all about what you eat and drink (or not) as the case may be. This is, unfortunately one of the most important and serious things around exam time! There needs to be loads and loads of water consumed and not so much chocolate, although I passionately believe that if you choose fruit and nut it is one of your 5 a day! This website    has the best tips for eating around exam time.


So there it is the essential study guide. Go, and be productive! But let’s just spend 10 minutes on Facebook first.

About the Author

Elizabeth Adams Elizabeth Adams

I'm currently in my 4th year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying Bsc(Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandising while also doing a distance learning degree in Journalism with the London School of Journalism. My 3rd year was a sandwich/placement year spent working in the John Lewis buying office. I also work part time for John Lewis and have done for 3 years. I am currently in the process of writing dissertations etc while applying non stop for Graduate Schemes. I really enjoy reading, and writing. I have discovered a passion for circuit training (which offsets my passion for baking and cake)! I very much like knitting and cocktails but I have never tried both at once!

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