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Student studying outdoors

6 tips to stay on top of your studies during COVID-19

Study tips
Published 15 May, 2020  ·  4 minute read

Let’s face it: 2020 has not gone how any of us expected it would. But that doesn’t mean the year has to be a write-off.

While it might be tempting to curl up and binge Netflix all day, you’ve still got school work to keep up with.

Studying at the best of times is already pretty tough – let alone right now. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you stay on top of your studies and come out the other side feeling accomplished and on track.

Create a routine

Weekly student planner

One of the hardest things about not being in class is the lack of structure. For the first couple of days, it’s pretty exciting. Wake up whenever you want! Wear your PJs all day! And if you’re feeling really adventurous, have cereal for dinner!

Once the days start blurring together, you’ll probably realise that too much freedom isn’t always a good thing. That’s why it’s important to create a routine. We recommend basing it on your normal school timetable, by blocking out time for different subjects. And don’t forget to include meals and breaks. You could use the UQ Day Planner (PDF, 73.2KB) to help you map it out.

Keep adjusting your routine until it works for you. If you’re a morning person, maybe start your day a little earlier. If you’re a night owl, vice versa. The key is to be consistent. It’ll get easier over time and soon become second nature.

Become the master of your time

Clock raised in the air

It’s all well and good to create a routine, but you’ve also got to stick to it. If you find yourself getting off track, a useful trick is to reward yourself for achieving daily goals. “Okay, if I study for the next hour, then I can watch that next episode on Netflix.”

The funny thing about this is that it’s actually very similar to what studying at uni is like. In a way, you’re getting a head start by developing self-guided study habits now.

Ditch the distractions

Mobile phone screen

You don’t have to rely on willpower alone to stay focused. Make it easier for yourself by removing distractions from your study environment. That could include putting your phone on flight mode, hanging up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, or popping on some headphones to block out your siblings.

If you struggle to get through the day without constantly checking to see what your friends are up to, you could even try an app designed to block distracting websites and social media while you study. It may seem extreme, but drastic times call for drastic measures.

Own your space

Home office space

Take some time to make your study area as comfortable as possible. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time there, so it may as well be a pleasant experience! That might include bringing in plants, sticking up motivational quotes, making sure there’s lots of light, and checking your chair supports your posture properly.

Avoid the temptation of studying in bed – not only will it probably make your back sore, but your brain will also start to subconsciously associate your bed with study, making it harder to fall asleep at night. And that’s a big no-no.

Don’t skimp on your sleep

Puppy wrapped in blanket

We’ve all been there. When you’re frantically cramming for an exam the next day, sleep is usually the first thing that gets sacrificed.

What if we told you that sleep is actually the key to studying better? When you’ve had a good night’s sleep, your brain can focus and remember information easier.

A tired brain retaining information is a bit like a leaky bucket holding water. Try to prioritise getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Your body (and your grades!) will thank you.

Look after yourself

Person's legs jogging up stairs

Don’t forget to work some self-care into your daily routine. Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as staying on top of your studies. Whether that’s doing yoga, going for a run, or watching a movie, make sure you’re doing something every day that makes you happy. Treat yourself!

Of course, that doesn’t mean ordering pizza for dinner every night. Your body is a temple, so treat it with the respect it deserves by eating healthy, nutritious meals. Check out some great recipe ideas from UQ Sport, so you can channel your inner Masterchef.

It’s a challenging time right now, but remember – you’re not alone. Reach out to your friends and classmates and keep each other sane and accountable. Together, we’ll get through this.

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