Stepping up to university-level study: Tips to succeed


So, you’ve had a fantastic summer, but September is here and now it’s dawning on you: “I have to go back to studying!”

One of the biggest leaps from high school to university is the work, and specifically how much more responsibility is on you to dictate your own learning and self-motivate.

Unlike school, you won’t be chased about looming deadlines or have teachers nagging you to take more notes.

Stepping up to uni-level study is tough, but not impossible. So, here are a few tips to help you out.




1. Find your ‘golden time’

The best time to study varies from person to person, so experiment with this - especially now you are in charge of your free hours.

Try and identify when you’re most mentally switched on. Some are raring to go at 7am, while some work more effectively in the wee hours of the morning.

Take this quiz to find out how much of an early bird or night owl you are. 


2. Stay clear of your bed

Because your bed is where you go to sleep, your mind comes to associate it with this activity.

This means that, if you sit on your bed to study, your mind can kick into sleep mode, making you feel tired and sluggish. Not ideal when you’re trying to revise…

You want to be razor sharp and alert, not dozing off into so-called ‘power naps’ (that’s a lie and you know it).


3. Study in a group

Not only will this offer a good change of atmosphere, more often than not, your course mates will have something valuable to share.

This could be a useful website, advice from a lecturer, concise notes, past paper questions, answers to tough tutorial questions, a hoard of snacks...

Just make sure everybody is there for the right reasons (i.e. no slackers, moochers, boasters, or procrastinators).


4. Work smart, not hard

Okay yes, working hard is important.

However, what I mean is that this isn’t IB, A-levels or Highers where you could thoroughly revise every single syllabus statement and revisit them at least twice after.

Time becomes even more scarce at university as your responsibilities multiply, so don’t expect to be creating perfect sets of notes as you did in high school.

It’s not just about knowing the content now, but much more about juggling everything else around it.

So be smart with your revision, work throughout the year (you’ll seriously thank yourself at the end) and take advice from students in the years above.


5. Take care of yourself

Your flat, friends, society commitments, daily activities – there are so many aspects of uni life to think about and deal with, all in addition to the workload.

So, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or lost, know that you are not alone and that there is help available.

A quick phone call home, talking to friends, or seeing university health services can all help you to see things more clearly and find a way through the stresses of university.

Everything will eventually settle into place and you’ll figure out what works best for you.


Keep reading: What kind of learner are you?