How to put the fun back into uni (essays, exams and all)

As you approach the end of semester you may find that most of your work is due at the same time. Yikes! Not only that - you have exams approaching fast. This can be stressful, especially if this is your first time, or if you haven’t done so well in past semesters. It is always worth remembering that you’re not alone. Form a study group and try these approaches to make studying more fun! Damian Gleeson and Romany Manuell.

Form a study group

Study at uni can be a lonely business. Why not reach out to some people in your tutorial and form a study group? Ideally, a study group consists of 4 or 5 members… any more than that, and you’re looking at a party!

The DISC questionnaire can be a useful tool for determining your group members’ personalities and approaches to work. This can help you to identify the variety of strengths and areas that need work among your team mates. Once you’ve worked all this out, you may find something like this:
  • Student A is quiet, but takes meticulous lecture notes. Student A is a useful resource for the group for this reason. He’s a top record-keeper of key lecture content.
  • Student B is talkative and energetic. She is great at remembering conversations and important insights from your tutor. She’s both likeable and a natural leader. Combined with Student A’s lecture notes, you have the lecture and tute materials covered.
  • Student C’s strength is research and reading. They got a HD for the first assignment and your tutor singled out their excellent research, citing and referencing skills. Someone with this much attention to detail is a great resource to ensure that your group is at its most effective when revising the semester’s content.
  • Student D is also quiet and is not confident about her English language skills. However, she has work experience in the field you are studying, which allows her to clearly see and explain why the unit’s content is relevant to your group’s future professions.
So there is a wide range of personalities, skills and knowledge in your group. Cool! This means any areas that individual members think are weaknesses for them can be overcome by the members who are strong in those areas. Your strengths are not just an advantage for you - your team mates can also reap the benefits. Put your skills to use reviewing the reading, lecture and tutorial materials. Put your group to the test by working on past exam questions together.

Revision - turn a boring chore into clever fun

If this describes you and the way you like to work (left), take advantage of it (right). Why not take advantage of the way you like to work?

I like setting and meeting goals
Use a to-do list
I work best against the clock
I like to draw or doodle
Use mind maps to outline how to solve a problem
I like music
Write songs about important information that you need to remember. More here.
I’m a night owl. I enjoy staying up late
Study when you are most alert and do mundane tasks when you are least alert
Solve questions from the textbook
A no brainer
If there are few questions, turn chapter titles into questions then practise answering them.
For example:

Chapter titles
        Managing in a global environment
        Social responsibility and managerial ethics
        Managing change and innovation
        Motivating employees
(Robbins, Bergman, Stagg, & Coulter, 2012)
Requires a brain

        What issues arise for managers in a global environment?
        What is social responsibility and how do managerial ethics apply to it?
        How are change & innovation best managed?
        Why & how do managers motivate employees?

If you remain uncertain about how to be efficient and take joy in your academic work, don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in.

Damian Gleeson is a learning skills adviser and Romany Manuell is a subject librarian at Caulfield Library.
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