Showing posts with label university life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label university life. Show all posts

24 July 2017

Time management tips: How to get organised

Juggling readings, assignments and revision can be one of the most challenging parts of university. Here’s how to get organised and make the most out of your time! By Clinton Bell

You probably already know procrastination is a bad idea. If you put off doing assignments or don’t revise regularly, it’s easy to fall behind and end up with way too much stuff to catch up on. Unfortunately, even if you know you should study, it can be difficult to make yourself do it - especially if you’re busy with other things.

If you find yourself struggling to make time for study, or you feel like you just have way too much going on, try planning your time with a study schedule! There’s an example of how to make one on the library website.

Making a schedule has several benefits:
  • It helps you work out how much time you have, and plan your study around your work, social life, and other commitments
  • It’s easier to keep track of tasks and due dates if you have them all written down in one place
  • You’re less likely to procrastinate if study is a regular part of your routine. Scheduling study in advance can also make you feel more committed to actually doing it
  • Having a plan can help you feel less stressed and more in control of your study.
When making your schedule it’s important to prioritise. Consider how important things are as well as when they’re due - if an assignment is worth a lot of marks you’ll probably need to spend more time on it. If you need to do something which requires other people, special facilities or equipment, you may also need to work around when those things are available.

For large assignments, it can be helpful to split the task into smaller goals. For example, you might aim to write one paragraph of an essay each night. Splitting the task into chunks can make it less intimidating to get started, and can also help you stress less - if you’re meeting your goals you know you’re on track to get the assignment done.

As well as planning your time, it’s important to use it effectively. Using good study methods and improving your skills can give you better results in less time:
Time management can be challenging, but with good planning and study skills you can get everything done on time. So best of luck with your study this semester - and remember, come see us at a drop-in session if you need help!

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4 July 2017

Welcome to all new students

Hello to those who are newly enrolled. We hope you are looking forward to your time at University, despite the cold weather we are experiencing at the moment.

If you're new to Monash, we've put together the Library orientation guide to give you the basics about using the Library.  You will also find Library activities in the Orientation planner.

But first, some interesting facts: did you know that research shows that students who use the Library achieve better results than those who don't? [1]

At Monash 79% of students who used the Library achieved at least a Distinction, based on students' best estimates of their academic results. In the user survey, “Library use” meant either coming in to the Library or accessing it online daily or 2-4 days a week. [2]

Study spaces and facilities

New students will find that they are using smart refurbished areas with facilities like bookable discussion rooms for group projects and study, in the Caulfield and Matheson libraries. 

At Caulfield some inconvenience may apply until the building project is finalised. At present you will enter the library from the arcade level 1 between Buildings A and B (opposite Monash Connect), but very soon the main entrance facing the Caulfield Green will be open.
Programs, resources and activities
As well as working with you in your courses and units, we provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions related to your assignments and other tasks. Drop-ins begin from Week 2.

We’ve developed a new Research and Learning Online site as your gateway to the Library’s online learning materials. Check it out to access online modules such as academic integrity, citing and referencing, and more.

Visit the Students’ page for a complete list of Library programs, resources and activities.

Don’t forget to check this blog for useful articles with tips and advice for your study. You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

1   Soria, K. M., Fransen, J., & Nackerud, S. (2013). Library use and undergraduate student outcomes: New evidence for students’ retention and academic success.  Portal : Libraries and the Academy, 13(2), 147-164.  

2  2015 Monash University Library User survey

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30 May 2016

Strategies for exam-day success

There’s an art to sitting exams. Knowing the material is important, but you also need to use the right strategy, says Clinton Bell.

In the run up to exams, you might have thought a lot about the best way to revise. But what about the best approach to use in the exam? There’s a certain skill to taking exams, and taking the right approach on exam day can really help your mark.

There are three main aspects to exam day success: making sure you understand what’s being asked, managing your time, and staying calm under pressure.

Understanding the question

Read the exam instructions thoroughly during reading time. At high school, I knew someone who rushed through the instructions because he was nervous, and missed the part that said “Choose one (1) out of the following topics”. He ended up trying to write three essays instead of one!

You should also read each question carefully and make sure you address exactly what was asked. Pay close attention to direction words like “describe” and “compare”, as well as any other instructions. If you don’t do quite what you were asked, or you only address part of the question, you won’t get full marks.

For more complex questions, you may find it helpful to make a list of the key information before writing your answer. For example, for a question about a medical case study you might note the patient’s symptoms, age, gender, and so on. This helps you keep track of all the relevant information without having to read the entire question again.

Time management

Even if you know the material really well, finishing an exam within the time limit can be challenging, so it’s important to manage your time carefully. Spend time on each question based on how many marks it’s worth - you don’t want to spend 50% of your time on a question that’s only worth 5% of the total mark! On most exams you don’t have to answer the questions in order, so just move on if you get stuck. You can try again later if you get time.

It’s also a good idea to start with the questions you know you can answer. That way if you run out of time, at least you’ll get good marks for the questions you did complete.

Working under pressure

It’s normal to be a little stressed during exams, but if you’re too anxious it can be hard to think. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a moment to focus. Concentrate on breathing slowly and evenly.

Once you’ve taken a few deep breaths, work through the questions methodically. Read each question carefully, identify the important information, and think about how you can apply that information. Don’t panic if you don’t know the answer to a question right away - just keep working through the process.

You can also reduce your stress on exam day by looking after practical things. Make sure you know how to get to the exam venue, and plan to arrive early in case you’re delayed. Set any equipment you need out the night before so you don’t forget them. Finally, don’t go overboard with caffeine on the morning of the exam. One cup of coffee is fine, but it can give you the jitters if you have too much.

Have a healthy and successful exam period, and best of luck on your exams!

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24 February 2016

Welcome to all students

Hello to those who are newly enrolled and welcome back to our continuing students. We hope you all had a wonderful summer break.

If you're new to Monash, we've put together the Library orientation guide to give you the basics about using the Library.

If you're returning this semester, we'd like to update you on what's up at the Library.

But first, some interesting facts: did you know that research* shows that students who use the library achieve better results than those who don't?

At Monash 79% of students who used the Library achieved at least a Distinction, based on students' best estimates of their academic results. In the user survey, Library use meant either coming in to the library or accessing it online daily or 2-4 days a week.

Study spaces and facilities
  • The refurbishments are the big news at the moment and mean that the opening hours of some libraries are a little different this year. It's worth noting that Matheson and Hargrave-Andrew Libraries have swapped hours. The latter is now open until 12 midnight Monday to Thursday, and until 9pm on Friday. Matheson Library will be open until 9pm Monday to Friday. TIP: Library hours are on the Monash app.
  • At Matheson Library you can already use the refurbished North part of the building. This houses the new bookable discussion rooms for group projects and study, and two new large teaching rooms, which you can use for study when it's not booked for classes. You'll find the Research and Learning point has also relocated to this part of the library. The refurbishment in other parts of the Matheson Library will continue this year.
  • Extra seating has been provided on level 5 at Matheson, and at both Hargrave-Andrew Library and Law Library.
  • At Caulfield Library, the staircase next to the library has been demolished. To access the library, come up to the level 2 entry using the staircase outside Building K, come across from Building B (use lift for accessibility), or use the overpass or the eastern staircase of Building A. 
  • Inside Caulfield Library, study facilities are available and regular services continue although some areas have been closed off.  Additional study seats are available in C1 (see campus map).
Programs, resources and activities
  • As well as working with you in your courses and units, we provide a range of programs and drop-in sessions related to your assignments and other tasks. Drop-ins begin from Week 2. 
  • We’ve developed a new Research and Learning Online site as your gateway to the Library’s online learning materials. Check it out to access online modules such as Academic integrity, Citing and referencing, and more.
Visit the Students’ page for a complete list of Library programs, resources and activities.

Don’t forget to check this blog for useful articles with tips and advice for your study. You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Soria, K. M., Fransen, J., & Nackerud, S. (2013). Library use and undergraduate student outcomes: New evidence for students’ retention and academic success.  Portal : Libraries and the Academy, 13(2), 147-164.

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17 February 2016

Teaching first year students: some strategies for week one

The first week of classes can be nerve-wracking for both students and teaching staff. If you are teaching first year students there are things you can do to help them make a successful transition, writes Rachel Chamberlain.

The idea of walking into a room full of  strangers is always daunting, so attending that first tutorial or lecture is likely to provoke a level of anxiety in most people.

For our first year students these feelings are intensified by the multitude of ‘firsts’ they will be experiencing in week one. It may be the first time they have met an academic, participated in a tutorial or lecture or had to find a particular classroom or building. Whilst there will certainly be a lot of excitement about all of these new experiences, students are also likely to feel uncertain about how things work, and how they, and others, are a supposed to act in this new environment.

There are some small things we can do in week one to welcome first year students and to help them make a successful transition to university:
  • An open door: Most students will get lost on campus at some stage and this will probably result in them being late to class. Having to enter a class late, particularly on day one can be terrifying for new students and a closed door is a lot more intimidating than an open one. Leaving the classroom door open for the first 10-15 minutes can make entering the classroom a little less intimidating for any student that does get lost. This also enables you to see students who might be tentatively approaching, or even nervously circling the door, allowing you to identify yourself and invite them in.
  • Making connections: It is a good idea to set aside the first part of class for students (and yourself) to get to know each other. A good ice breaker activity will allow students to start developing social connections with their peers. Remember that you can also participate in these icebreaker activities. In fact, your participation can be really important as it shows your students that you have a genuine interest in them as individuals. Depending on the activity it also provides an opportunity for some one on one conversations that can provide you with some really useful information about the students' backgrounds, interests and motivations for enrolling in your unit.
  • Explain the basics: Our first year students are an extremely diverse group. Your class is likely to include international students, those who are first in family, students from high and low socio-economic backgrounds, school leavers or mature age students. This diversity means that the students will have had vastly different educational experiences, and arrive at Monash with differing levels of knowledge about how university, including your unit or class ‘works’. Can students interrupt you during a tutorial to ask questions? Can they leave the room without asking permission? What should they call you? What is the relationship between tutorials, lectures and readings? In what order should students do these? The answers to these questions may seem self evident to us, but to many first year students this is not the case. Taking time to explain the knowledge we take for granted will improve students' confidence and can clear up misunderstandings before they occur.  
  • Speak English (not Monash): If you have been at Monash for a while, it is likely that you casually use acronyms and language that is distinctly “Monash” (Moodle, Authcate, SETU, WES, MULO). Additionally, you are probably fluent in the language of your faculty, or discipline area. Our first year students are unlikely to speak these languages and so avoiding these and/or explaining them is crucial in the first few weeks of the semester.
A student's first few weeks at Monash will have a significant impact on their overall transition to university, and a successful transition in first year will provide a strong foundation for success in later years.

Rachel Chamberlain is a learning skills adviser based in the Berwick Library. Rachel and subject librarian Diana Thompson work with other Library staff, academics and other teams in the University for social inclusion-related programs being implemented across the campuses. Contact Rachel to find out more.

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8 October 2015

Study at uni can be fun

It is always worth remembering that your studies can be not only rewarding but also enjoyable. This blog post focuses on the possibilities for fun while actually learning Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser, Caulfield Library. 

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 may have exams looming and approaching fast. This can be stressful, especially if this is your first time, or if you haven’t done so well in past semesters.

Form a study group

Study at university can be a lonely business. Sure, there are certain tasks like individual essays, reports and presentations that require you to work independently, but that only applies to those tasks. You probably have 12 - 15 people in your tutorial or lab group with whom you definitely have something in common!
Ideally, a study group consists of 4 or 5 members, though this is flexible. Something like a DISC questionnaire can be a useful tool for determining the personality and approach to work of your group’s members. 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. He got a HD for the first assignment and your tutor singled out his 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. It also means your strengths are not just an advantage for you - your team mates can also reap the benefits. That’s a great boost for your confidence. Put it to use reviewing the reading, lecture and tutorial materials. Put it to the test by working on past exam questions together.

Revision - turn a boring chore into an enjoyable endeavour

If this describes you and the way you like to work (left), take advantage of it (right). Your learning style is yours and no one else’s, so why not take advantage of it?
  • I like setting and meeting goals    -     Use a to-do list.
  • I work best against the clock  -      Try the Pomodoro technique.
  • 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  - Requires thought.  See example below:

Possible questions

What issues arise for managers in a global environment?

What is social responsibility and how do managerial ethics apply to it?

How are change and innovation best managed?

Why and 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.

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11 August 2015

How to manage your time

Some things remain a challenge no matter how organised you are. In case you're new to Monash or missed it the first time, check out this blog post on managing your time throughout the semester... by Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser.

Managing your time used to be easy when you were at school. There were rules about where you had to be, what you had to do, and when you had to do it. University is not like that. You are free to take the approach that best suits you!

We all get caught out sometimes, but being organised with a long-term and a short-term plan for the semester can help you to avoid those long, sleepless nights madly typing up the two essays that are due on the same date in week 6 or week 11.

In the video below, see tips, advice and suggested strategies for organising your time and your life. The better you can do this, the more successful you are likely to be.  Get your Google calendar (for example) organised now! You'll be grateful for it when the pressure is on.

There are further time-saving suggestions in the Library's Quick Study Guides. Or check out these helpful study strategies, and grab a few pointers on the transition from research to writing.

Check out the video:

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27 July 2015

How to stay the course

Our Monash student contributor Sara Nyhuis shares her honest views about uni life and some tips on how to find the balance, stay motivated and keep the end in sight. It's a good read for returning students at the start of a new semester.

There’s a very strong sense of complete and utter panic upon opening Allocate to check your results when they are released. If any of you do what I do and check your results by looking through your fingers, then you’ll know that finding out how you did in each of your units is one of the most daunting things about university.
There are lots of university memes out there, likening it to riding a bicycle (in hell) or the ‘due tomorrow do tomorrow’ routine - but I’ve always imagined it like a rollercoaster. The ride up is very long and very slow, but reaching the top provides the biggest breath of fresh air you could hope for, and the most amazing view. Of course, it sends you back down again and you’ll probably want to let go - because, well, it’s a rollercoaster. You take the highs with the lows, you keep up your ‘This semester is going to be different!’  mantra every time you start climbing again (fight the week 4 lull, fight it!), and try not to panic on the way back down.
My point is - it’s hard, it’s slow, and it’s long. Sometimes you have no idea what made you get in the damn cart in the first place and you have no idea where you’re going - and then other times it’s the most exhilarating and rewarding experience you could ever have. But it’s hard to find the balance between the two, and to keep sight of the end.
Set yourself some goals

One of the most effective ways to get through the grind of daily uni life is to set yourself smaller goals when the end of the line seems too far away to be realistic. ‘Baby steps’ is probably one of my most used phrases throughout semester; in a good week I congratulate myself on finishing an assignment early; in a not so good week I’ll probably congratulate myself on just turning up to class.

Regardless of how big or small your goal is, giving yourself something to work towards keeps up the sense of achievement to motivate you to get to the next goal.

If setting goals seems a little arbitrary to you, try scouting around for some volunteering opportunities to keep you motivated. Be an O Week tour guide, a student mentor, take a PASS program, even just sign up to a weekly online magazine related to your studies to keep you in the know and keep your brain active and interested.

Find the balance

If you’re like me and manage bizarre hours between work shifts and socialising, you’ll understand how difficult it is to fit time in for study or for yourself. I can’t stop you from procrastibaking, watching Netflix until it makes sassy remarks about your social life, or from napping in lieu of studying - but I can advise you that if you maintain a healthy social life, studying becomes much easier (and Netflix won’t judge you). By allowing yourself one or two nights a week to let go and forget about whichever essay you’re writing, you burn out a lot of restless energy that usually leads to dedicated procrastination. It also makes you more relaxed at work, because you know that you’re actually productive in your study time.

The balance is hard and it can take a while to figure it out, but you get better at it (trust me) and it honestly pays off.

Also, you can totally put time management skills on your resume afterwards.

Keep it up

One of the hardest things to do as the semester wears on is keep up with your studies. I don’t just mean assignments here either, but also keeping up to date with your reading list and your lectures. If you’re anything like me you struggle to pay attention to lectures by about week 4 - and that’s where setting yourself goals comes in handy. I usually dedicate one day to catching up on whatever lectures I’ve missed, and then reward myself with the rest of the day to do whatever I please - and 60% of the time, it works every time.

If you have any advice of your own, any thoughts on techniques or questions about staying motivated, share them in the comments below and help your fellow students out. In saying all that, I wish you luck. Keep up the mantra, set yourself some goals and keep holding on til the end of the ride, guys.

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Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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