Managing your studies

Creating a study space

Creating a study environment that works for you will help you to focus on your learning and enjoy your studies. Checking the personal resources available to you at home, at university and other places, as well as within yourself, can reveal any aspects you need to focus on. These resources could include a space to work, equipment, support people and your own skills, attitudes and study habits. This section shares ideas on creating your work space, organising resources and doing your best to ensure you don’t lose your work by backing it up and using anti-virus software.

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It’s important to claim a space which you can identify as your study space. Many students use their bedroom for study; however, your bedroom may be associated with the idea of rest and sleep, which doesn’t make it ideal for study. Nonetheless, it may be possible to screen off a corner of your bedroom or of some other room in your house which you can make into a study space.

The space you prefer may not be completely silent as there may be family noise in the background; however, that won’t necessarily disturb you. It may indeed comfort you.

Ask your family or your flat mates to respect the place you have created as your study space.

Stock up with the necessary tools and equipment such as pens, staples, folders etc, and know that they won’t be disturbed by others. Have a desk that is big enough for the job, and a chair that comfortably fits it. Make it your space; an inviting place; one that means learning and creating and being challenged and stimulated.

Managing your studies includes considering the resources available to support you. These can be at home, university and elsewhere. Consider too the personal resources and attributes that you bring to your studies.

Work through this checklist to help you identify the resources you already have. If you can see some gaps, give these areas some thought or discuss them with friends or fellow students who may be able to provide some helpful tips.

My Resources
Home University Other Self
Places Experience in
  • A separate study area
  • A shelf for folders, books etc.
  • ...
  • Library
  • Computer lab
  • ...
  • Local library
  • Internet cafe
  • ...
  • Organising events/family
  • Formal study
  • ...
Things Ability in
  • A computer
  • A reading lamp
  • ...
  • Student ID
  • A computer
  • ...
  • Transport (own car, public)
  • USB (memory) stick
  • Headset/microphone
  • ...
  • Making friends
  • Completing tasks
  • Perserverance
  • ...
People Attitude
  • A babysitter
  • Friends
  • People who support your studies
  • ...
  • Tutor
  • Indigenous support person
  • Library staff
  • Counsellor
  • Learnline support
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • Motivated
  • Willing to try
  • Like learning
  • ...

Adapted from: Cottrell, S 2003, The Study Skills Handbook, 2nd edition, Palgrave MacMillan Ltd

Back up your work

Studying in the twenty-first century means knowing how to operate in a computer environment. Word processing, internet and file management skills are essential. However, learning how to save, store and protect your digital files is especially important.

Lecturers expect students to ensure they have backup copies of their assignments so that if a technical or other problem arises, they are still able to submit their work. Digital (electronic) files can easily be backed up to avoid the distress of losing your work. Here are some tips:

  • Always save a copy of your latest version of an assignment in at least two locations, such as on your computer’s hard drive, on a removable flash (or thumb) drive, on a writable CD, or on larger removable media such as an external hard drive.
  • Email yourself a copy of the latest draft so that you can access it easily.
  • While writing successive drafts of an assignment, try naming the file with the date in it for version control, or with a version number. For example:

MyName_XYZ123_Assignment-1_v2.docx or MyName_XYZ123_Assignment-1_17Apr12.docx

  • Your lecturer may ask you to name a file a specific way before you submit it. Check your assignment instructions.

Protect your computer from viruses

Virus protection for your computer and files is also essential. Computer viruses are a common threat that can not only damage or destroy your files, but also spread easily to other computers through USB drives for example.

We recommend you have a current and up-to-date anti-virus program installed on your personal computer. These programs are usually set to regularly check for and download updates so that the most recent viruses can be recognised and managed. Many new computers come with an anti-virus program which will eventually need to be renewed to ensure it stays current and effective.  There is also a small number of basic free anti-virus programs available for personal use from reputable companies.

 

For further information contact ALLSP on (08) 89467459
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