Studying Online Tips

8 Great tips for studying online from home

Now that online content consumption is a reality of work and pleasure that does not seem to be going away soon, we put together a list of great 8 tips for studying and working online from home.

When COVID-19 hit us earlier this year, it hit us swiftly. It changed many of our daily routines too quickly, and we found ourselves stuck in vicious long cycles of online content consumption. Whether you are taking your online class, working with classmates on a project, browsing your favourite social media account, or watching Netflix, it was all done online. Unless you have done something about it, chances are you gained a few kilos and became the couch potato you never wanted to be. Now that online content consumption is a reality of work and pleasure that does not seem to be going away soon, we put together a list of great 8 tips for studying and working online from home.

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1. Have a designated study area

Designated Study Area

It is important to set a space that you can call your study zone. This can be the family’s dining table or an office space in your bedroom. It is usually easier to remember what you have studied earlier when you go back to the same space. Turning your bed into a study area can be very tempting, but make sure to avoid it as it is will be even more tempting to doze off while studying. Try to keep your study space organized and clean because you want to spend more time focused on studying and less trying to find your laptop charger during a virtual class meeting. 

While it might get tedious or perhaps lonesome sometimes during these ‘at home’ study sessions compared to a school classroom with your best friend by your side, remember that you still can always (or at least occasionally) leave your home to study with or without your best friend at their place, a local coffee shop, or maybe the area’s public library. This, nonetheless, does not mean you jump around from coffee shop to another, or a friend’s house to another. Only go out to that one place when you are bored of studying from home and remember to maintain social distancing measures as required by law. Finally, note that studying in public places means there will be more things to distract you, and most likely also more noise. As such, avoid engaging in a virtual classroom meeting there, and use this time to review your class notes or for doing homework.

2. Know when and how you learn best

Prioritize your study

Having a virtual school means there will be times when you have to attend a live class time. But there are also times when your teacher will pre-record sessions, assign you a Youtube video, or leave class materials for you to check or study from. Here, it is important to identify whether you are a morning person or a night owl. Will you feel better waking up early to study or would you rather stay up late at night to view pre-recorded material and finish homework? Would it be more beneficial for you to print transcript recordings or are do you want to listen without watching? Are you a visual learner, or will you need to make copies of your books to use those hands-on? Each has pros and cons and you need to figure out the right balance for yourself.

Your study setting is also important. Does playing music in the background help you concentrate better or do you prefer complete silence? Do you like your room bright or do you want dim lighting?

3. Manage your time effectively

Manage your time effectively

Now that you know what study environment suits you best, you need to make sure you are putting in the time to study. This is extremely important for material left by the instructor to look at in your personal time or for doing homework and review sessions. Cramming everything until last minute could be your worst enemy. So, creating a time table is very helpful. Whether you use the calendar on your phone or tablet, or if you prefer jotting down important times and due dates, actively following a calendar will up your study skills.

Also, use your calendar to set different times for studying different subjects. This time should coincide with your preferred study environment as mentioned above (morning or night), but more importantly, should be achievable and reasonable. 

If you fear that you might have missed some information related to assigned work or upcoming exams, check class forums, ask your classmates or email your instructor. Be proactive in asking questions and be sure to jot down anything you might have missed into your calendar.

4. Engage and participate actively

Classroom Engagement

Engagement could be either verbal or silent. The former means engaging in classroom discussions while online. This form of participation should be permissible on most occasions, but it remains important to do the latter as well. This is achieved by actively taking notes during class time. Taking notes boosts active thinking, promotes comprehension skills and allows you to stay more focused. In addition, you can refer to your notes later for personal review, to ask your teacher/professor about an item of study you did not understand or to help you participate in online class forums. Discussion forums offer great aid to better understand course materials, ask questions about homework, offer your own insight and maybe make friends.

5. Have basic IT skills

Studying online requires knowledge of basic software and technical skills. Creating new documents, sending email attachments and submitting homework through the school portal are amongst the few things that you may be required to do. It is important to remind yourself of how to do these things or to learn how to do them if this is a first for you. Many schools may have introductory courses to IT skills needed by the student but you can always seek the help of the IT department at your school, or your instructor if you are struggling.

One common problem that students encounter during online classes is having a reliable internet connection. As such it is vital that you know where the best internet signal available in your home is, and to have a backup plan for when this fails. Here, you could head out to your preferred outdoor study place or set up a hotspot using your phone internet service. 

6. Take breaks

Break Time

Just like real-life classes, virtual classes consume your body’s energy, as such, taking sufficient but calculated breaks is a must. Your eyes may suffer because of glaring at the screen or you might not be able to solve a problem for homework. Here, you can stop your work for a while, reenergize and refocus. You can talk to a friend over the phone or go out for a stroll in the park. Never the less, make sure your breaks are timed and that you are not spending more time on breaks and less time on studies.

7. Maintain your body!

Workout

Eating properly while studying is required to keep your body going. Studying does not require physical movement, but the brain, like any other body part, requires energy to work. Avoid sugary foods as they only provide a temporary boost in energy. Additionally, restrict your caffeine intake to the earlier hours of the day as you may not be able to sleep if you drink too much or too late.

In addition, try to reserve some time for physical activity because sitting on a chair for long hours is harsh on the body. The better your physical wellness, the better you feel and work!

8- Get enough sleep

Get enough sleep

Having a good night’s sleep fuels us up for the next morning. Our bodies are different so this can range between six to eight hours depending on your personal needs. A night’s sleep will allow your brain to digest all material that you have been introduced to during the day, to better recall it for the next day. This is especially important before an exam day. Going through an all-nighter of studying might be tempting, but this would do you more harm than good so make sure you rest!

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