Exam Tips

Studying for exams at university



Starting university is an exciting and challenging time. As a first-year student, balancing new academic demands with personal life can be daunting. However, establishing effective study routines early on can pave the way for academic success and a fulfilling university experience. Here are some tips to help you maximise your study routines:

  1. Create a Structured Schedule

Why it’s important: A structured schedule helps you manage your time effectively, ensuring you allocate sufficient time for studying, attending support lectures/tutorials, and personal activities.

How to do it:

  • Use a planner or digital calendar: Schedule your classes, study sessions, and extracurricular activities. Apps like Google Calendar or academic planners can be very helpful.
  • Prioritise tasks: Identify the most important and time-sensitive tasks and tackle them first.
  • Set specific study times: Dedicate specific times of the day solely to studying and stick to this routine consistently.
  1. Find Your Optimal Study Environment

Why it’s important: The right study environment can significantly impact your focus and productivity.

How to do it:

  • Choose a quiet, comfortable space: Find a place where you can concentrate without distractions. This could be a library, study room, or a quiet corner at home. Monash provide a variety of study locations across all campus with varying degrees of acceptable noise, find something that suits you!
  • Minimise distractions: Turn off notifications on your devices and keep away from social media during study sessions.
  • Personalise your space: Make your study area inviting and organised with good lighting and comfortable seating.
  1. Utilise Active Learning Techniques

Why it’s important: Active learning helps you engage more deeply with the material, enhancing comprehension and retention.

How to do it:

  • Take thorough notes: Use methods like the Cornell Note-Taking System to organise your notes effectively.
  • Summarise information: Write summaries of what you’ve learned in your own words.
  • Talk to other students: Explaining concepts to classmates or friends can reinforce your understanding, and if you don’t know something, ask!
  1. Break Down Study Sessions

Why it’s important: Shorter, focused study sessions are often more effective than long haul routines. Remember: It’s a marathon not a sprint!

How to do it:

  • Use the Pomodoro Technique: Study for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Repeat this cycle, taking a longer break after four cycles.
  • Set achievable goals: Break your study material into smaller, manageable chunks and set specific goals for each session.
  • Review regularly: Schedule regular review sessions to reinforce what you’ve learned.
  1. Leverage Campus Resources

Why it’s important: Monash offer a wealth of resources designed to support your academic journey.

How to do it:

  • Visit the academic support centre website: Seek help from tutors and academic advisors for difficult subjects or study strategies: https://www.monash.edu/students/study-support
  • Attend workshops and seminars: Participate in workshops on time management, study skills, and exam preparation.
  • Form study groups: Collaborating with peers can provide new insights and keep you motivated.
  • Ask your lecturers/tutors questions: Your teachers want to see you succeed! If you reach out to them, they will be able to point you in the right directions to get the resources and help that you need.
  1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Why it’s important: Your physical and mental well-being directly impacts your ability to study effectively.

How to do it:

  • Get adequate sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure your brain functions optimally.
  • Eat balanced meals: Proper nutrition fuels your body and mind. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugary snacks.
  • Exercise regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your routine to reduce stress and boost energy levels.
  1. Stay Organised

Why it’s important: Keeping your study materials and tasks organised can save time and reduce stress.

How to do it:

  • Use folders and binders: Organise your notes, assignments, and handouts in labeled folders or binders.
  • Keep a to-do list: Maintain a daily or weekly to-do list to track assignments, deadlines, and study sessions.
  • Declutter regularly: Regularly clean and organise your study space to maintain a productive environment.
  1. Seek Balance and Manage Stress

Why it’s important: Overworking can lead to burnout, so it’s essential to balance study with relaxation and social activities.

How to do it:

  • Schedule downtime: Ensure you have time for hobbies, socialising, and relaxation.
  • Practice stress-relief techniques: Engage in activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Reach out for support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or university counseling services if you feel overwhelmed.

For Monash counselling services, see: https://www.monash.edu/students/support/health/counselling




By implementing these strategies, you can create a study routine that not only enhances your academic performance but also supports your overall well-being. Remember, consistency and adaptability are key. Find what works best for you and be prepared to adjust as needed. Good luck, and enjoy your university journey!