How to study effectively at home: 11 top tips

laptop with pen and paper

“How can I study fast and effectively?” we hear distance learning students around the world cry. Without a full classroom and a teacher guiding you, it can be more difficult to progress. Which is why it’s important to find tricks that you can use. So if your current study schedule isn’t doing the job, then fear not. Take a look at our 11 top tips and supercharge your learning today.

Tips for studying at home

1. Personalise your study schedule

Think you know the best days and times to learn? Think again. Rather than trying to cram it in between other commitments, consider when you’re going to be a more productive student. If you’re not a morning person, don’t feel like you need to hit the books first thing on your day off. If you do your best thinking in the evening, set time aside to do it then instead.

Everyone is unique, and what works for someone else might not work for you. It’s important to find the right routine early on, to be as efficient as you can be. Especially if you don’t have much spare time on your hands. Consider your circumstances and create a personal plan. And don’t worry if it doesn’t work the first time. The wonderful thing about distance learning is that you’re in control. So don’t be afraid to change it up frequently. If a certain time or day doesn’t work, scrap it and try something new. Then, once you’ve found your flow, stick to it.

2. Don’t count the time

Whilst it’s all too tempting to track your study hours, it could actually have a negative effect. Watching the clock can be a big distraction. And you don’t want to panic about a lack of progress, especially on those tricky subjects. Think about how to use your time wisely, rather than how long to study for. Instead of focusing on hitting 2 hours, set yourself a target to complete a module or assessment. This way you can focus all of your energy and attention on the task at hand. And you may even find that it takes you less time.

3. Create your own environment

Not everybody likes silence. In fact, it can sometimes be overwhelming when you need to concentrate. Discover a light distraction to stop yourself daydreaming. Whether it’s streaming a concentration playlist or finding a white noise video on YouTube. There’s plenty of content out there created for this specific purpose, by people who need it themselves. Keep your mind on track and you’ll see the results.

4. Use technology

In today’s world, there’s an app for almost anything. Download some productive tools to supplement your studies, like mind maps, notes or flashcards. This way you’ll always have them to hand and you can say goodbye to the stacks of paper on your desk. You’ll even be helping the environment, a win-win.

But be wary of distractions. Turn on airplane mode or do not disturb, and let friends and family know you’re busy. Close those social media apps and remember to stay focused.

5. Use your downtime wisely

If you find yourself with a few spare hours, take a mock exam, create some revision materials, or brush up on those weaker areas. You’ll feel ahead of schedule and you’ll be able to fit more into your next session.

6. Set clear, realistic goals

How quickly do you want to complete your course? How quickly do you think you’ll be able to actually complete your course? It’s easy to mix these two questions together, but it’s important you don’t. Think about the path you’ll need to take and consider whether this will actually fit into your lifestyle. Don’t set yourself goals you won’t be able to reach. You don’t want to be disappointed if you fall short. If you can only commit to three hours per week, make sure this is reflected in your targets. You’ll be able to progress more effectively and enjoy your wins.

7. Don’t be tempted to rush

We all love the feeling of completing a level or subject, especially those trickier ones. But it’s easy to get ahead of yourself by immediately progressing onto the next. Rather than diving straight into more content, take time to reflect on what you’ve learnt:

  • How much have you learned that you didn’t know before?
  • What are the key takeaways from the content?
  • What areas do you need to improve on or remember?

While the answers are fresh in your mind now, they won’t be forever. Debrief yourself and you’re more likely to retain the learning. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and brush up on any areas you need to refine.

8. Make clear notes

We’ve all scrawled out notes, only to come back weeks later with no memory of what they mean. They’re still a key part of studying and revision, so don’t say goodbye to the sticky pad just yet. At the end of a session, remember to check that they make sense and add to them if they don’t. Refer to certain materials or use a colour code to help jog your memory. You can even write longhand notes after you’ve finished studying.

9. Find fellow students

Although you’re not physically learning alongside other students, you’re not alone. There are people out there in the same boat. You only need to find them. Seek out forums and communities where you can share knowledge, ask questions, and compare notes. Our Facebook group is a perfect way for Eagle students to stay in touch with each other.

10. Make the most of search engines

Google receives over 63,000 searches per second* on any given day! While all use search engines, do we use them effectively enough? Look for quick answers or discussions on tough topics and keep the best websites handy. Similarly, you can find super useful YouTube videos if you’d prefer to watch or listen to someone else. Whether it’s ideas for your study space or tutorials for using different systems, you’re sure to find something. Remember to keep your wits about you, sense check the information and if you’re unsure, reach out to your tutor or another student.

11. Reward yourself

Incentivising yourself is a great way to keep pushing towards your goals. Keep the finish line in sight and then celebrate your wins once you finish. No matter how big or small. You’ll stop your learning from becoming a chore and you’ll look forward to getting back to it.

Study effectively at home with Eagle

As distance learning experts, we can help you achieve your accounting qualification with a cost-effective subscription. Our online content is powered by Kaplan and in partnership with Osborne Books, giving you access to market-leading materials. And when you no longer need to study, or if life gets in the way, you can cancel with no hidden fees.

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