When I was a school, I actually liked studying. I always wanted to try my best and would revise hours for exams, get coursework done as soon as it was set and try to get the best grade possible. I’m not naturally clever, it’s something I’ve always had to work at. I remember in my GSCE handing my English coursework in again and again to get it remarked and improve it so I came out with an A. I didn’t do as well in the exam and it dragged my grade down to a B, but I gave 100% for sure.
It’s been about 11 years since I left education. I graduated from university in 2008 and have been in full-time work ever since.
So signing up for my CIM course in Marketing has been a bit of a learning curve. Not only am I out of practice for exams and studying, but I’m having to learn this alone as it’s a distance learning course. Then let’s not forget the full-time work and other things going on! But there can be some advantages to studying as an adult.
Here are some tips I’ve found useful over the past few months:
Use free time at work.
If you get a lunch hour or any other breaks, use it wisely! I could use mine to study, but I’ve been using it to blog at the moment which leaves my evenings free to study.
Little by little.
On a Saturday and Sunday, I sit down and can spend about 4 hours studying, after an hour or so I get a bit fed up and stop absorbing information. Try to do by the little and often principle!
Structure your time.
As above, little and often works. I like to break my time up, so I might study for 20 minutes straight, then do something else for 10 minutes. Or study for 40 minutes and then have 20 minutes doing something else. Otherwise, I feel like I’m always stopping and starting if I have a big 4-hour block of work to do!
Break up the course.
For the module I am doing now, I have 6 units. I go through each unit individually. Once I had a brief overview, I started going into more detail as I found that having some knowledge of the whole module helped my understanding of the different units.
However this works for you, be sure to make notes on key points. I find writing things in my own words helps me to take things in better. When I go over the information again, I make the notes even shorter until it’s just keywords and bullet points.
Get past papers.
Getting hold of past papers is great for getting you familiar with the exam. It also might highlight what topics seem to come up most. If you try to do the exams, you may also be able to identify the topics that you don’t feel very comfortable with so you can go over them again.