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Top tips for studying online

MAR 31, 2020 • 5 min read

Has your school closed down and moved to online learning due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak? Well, if they have, you certainly aren’t alone, and if you haven’t been moved to online learning yet, you should certainly be prepared to be if the situation develops.

But why does working from home or completely online feel so different to going into class? How can you get the most from it? Check out Crimson’s 5 Dos and Don’ts of online studying below:

1. DO Create a study schedule

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s important that we say it again; make a study plan. Without a written study plan, students often fail in their time management or tend to procrastinate. The plan should have specific tasks to be completed, include your breaks, and be specific about times. Hang your plan somewhere you can see it, and don’t lose track of time. The most important part of a study plan is sticking to it!

One problem students might have during the COVID-19 outbreak is to be tempted to sleep in. This may lead to being in a sluggish mindset when you eventually do wake up, and might expose you to the dangerous effects of studying late at night to get all your work done. It's important to stay disciplined, wake up every morning at roughly the same time you would if you did have to go into class, and start your daily schedule at 8:30-9am every morning.

Finally, don’t spend so long thinking about the study schedule that you burn time that should be used studying; it should help you stop procrastinating, not as a means of procrastination!

2. DO Take study breaks away from screens

Plenty of people get ‘cabin fever’ when studying at home, and lose their productivity. In many ways, this is totally understandable, and science proves that doing nothing but stare at a computer screen in the one place all day is not healthy. There are effects on your psychological well-being, such as attention span, feelings of isolation and anxiety. The effects of prolonged screen-time can also seep into other areas of your life, such as difficulty sleeping and eye strain.

One way of preventing this is by having well timed and earned breaks away from screens. Although you might want to check your social media platforms during your study break, you might unintendedly find yourself glued to the computer screen for a long time. So when you are on a break, go and sit outside for a while, hang out in a different part of the house, or even better, do some exercise. Even if it's just having a walk around the neighbourhood or bouncing a basketball, this will do.

3. DON’T be afraid to use resources to ask questions

Much of the technology and resources available to students as part of online studying is dedicated to facilitating teacher-student interaction. Asking questions of teachers is the place where students form invaluable parts of their knowledge through scientific-style inquiry, and is essential for student engagement. Therefore it is important as a student to know what resources are available to you to connect with teachers.

Do you have a chat service such as whats-app, an online discussion board, video-chat or just standard email. It is also important that you are not afraid to use the resources at your disposal. In the same way you might want to ask a question in front of your entire class, using the class discussion board can be public and daunting. But in the same way you might quietly consult your teacher after class, this can be substituted with a more private email with your question.

4. DON’T get distracted on your computer

As a general rule, it is important that you take the same approach to online learning that you would in-class. This means that you should not have anything going on on your computer that is not study related. Do not ‘just check’ social media, sports scores or anything like that, as this will inevitably lead to procrastination. While some people like listening to music while studying, do not spend long skipping songs and deciding what to listen to, as this will also inevitably lead to distraction and procrastination.

Plenty of students also fall into the trap of trying to multitask, such as watching a basketball game at the same time as studying. This is proven to be ineffective, and what knowledge you try to absorb simply won’t go in. We are sorry to say that Lebron James is not a great study partner. If you struggle with staying on task while on your computer, there is self-control software you can download onto your computer which will let you voluntarily restrict your access to certain sites during certain hours of the day.

5. DON’T look at your phone

On a similar theme, one main way students get distracted is by their phone. Just because you might not have a teacher watching what else you may be doing behind the scenes, this does not mean you should be looking at your phone or texting. We recommend that you turn your phone off, and hide it completely out of sight and reach, in order that you are not tempted to look at it or use it. Remember, there will be time later to check instagram or message your friends, but it should not be while you are trying to study.

How does Crimson use online learning?

We at Crimson are strong advocates for online learning. Meeting with our fantastic tutors and mentors via video conference is easy, and we are able to send you all the resources you will need digitally.

If you were worried about COVID-19’s impact on studying for standardised tests or school, be comforted that Crimson has it covered. Book a free consult today!