Study skills: How to study at home effectively
Being able to study at home effectively is an important skill to have, especially if you're thinking about going to uni. You'll spend most of your time studying independently, organising your workload and setting your own study schedule.
Tips for studying at home
Studying at home is something you can master through practice. These tips will help you stay motivated and organised when you're at home and help you prepare for independent learning at uni.
1. Choose a work station
Find a quiet place at home. This may be in your bedroom, or a spare room in the house. Make sure it has enough lighting, it's the right temperature and has space for your computer and notes.
2. Set yourself goals
Goals will help you stay productive and motivated. Think about what you're aiming for and write it down. You could break down big monthly goals into smaller weekly or daily targets.
3. Prioritise your work
Think about what tasks you need to do first. Is there a logical order to tackle your work? Do the most urgent and important work first, but give yourself enough time to get all your tasks done by using time management techniques.
4. Use a diary or calendar
Plan your studies in a paper diary or digital planner. You can list any important deadlines coming up and use it to keep track of tasks that you've done.
5. Block out noisy distractions
If you really want to focus, try putting your phone on flight mode for 1 hour, or turn off the radio and TV and only watch videos, or listen to podcasts that are relevant to your subject.
6. Reward yourself
Reward yourself when you complete a goal. It's an incentive to stay motivated, but also because you deserve it. Take some time to catch up on Netflix, or with friends or grab a bar of chocolate – whatever makes you happy.
Practice makes perfect
Studying at home effectively takes practice, so don't worry if you struggle to stay motivated at first. Keep using the tips above and try your best. You can also check out our study skills for more help and advice on independent learning, and topics such as revision, digital skills and organisation.
What kind of learner are you?
Identifying how you work best inside a classroom can also help you study at home effectively.
In class, do you prefer techniques such as note-taking, mind maps or teaching others? The 3 most common learning styles are:
1. Visual learners
If you're a visual learner, things like mind maps or looking at graphs help you understand information. You may prefer using charts, diagrams or other illustrations to written information. If you have lots of written work, try breaking it up onto colourful sticky notes to decorate your study space.
2. Auditory learners
Are you better at listening to instructions or repeating what you've learnt to others? Try sharing what you're learning at school or college with friends or people at home. Teaching them what you've discovered is a good way of retaining information.
3. Hands-on learners
Your teacher may call this kinesthetic learning. It just means you prefer hands-on activities, so you learn by doing.
Techniques such as creating flash cards, playing with a stress ball when reading, along with telling another person what they've been learning work best.
Maybe you don't fit into just 1 of these categories, or maybe some or all 3 apply. That's okay. The key here is to identify what techniques are going to work well for you by thinking reflectively. Once you figure out how you like to learn, try putting it into practice at home.