10 stay at home study tips

05 Apr 2021


You thought it’d be easier to study at home. Surprise, surprise, it comes with its own challenges. There are way too many distractions: our flatmates or family, our phone, THE FRIDGE, that one novel you haven’t got to finish, the sudden urge to clean your entire place, THE FRIDGE… you get the point.

Exams are coming up, but you just can’t focus at home. The anxiety kicks in, knees weak, arms heavy, mom’s spaghetti. We’re here to give you some tips so chill out already.

Get away from your “comfort zone”

Your literal “comfort zone”, like your bedroom. Being near your ‘comfort zone” will make it much more tempting to lie down and watch Netflix instead of actually studying. Instead, have a dedicated studying area, and make sure it is comfortable and well lit. It will help you stay focused on your studies longer.

Clear your desk

Cluttered desk, cluttered mind. Keep your desk (and study area) clean and clear of any items unrelated to your studies. Try to leave your phone in another room - which *might* discourage you to keep checking your phone (hopefully).

It’s also much easier to focus on one subject at a time. So, if you have multiple notebooks or textbooks of different subjects on your desk, move them aside. Study one at a time, and move along strategically by creating a study plan.

A study plan

Having a plan - as simple as a list - makes it easier for you to stay consistent and stick to a predetermined flow. Just spend 5 minutes before you rest at night to create a study plan for the next day. Start with the hardest subjects first then go to the easier ones as you progress. A plan like this helps you to sustain attention and prevent you from “subject-hopping” too many times.

Admittedly, this is a little tricky because you have to rely on yourself to adhere to the study plan. Take it as an opportunity to learn how to hold yourself accountable and be responsible for your own successes.

Take notes

The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory. Actively taking notes may seem like a hassle, but it has been studied to help learners sustain focus, absorb knowledge, and memorise better. Taking notes will also give you time to critically process what you’re learning, and maybe even think of an answer structure in case it pops out on the exam.

Establish a routine

Set a certain time every day to start your study period. Similar to the study plan, it is easier to stick to a routine than improvising everyday. If you repeat a routine consistently, your body will get used to it and you can enter “study mode” faster. However, your schedule can be very different from others, which we’ll talk about next.

Study at the right time

Some people are early-risers, those mythical beings who can actually get up early and be productive earlier in the morning. Most of us are night-owls, wide awake and more energetic at a later time of the day. If you’re a night owl, don’t force yourself to wake up way too early and study. Conversely, an early-riser shouldn’t try to pull off an all-nighter to maximize their studying time. At this point, we’re sure you know which group you belong to.

That being said, keep in mind that staying up all night is not a healthy lifestyle. We cannot seriously endorse such a lifestyle in the long term. Listen to your body and get adequate rest to live a long and healthy life.

Avoid multitasking

Yes, all of us have that urge to suddenly do anything else to have an excuse to not study. But moving away from your desk too often breaks your concentration and disrupts your study quality. You are less likely to absorb what you’ve been studying if you try to multitask.

If you need to do other activities, make a plan to do them either before or after your study period. For example, you don’t want to exercise before you study if you usually get tired and sleepy after exercising. You know yourself best, so plan your day to maximise your studying efficiency.

Don’t forget your social time

Being away from friends can be tough, even more so if you’re an international student living apart from your family too. In this trying time, remember to take a moment everyday to connect with others.

Thanks to modern technology, it’s as easy as setting up a Zoom meeting, a WhatsApp call, or even Facebook chat group for all we care. Pick your choice, and give your family and friends a call to let them know how you’re doing and make sure they’re okay.

Stay in touch with your lecturers/teachers

Staying in contact with your lecturers is more important than you think. Most if not all lecturers will happily assist you if you email them your questions or enquiries. You are going to get stuck or unsure about certain things in your studies, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your lecturers when you do.

But, remember that they are also people with their own lives and responsibilities. If they take some time to reply, politely remind them as they might have been taking a break or busy. Always be respectful when writing emails, unless you don’t want to be taken seriously.

Be considerate

To yourself. Make sure you have a good amount of sleep, drink enough water, and eat well - exam period is not the time to try out that new diet trend you saw on Instagram. Treat yourself to some Macca’s if it’ll boost your mood.

Also make sure to take care of yourself mentally. Being stressed out or anxious about studying and your grades will affect your performance during the exams. Know that all of us are as anxious and worrisome as you are. Never hesitate to reach out to your friends and families, university counselors, or even free online counselling for help.