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A general rule of thumb is to leave at least as much time for studying as you spend listening to lectures. In an ideal world, this is possible, but for those who are looking into online universities, there are often pressures of work, family, and other concerns that have lead the prospective student towards the flexibility of online courses. In these circumstances, it is crucial to be able to be efficient and effective in your studying and homework. So, how do you study for online courses? Here are my five best ways. They might not work for everyone, but you should be able to pick out one or two that work for your particular learning style.
1. Know yourself and your schedule
When you are just easing into your course, you will want to take a note of how you are spending your time. Map out your week by looking at where you have activities that need to be taken care of, and how much time you spend relaxing or on leisure. Then, check this schedule for 1-3 hour blocks that can be designated study times. Set these in stone as your study blocks and get into a routine. Getting into good habits now are essential to succeeding as a whole!
2. Now that you know your schedule… is all that tv time necessary?
While not all of us watch tv, we all have our guilty pleasures that can take up way too much of our time. And while rest time is important, electronics can wind us up even more. You may find that you are spending too much time on distractions, and be able to free up some much needed study time by cutting them back.
3. A great tip for those with babies
Often, those with small children will read to their babies until they fall asleep. If you want to free up a little time, try reading your textbooks or study notes to your child. Not only will he or she get a “new” story every night, you will get to pack in that little extra study time. The only risk of this tip: it could put you to sleep first!
4. A routine helps, but don’t let it limit you
A routine is essential to studying and working on assignments, but it is not foolproof. You could run into any number of setbacks, including illness or unexpected work. Bank on the unexpected happening, and work ahead on your assignments. If you are finding that you have an easy week and your routine study time is enough to easily complete your assignments, do not allow yourself to slack or slow down. Put in your best effort, and get ahead. Think of it as saving for a rainy day.
5. Put it in writing
It is so easy to think to yourself, I will do it later, or another day. A way to avoid procrastinating (as well as forgetting assignment dates and having to pull an all-nighter) is to write down every due date and assignment that you will have to do for the term. Using a whiteboard or calendar is a great way to do this. Do not just limit yourself to putting down the due dates, and write down when you will start an assignment, when you will get the first draft done, and when you will have the finished project. Try to have everything done at least a few days before the due date! Writing this info down sets a contract with yourself, and makes you more likely to be successful.
For online students to succeed, they need to be motivated and self reliant. By structuring your study time using these tips, the whole process may be much easier.