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As this semester opens, every student will face the challenge of online learning. This entire semester will be conducted virtually unlike last winter where it was only the last few weeks. Not leaving your house every day can become monotonous, making it hard to focus on your studies. Here are three tips to help you study throughout the semester. 

1. Be proactive 

The easiest way not to fall behind is to plan out your schedule. As soon as you get your class syllabus, map out the lesson plan on a planner, either digital or physical. That way, you have a good idea of how to budget your study time each day and are mindful of all midterms and assignment deadlines.  Read the textbook chapters or PowerPoint slides before the class; it is easier to pay attention when you can recognize the material. It’s okay if you don’t understand all the material; you will be able to gain a  deeper understanding when you’re listening to the lecture where the professor can expand on the material further. 

2. Have a routine 

I know things may not seem normal but it is important to try to keep up a routine. Simulate what you would have done when going to in-person classes. I don’t recommend listening to lectures in your bedroom. I find it very hard to focus in my room because there are too many distractions. If possible, sit at a desk and direct all your attention to the lecture. Even if lectures are pre-recorded, try to watch them during the class time indicated on your schedule. That means getting up at the same time you normally would to attend in-person classes. Don’t save all your lectures to watch at the last minute;  that might be overwhelming and you probably won’t retain any knowledge beyond the final exam. 

3. Use coloured pens 

When it comes to studying, everyone has different, but equally valid methods. The one that works for me is re-writing all my notes out by hand. At the end of the week, I go over what I typed out during lectures and write them out. That forces me to slow down and digest the material. I use a rainbow of colours to make key words pop out of the page. Making your notes colourful not only looks aesthetically pleasing to read but it allows you to focus on the main ideas. 

Remember, we are all adjusting to this. This will be a difficult transition but as the future is uncertain, this may be the delivery of courses for some time. The good habits you develop this semester will carry on to future years, continuously allowing you to be academically successful.


Alexa Gee

U Alberta '21

Alexa Gee is a senior at the University of Alberta. She is completing a Bachelor of Science with a Biology major and Sociology minor.
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