Modernise your study approach

Modernise your study approach

During my day job, I’m focussed on empowering students to get the qualification they desire. Rather than give students a prescriptive answer, I try to help them learn how to a find answers so that when I’m not online they still have tools to achieve – it’s all about study skills. Is ‘study skills’ even the right phrase or does that conjure up flashbacks of GCSE revision where teachers would tell you to build in to your schedule enough time to look at the crumbly old ‘study skills’ workbook issued to all students since the beginning of time (or was that just at my school?).

Yeah, like I’ve got time to study for a dozen or so GCSEs, watch telly AND you’re giving me extra stuff to read! Nah.

Later in life though, as a twenty-something, I started my CIPD studies. It eventually dawned on me that I was able to commit information to memory when it was given to me in a particular way. I started using mind maps, recording myself talking about a subject, making my own acronyms as memory aids, I had post it notes all over the kitchen – the usual stuff. It worked. The moral of the story: it is never too late for study skills.

There is plenty of advice on study skills out there so I won’t go over old (but useful) ground. Neither will I give you a ‘Gary’s opinionated guide to learning’.

Instead, what I’ve tried to do here is curate some up to date tools and (slightly unusual) ideas that could appeal to the neophile in you and help upskill your study ability.

  1. Take a holiday… from Facebook. A new paper in the Journal of Social Psychology showed a reduction in stress levels as a result of a break from Facebook. Less stress has to be good to keep you clear on study goals, right? Click here to read more.
  2. If taking a break from distractions grabs your interest. Did you know that there are apps out there that will give you surprisingly decent material rewards (in the shape of credits you can spend) for taking time away from your phone? Take a look at the Hold and Forest apps.
  3. OK, so this next article isn’t strictly about study skills, but I didn’t want this to be just another study skills post. Take a look at some detrimental effects of being a night owl by clicking here to see some (extreme) associated risks.
  4. Following on from point three, if you are going to stay up with anything – stay up to date with the pop culture as this could help avoid negative moods. This will require a balance to points one and two, so I’ll leave that to you to work out. Click here to find out about a ‘series of creative experiments’ on this subject reported in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
  5. Can the way you type help? Click here to see a new paper from researchers at Skidmore College that provides some (extremely mild) evidence that leaving two spaces after a typed sentence can help information retention.

I could go on all day, but you have studying to do ;)

So instead I’ll finish there and I’m going to follow up this post next week with more twists on the usual study skills. Get your think on.

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Gary is The Professional Development Community Manager

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  • In case you missed it, I've written a follow-up blog as promised:

    Modernise your study approach - Part 2
    Here it is, episode 2 of my post that aims to share new tools and information in the hope of continually developing study skills. To recap on the pre…
  • Enjoyed this Gary - will be sharing with my son Connor who is currently studying sociology and is about to take his exams !

    Thank you :)

    • Great. I hope it helps. I'm going to do a 'part 2' this week. 

      'Modernise Your Study Approach, part 2: Study Harder.'


  • Hi Gary, 

    I found this a really interesting read! I found 2. was a great help whilst studying to keep away from distraction. I used an app on my laptop called SelfControl which allowed you to input specific websites, or searches, to block for up to 24 hours. If anyone is interested, see for their top 10 apps for your laptop.



    10 Apps That Block Distractions
    It’s way too easy to get online to look up one particular thing and find yourself still surfing three hours later.
    • Thanks so much for contributing! This is exactly the kind of sharing that makes the Community a great tool.

    • Hi Jess,

      I love this ! I'm going to share this with my son currently studying A Levels :)



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