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Managing Your Studies: Studying on your own

Studying on your own

Studying at university means being responsible for your own learning. While at school you were probably directed towards the texts you needed to use and then guided in how to make use of them. At university level you are expected to access recommended texts, but also to pursue your own research beyond these, and to develop your critical thinking and digital skills. The texts you use provide the background for your studies, but it’s also important to think about how and where you can make best use of them.

Check out these links to other areas of the Academic Skills Hub:


  • When getting ready to study, make sure that you have the assessment criteria, any texts you intend to use, and any notes taken during your lecture or seminar. Think about how you are going to plan, write and revise your work.

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Structuring your assignment

  • University study requires you to manage your own time, and this makes it necessary to decide where to manage your study materials. Studying alone allows you complete control over your environment, so find where you work best.
  • You may find to easiest to study alone at home in familiar surroundings. However, a change of place can also work well, especially if there is noise, clutter or other distractions to contend with where you live. The library has different kinds of study areas which allow different levels of noise. Try each of them out to see what suits you best.
  • As well as physical space, you need to consider mental space which includes having time away from online distractions - think about putting devices offline or on silent to help you focus for fixed amounts of time.
  • You may find your time is better spent if you plan each study session in detail ahead of time, deciding exactly what you intend to cover in a session – be as precise as you can. This will help you to settle into the work more quickly and prevent you trying to multitask.
  • Factor in timed breaks to avoid distraction and prepare drinks and snacks.
  • As with the study sessions, think about how you can break down deadlines into smaller elements – this can help to combat procrastination, as well as prompting you to consider how long each section of the assessment will take.
  • See the section on time management.
  • Studying on your own doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for help from your tutor, your PAC or Library and Learning Services.
  • Learning and Teaching Librarians can help you to find quality sources which are specific to your studies.
  • Academic Skills Advisors can help you to apply critical thinking to your work. There is a range of online material which you can access at any time.
  • Having a good awareness of the skills you have is as important as understanding those you need to develop – don’t be scared to change your approach and try out new ideas.

Further Reading