After studying my Diploma of Nursing, which required 3 days a week, 40 weeks a year of physical contact and attendance at CQUniversity then transitioning to the Bachelor of Nursing which was almost completely online, with 12 contact days aver a two year period, I was a little shell shocked. But I developed a series of survival skills that saw me graduate with a Credit Average, and awarded the Associate Vice Chancellors Medallion for 2019.
The most important thing to remember is Time Management. It is all too easy to put off watching lectures, reading chapters of books, or studying for exams. It’s also too easy to feel the urge to simply cram in the final minutes. While I was studying Full Time I was also working Full Time as an Enrolled Nurse, working all shifts, 40 hours a week. I needed perfect Time Management if I was even going to survive, let alone pass. I found it easiest to physically write all of my assessments and their due dates on a white board next to my desk, have all of the readings and lectures written down as well, and simply divide the week into different Classes on different days. Some Classes I found could be knocked over quicker than others, and others required more time in study. This just meant I needed to move the schedule around a little.
Make sure you don’t cram anything into the last minute. No matter how good it sounds, no matter how many times other students tell you “Cramming is Super Effective”, it’s not! For you to effectively retain the information you will need to repetitively cover the information, absorb it in a number of different ways, and most importantly, study to perform your job not to pass an exam. You shouldn’t also study with loud music, drinking your sixth red bull, and eating a bowl of chocolate covered nuts. Studies have shown that you should study how you are examined, this will assist in memory recall in the exam.
To get yourself in the study mindset remember why you’re studying in the first place. For me I wanted to be a Nurse, working in Health Care, and helping people. Cliched I know, but you won’t find many Nurses who are in it for the Glory, Money, or to Marry a Doctor, well at least not that I am aware of anyway. So if you are studying Physiotherapy to work with top athletes at the Olympics, use that. If you are trying to remember 4923 equations to become an Engineer so you can work on Space Craft, use that. If you are studying English so that you can become a Citizen of the greatest Country in the world, use that.
Avoid distractions by being deliberate about your study. Set aside a time every day where you are going to study. Have a designated space to study, not the lounge room, not your bedroom, and certainly not in the kitchen. Ensure those who you live with, namely partners and children, are aware that you are studying and it is paramount to work, thus they need to respect your space and time required and may need to leave you alone long enough to write that fourth essay this week.
The best online study aid is anything that keeps you on track, focussed, and on time. I found the best tool during my study was a program called Zotero. Zotero is a cataloguing and referencing software that stores all of your previous references, books, journals, and other material. It creates snapshots of online material, references in APA or Harvard (along with a myriad of others), and even creates a perfect Bibliography for you at the end of your document. It may not be strictly a study tool, but it sure saved me from a lot of headaches when it came to referencing my material.
My tip for studying at home with children is DON’T! But seriously, if you find it difficult to study at home with the children, whether your partner is away for work, or you are a single parent, or whatever your situation, you need to find the time and space to study. I knew plenty of students who studied at the Library prior to returning home because their lovely little cherubs made any study near impossible. You could also limit your study to after bed time, which is what I did most of the time. This works great as your children can’t interrupt your study if they are asleep.
My final thought on Surviving Online Study is, do what works for you. There will be a myriad of differing tips and tricks for studying online, but ultimately you need to find what works for you. I found that the aforementioned survival tools is what worked for me. I hope you find what works for you sooner, rather than later.
Maintain the Rage