You might be a new student in Australia, midway through your program or looking toward graduation — whatever the case, maintaining good study habits is the best way to succeed in your course. Read on as we offer our best study tips for international students.
1. Get organised
Start with the basics and organise your study materials, including your books, folders and stationery. You can find great stationery at Daiso (Melbourne and Sydney), two-dollar and discount shops, speciality stores like Kikki K and Typo, and larger retailers such as Officeworks, Kmart, Big W and Target. Get all your work done on your laptop? Take time to make sure your folders are in order and save time by downloading your readings and lecture slides in advance.
2. Create an effective study environment
Once you’ve organised your study materials, it’s time to create a study space that will keep you productive and motivated. This might be at home, on campus, at the beach or in your local café. A space free from distractions (such as flatmates and television) works best, but you may benefit from a study session with classmates. It’s also important to schedule study into your timetable — even if you only have 12 or 15 ‘contact hours’ on campus, you should aim to spend a few additional hours on independent study per subject. Also consider changing up your study routine. If your go-to is textbook revision, why not switch it up and create visual resources like mind maps or flash cards? Check out The Good Universities Guide’s Ten great apps for uni students.
3. Make goals
Working towards a goal provides great motivation. You might aim for a certain GPA, try to improve on your results from the previous semester or make more of an effort to get to class on time. And if you’re doing well academically, remember that there’s always room for improvement — don’t hesitate to ask your lecturer or tutor for some tips. Reaching goals is all about ‘starting small’, such as handing in your assignments on time or perfecting your academic referencing skills. You can then build up to bigger goals, like improving your average grade.
4. Manage study stress
A small amount of stress can help you get motivated, but excess stress is more serious and can lead to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, insomnia and weakened immunity, which can prevent effective study. Look for ways to deal with stress, such as dedicating a day a week to relax and catch up with friends, and ensure you are living a balanced lifestyle (particularly if you are combining study, part-time work and a busy social life). You may also find that external factors are contributing to your stress, not just your studies, such as living on a student budget or feeling homesick. If this is the case, you’ll find appropriate support services on campus — see below.
5. Take advantage of institution resources and services
Your institution will offer a number of support services to assist you during your studies, with many of these tailored for international students. You can expect English language assistance and bridging programs, information sessions, workshops (covering academic referencing, effective library use and more) and specialist staff such as counsellors, academic advisers and tutors. If you are studying off campus, you can expect similar services to be available online.