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Top tips for studying online!

By AmyLibrary 21 Sep 2020


The library. Home of books. Social hangout. Safe-haven. The perfect study space! And we’ve got spaces to cater for all kinds of people, whether with friends or alone, in silence or with some background noise.

But, when it’s not possible to get here, how do you get the best out of your studying? If you struggle to focus or don’t even know where to begin with studying at home, have a look at the tips below to get the most out of online studying!

(Nothing beats being at the LRC though…)

1. Develop your tech skills

a man using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table

There’s always someone there to help, but we cannot stress enough how important it is to familiarise yourself with the basics of at least Microsoft Applications, emails, and document management. If you don’t know something, search for it online! You’re never the first to ask a question and you won’t be the last! Plus, when you search for it, you learn to know exactly what you want and you get to put into practice what you’re learning. If you’re working from home, you want to streamline your process as much as possible, so preventing possible communication delays while you wait on someone trying to figure out from a distance how to add your page numbers is in your best interests!

2. Collaborate online


While it can be a bit stressful having several different group chats for different subjects, it could prove invaluable when studying online. Your course mates could provide moral support, answer some questions or just let you know you’re not in it alone! It’s easy to work on documents together too for things like presentations by using the Microsoft online suite that is available with your QMU account. Don’t assume that being at home means isolation and inability to collaborate!

3. Practice self-discipline

a close up of a newspaper

Get rid of distractions. I know you think you can binge watch while you study but you can’t. I say that as someone who spent a good deal of their time working at home thinking that I could watch Drag Race. Either I miss the runway or I take longer to answer an email. It doesn’t work. Save your distractions as rewards! Use them to validate your ability to exercise self-discipline. For every hour you study, that’s a whole hour you can spend playing Animal Crossing while you pet your dog and through sweets at your mouth. Or whatever you do in your spare time…

4. Have a dedicated study space

a group of people sitting at a table with a laptop

If you have to spend £10 to get a folding table and sit on your couch, that’s fine! You need to have a space that you recognise as a “study area” as soon enough you’ll Pavlov yourself into associating it with studying. Try to stay away from areas where you do other things, but we’re not all millionaires who live on their own with a spare bedroom (the dream). If you have to work on your bed or your couch, try to sit differently when studying. Back straight, legs unfolded! If you’re lucky enough to have a desk, keep it clear and uncluttered. Keep all the materials you’ll need to hand and that includes snacks and water!

5. Set limits


Time management is very important when studying at home. Set limits on how long you plan on studying for. Knowing there’s an end to a session makes it easier to work hard for the duration. It’s important to work out a schedule that is best for you. How long can you study for before you get teary-eyed out of boredom? How long do you have to study for before anything sinks in and you get into the swing of it? Try to figure this out and make yourself a schedule. Take regular breaks and practice your self-care. You’re only human, after all.

6. Ebooks

a cup of coffee

We’ve got LOADS of ebooks (as well as our extensive e-journal collection) so you won’t be short of reading material. When using the library catalogue, you can choose “modify search” and narrow down your search to just ebooks, so you know everything that is listed is something you should be able to access from home. We’ve even got ebooks dedicated to study skills!

7. Utilise the remote desktop

a person using a laptop computer

The remote desktop is your friend. It has all the programmes you would associate with your QMU desktop, all of your files, ease of access for e-resources and provides maybe a more formal space for studying. You don’t even have to install any programmes, you can have it open right there in a browser tab (I would recommend making it fullscreen however, otherwise you might get distracted by your more fun tabs…)


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