Find the study technique that works best for you

Starting university can be present a major change for many - with new challenges and new environments. It is important to adapt as quickly as possible in order to keep up. University studies often involve a relative freedom for students. This places greater demands on you to take more responsibility for your own learning. Many forms of instruction are new and the number of students in some programmes can be large.

A number of things may affect your studies: your motivation, prior knowledge, study habits/practices, study/living environment, and of course, your experiences and the person you are. It is important that you begin to think about what study techniques suit you and what resources you may need to succeed in your studies.

Find your ideal study technique

Where is your ideal study place? Is it at home, at your department or at the library? Try to evaluate what environment is conducive to studying.
What time of the day are you most focused? Are you a morning or evening person? Dedicate the time you are most alert and focused on studying.

Do you tend to procrastinate?

Do you find that you need to have some pressure on you in order to start studying, or are your essays and assignments complete way ahead of the deadlines?

Two different motivation strategies - which is you?

  • You motivate yourself against doing something - you may have no desire to get started, perhaps there are many requirements included in the task, often you have feelings of guilt because of your reluctance to work on the task.
  • You motivate yourself to do something - you enjoy that feeling you get when you know that you are finished with the task.


  • Understand your procrastination patterns - "I'll just...", "I'll probably be more alert tomorrow" etc. Next time you have these thoughts try to work against them.
  • Learn to identify the stress symptoms that leads to procrastination. Realise that you can endure them when they come.
  • Try the Do It Now method! It will not be easy today or easier tomorrow, but it can help get you started on reducing your feelings of guilt.
  • Choose an environment that helps you to concentrate and focus on your studies.
  • Find friends that you can study with.
  • See your studies as a job.
  • Plan your work; create daily routines.
  • Set goals and targets.
  • Reward and encourage yourself when you are reached your goals.
  • What are the requirements like? We know that unclear requirements and high demands can have an effect. Read more about this in our advice about stress and performance anxiety.


Concentration is the ability to direct and control your attention. It is a process that can be influenced; you can create your own concentration! Choose somewhere to study that has as few distractions as possible. Clear your head from distractions by writing, talking to someone, making lists. Make the most of the time that you are alert and focused to work with the most difficult subjects. Start your studies by preparing mentally; concentrate on what you should do. Put a limit on your study sessions so that it will be easier to start studying as well as and to stay focused. Take one thing at a time!

Everyone studies in their own way. Find study techniques that suits your learning style. These could be techniques such as taking notes, formulating questions, summarising main ideas, and discussing topics with others.


  • Take regular breaks to move and counteract the tension in your body. Try some relaxation exercises.
  • Take regular breaks to process what you have learned - let the information "sink in".
  • Take regular breaks to eat so that your body and mind will receive more energy.
  • Motivate yourself and think positive!
  • Focus on the goal of your course, the task in hand or simply of your studies. Focus on today and the now rather than yesterday or tomorrow.
  • Try to do something instead of regret what you have not done. Think about what you have achieved. Encourage yourself.

Advice and support

Please turn to the Student Health Service if you would like to have any advice or individual support.