Acing Your Study Set Up To Get Grades You Deserve

Whilst studying at home will have some nice benefits, it’s important that you don’t slip into viewing it as a vacation and do your best to maintain focus and standards.

Chances are you aren’t a total stranger to studying at home with your laptop. Maybe you’ve used online learning tools in the past to help with your homework and assignments, or you’ve dialled into live streams of your lectures when you haven’t been able to make it to school. Whilst these have probably been useful additions to your regular face to face education, the new reality means this is the way your classes are going to be carried out for the foreseeable future.  

Whilst studying at home will have some nice benefits (trading in the journey to school or university for a few extra minutes in bed, for a start), it’s important that you don’t slip into viewing it as a vacation and do your best to maintain focus and standards.  

From making a distraction-free study space to having the best tech, below are some tips and tricks to help you study to your full potential and get the results you deserve. 

Choosing the location of your home study sanctuary

Now you’ll be studying at home for a while, it’s important that you have a dedicated study space. Finding the best place to study may involve a bit of improvisation since most of us live with family or roommates and have limited space, but there are a couple of key principles for the location of your setup that you should try and follow. 

  • Choose somewhere with natural light – such as close to a window, or looking out onto a garden. Natural light massively improves your mood and energy levels and is much easier on your eyes. It’ll also make you look much better on video  

  • Make sure your internet connection is rock solid – this will be your most critical tool for studying at home, so make sure your signal is strong enough for you to dial into video calls or seminars. The minimum requirements for effective video calls are 8 Mbps download / 1.5 Mbps upload.  

Get the right tech for your study needs 

Now you’ve found your study spot, it's worth making sure you have the right tech and that you know how to use it. 

  • Elevate your video set up - any seminars or catch-ups will be over the video, so make sure you have a decent set up that allows you to be seen clearly. If possible, choose an external webcam – laptop webcams are often low quality and video from an unflattering angle. A dedicated webcam will have many fuller colours and better light 

  • Get video software savvy – make sure you know how to dial into video software such as Zoom and Google Hangouts well ahead of your first call taking place, and make sure your camera works with it 

  • Have the right mouse and keyboard for your studies – if you’re typing lots of essays consider a larger ergonomic keyboard as a more comfortable alternative to your laptop. If you are a maths student who spends lots of time scrolling formulas, choose a mouse with extra programmable buttons and scroll wheels to study faster 

  • Experiment with document sharing apps – these can be a great way of working with other students if you’re working together on an assignment. Web apps such as Google Sheets or Word online are tools that you’ll probably end up using in your future workplace, so this could be a good opportunity to get a head start in learning how to use them 

Maintaining focus and staying productive 

Having the right study set up and tech can give you a great head start, but it’ll still require a bit of effort to adapt to permanently studying at home. Below are a couple of simple but effective ways of ensuring you stay productive and stress-free. 

  • Keep to a routine and plan your time wisely - If you were already attending classes for a block of time every day, start at the normal hour and use that time to work on your remote assignments 

  • Take breaks - a brief change of location can act as a good way of resetting your focus. Use any outdoor space that you might have available, and try and give yourself a screen break.  

  • Stay connected - studying at home can be lonely and make you feel isolated. Stay connected with friends to see how they’re tackling a question, or why not check in with your teacher on your assignment over video? Video is a great way to feel connected and inspired, and your teacher will probably be just as happy to hear from you! 

…And relax  

This may be unchartered territory and an unusual way of studying, but don’t let it stress you out. The situation is changing every day, and everyone is learning as it happens – even your school or university. As long as you have the right set up, stay motivated and manage your time wisely, you'll ace whatever academic challenge is thrown at you and get the grades you deserve. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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