How to have a productive day at the library

UL Bolton Library 13
01.02.2016 Bolton Library, Cashel Co. Tipperary. Picture: Alan Place/Fusionshooters

By Sarah Talty

The semester weeks are finally in the double digits and dread has started to creep in. Whether you’re cramming for exams or trying to meet deadlines, it can be hard to get focused. Some people are lucky to have the motivation to study at home but for the rest of us only the library will do. There’s nothing like holding a coveted seat in the library and powering through all your work. For many of us though, distractions get in the way and we find ourselves leaving mentally drained with little done.

Glucksman_Library

To combat this we’ll pinpoint the main things that get in the way of being productive and how to overcome them:

Hunger

Bring lots of snacks and water and also pack a lunch for yourself. There is no faster way to decide to leave the silence of the library than having your stomach demonstrating a whale call because you haven’t fed it in hours.

Your phone

Phones are the worst! You decide to scroll through your phone for a few minutes and before you know it you’ve wasted half an hour. There are apps that can block certain sites and apps on your phone or just lock it completely for a certain period of time. My favourite app is one called Dinner Mode, in which you choose a period of time to not pick up your phone. If you pick it up before the minutes you chose have passed then you lose. Very simple but effective if you’re as competitive as I am. It’s a great way to give yourself time periods of working hard with no distractions before taking a break. You could just leave your phone at home too, up to you.

Friends

When your friends want to hang out it can be hard to say no when you’ve been staring at figures and essays for hours. We’re in the last few weeks though and your friends should be studying too so they’ll understand when you say no. Plan breaks to meet your friends so your brain doesn’t explode, or turn to mush four hours in of looking at a computer screen.

23.09.14           University of Limerick Supplement. Picture: Alan Place.

Seats

Come early to get a good seat and don’t lose your precious seat by taking breaks longer than 45 minutes. Also if a friend has a class to go to or is leaving the library for good have it arranged that you text the other in advance to see if they want to come in and take your seat.

Planning

‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’

Take 10 minutes when you first get into the library and spend it planning what you want to achieve that day. Write out a to do list and tick each task off, even if it’s just something small such as completing a recommended reading. It will help you get more done and give more structure to your day so you can get the best out of your day.

Tiredness

Being tired is one of the main ways to kill all productivity at the library. If you’re too tired in the morning you won’t get anything done and if you’re too tired in the evening you’re likely to just give up and head home. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, especially if you’re trying to hit the library for the whole day. Pack your bag the night before so you can give yourself an extra 15 minutes in bed in the mornings.

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Mid-semester study tips

By Alison Mitchell

Hey everyone! Just as assignments are starting to build up and I’m sure a lot of you are already beginning to study for exams, I decided to write this short blog post to share some useful study tips with you!

 Make use of the library hours/facilities.

We are very lucky in the University of Limerick to have such an amazing library facility that is open from 8:30am – 11:00pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am – 7:00pm on Saturdays and 11:00am – 6:00pm on Sundays. These library hours are amazing and I would definitely recommend getting in all the library hours you can, especially in the days leading up to an exam/assignment. The facilities are there for students, they should be used!

 

Make a plan.

Plans are so important while studying for an exam or working on an assignment. If you make a checklist of things you need to get finished by the end of the day, stay off your phone and focus, you will manage to get the list completed (as long as you make it realistic of course!) and you will feel great once it’s all done!

 

Be organized.

This pretty much ties in with the previous tip but I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you have everything before you sit down to study. Make sure you have all of your notes, a pen and notepad if needed, any books you might need and anything else that comes to mind!

 

Look after yourself first (mental health, eat well, be well rested).

Even though study is important, you are more important. Before studying make sure you have eaten well and are well rested and remember, if you’re not feeling up to it, that’s okay too, your own mental health and wellbeing is a lot more important. So, look after yourself and the rest will follow!

 

Don’t try to cram everything in the day before.

Make sure to spread out your assignments so you don’t have to them all in one week, you’ll end up over-stressing about something that could’ve been fixed with a bit of planning. Study your notes over longer time periods, don’t start reading them the night before the exam and expect to know it all by the next morning, it won’t happen. So, spread out the work over time and it’ll all be stress-free!

 

Those are all of my study tips, good luck in all of your assignments and exams and thanks so much for reading!

Advice for your next semester

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

Every year the same thing happens. We put off our deadlines, don’t attend lectures and tutorials and fail to study for exams in time. Every year this happens and every year we tell ourselves, ‘next semester will be different’. Well this is a warning to you right now while you still have time to turn it all around!

  • Go to all your tutorials.
  • If you don’t go to some lectures at least get the notes off Sulis.
  • Skip one or two nights out in favour of a late night in the library and clear head the next day.
  • Start your assignments at least three weeks before the deadline, not a few days before.
  • Keep a list of all your deadlines on your bedroom wall or in the front of your notebook and tick them off as they’re completed.
  • Attend the free workshops, classes and help advertised in your student mail such as citation workshops.
  • Figure out if you work better in college or at home so you know where to study for study week.
  • Go to classes even if your friends aren’t going.
  • Spend a few hours in the library every day and work steadily, rather than just letting all your work pile up to the last minute.
  • Make a reasonable study plan and stick to it.
  • Get the Writing Centre to help you with your essays now instead of rushing in minutes before your deadline.
  • Organise your notes as you go along so you’re not panicked searching for them during study week.
  • If you’re having trouble in a module go to your lecturer’s office hours and ask them for help.
  • Trade being relaxed after tests you’re almost sure you’ve passed for a few weeks of stress and worry now.

 

Christmas Cheer ft. Exams

By Judy Sheehan

exams1Greetings all!

Yes, I am procrastinating a little and yes,I should get back to studying but I feel I have neglected the AHSS blog recently. How semester one of first year is coming to an end is beyond my belief! Week twelve saw the last of tutorials and lectures of the five modules I studied this semester, with this week being reading week. Today the Christmas lights were switched on by the President of the University on campus, during a festive market with free food, music and (fake) snow! Safe to say there weren’t too many stressed individuals on campus today.

Besides the Christmas cheer, we must broach the subject of…EXAMS! When it comes to study, I usually leave it too late and panic,resorting to pulling all night study sessions over cups of cold coffee (#leavingcertmemories) but this time I am more prepared.

A  few relatively helpful ways to study I have discovered…

-Print off previous year exam papers in the subject. The link to past exam papers is in the student links section of the University website. Use these to test yourself and you will get a better idea of what could appear in the exams.

-Attending tutorials give a useful insight into possible exam topics which can be reassuring. Ask about anything you are worried about and any general queries-what is needed in the exam, exam rules etc.

-Look over your notes and ensure you know key concepts/ideas/theories.

-Flashcards and highlighters will make even the more tedious aspects of a subject easier to break down and learn. Staring at chapters of text is monotonous and you will than likely get distracted.

The best piece of advice I can give is to not stress too much. To do so will only cause you to panic before and during the exam. Arriving early to the right exam center with your I.D card is a must according to all knowledgeable sources. So , deep breath, the very best of luck and Christmas wishes!
Untitled design (11)My name is Judy Sheehan (most people call me Julie-really annoying), I’m twenty years old and I am in first year Arts! Hailing from the beautiful county Cork, home is only down the road. Let me tell ye a bit more, if ye are brave enough to read on…

Some useless facts about me: I am the eldest of four, with three older step siblings, have 8+ cats, am from a little town in West Cork called Bandon, LOVE animals, laugh at absolutely anything even remotely funny,drink  far too much hot chocolate and consume too much pizza and chocolate (not at the same time though).

My Top 5 Study Tips

By Aoife Martyn

mIn this blog post I’m going to offer you some advice for studying for college exams because it’s week eleven (nobody panic) and reading about studying is marginally more enjoyable than studying, right?

  1. Look at the exam papers! This is by far my best piece of advice. Going into an exam with an idea of how the exam will be laid out will give you confidence and help you figure out what to focus on beforehand.
  2. For languages subjects, look over grammar just before the exams just so you’re sure of all of the basics and don’t spend time in the exam hall thinking ‘I know what the tuiseal ginideach of that is but…’
  3. For exams that are essay based, make out essay plans for possible questions. Obviously you can’t learn off an essay for every possible question (or maybe you can but I can’t) but having a plan is the next best thing and will reassure you that you have an idea of how to structure an answer.
  4. For literature exams, learn versatile quotes that you can use in any essay on the major themes of the text rather than trying to learn long or overly specific quotes.
  5. And finally a piece of advice for study week. If getting up at ridiculous o’clock to queue for the library helps you to study and get the most out of your day, do it. If studying at home or in the evening suits you better, then do that. Figure out what works best for you and how you study most efficiently.

I hope some of this advice will be helpful. Until the next blog post.

untitled-design-13Hey everyone! My name is Aoife Martyn, I’m nineteen and I’m an Applied Languages student from Mayo. I’m in second year and, a year and a half into the course, it’s safe to say I’m loving it!

Exam tips!

By Kate Dempsey

Hey guys! This blog post is going to be one on studying – how to avoid procrastination and tips on making learning easier. I’ll be mainly focusing on my own subjects – Irish, German, Politics, Sociology and History – but most of these tips and tricks can be carried over to whatever modules you do!

First off; languages. They’re an absolute pain to study for, because, what can you do really? You don’t know what literature or essay questions you’re going to get, and the grammar questions NEVER look similar in any way, shape or form to the examples in that massive grammar book you spent hours pulling your hair out over. My best advice is to just talk, and failing that, to listen. Meet up with your friends in class and have a casual conversation, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. The languages lab in UL offers this with a tutor in a group or on a one to one basis, and it’s an absolute life saver around exam time. Listening to TV shows and podcasts in your chosen language(s) is also a great help, and broadens your vocabulary without even having to try! Find something you’re interested in – Youtube is a goldmine for German beauty vloggers, for example – and listen to it regularly. Having an interest like this is something that can easily be brought up in your orals when you’re talking about study methods or even just your hobbies, and it’s always easier to chat about something you’re genuinely interested in, rather than talking about what you want to do with your life when you graduate, and having a full blown internal quarter life crisis within an eight minute oral.

History and Politics are mostly essay based, so my best piece of advice for these is UL’s writing centre. You can book appointments for 30 minutes or an hour at a time and get all the information you need on nailing your intro’s, conclusion’s and use of sources. You can also use it as a quiet spot to get a chunk of work done with no distractions. Note taking is helpful for a lot of people, so attend your lectures and bring a highlighter to make the really important bits stand out. Something you’ll come to realize when you’re sitting in a lecture hall is that copying the slides really isn’t enough – lecturers often just use the slides as a jumping point and simply talk about the really important bits. Focus on the person rather than the projector and jot down short notes rather than full sentences.

Sociology, while you usually have an essay assignment during the semester, is often a series of short questions come exam time, and is also totally unlike anything you’ve ever done in secondary school. It’s genuinely a very interesting subject as long as you keep on top of what’s going on, and use the library regularly to read up on sociological thinkers and their ideas (what they thought and why they thought it). Personally, I find that note taking isn’t extremely helpful for this type of class – it’s more about using your brain and thinking outside the box. Try to find real life cases, examples or experiments to support and contrast the concepts you talk about in class.

Overall, just do your work before the exams (“before” the exams doesn’t mean “the night before”). I guarantee you it’s not as scary as it seems and that you remember a lot more from Week’s 1 and 2 than you think you do. If all else fails, just remember that repeating costs money. A lot of money. Money that could be spent treating yo’self instead of spending August in a stuffy exam hall filled with people equally as miserable as you!

Quick Study Tips 

  1. Sticky notes. If, like me, you have the attention span of a goldfish with concussion and hate sitting down at a desk to look at books and notes, just stick little sticky notes with information and class material around your room. Put them on your door, your bathroom mirror, anywhere you’ll see them regularly and can scan through them easily. Pick a different colour for each subject and spend 5 minutes in the morning and evening quickly reading them.
  2. Group work. If working in a group helps you, then organize it! Use the UL library, language lab or even just Red Raisins to meet up with a group of friends and talk about what’s going on in class. It doesn’t have to be formal, just bring some tea and flip through your notes. It can be helpful to hear other peoples interpretations and understandings.
  3. Apps. These are great for languages – there are grammar apps, vocabulary apps, basically anything you want. They’re quick, they’re easy, you can do it on the bus, in bed, or on your way to class. Download QuizUp to play against your friends in almost any subject you can think of.
  4. Ask. If you don’t understand, just ask. Lecturers are more than willing to help and are very understanding, unlike that one teacher everyone had for Leaving Cert who had a meltdown anytime someone didn’t understand something. Just go up to your lecturer or tutor after class, or send them a quick email, and they’d be more than happy to send you on any helpful sources or to talk you through anything tricky.

Untitled design (6)Hi guys! My name is Kate, I’m nineteen and I’m a second year European Studies student at UL, and a newly appointed Student Ambassador for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences!

Study tips for languages students

By Ross O’Connor

Untitled design (12)My name is Ross O’Connor and I come from the lovely fields of Athenry, and yes that song hurts my soul a little every time I hear it :p I am now a 4th year student of Applied Languages, yes that’s right I’ve made it to final year with no bumps in the road, and for that I’m already delighted with myself because it’s a really hard course.

I began the course with French, German and Spanish but after 7 amazing months in Germany and 5 brilliant months in France I decided not to pursue the three as I knew it would be a struggle. I love the course even though we have had our differences, there are no words to describe the opportunities presented for your year abroad.

It seems so long ago to think back to the Leaving Cert, or even first year for that matter, I was speaking to a first year yesterday who was struggling with referencing (a concept I’m still perfecting 3 years on) but it feels like it’s so long ago because I’m a “mature final year, who studies all the time and never has any fun”, yeah that’s me! It’s already proving to be a tough year but also one of the most fun years so far too. College is just about balance and getting it right.

So basically it’s week 10, can you believe it! Take me back to week 1/2 when we had nothing to do and exams seemed to far away. This semester has probably been the fastest of my semesters here in UL.

Week 10/11/12 are usually the most stressful for students as this when a lot of their assignments, presentations etc are due. If you are a languages student, this is made worse by orals. That’s an oral exam for every language you study in the same week. Don’t worry though, it’s completely manageable. You just need to be organised and put in the work when necessary. Here are some tips on managing everything:

1. Try to group your subjects, ie if you have an essay for French and a grammar test, do the study for that in the same session.

2. When you are signing up for your orals, leave one day in between each, so you have time to revise and you won’t have the other languages in your head.

3. Go to the library, there are loads of resources there. However, if the library is too busy for you, go to the LLH, it’s a nice quiet space.

4. In the LLH, there are discussion groups. GO TO THE THEM!  They will help you so much and put you at ease coming up to the orals.

5. Take breaks and relax, for those of you in first, remember this, these exams will not be as bad as you fear. You made it through the leaving Cert, at least you are interested in these subjects.

So guys, those are just some tips that I found useful when doing my study. Best of luck with the final weeks, but also remember to make the best of it.