Tips to help avoid failing a subject this trimester

Welcome to Trimester 2. The uni year is truly in full swing now. And while you all have specific reasons for being at university, one thing is true for everyone: you don’t want to fail a subject.

Below, we’ve provided some tips to help you avoid failing a subject this trimester:

Go to your lectures

If you can’t make it physically, at least catch up via Lecture Capture. But make sure you listen to your lecture content somehow. And check out our tips on effective note making to ensure you’re capturing all the information you need. 

Get motivated

Is there a subject you’re really excited to learn about this trimester? Or a greater overall aim of why you’re doing your doing your degree? Find that reason, that spark, and remember that! This is what you’re working towards, and you’re gonna smash it!

Visit us in the library

Besides being friendly faces, we have a lot of handy resources. From an array of study spaces, online resources, and face to face help, we’re here to help you succeed.

Create a study group

Studying’s more enjoyable if you’re doing it with someone you like. Organise a time each week to meet and go over content. Why not book a study space in our library while you’re at it? Plus, assignment writing is much easier when you’ve got friends you can discuss the topic, and any concerns, with.

Be prepared

Organise your books and textbooks – that’s obvious, right? Then note down key information and dates in your calendar (online or physical), such as lecture and tutorial times and locations, assessment due dates, exam and vacation weeks.

Kick start your study success by attending an earlybird workshop

Quick quiz:

  • Are you starting uni this trimester?
  • Did you find last trimester’s study a challenge?
  • Do you want to further develop your learning skills?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, our earlybird workshops are perfect for you!

Prior to Trimester 2, 2017, we are offering the following earlybird workshops free to Griffith students:

Strategies for study at university
Get an overview of university culture and expectations, and learn some helpful strategies for managing your time and studying effectively. Beginning the trimester with a head start on study and time management will make a world of difference, we promise!

Writing university assignments
Does your assignment writing process involve opening a new word document, and staring at an empty page for 30 minutes trying to come up with an opening sentence? Don’t let assignments get the better of you! This workshop will cover the basics of getting started on structuring and writing assignments, and will help prepare you to smash the next assignment you get!

Researching and Referencing for your assignments
Being able to research and reference is a kinda crucial part of uni. If this seems daunting, come along to this workshop. You’ll gain awareness of the wide range of information resources available at Griffith and learn to identify the principles of referencing and the process of applying them within academic work.

Check out the times, dates, and locations, come along to a workshop, and start trimester two prepared for success!

How classical music can help with study

How much do you know about study techniques?

Hopefully, you’ve taken a look at our Study Smart tutorial on exam prep, listened to your lecturer’s advice, and maybe even organised a study group.

But what else can you do to ensure that you are studying as effectively and efficiently as you can?

Well, research shows that listening to classical music helps.

Dosseville, Laborde and Scelles’ paper Music during lectures: Will students learn better?, published in the Learning and Individual Differences journal, found that students who listened to a one-hour videotaped lecture in which classical music was played in the background performed much higher on a multiple choice test given after the lecture, in comparison to a control group of academically equal students who had listened to the lecture without classical music. 

The researchers speculated that classical music puts students in a heightened emotional state, therefore making them more receptive to information, and influenced their motivation to remain focused.

Research has also shown that listening to classical music can reduce anxiety and help with relaxation. In addition, listening to classical music (and rock music!) can increase cognitive ability.

So turn on some Tchaikovsky, blast some Beethoven, listen to some Liszt, and study away!

Ace your exam prep this study week

Photo of students studying

Don’t freak out about exams just yet. You’ve got this week to prepare. It’s time to put your head down, your brain into gear and hit those books hard (not literally). Study Week can be a stressful time for students, so we’ve put together a few tips to keep you on track. Remember, staying organised and healthy is key. So get some sleep, avoid caffeine (seriously!), and limit your social media procrastination.

Confirm exam details
Obviously, you’ll check your myGriffith exam timetable to discover the date, time and location of your exam. The exam timetable is usually released a good few weeks before the commencement of Study Week. But just a heads up, that venues are subject to change, so be sure to double check the details 24 hours prior to the exam. Also, your exam may be in a place you are unfamiliar with. Check the campus map to locate the building, and use the Room Locations guide to decipher the level and room number. It can get confusing!

Schedule your life
Set out a study schedule and stick to it! There are loads of daily and weekly planners you can use to help with this. Now, we aren’t advocating that you spend a fortune on a Planner, but some are just so darn useful (and pretty!). You can find free planners online as well. Handy hint: sleeping and eating are important activities to schedule into your busy days. Your brain works better after rest and nourishment!

Set #examgoals
Setting unrealistic goals is just as bad as not setting them at all. Check how you are travelling in your course so far. The results for all your completed assessment items should be available in Learning@Griffith. Calculate how many marks you need to achieve your desired overall course grade. That’s what you should work towards. Start thinking of all the ways you can reward yourself when you reach this goal!

Prepare your study notes
This is the moment when you’ll be super pleased with yourself for going to class and taking awesome notes. Go grab those notes; it’s time to make them work for you. Basically, you want to condense your notes and present them in a visual format. Have you heard of a mind map, concept map or flowchart? According to Patrick Sharrat in Passing Exams for Dummies (2013), your brain thinks in pictures, so creating keyword pictures and patterns can help with memory retention.

Teach the topic to someone
Teach the topic to your mum, friend or flatmate’s dog. The best way to test your understanding of a topic is to try to teach it to someone else – even a class of stuffed animals will do! Now, Mickey and Minnie, listen up…

For more study tips, check out this Buzzfeed video for 8 essential study hacks (2015) or Wengies video on 7 study tips to help you ace your exams (2014).

– Extract from Study Smart – Exam Prep – 

5 apps to help you study better

There’s an app for almost everything, nowadays, isn’t there? So, have you ever thought about using an app to help you study? I mean, it is study week.

Below, we’ve listed some handy apps to help you with your study this exam period.

1. SelfControl
Developer: Charlie Stigler & Steve Lambert
Available: Online for Mac OSX
Cost: Free

Super skilled at procrastinating? Can’t resist the urge to check your social media news feed, or trying to avoid calculus by watching YouTube videos of kittens? SelfControl lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the internet.  Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click start. Until that timer expires, you’ll be unable to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the app! A necessary evil, possibly?

2. Dragon Dictation
Developer: Nuance Communications
Available: App store 
Cost: Free

Fingers hurt from typing too much (It’s a real problem!)? No worries. Get Dragon Dictation and use your voice to dictate your study notes – simply speak and see your content appear on screen.

3. Flashcards+
Developer: Chegg
Available: App  store and Google Play
Cost: Free

Memorise info like a pro using this flashcards app, designed to help you learn.

4. The Oxford Dictionary of English
Developer: MobiSystems
Available: App store and Google Play
Cost: Free

Because everybody needs a good dictionary in their life.

5. Write or Die
Developer: Dr Wicked
Available: Online or App store
Cost: $9.99 – $20

Struggling to find the motivation to write your assignment, unless there’s a looming deadline no more than 24 hours away? Meet: Write or Die. Write or Die is an online app (which you can also download to your iPhone) that gives consequences for distraction and procrastination. As long as you keep writing, everything is fine, but if you become distracted there are customisable consequences.

6. The Hemingway App
Developer: Adam Long & Ben Long
Available: Online
Cost: $19.99

Ready to be judged? This app allows you to paste in content you have written and have it critiqued, to make your writing bold and clear. The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors. It’s especially handy if you have a problem with verbosity (don’t know what that means? Refer to app #4).

Tips to improve your time management

What do Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, and Sigmund Freud have in common? Well, apart from being dead… They’re all great at time management.

Time management is a key factor to a balanced life – and, academic success.

For example, if you start your assignment the night before, chances are (a) you’re not gonna get a HD, and (b) you’re not great at time management. And, I’ll guess you probably spent the week beforehand stressing about the assignment a little? (#notfun) 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of time management tips to help you stay on top of things and avoid turning into a stress-head.

Plan things early
Have an assignment due in three weeks, or an exam coming up? Start two to three weeks beforehand. By working incrementally on the assignment, you’ll feel better knowing it’s started, and will surprise yourself with the progress you make! Stick the dates in your calendar, and maybe even include deadlines for progress.

Write a to-do list
Get your task list out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. But make sure it’s attainable. You’re not going to finish 10 separate readings and write the introduction, methodology, and discussion of an assignment piece all in one day. Be realistic, and space it out. This will help you achieve goals and stay on track, plus ticking off an item always feels good.

Prioritise your work
Complete the most pressing tasks first. Yes, you may need to buy a Fathers Day present eventually, but it can probably wait until after you’ve finished your class readings for the week.

Take a break
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (it’s a proverb, look it up). Don’t spend all your time studying, you’ll go mad. Take a break, got outside. Sunlight’s always good. Or check out our post on movies to take a break to. But don’t start watching 13 Reasons Why in your break, because trust us, you won’t stop.

What happened to the library website?


Quick, go have a look!

It’s official! It’s live and it’s whiz-bang wonderful! We are talking about the new library website you helped us design.

We are so gosh darn proud of our website that we’re beyond eager to show it off. So we’d like to take you on a tour. Well, at the very least, we’d like to point out some changes that we’re super chuffed about.

Let’s begin with the self-help resources. There is so much online self-help on our new library website, you will be a study ninja in no time. And it’s all contained in one handy location – all self-help can now be found in the Study section of the new library website.

There’s a mass of resources to help you prepare for university, prepare assignments, write assignments, reference, study for exams, and so much more.

Let’s say you were starting university soon (oh right, you are!), and wanted to make sure you knew everything you needed to know. You could visit the new library website, click Study, scroll down a fraction, and bam! There’s everything you need to know about preparing for uni. From effective note making and critical thinking to time management and reading effectively, it’s all there.

Now, you may not have any assignments due right this minute. But trust me, they are going to start piling up once trimester one kicks off in two weeks (OMG, is it really that soon?).

Once they start rolling in, check out the self-help resources for Preparing for your assignment and Writing your assignment on the brand-spanking new library website.

Oh, and we also have a new service that you may find useful. We’ve partnered with Pearson to give you 24/7 assignment help through Smarthinking. Available via Learning@Griffith, Smarthinking is a 24/7 online tutoring service where you can get feedback on your assignment.

Simply submit your paper to Smarthinking and receive helpful advice and comments from tutors, at any time of the day (or night!). You can find Smarthinking in the Study section of the new library website (have we mentioned the new library website enough?).