6 tips to avoid failing a subject this trimester

1. Stay up to date with lecture capture

If you can’t attend your lectures physically, you can catch up via Lecture Capture. Make sure you listen to your lecture content, and check out our tips on effective note making to ensure you’re capturing all the information you need.

2. Stay organised

Organise your notebooks or online files for your subjects. Note down key dates in your calendar such assessment due dates—maybe even an ideal date to have your draft finished by, vacation weeks and exam block.

3. Visit the library

Besides being friendly faces and providing a heated space in this winter chill, we also 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.

4. Study in a group

There are proven benefits to studying in a group. You could even book one of the library’s group study spaces! #hint

5. Take a break

Now, we don’t mean skipping studying all together to devote your time to mastering the new release World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. But it is important to take a break and avoid burnout. Don’t push yourself too hard—if you are feeling overwhelmed, Student Services provide free medical, counselling and wellbeing services.

6. Find some motivation

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

How to take a study break

Is all this study getting to you? Are you hitting refresh on Facebook every five seconds while your half-read lecture notes loom in another tab?

It sounds like you need a break (from social media procrastination and study!).

There are a few things you can do to optimise your study time and ensure your breaks are efficient and rejuvenating.


  • Make a task list. Finished writing section 3.4? Finished reading chapter 11? Tick.
  • Set breaks periodically. Have a break after set time periods or when you reach a milestone. Maybe even set a timer.
  • Get some exercise. Moving will help stimulate your brain. Why not do some stretches to loosen up?
  • Have a snack. Fuel your mind. Trading times for on-campus food outlets can be found here.
  • Go outside. Catch that Vitamin D.


  • Don’t heck your social media accounts in the interim. You—close that Facebook tab!
  • Don’t start a new series on Netflix. Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why can wait!
  • Don’t set unrealistic goals. No, you can’t finish summarising the entire semester’s course readings in one night.

We constantly stress about impending assessment while procrastinating on the essay, presentation, project or study. It’s a perceptual cycle of stress!

The best way to kick that stress? In the words of Nike, Just Do It (with some study breaks).

How to master your exam prep this study week

Don’t freak out about exams just yet—you have a week to prepare!

It’s time to put your head down, your brain into gear and hit those books hard.

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 and limit your social media procrastination.

Confirm exam details

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, 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 your campus map to locate the building.

Schedule your life

Set out a study schedule and stick to it. There are loads of daily and weekly planners available you can use to help with this. You can also find free planners online.

Handy hint: sleeping and eating are important activities to schedule into your busy days. Your brain works best after rest and nourishment.

Set exam goals

Setting unrealistic goals is just as bad as not setting them at all.

Check how you are travelling so far. The results of 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.

For more tips, check out this Buzzfeed video for eight essential study hacks or Wengies video on seven study tips to help you ace your exams.

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.

—Extract from Study Smart—

Master the art of effective note making

It’s easy to take notes.

But figuring out how to make them a useful tool for study or assignment writing can be a whole different thing.

It’s important to ensure your notes are systematic, organised and help you effectively recall, understand and apply information.

Here’s some tips to help you improve your note making skills.

Have a purpose

The first step to making good notes is to know what you need them for and how you plan to use them.

If you are making notes from texts (like course readings, journal articles or books), you will need to understand the purpose of your notes. Is it for an assignment? If so, make sure you have read through the assessment task. That way, you know what kind of information to watch out for. It’s also a perfect time to employ your critical thinking skills!

Taking notes in a lecture? The purpose of your notes is to help you recall key points and relevant details about the lecture (usually for an exam!). If the information in the lecture is not available elsewhere (e.g. it’s not in the PowerPoint slides or course readings) then your notes will need to be as detailed as possible. However, if the information is available then you will need to focus on the points or issues highlighted by the lecturer.

Find a technique that works for you

There are many different note taking techniques. Find one that works for you!

Underlining and highlighting are two well-known techniques. Use them to draw attention to the main points in a text or to stress unfamiliar words or definitions that you want to follow up on later.

But don’t overdo it. If everything is emphasised, nothing will stand out.

Review and improve your notes

Review and improve your notes so they are ready to use when studying or writing your assignment.

Check the information is relevant and useful for its intended purpose. Think about how your notes fit in with other information you have on the topic. Does it build on, support or extend your ideas and knowledge?

Reflect on the reading or lecture. Do you need to consider other perspectives or find more information?

Make your notes visual

Use a visual tool to organise your notes. Visual tools can help you summarise information, find links and gaps, think critically and understand the content.

Here are three visual tools that you may find useful:

  1. 1. Concept maps can help you brainstorm, connect, communicate and expand on ideas.
  2. 2. Tables can help you track ideas and determine how they are related.
  3. 3. Timelines can help you see when key events happened. This allows you to link ideas and connect events.

For more study tips, check out our Study Smart tutorial.

Fancy a funded field study in India for course credit?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yep, you read that right.

The Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management have an upcoming opportunity for students to go on a fully funded field studies course to India in Trimester 3.

This is offered as a free-choice elective, understanding and implementing the balance between sustainability, ethics and community-based ecotourism. While it is offered through the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, students from any discipline are eligible to apply.

In fact, last year’s cohort included students from business, psychology, public relations, environment, education and human services, who described the trip as ‘life changing’. You can read Josie’s student blog for an account of her experience last year.


  • Duration: 3 weeks in country.
  • Date: Trimester 3, 2018 (dates to be confirmed, but most likely 18 Nov to 10 December).
  • Eligibility criteria: Open to undergraduate domestic students, 18 – 26 years old.
  • Credit: 10CP. The subject is ungraded, which means it’s a pass/fail and doesn’t affect overall GPA.

Students will spend three weeks in northern India at the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun, Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar, Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh and Jabarkhet Nature Reserve in Mussoorie. The field trip will be centered around short placements at different community-based ecotourism sites.

The field trip is designed to provide the students with a hands-on and very authentic learning experience. Students can expect to be astonished and inspired, but also challenged and, at times, to be uncomfortable.

The field trip is funded by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program. The New Colombo Plan initiative aims to increase knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

For further details, check the course’s PebblePad site. The course convener is Associate Professor Coghlan (a.coghlan@griffith.edu.au).


Get a head start with our Earlybird workshops

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 1, 2018, 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!

Getting started on an ePortfolio with PebblePad

Learn about Griffith’s personal learning environment – PebblePad.

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 one prepared for success!

7 tips to beat exam anxiety

The trimester’s almost over! Just a few exams and you’re done!

And while this summer weather’s beautiful and all, you’re totally devoting this week to studying and improving your course content knowledge, not improving your sun tan, right?

Though, no matter how prepared you are for an exam, you can’t help but feel some anxiety.

The butterflies in your stomach have multiplied, and the gentle fluttering has turned into frantic flapping.

It’s time to cite maybe the most hated meme ever: keep calm and carry on.

Here are 7 tips from ASAPThought to help you beat exam anxiety:

  1. 1. Get at least 6 hours of sleep before an exam.
  2. 2. Ensure you maintain a balanced diet in the lead up to your exams.
  3. 3. On exam day, have a breakfast high in fibre and carbs so that energy is released slowly and your brain doesn’t crash mid-exam!
  4. 4. Set realistic goals.
  5. 5. To help de-stress, imagine yourself in a happy moment–whatever that may be (your bed? #BedIsLife)–then quickly switch to imagining yourself in the exam room. This helps your brain to associate those happy feelings with the exam, and primes you to be ready.
  6. 6. Familiarise yourself with the exam location–if it’s somewhere you haven’t been before, take a short field trip to the location in advance. This will also help ensure you’re not late!
  7. 7. Write down any pre-exam insecurities on a piece of paper, and then right below write down a rebuttal that will help you feel confident. Then crumple up that piece of paper and throw it out!