20 April 2020

Five tips on studying from home during COVID-19

Five ways students can get the most out of studying from home in uncertain times

Lockdown measures have meant that universities have closed their doors. Many of you are doing online lectures and facing the prospect of online exams in brand new formats. We know that for some this is a worrying and challenging time.

Here are some ways you can regulate your studying and get the most out of online learning. This is a general overview for all students, but your university may have specific measures in place, so be sure to keep checking your emails and online portal for updates.

Think about your home work space  
Without the library to visit, it might be tempting to reach straight for your laptop or phone from bed. You may feel productive in the short term, but working this way comes with a long-term toll. If your home allows, set up a dedicated study area that is separate from the spaces you use to chill out. Throughout the day, you’ll be better able to concentrate on your work – and, when the time comes, you’ll find it easier to switch off. 

Stick to a schedule
It can be as helpful to separate your time as it is your spaces. You don’t have to stick to a 9-5 schedule if it doesn’t work for you, but identify the hours you are most productive and centre your study day around them. You’ll want to keep interruptions to a minimum, so ask anyone you live with to respect your study hours. Be sure to take regular breaks, and once your study hours are up, put your work away if you can, and take time out. It might be tempting to keep going long after your scheduled hours, but your mind and body won’t thank you for it. Commit to switching off at a set time every day and establish boundaries for yourself. 

Take an active part in your learning
It’s a good idea to stay active and take notes while listening to or watching an online lecture, as you would when attending in person. Make sure you’ve done the relevant reading in advance, and if you can, ask questions if there’s anything you aren’t sure about.

Keep socialising 
Organise some time to catch up with course mates to discuss ideas and difficulties. Studying at home can make you feel alone in your concerns, but many of your fellow students will be dealing with similar issues to you. Video chat apps have removed time restrictions, so you can have almost limitless free access to help maintain the collaborative aspect of your course.  

Embrace the freedom
Studying without the usual structure of the university timetable can feel daunting, but it’s your chance to adapt your routine to whatever suits you best. Like to listen to music while studying? Maybe a walk or exercise class at lunchtime helps your productivity? Whatever works, you now have complete freedom to adapt your timetable to your preferences – make the most of it!

Related further reading

For the very last issue of Optometry in Practice, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom reflects on the past two decades of the journal and its contribution to our learning.

This paper describes how viruses infect, reproduce and damage cells. Knowing this process is critical for understanding how to treat ocular viral infections.