7 study hacks

Bar 05/06/19 — Gemma McManus

Get the most out of your digital learning platform

Here are 7 study tips to help you get the most out of your online Didasko platform, based on my personal experience. Add these tips and tricks to your toolkit to help you become more productive!

Write notes
1. Write your own notes

Writing your own notes is essential for when you need to memorise content. Writing things down in my own words and layout allows me to study more easily. For example, if I need to memorise something which is written as a paragraph, I write my notes in dot points. If I need to memorise some dot points, I write them out into a table layout.

Having my own set of notes also allows me to find any information I am looking for quickly, as I can search for a keyword, without going back through all the units and reading materials I have been assigned.

2. Don't just read the content, understand the content

The easiest way to do well in your assessments is to have a deeper understanding of what the content means, rather than just memorising it.

When I progress through content, I write down any questions I have as I think of them. This way, when I next come into contact with my trainer/teacher, I know exactly what I need to ask them. I also take the time to speak to my classmates, or even co-workers and family members about the new things I am learning. Additionally, teaching other people about the topics I am studying is another learning technique which I use to check the level of my understanding of the topic.

Another technique I use in order to learn content is to relate what I have been taught back to my life and work experiences. For example, when learning about workplace procedures, it is helpful for me to imagine what they would look like if they were implemented in an organisation that I’m familiar with. This can also be done by doing the extra reading and clicking on the links for ‘further information’ in our digital content.

3. Remember why you’re studying

It’s easier to study when I know why I’m studying.

Settings goals offers me the opportunity to reflect on what I want to achieve through my study. I follow the usual SMART model, making my goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related.

While there are many study techniques I like to use so that I can be more efficient, there is nothing more effective than digging deep and putting in the required effort to get the job done. For me, having a clearly defined goal written down somewhere visible gives me the burst of inspiration I need to get my assessments in on time.

4. Set up your study environment for success

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that studying in the same space that you relax in is near impossible.

I've learnt the hard way that I get more work done when I have a separate study area. I study the best in the library but can also work on the desk in my bedroom. When I was setting up my desk, the first thing I did was clean out the extra clutter. The more minimalistic your space is, the less likely something is going to distract you.

However, I do like to put ‘study propaganda’ around my space. Study propaganda includes deadlines for assignments, assignment lists and inspirational quotes and images. It may also be useful to put your goals up on your wall so that you don’t forget about them as soon as you set them. This way, you can be in the correct mindset to study whenever you enter the space.

5. Look after your health

I stay focused more easily when I am not tired or hungry. That’s why I aim to have a healthy sleep routine and consume healthy study snacks in order to stay focused for longer.

My favourite healthy study snacks:

  • Edamame beans
  • Almonds
  • Fruit salad
  • Veggies with hummus
  • Trail mix
  • Blueberries
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Dark chocolate

The right number of hours of sleep is necessary in order to focus and get work done. The national sleep foundation recommended the following hours of sleep:

  • 14-17 year olds: 8-10 hours sleep
  • 18-25 year olds: 7-9 hours sleep
  • 26-64 year olds: 7-9 hours sleep
  • 65+: 7-8 hours sleep
Sleep well


I also like to set my alarm so that I do not wake up in the middle of my sleep cycle. The below website allows me to calculate based on 90 min blocks what time I would be more likely to wake up naturally.


6. Concentrate with study sounds

When I’m having trouble studying, I like to listen to some background audio. I find this particularly useful when I’m having trouble starting something, as listening to background audio helps me get into the right headspace.

Baroque classical music

I listen to baroque classical music when I am reading text or revising notes. This is because I’ve been told that listening to baroque classical music can improve memorisation due to its calming effect and repetitive nature. I also like listening to classical music because it doesn’t have lyrics, meaning I will be memorising the content I am looking at rather than the lyrics of a song.

Apple store: Free

When I am completing an assignment or working on something creative, I use the app and website called Coffivity.

Coffivity acts as background noise which helps block out distractions. The free soundscapes available include ‘Morning Murmur’, ‘Lunchtime Lounge’ and ‘University Undertones’.

7. Stay focused without having your phone as a distraction

Sometimes it feels as though my phone is attached to my hand. However, when I set my phone aside my productivity levels increase exponentially. This is why I have started using the phone app Forest.

Forest - Stay Focused
Apple Store: $2.99 AUD
Google Play: Free

Forest app

Forest is my favourite productivity app, as it forces me to put my phone down and get work done. Whether I’m at home, in the library or at work, Forest is the app which helps me get focused. I even turn this app on to fall asleep with no distractions.

Forest is an app which allows users to plant virtual trees in their own forest. The trees act as a timer. If I use my phone while I am growing a tree, my tree will die. I have often found myself picking up my phone absentmindedly, only to see that a tree is growing and to put it straight back down. It surprised me just how often I look at my phone.

It is also helpful for me to study in groups. When I am doing this, my friends and I plant a tree as a group. This means that when one of us looks at our phone, all our trees will die. I was even part of a study group facebook page where people posted the links to their trees for a group study session.

The gaming elements of the app are part of the reason I find the app so motivating. The longer I stay focused, the more in-app coins I earn. It’s addictive in a good way. I use the coins to unlock new tree species for my forest. The app also allows users to spend in-app coins to plant trees in real life for charity, which is awesome.

I often use this app in conjunction with the Pomodoro time management technique. By setting the timer to 25 minutes, I am reminded to have a break when the timer goes off. Alternatively, I also use the timer as a way to stop procrastinating and start working, ignoring the notification when I’m allowed to go on my phone again and continuing to get things done while I’m on a roll. It just depends on what type of study I am doing at the time.

What tips have you found useful when completing units using Didasko’s online resources? Please let me know at gemma.mcmanus@didasko.com

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