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1. Study Spaces

    Create a space that is conducive to study. A solo study environment should ideally be inspiring, have all the resources you need and be free from unwanted interruptions. 

    A traditional study space may not work for you. You may find that with some tasks or 'Study Moments' you function better when you’re:


Sitting or lying on the floor.

Have your cat or dog in your lap or by your side.

Study in groups.

    Take some time to brainstorm your ideal study space and see if you can start to create it.







2. Study Tasks or 'Study Moments'

    Different study tasks or ‘Study Moments’ may require their own unique conditions and of course particular resources. Examples are: 

Researching for a literature review often requires:

  • Computer with internet connection.
  • Online database.
  • Referencing software like Refworks.
  • An environment that allows you to remain comfortably seated for a few hours.
  • Distractions like pets or family members interrupting may not be such a big deal, but distractions like Facebook or gaming notifications popping up on your screen are. 

Studying for an oral exam however may require:

  • Cue cards or some other prompts highlighting key points. 
  • An audience to practice on and give feedback.
  • Depending on the length of the presentation at least 10 minutes of audience attention.
  • Zero distractions. 

    Take some time to plan out your solo study environment according to Study Moments here:

Study moment / task

What will inspire me to focus on this task? 

Resources I need for this study moment / task.

Potential distractions or disruptions and how to manage them.

e.g., Literature review

Make the topic relevant to something I care about, using mind maps and different colours to group ideas and types of references...

Computer, internet connection, online database, a referencing software like Refworks, and an environment that allows me to remain comfortably seated for a few hours...

Facebook or gaming notifications to be turned off for 45 minute periods...

e.g., Oral exam - French

Watch French comedy and rehearse a phrase or part of the script. Or sing along to French songs. Visualise yourself speaking confidently and fluently. Pictures of my favourite parts of France...

Cue cards or some other prompts highlighting key points, an audience to practice on, and depending on the length of the presentation at least 10 minutes of audience attention and zero distractions...


Ask  audience to switch phones off or put them in another room. Ask siblings to help with timekeeping...






















3. Timetabling

    We all feel much more comfortable when we know what to do. If we have a study plan and timetable, we get more done with less stress and feel more in control. A study timetable can have any format that works for you:

    DAY BY DAY format (see below) can be useful before exams, tests or major assessment tasks when you need to focus on one subject leading up to the assessment task.























    WHOLE MORNING AND WHOLE AFTERNOON format (see below) can work well on weekends or days off school when you need to get big chunks of study time in for particular subjects. 











    45 MINUTE format (see below) works well after or before school, or when you have lowered energy or motivation but still need to study. This requires breaking down requirements into smaller ‘study chunks’. For example, an assessment may have three key parts, an essay could have four key questions and so on. Each of these parts or questions can have one or several 45 minute time slots dedicated to them.





Task A for Subject X


15 minute break




Task B for Subject X


Dinner and break




Task A for Subject Y



  • Some people find that doing easier or more enjoyable tasks first works for them as then they feel a sense of achievement.
  • Other people like to get the uncomfortable stuff ‘out of the way’ first.
  • Most people find they need much more time on some subjects compared to other subjects.

You set it out with what works best for you. It’s entirely up to you. Your timetable needs to work for you and your brain. 

    May be an idea to have your timetable for the day or week up somewhere the family/housemates can see it. That way you won’t get hassled by the “shouldn’t you be studying?” And gives your folks and siblings a clear idea of when to leave you to it and when to keep it down.

Don't forget to check out out other tip sheets for students including 'Meta-Cognitive strategies for academic success' and more!

Melbourne Centre for Women’s Mental Health offer a range of options for those wanting to understand their learning style and develop better study skills. 

Contact us for more information and follow us on Pinterest or LinkedIn to stay up to date.

Book in with one of our experienced Psychologists if you need special assistance with Anxiety or Depression that may be impacting your studies.

Deepen your understanding of your particular learning style with our Psychologist Toni who has specialised training in Clinical Neuropsychology. Toni can arrange for a cognitive assessment and provide you with your own individualised set of recommendations.

Skocic, S. 2019