How to Study at University

Practical tips and general thoughts on how to study at a Western university

When students know better

Point: You can solve problems, like how to take lecture notes, yourself We don’t know everything. We, in this case, being tutors, lecturers, professors, and all other kinds of teacher. You don’t know everything either but then you’re a student. You are defined by not knowing things; we are defined by knowing things. I was reminded of […]

Don’t think. Just habit!

Point: Get into the habit of using a note-taking system In another post I said that good habits are absolutely necessary at university. They are necessary because good habits let you avoid thinking. And, of course, you don’t want to think at university, do you? No, you don’t. Not just think, anyway. You can just think […]

Are your lecturers lying to you?

Point: Understand lectures better by questioning them When do you listen most carefully? When your parents are telling you – again! – how hard life was when they were young? Probably not. When politicians are saying what they will do for you if you support them? Mmm….. When your friend is telling you about their […]

If Yao Ming took lecture notes

Point: Know what not to write down in lectures The next time you see a top sportsperson play for more than just a few minutes, watch how relaxed they seem. Yao Ming, for example, moves up and down the basketball court without any apparent tension in his body. Roger Federer moves about the tennis court […]

Read all about it!

Point: Read the news to increase your vocabulary There are over 600,000 definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. That’s a heck of a lot of words. But don’t worry, most of them you don’t need to know. And no matter what your level, you would probably be surprised at how many you know already. The rest? Well, you […]

Taking notes from a lecture

Point: Practising lecture note-taking. Listening to a lecture in English, understanding what is being said, and quickly noting down the relevant parts in a way that you can read easily later is difficult. I think it is one of the most difficult parts of university study. (To tell you the truth, I am actually pretty […]

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