Looking to the Future…
One of the most difficult things you will do in your life is to study. Think about it. It’s not easy. There are so many different things you could be doing – more enjoyable things. But on the other hand, the return your efforts may earn you, will no doubt be invaluable. Consider that with only two or three years of study, you could gain a better career and a better life. This is an important point to always bear in mind.
However, like most other things in life, there are good and bad ways to study. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 private study tips to help you develop a learning strategy that will extend beyond your formal in-class lessons, and make sure you succeed in whatever HND course you choose to study.
HND Study Tip 1. Set Study Goals
Setting achievable goals is an essential part of your private study strategy. Never forget why you are studying for your HND qualification and what you hope to achieve from it. Don’t underestimate the power of motivation and self-discipline. Identify the things you want to achieve, and set about how you plan to achieve them. Just make sure to ask yourself some key questions…
Am I setting realistic goals?
Am I prepared to stretch myself to achieve them?
Am I prepared to make personal sacrifices to achieve my ambitions?
If the answer is yes to each of these questions, it’s time to start planning your study period.
HND Study Tip 2. Make a Study Plan
First things first though. First you have to make a decision. How many hours can you devote to private study per day? Sit down and work this out. Do not decide on a length of time that will make your studies too heavy a burden but, on the other hand, see that it is adequate to devote time to your studies. Be realistic though and be sure to allow time for relaxation and social activities.
When you have made your decision (and remember it is YOUR decision), keep to it. If you decide that you will study for two hours per day, then make sure you study for two hours per day. You may find that friends and social engagements try to interrupt your plans – but you must not let them, for one interruption will lead to another. To be a successful student you must, for the time being, be selfish – selfish of your time, and suspicious of all encroachments upon it. Furthermore start now, start TODAY. The English Proverb ‘One of these days is none of these days’ reminds us that until a date is set, ‘one of these days’ remains a vague promise.
HND Study Tip 3. Take Regular Study Breaks
However, you cannot ‘hit the books’ during all of your leisure time. If, for example, you study on four or five evenings per week, on Friday (or Saturday) put away your study notes until Monday. This rest will refresh your mind, and, when you resume study on Monday, you will be keen and alert. Of course, you should keep your annual vacations and public holidays free from study too, allowing you to ‘recharge the batteries’. When it gets nearer to the examination or assignment time, it may naturally be necessary to do extra work at the weekend in preparation, but for normal study conditions you should plan to study with a complete break at regular intervals.
If taking a rest feels like procrastination, then rest assured that it is not. Taking regular short breaks not only helps to improve your focus, they can boost your productivity too.
The important thing is to form the habit of regular study at times which suit you best. Once you have formed this habit, progress in your studies becomes steady and rewarding.
HND Study Tip 4. Divide up Your Time
As an example, lets say that you have enrolled on a UKCBC course for Higher National Diploma in Business at the Certificate level. Your exam modules are (i) Organisation Behaviour, (ii) Aspects of Contract, and (iii) Marketing Intelligence.
Let us also say that you are prepared to devote ten hours per week to private study. How are you going to divide these precious hours between the three modules?
To work out your plan, first examine the subject syllabus and link it to your study material, noting the number of chapters and the number of lectures on your UKCBC course. Having decided upon your study plan, outline a weekly scheme of study, by days, over the period of your course on a Work Chart.
Remember to allow time for holidays and revision. Aim to complete your studies about a month or so before the examination date so as to leave plenty of time for final revision.
The most important thing. Once you have planned your Work Chart, is to STICK TO IT. It is the most important thing you are doing therefore NOTHING should get in the way of it.
HND Study Tip 5. Build Variety into your Studies
In drawing up your study plan, remember that your mind can be rested as much by variety in your studies as by stopping altogether.
You are studying a certain subject – say Organisation Behaviour. You decide to apply yourself for two hours at a time. Eventually you tire. You stop and put aside your study material, and rest, perhaps quite as long as you have been studying. Now all this time is lost, or nearly so. You forget that the mind is refreshed by variety as by idleness. It is better to divide your time between two or three different subjects, spending 45 minutes or one hour on each. You will use your time far more profitably this way.
Studying two or three subjects together also helps you to appreciate the relationship between them. Subjects often overlap at certain points, and the study of one subject can throw light on your knowledge of others. You will become a much better student if you can bridge the subjects in this way.
When deciding which subjects to study in the same evening remember that different subjects call for the exercise of different facilities. For instance, Law subjects make a heavy call on your memory, Management requires the exercise of reasoning powers, and Finance needs a great deal of practical work and calculations. A combination of contrasting subjects provides a good variety for a single evening’s study.
Similarly, if you have some prior knowledge of one or more of your subjects, whilst others are new to you, it is a good idea to alternate them, so that you study first an unfamiliar subject and then a familiar one.
HND Study Tip 6. Develop the Habit of Study
Good habits are formed just as easily as bad ones, and any student who tries attentively to cultivate a study pattern over a relatively short period can form the habit of study.
The first week or so is, of course, the most difficult, but during this period, while you are getting into the habit of study, you have only to remind yourself that later it is bound to ‘come much more easily’. This is invariably the experience of all students, and is bound to be yours.
Remember the sequence: First study is hard to do > then it becomes acceptable > soon you find it interesting and enjoyable > then study becomes a habit and is easy to do > perhaps you might even become addicted to study. Once some people pass a qualification, they immediately look for another! (If you are interested in further qualifications after your HND, ask us about our professional courses in accountancy, such as AAT or ACCA).
HND Study Tip 7. Establish a Study Routine
Your study plan is comprised of more than deciding what to learn and when. One of the main concerns in building a study habit is to decide where you will study.
Find a place to study that is quiet and has few distractions – away from the TV for example. Always try to study at that same place. Once again it will become habitual. Your mind will psychologically register that this is a place of study and you will settle into a study routine quickly each time you sit down. This will help ensure that you establish a routine for maximum learning effectiveness.
(Read more on our other blog titles which might help: Places to Chill and Study in London)
HND Study Tip 8. Test Yourself
The best way to succeed in your exams is to constantly recall, rethink, test, and refresh your knowledge. You need to be continuously looking back over your shoulder rethinking and reworking topics from as many different angles as possible.
Working through self-set quizzes or exam status problems or questions act as a stimulus for your learning process. They provide a basis by which you can practice answering questions and also assess how well you are doing. They also provide targets and allow you to test yourself.
HND Study Tip 9. Embrace New Technologies
Studying no longer means simply jotting things down with a pen on a scrap piece of paper. The traditional paper and pen method still has its place of course, it’s just that there are now more options to extend the scope for study than ever before. Whether it’s through online tools (thank you Google!!), social media, blogs, YouTube videos, or mobile apps, learning has become much more fluid, mobile, and user-friendly.
HND Study Tip 10. Find a Study Buddy
Group study activity is very constructive. Think about the options you would have if you decided to ‘get fit’ by jogging through the streets early each morning. If you decided to do it alone, would you get up when the alarm clock rang? Would you keep going even when you reached your ‘pain threshold’? Would you run the full distance? If you planned to exercise with a group of friends, the answer to each question would probably be yes.
Studying with classmates that you’re familiar with, who like you, are motivated to achieve good results, will further your own study effectiveness. Not only will your study habit become more of a social activity, but you will be able to collaborate and possibly even learn from your study buddies. The ability of the group to learn will be greater than the individuals who comprise it.
Conclusion about Studying
Studying effectively is an enormous plus point in achieving exam success. But remember, above all, it comes down to your own attitude. Your attitude has the biggest impact on the effectiveness of your learning process. Always be positive, never negative. Be convinced that what you are doing is important and that you WILL qualify. Positive thinking makes your mind more adaptive to increasing attentiveness, reducing physical tiredness and being more open to new ideas.
Private Study Extends your Formal Course with UKCBC
Private study is important, but is still just an extension of your formal in-class lessons. Adding together a formal HND course with UKCBC and the planning and execution of a rigorous private study regime is an excellent learning combination for facing the challenges that your HND qualification presents. For more information about any of the HND Courses available in London and Essex from UKCBC, simply get in touch with our team on 020 8518 4994. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have about obtaining a HND qualification.
Other Relevant Study Blog Posts
For other relevant topics to help with your HND studies, why not try these other UKCBC blog posts: