Study Tips from an Open University student

I wanted to make this first blog post something personal and useful to look back on. After all, blogs are a bit like online diaries aren’t they? They document your life for the viewing pleasure of anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection. I’ve been wanting to create a little space online for me to share my thoughts and general ramblings for a while and now we have it.  Hello Bexa is here

Next on the to-do list is to create some actual content. Although that’s not as easy as it sounds… I went on the search for blog inspiration but returned with the conclusion that no-one would benefit from knowing what I was wearing today (jeans and a jumper, for the record) nor did I feel the urge to share the items in my makeup bag (it would be a very uninteresting short post, I assure you). Instead, I thought I would share my wisdom on what I have learned from my seven years (and counting) of studying with The Open University.  

If I start running out of ideas, I’ll go get my makeup bag, ha ha.

Oh before we start, this is my study buddy: Simba.

Discover Your Interests

Let’s just get right on with it. The first and most important tip, in my experience, is make sure you are studying something you are interested in. A huge part of distance learning is self-motivation. So if you are eager to read that next chapter simply because you find your subject fascinating then learning becomes a joy and not a chore. Don’t despair if you haven’t found what your thing is just yet. The Open University is so awesome in that respect, you can pick and choose your courses as you go. If you are totally undecided then an Open Degree might be for you; this is where you can select modules from all the courses available to make up your degree. At the start of my Open University journey, all I knew was that I had recently developed an interest in fitness and healthy eating. This motivated me to enroll on the human nutrition module way back in 2010. Five years later I graduated with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) Health Sciences degree.

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

Planning is Key 2

I’m a bit of an self-confessed stationary addict and generally enjoy making plans and lists with pretty coloured pens in fancy notebooks. If things are neat, tidy and organised, I feel I can focus better. At the beginning any new module, I have found that it is vital to make a plan for the weeks/months ahead. This plan can be reviewed and updated as you go, but having a rough guide in place helps you stay on track with the course material allowing you to meet upcoming deadlines. If you know what is coming up and then there are no last minute surprises or panic. You can study at a relaxed pace, enjoy your course and produce your best work.

Develop Your Style 2

I have learned over time that I am a visual learner. I learn most effectively from re-creating diagrams, doing little doodles and drawings and writing up notes by hand. I know that if I read something without note-taking then I pretty much haven’t read it. Instead, if it is all recorded in my notebook, I can return to specific topics when necessary in order to refresh my knowledge. Not everyone is a visual learner however. You may learn best from listening to tutorials and presentations. Or, things may sink in better if you can discuss ideas and collaborate with peers. It may even be a mixture of different methods. Do whatever you need to do. Buy revision cards, pretty notebooks, coloured pens, designer post-it notes, anything! – any excuse to fuel my stationary cravings.

Progression not Perfection

As with everything in life, if you continuously keep working on something, you will finally achieve what you set out to, even if that day seems like an eternity away. Studying with the Open University is a very rewarding experience but like anything it does come with its fair share of personal challenges. There will be days where you struggle to get your head around something. There will be times when you don’t want to switch on your computer. There will be occasions when you question the point of it all. I know, I’ve had my moments. And all this is okay, so long as you take a deep breath and carry on. Remember why you wanted this in the first place. It will be so worth it in the end. Don’t give up on yourself.

Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.

And Relax 2

Finally, its so important to recognise when to take a step back from studying and simply chill. As with the muscles in our body, our brain also needs a rest after it has been exercised.  Sometimes we just need to sit back and reflect on what we have read, rather than cram in more and more information. And sometimes we need a complete break from learning so that we can feel refreshed and energised when we return to it again. I like to break up my studies by going for a swim or a walk, or just reading something completely unrelated to science. Whatever you like to do to chill, make it a regular occurrence. Studying should be an enriching and rewarding experience, not a stressful and exhausting part of your life.

If you are interested in studying with The Open University take a look at the undergraduate and postgraduate courses they offer here.

Your new and exciting life changing journey could just be a click away. (…wow, that sounds cheesy but I like it so it’s staying in, heh)

I would love to hear your tips and experiences with distance-learning, or any kinda learning really. Whether you are a student with The Open Uni, another uni, even the university of life – feel free to say hello bexa and share your comments below.

Love Bexa

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  1. It's Vicky
    October 18, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    Totally agree! And most of people disregard (or take It too serious) the brakes, but they are an important contributor to focus!

    • October 18, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      Thanks for the comment Vicky! Indeed, you gotta have time to chill out otherwise it all get too much 🙂

  2. October 20, 2017 / 7:30 am

    The style of your blog is so cute! Is that a free theme? I love it 🙂 so easily readable

    • October 20, 2017 / 10:27 am

      Aw thank you! ☺️ it’s a free WordPress theme called Toujours

  3. October 27, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    I’m currently studying toward a BSc honours in Computing and IT with the OU, I never thought for one moment I would be studying at university level. I’m really enjoying it I completed my first module back in May and I’m pleased to say I passed with a score of 85%.
    I’m a bit like you Bexa I learn by taking notes if I don’t, I tend to skim through the text without actually taking any of it in.

    I’m now doing MU123(mathematics module) which I find a bit of a struggle and TM129 (Technologies in practice) which incorporates robotics, networking and Linux operating systems. I love that module! Anyway great blog, you have a flair for writing. Good job!

    • October 30, 2017 / 10:10 am

      Hello! Thank you for taking the time to ready my blog and comment ☺️💛. Wow, fantastic score for your first module, well done on getting a distinction! 😃

      I can imagine the mathematics module is a tough one! Technologies in practice sounds really interesting. I’m thinking about doing Educational Techology in practice as my next module towards my MSc in Science as it focuses on social media & technology research.

      All the best with your studies ☺️ Keep in touch.
      Bexa 🌺

  4. October 31, 2017 / 7:33 am

    I love the header images- they’re so cute! I agree with you on making sure that you study something you are interested it- and well done for the 2:1 in health sciences degree! Also, I really need to take your advice and keep chipping away at the block of revision! I did a study tips article on my blog which I would LOVE if you could check out xx

    • October 31, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Aw thank you for reading and commenting ☺️. Good luck with the revision, I always think a little progress each day adds up to big results 😃. I’ve just read your blog & left you a comment over there – really useful tips, thank you for sharing xx

  5. November 8, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    I just started the OU this year, loving it so far! You’ve given some really useful tips here 🙂

    • November 8, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting 💕 I’m so glad my tips have been useful ☺️. The OU is such a rewarding experience. What are you studying? All the best with your studies 😘 xx

      • November 8, 2017 / 6:28 pm

        Yes I am really loving it so far! I’m doing Sociology which I’m finding really interesting 🙂 Thank you! Your studies sound really interesting too, did you find it gets a lot harder further into a course? xx

        • November 9, 2017 / 10:27 pm

          Sociology sounds really interesting ☺️. I suppose it did get harder but you don’t really notice it as you are improving your skills & knowledge all the time 😃 xx

          • November 10, 2017 / 7:54 am

            Yes I am loving it at the moment! That makes sense 🙂 xx

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