How Psychologists Study the Mind
27 Apr 22
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Get the inside track on effective study methods for psychology students!
Studying psychology courses at university can be demanding, particularly if you’re doing your master’s. But it’s a hugely rewarding field to get into, and all you need are a few study tips to help you excel.
This subject is research-heavy and there’s a lot of text to get through. Not only do you need to store a huge amount of information in a short amount of time, but you also need to have superb levels of concentration. There’s no time for distraction or dozing off mid-lecture, because psychology demands your undivided attention.
Here are some tricks to help you enjoy your first degree or master’s!
While some people perform better under pressure, the truth is pulling an all-nighter before an exam is counterproductive according to science. The most effective way to learn and retain information is to schedule in frequent blocks of study time.
If you really want to get on top of things, start planning when and how you will study from the beginning of term. Try to stick to the two-hour rule: for every hour spent in class, you should follow with two hours of your own study time. This is just a guide, as everyone is different and some topics or modules may require extra time and attention.
When it comes to staying on top of psychology coursework, you have to be proactive. This is the only way to make sure you are advancing, rather than chasing your tail.
Your study style needs to be proactive too. Think critically about the material and analyse it, rather than just reading the assigned text. Take notes in lectures and always read them afterwards to make sure you are taking in all the key points. Do not skim, and do not rush. Then test your understanding by discussing it with course mates, or quizzing yourself with questions.
There are benefits to both self-study and group study scenarios. If you are doing your master’s, you’ll know that autonomy is incredibly important. But partnering up with others is still great for sharing ideas, testing out theories, refreshing each other’s memory, and exchanging notes.
For complex modules, it may be useful to study alone initially. This will give you the concentration you need to understand the material. Once you have grasped it, schedule in time for study groups, where you can be tested and challenged by your peers.
If you’re looking into psychology courses at university, be prepared to do a lot of reading. Looking through text and citing your sources is time-consuming work, and isn’t suited to a short attention span. If you get easily distracted, make sure you study in the right space.
Create an area that is quiet and calming, away from everyday distractions such as the TV or dirty laundry that begs to be washed. Anything that can cause you to procrastinate should be removed from sight.
Turn your phone notifications off, and make a playlist that helps you concentrate if you don’t like to study in silence.
We hope these tips will help you navigate a range of psychology courses at university, and at every level.
Want to study at a reputable university for psychology subjects? At the University of Bolton, we’ve been in the Top 10 in the UK (and 1st in Greater Manchester) for Student Satisfaction in Psychology Courses* for the fourth year running! So there’s nowhere better to begin your journey or develop your skills as a postgraduate.
To find out more about applying in 2022, see our available courses.
*Complete University Guide 2022, 2021, 2020 & 2019