Hi I’m Giovanna, a recent graduate of King’s College London! This is a list of my top tips for studying!
Are you most productive in a quiet or busy setting?
Some people need absolute silence in order to study well, while others find that background noise in settings such as coffee shops keep them awake and focused on their work. Once you know which you prefer, head to the part of campus which is best for you! My favourite study space was the second floor of the Maughan library, you can find great views of the trees and buildings outside.
If you prefer silence while you are working, try booking a study space at the library or around campus. Senate House Library is also filled with secluded spaces where you can work. Another option might be the informal learning spaces in the King’s Building, which are often filled with people typing away. Or you could consider getting onto campus earlier or in the evening in order to find quiet spaces anywhere.
Study booths often work well and are particularly cozy if you can grab one before they’re taken. I particularly enjoyed the Macadam Building as it is home to some great cozy chairs and booths. As for those who study well in busy spaces, you can try the various cafés scattered across King’s.
Do you study best by yourself or with others?
There were some topics on my course which were incredibly complicated, and I understood them best when I had the opportunity to discuss them with someone. There are also other benefits to studying with a friend or group of people: you can grab each other coffee or water and look through each other’s work. You may also stay motivated in other people company! For group studying, you can grab seats in a café, but I recommend booking yourself a room or library study space.
My biggest tip would be to find someone on your course who is willing to discuss difficult topics with you so that you both get a better understand of the subject you’re studying. If you can find this early on, it’ll be a huge help and support in the coming years.
That being said, sometimes you just need to hunker down and study by yourself in order to focus. Be honest with yourself about what works best for you! During third year, I enjoyed cycling into the library, doing some work and then grabbing lunch in the Maughan Library’s small courtyard.
Be curious, but also selective when choosing sources to read. King’s has so many resources and lecturers often provide so much reading material that you have to make sure you are selective about what you read. While reading a lot is great and widens your perspective, you only have so long to write an essay. Use the index to narrow down which pages of a large text are most relevant to you and read bibliographies in order to find the reliable texts which are most relevant to your essay. This definitely helped me when I was writing my dissertation!
If you have difficulties deciding what to read or wondering how best to write your essay, speak to a member of your department, attend the Study Skills sessions organised by the university, read your department’s handbook thoroughly or use some of King’s other online resources.
Most importantly, enjoy your degree and time at King’s, the time will fly!