How to study at home like a pro! - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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How to study at home like a pro!

8 Apr 2020

We asked current USC students to provide some tips on learning and studying from home. Here is their best advice:

Thomas - USC Sunshine Coast campus

At first, adapting to learning online was very difficult and drained my motivation. I have had to learn to take breaks and continue doing what I enjoy (drawing or playing music). To put it simply, none of us can just keep pushing through without caring for ourselves. Here are my tips for studying at home:

  • Much like a computer, I was starting to lag. I tried the best option of unplug and plug back in after having a break. It works for the internet, it worked for me, and it might just work for you too!
  • Keep close to some form of routine.
  • Change your pestering alarm clock that forces you to drag your zombie corpse out of bed, into a song that inspires you!

I cannot sing very well but it is relaxing to allow myself to do small things that I enjoy. This enjoyment has definitely changed my motivation levels and allowed me to remain focused. Hopefully you can try out some of these tips and they help you to continue your road to success.


Melanie - USC Fraser Coast campus

Working from home has been a huge adjustment, especially with my seven children all at home from school.

One thing that has worked well for me - locking myself in my room away from distractions so I can concentrate. This is often difficult and I have resorted to putting a sign on my door so that my children know that I am studying and they cannot come in right now.

I treat this time as if I was at work and the children cannot access me at this time. This does not always work well and I have learnt that I must be flexible.

Many distractions happen, children fight, get hurt and often the plan I have in my brain does not always happen. Learning to let go of this and realise that it is okay has been massive for me. I try to be flexible and if the day ‘fails’, I study when they are all in bed.

Remember to give the other members of your family a part of yourself also. They are going through this too and are adjusting the same as you. If you give them attention when you're not studying, they will be more likely to leave you alone when you do study.

When all else fails - breathe deeply and love one another. These are dark times but we will get through this!


Carmine – Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), USC Sunshine Coast campus

Creating good study habits has always been challenging, but now that home has become my place of employment, lecture theatre, yoga studio, café AND study area, temptations and distractions (fridge, Netflix, random things I find in my room) have increased 10-fold. Hence the necessity of a well setup study space and schedule!


Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Before the semester I develop a flexible week schedule based on my class times, work commitments, study time and family responsibilities. I also set up monthly calendars for the semester and outline my due dates, back tracking to create a flexible timeline for each. These are then posted at my desk for easy reference (like the photo shows). The USC Student Diary is also a great tool for this with all of the key academic dates included as well as semester and monthly planners.
  2. When studying at home, I try to keep my study space as organised and neat as possible. I have all my subjects easily accessible but the space in front of my computer is solely dedicated to what I’m currently working on – everything else must be set aside. This helps me focus on one subject at a time and then transfer between my subjects easily.
  3. Just how exercise goes by faster when it’s based on a timeframe, so does study! When I am in the writing process for assignments, I try to do 45 minute sessions with 10 minute breaks. When I am just doing readings and researching articles, I do 20 minute sessions with 5 minute breaks. This also helps me to keep focussed and retain more information.
  4. I can’t concentrate with noise! I am easily distracted with music (especially songs with lyrics). If I’m not home alone or the neighbours are being noisy, I will put on some white noise to help me concentrate.
  5. No phone zone. At no point do I have my phone right next to me while studying. I try and keep it upside down, on silent and away from my view. If I find myself getting distracted, I get up and take a walk around the block (with my phone in my pocket not in my hands!). This seems to reset my brain for more studying and doesn’t take me down an Instagram-sized rabbit hole where hours can slip by.


Keep an eye out for more tips from current USC students who are adjusting to their new study spaces and learning schedules at home. If you would like to contribute, log in to Student Hub and complete the online form.