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Tips for studying online effectively

Remote working or studying may not be something you are used to, but with a little organisation and self-discipline, you’ll soon become a pro. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your online lectures and/or home working set up.

Set aside a study area

Try to use the same location for your work each day and come to an agreement with members of your household that it is yours to use for a set time period. This will be particularly helpful if you find you are competing for space with others who may also be trying to work remotely.

Keep your study space separate from where you relax and unwind to put yourself in the right frame of mind to concentrate on work and help switch off at the end of the day.


Keep your space tidy

Set aside 15 minutes before getting started to give your digital and physical space a quick once over - close web browser windows that are not relevant to your learning, turn the TV off, log out of social media, put away the piles of dishes or laundry around you. Keep your learning space functional and ensure everything you need for study is within arm’s reach. Tidy space, tidy mind.

Read Ashleigh’s tips on studying from home


Final year BSc (Hons) Geography student

Create a workspace as similar as possible to your normal one. For me this is my dining room table that I have turned into my desk seeing as I don’t have a proper desk at home.

Plan your day

Plan your day and effectively communicate with those you live with to give yourself the space and time to concentrate on your work.

Continue to engage with your learning and make a study plan around your virtual lectures and seminars. Take notes as you would in a physical lecture – whether digitally or on paper and always leave enough time before a virtual meeting to dial in successfully.


Take regular breaks

Whilst at home it is easy to fall into the trap of studying all day without stopping. Identify when you are most productive and centre your workday around that, take regular breaks and have a clear cut-off point for when you will finish studying or working for the day.



Online learning doesn’t mean learning in isolation, it is important to keep in contact with your lecturers and peers. If you’re struggling to understand something, your lecturers are there to help you – send them an email and ask for the support you need.

Coordinate a group chat with your peers to discuss lecture content, exchange notes and study together. Not being able to meet in person shouldn’t prevent you from keeping in touch or getting to know other students on your course. Try planning what you’ll discuss beforehand to keep conversation productive and useful to your study. 


Be creative

Online learning may feel different to what you are used to, but with the right applications and a little creativity you can make remote study work for you. Below are a handful of creative ideas you can adopt to support your learning:

  • Set up a shared folder or document to compare study notes with peers after online lectures – try using OneDrive with your student email.
  • Set up a group chat for students from your programme to discuss units and prepare for exams together – try using Microsoft Teams with your student email.
  • Video call students from your programme weekly to catch-up and discuss content you do not understand – try using Microsoft Teams with your student email.
  • Talk through lecture content with students from another programme or with a family member - often the best way to learn is by explaining content to someone else.


Reach out for help

Although you may be working or connecting to your lectures remotely, that doesn't mean you can't access all the resources available to you as a BU student or staff member. 

If you have IT issues the IT service desk is always here to help and our Student Wellbeing services are accessible online. We have also set up a dedicated Covid-19 wellbeing and support page which points to useful resources and general advice for you at this time.