Strategies for students
Establishing a variety of ways to approach study early in each study period will increase your chances of success. Examples of such can include:
- Attending the first tutorial or lecture as this is often when you will be given essential information.
- Meeting with key teaching staff in each course.
- Familiarising yourself with important University dates.
- Planning your study load
- Negotiating with academic staff
- Time Management
- Reading Strategies
- Writing Strategies
- Skills development
- Useful Links
Planning your study load
Planning your study load carefully at the beginning of a study period can be an important part of successful study. Studying with a disability, mental health or medical condition may mean that you think about studying part-time instead of full time especially in the first study period. It can also be useful to meet with your Program Director and or Disability Adviser early on to discuss your study load. See the web resource: Adapting to Uni.
You may need to change your study load during a study period and it is important to be aware of dates for changing your enrolment without being penalised. Go to UniSA Key dates and timetables to find the relevant dates. It is a good idea to check with yourself before the Census date about how you are travelling. Is your study and health under control?
If your disability impacts on your learning you will probably want to ensure that your Course Coordinators are aware of the issues so you can negotiate reasonable adjustments. See the Negotiating Adjustments webpage for information and resources to support this negotiation.
There are some simple things you can do to help you manage your time. These include:
- Get a copy of the UniSA Study planners and map when your assignments are due.
- Be aware of important dates.
- Meet with a Language and Learning Adviser in the Learning and Teaching Unit.
- Balance your life. This may mean balancing study, work and family responsibilities. You may also want to balance in some fun time.
- Improve your time/workload management skills.
Students with print disabilities such as a vision impairment or learning disability need to develop excellent reading strategies to manage the demands of University study. If reading takes longer because of your disability or you need alternative format reading materials it will be important to be organised early and start planning your study before classes commence. This can include:
- Contacting Course Coordinators to confirm reading lists and request a refined reading list where necessary.
- Sourcing alternative materials to support learning such as video and audio resources.
- Getting starting with preparatory reading before classes start.
You will also find it helpful to use reading resources, found on the Language, Literacies and Learning site, and develop strategies which allow you to get the most out of your reading through effective note taking, speed reading and memory techniques.
Many students with disabilities have to develop strategies to manage the impact of their disability on writing tasks. Students who experience pain or fatigue when writing, schedule frequent rest breaks, and may work in a variety of positions, such as lying down with a laptop, standing at a lectern and sitting at a desk. It is important to ensure that your working environment is ergonomically designed and that you are aware of good working postures, especially when working at a computer for long periods.
Many students find simple strategies can minimise pain and fatigue associated with long writing stints. These include:
- Frequent rest breaks.
- Ergonomic work station.
- Get started early. Having short days writing is better than a few days of cramming.
- Learn to use keyboard shortcuts.
- Be mindful of your body. Stop and rest if you are experiencing additional pain or fatigue.
- Work at times of the day that suit you. No point starting at 7.00am if you can't think.
- Make sure your keyboard and mouse suit your needs.
- Use writing resources, like those found on the Language, Literacies and Learning site, to improve your academic writing skills.
If you need help to manage the impact of your disability on writing speak with a Disability Adviser.
Recent research suggests we can continue to develop our cognitive skills by exercising our brain. The links below will bring you to websites that have "brain training" games, that you may find worthwhile:
- Opening All Options - Information about Learning Disabilities
- Considering Higher Education Resource
- Discourse: Disability Services newsletter
- The Desk: Mental Health resource for students and staff
- Reducing Anxiety
- Self Advocacy
- Vision impaired student resource
- Mature aged student resource