Skip to content The Open University

Skills Check 0

The Skills Check is a short survey which should take you no more than 3 minutes to complete. Once you have completed the Skills Check we provide you with a personal learning plan targeted to your personal study needs and goals.

Sign in to work on the Skills Check.
  1. Home
  2. Core skills
  3. Time management skills
  4. Helpful tips

Helpful tips

Eulina talks about finding time to study

Completing an assignment or receiving good feedback and marks can be a real buzz, but if things don't go to plan don't get discouraged. Instead, consider ways of using your limited time to the best advantage.

  • Pareto's Principle, or the 80/20 rule, says that 80% of the result can usually be gained by concentrating on the most important 20% of the task.
  • Regularly check your study calendar - be aware of approaching deadlines so there are no surprises.
  • Mark or highlight parts of your reading which are holding you up and move on past them - return to them when you have read more, because generally it will make more sense.
  • Attend tutorials or visit your online forum if at all possible - learning with fellow students and being guided by the tutor adds depth to your study, and it helps you to see that you are not alone.
  • Write out the next assignment question - use it as a bookmark and keep it in front of you while you're reading, so your notes are focused and relevant.
  • Learn new terminology as it appears - try to use it in assignments to demonstrate your comprehension of concepts and ideas.
  • Highlight and make a note of references you'll need in an assignment as you go along - this can really save time later.
  • Check the rules for your assessment - substitution of an assignment may be an option if your marks fall below your usual level.
  • Tell your tutor or Student Support Team of any difficulties you are experiencing - they will be pleased to offer help and guidance.
"I had read the chapter and studied the pictures ready for the tutorial, but when we discussed them in depth I discovered nuances I had not even imagined - it was like turning on a light!"

Listen to how these OU students balance the demands of work, study and life.

Make active choices

Make active choices. Accept that you may have to compromise in your study and, if necessary, cover only the essentials. This keeps you in control, even if your marks are not as good as they could be with more time.

Talk to your family and friends. Perhaps they can help with child care, walking the dog - or to read your drafts and listen to your ideas.

Make life easier

Talk to your tutor or Student Support Team early if you fall behind. It may be possible to cover only the essentials in the module - but seek advice early.