New Year Study Tips - Eight ways to carry on studying your online course

New Year Study Tips – Eight Ways To Carry On Studying Your Online Course

How many people start new courses in January? That old new year’s resolution to learn more, to improve our understanding, our job and career prospects, or just to study for a new hobby or interest?


As education has changed rapidly in the last few years, many online courses are now available year-round, but there is still that temptation to start a new course in the new year. New year, new you.


It’s now a few weeks into the new year and you may feel that you are struggling with your studying. Here are some tips to help you to keep going –


1.      Why did you start the course?

The first thing to think about is why did you start the course in the first place.

  • Did you want a promotion?
  • A new job?
  • A new career?
  • A new hobby?
  • To improve your knowledge?
  • To develop a new skill?
  • Because you felt like it?

Whatever your reason for starting a new course, keep it in mind. It was important enough for you to decide to start the course and pay money to start a course, so remember why you started in the first place.


2.      Be realistic about how much you can study

You may be working and studying on the side, or have child care commitments or a busy lifestyle, so be realistic about just how much you can study.

  • Be realistic with your time. Think about when you can study and how much time you can realistically commit to studying each week.
  • Don’t go too far. You cannot read everything and learn everything about a topic, so be realistic on just how much you can study. If you have the time to go and read a lot more about a topic, then great, but if not, think what you need to and prioritise.
  • Also, think, if you spend hours ready about one topic, you may not actually be doing other stuff you need to do for the course.
3.      Making notes

Be careful about the notes you make.

You don’t need to write down absolutely everything you read or hear.

Read or listen to the course, then

  • Summarise the important points.
  • Create mind maps
  • Flow charts
  • Flash cards

Whatever method of summarising the course that works for you. 


4.      Technology

Technology can be very distracting when studying.

  • Emails or texts or social media posts that ping on your phone and distract your attention.
  • Phone calls
  • Endless irrelevant searches

So –

  • Turn off your phone if you find it distracting or put it on silent.
  • Agree a time that you can look at your phone. Eg. “allow yourself to look at your phone every two hours.”
  • Do the same with your emails. Decide how often you will look at them and stick to it.

BUT, technology can also be very helpful as well.

  • You might use a planner or reminder on your phone or computer to remind you about deadlines, or when you are going to study etc.
  • You can use technology to do searches about topics, to read more about them Just make sure you don’t go down the rabbit hole and spend hours simply browsing and scrolling. Make sure any searches are relevant and productive.
5.      Help

If you are struggling with your studies, get help –

  • Speak to your tutor. They are no doubt very experienced in studying and studying online, so they can offer you tips on studying online.
  • Talk to friends and colleagues. Online courses are more and more common today and many others may have advice and ideas on how to study online courses effectively.
6.      When?

Think about the best time of day for you to study.

  • You might be an early bird who likes to get up and get going. This might be the best time to study for you. Say you usually get up at 7am, getting up an hour earlier to study could work well for you.
  • You might be a night owl. Studying when everyone else is going to bed.  If it works for you, then stick to it.
  • If you are able to, try to study at the same time each week. Make a plan of when you intend to study and stick to it as much as possible.
  • For some people, it can be about finding when they can study. For example, if you work shifts, or have changing commitments. One tip is to plan for a week ahead. Look at your week ahead and decide where you can fit in your studies for that week.
  • Most importantly, if you are not able to stick to your plans for some reason, do not be hard on yourself. Life does have a habit of getting in the way at times. So if you miss a planned study session, pick yourself up and carry on.
  • Don’t try to do double the next time. Just carry on and do what you can.
  • If you try to do too much, you will find it harder and harder and might even quit the course, so be kind to yourself, be realistic.

7.      Where?

Think about where your best place to study is.  Everyone will be different, but you might like to study –

  • At home on your bed or settee
  • Sitting at a desk
  • In a coffee shop
  • In the library
  • On the train on the way home from work

Find out what suits you. Also, you may have more than one place where you find it good to study. For example, you may like to study on your way to and from work on the train, then in a coffee shop at the weekend.  Just see what works for you.


One of our tutors likes getting up early and going to a local coffee shop to study when no one else is around.  At other times, she enjoys studying late at night when it is quiet and no one else is around at home.


Make sure, wherever you study that you are –

  • Comfortable
  • Warm
  • Have enough light
  • Have your equipment with you. If you are going to study in different locations, why not set up a “study pack” with your pens, pencils, notepads, tablet, laptop etc, so you can just pick up what you need when you are ready to go?
8.      Take care of your health

At times, studying can feel like the most important thing in the world. We can feel stressed out trying to get all of our studying done. That will probably be the time when you are least effective in your studying. Being stressed is no good for our physical and mental health. So make sure –

  • You get enough sleep
  • You do not try to study for hours and hours at a time. It won’t be productive or effective. Short, sharp bursts are far more healthy.
  • Make sure you eat and drink healthily. If we are tired and thirsty, our mind will tend to focus on that, taking us away from our studying.
  • Above all, if we don’t eat, drink and sleep enough, it can affect our health and you may find yourself ill rather than studying.

Studying should be –

  • Carried out for a reason
  • Interesting and hopefully fun

It should not be a chore or something that feels like a punishment.  Make sure you take care of yourself.


ACS Distance Education offers a wide range of courses, over 700, in fact, so if you are thinking of studying now or in the future, please do bear us in mind.


We are happy to assist you in finding the right course for your needs so feel free to contact us below for a FREE COURSE COUNSELLING 

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