Top Study Tips from a CAL Student

Top Study Tips from a CAL Student

Top studying tips from a student

Whilst studying online is great for flexibly studying when you want, and the ability to work through your study in your own time, you may be wondering how other students are successfully achieving their qualifications. Below are some fantastic tips from one of our students working effectively and methodically through their Double Diploma.

Keep organised with structure

Download all the course materials for your unit prior to starting, and create a meaningful and logical folder structure to keep track of them all.

Create a checklist of all the modules, tutorials and tasks that are required. Check off the tasks you have started, you need help with, and the tasks you have completed. This helps you to not lose track of where you are up to, and remember the tasks you want to ask the coach about in your next coaching call.

Colour-code the tasks using a table in a Word Document. An example template is included below:

Not Started Started Need help with For review Complete

Check your progress:

Take the quiz prior to starting the unit and then again at the end of the unit. Taking the quiz at the start will help give an idea of what areas of study you need to work on the most. It can help determine if the elective tutorials are something you may need to complete in order to gain a better understanding and grasp of the content.

Think ahead:

For each tutorial, read what is required to complete the activity or assessment task before you watch or read the presentation. This will help you pick out the most relevant pieces of information and you can work on the activity as you watch or read the presentation while it’s all still fresh in your mind. This also helps you to keep focused on what you need to be learning, and it is a really effective way to learn and retain the material.

Utilise all the resources:

Download the presentation and transcript! Depending on how you learn, it may be a good idea to try reading the presentation and transcript and then watch the video, or just learn from the presentation and transcript. This allows you to read at your own pace which will be a different pace to the video. If there’s something you feel you are missing, go back and watch the video for that extra clarification.

If you get really stuck on a task or part of a task, like they tell you to in a test, ‘just move on to the next one’. You can always come back to it later, and sometimes a break and fresh eyes is exactly what you need – this is also where the checklist can really help to keep track!

Losing focus or interest? Try this:

One problem that most likely everyone experienced at high-school (and potentially even in learning or training as an adult) is that when we get bored, we lose interest – and we may get bored quickly.

If you have a reasonable grasp on the study materials but find you are often getting bored, checking out, losing interest or focus, request to have two units open at a time, and switch between them to keep things interesting. Again, properly use the checklist to keep track of your progress if implementing this tip.

Google is your friend! Never plagiarise material, but if there is something you don’t understand or you’re unsure where to start, google some examples. Try rewording the question, and google it to understand the question or problem from lots of different angles. Everyone learns differently and everyone understand and interprets things differently. Sometimes having something explained in a different way or seeing examples is all you need.

CAL Student studying tips for learning success

Ask for help:

Your friends and family are also great assets! You might think they cannot help if they are inexperienced in your field of study, but that isn’t always true. Your partner’s expertise might be completely different to what you are studying, but a fresh perspective and a different take on activities and questions may be exactly what you need if you are feeling stuck.

Keep positive

Don’t stress if a unit is taking you longer than you expected. Some units will be harder than others depending on your existing experience in the area of study, the amount of time you have, the type of learner you are, and a tonne of other factors. You will come out the other side!

Learning Journal Tips:

It is highly recommended to use the headings function for your learning journal. Headings are a great tool to use in long documents, as you can click on the heading via the navigation page, and be automatically taken to that section, rather than have to scroll all the way through the document and look for it.

If you haven’t used headings before, it is very easy to do and a quick google search or YouTube tutorial will have you up and running in no time.

Sometimes you might find it difficult to provide a meaningful label for the assessment documents you can’t include in your learning journal. This may be because you need to stay within the word count for a document title. If this is a problem you are having, try the labelling suggestion below. Make sure you include definitions for your assessor so they can correctly follow your work.


U4. M1. T2. A2. Project Risk Analysis – WW

  • U4 = Unit 4
  • M1 = Module 1
  • T2 = Tutorial 2
  • A2 = Activity 2
  • Document Title
  • Your initials
  • A big part of adult learning is remaining organised, focused and motivated. Some days you may not feel as motivated, and some days you may feel really unorganised. This is very normal! Try implementing a system that works best for you – either from the tips above, trialling different methods or even speaking to your Learning Coach or Student Success Advisor for some extra guidance. You will find that once you organise your learning and track your progress, you will be working through the course feeling able and motivated to complete. With a vast amount of resources and support available to always help you, you can achieve that qualification in no time!

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