Effective Study Tips Setting goals, reading effectively & critical thinking

Discuss your approach to studying.

Doing the bare minimum?

Jumping 'straight in'?

  • Organising your study
  • Reading techniques
  • Concept Mapping
  • Note-taking & Note-making
  • Assignment planning
  • Exam preparation
Getting Organised

Time and Place

  • Do you work well at home?
  • Consider: libraries, universities and cafes
  • Mix it up a bit and do some study somewhere different - your favourite cafe, a park or natural space.


  • Minimise distractions
  • Have access to what you need
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Filing system.

Consider the positive and negative features of each of the below study spaces.

Getting Organised Motivation & Goals

  • Set your goals for each study session
  • Monitor your progress
  • Prevent procrastination
  • Manage interruptions

Use the S.M.A.R.T. Method of Goal Setting.

Write a S.M.A.R.T. Goal for your next study session. Use the worksheet to guide you.


  1. Abstract first
  2. Summarise all readings
  3. Link every reading to topic
  4. Critically think as you go - Agree/Disagree and why?
  5. Use reference lists from readings, especially for assignment research.

Use different reading techniques for different tasks. Save a lot of time and effort by learning which to use!


Reading quickly looking for specific information

  • Course list
  • Abstract
  • Blurb
  • Contents Page
  • Index


Reading quickly for a general understanding.

  • Topic sentences
  • Introductory & concluding paragraphs
  • Key words
  • Signpost words
  • Identify areas for in-depth reading

In-Depth Reading

Reading slowly, sometimes repeatedly, writing notes and criticall analysing the source.

  1. Appraise text
  2. Read through - general understanding
  3. Write notes
  4. Follow up difficult/dense sections
  5. Check reference list

Which reading style should I use for each of the situations below?

  1. I'm unsure if this text is relevant to my current needs.
  2. I'm reading an important source for an assignment.
  3. I'm reading my textbook to expand my notes from class.
  4. I'm looking for the definition of subject-specific terminology (jargon).
Critical Thinking

Ways of thinking, academically speaking...

Think of a news or magazine article that you read recently. Then ask:

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. When?
  4. Where?
  5. Why?
  6. How?

Fact or Opinion?

  • It's important to remember the difference between fact and opinion.
  • Look out for unsupported opinions.
  • Do you agree with the fact being presented?

Which of the below statements are facts, and which are opinions?

  1. Brisbane is the capital of Queensland
  2. Brisbane has great nightlife, especially in the Fortitude Valley.
  3. Brisbane has great weather most of the time.
Created By
David William Andersen


Created with images by Marvin Meyer - "untitled image" • Eric Rothermel - "Monthly schedule" • Andrew Neel - "Woman working by a window" • Susan Yin - "untitled image" • David Travis - "Notetaking"