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Another academic year has come around, and this is the final year of my BSc (Hons) Psychology degree. As it’s my last year, I have had a bit of practice on how best to prepare for the start of the next academic year.

Here are my top tips on preparing and making the most of the few weeks before your return to university as a commuting student.

Plan your days in advance

Who doesn't love the timetables being released? When the timetable comes out, I like to plan my days around what facilities I can use whilst I'm on campus. It’s important to plan, so that I can work out how best to spend my time.

One of my favourite tips when planning your time is to separate the day into chunks. Make sure you have all your lectures in your planner, then schedule time in for eating, taking breaks, meeting with friends, and focusing on assignments. For example, when I’m heading into university, I make sure I book a study space so I can spend two hours there working on assignments and asynchronous work. I schedule this two-hour block because it gives me plenty of time to complete my work, whilst following the Pomodoro technique of 25 minutes focus and five minutes break over the two hours. This time management technique helps to keep my energy levels high, and it means I’m more productive, so I can get the most out of my day.

Other essentials to the schedule are lunchtime and putting aside time to be active. You can book a gym class, go for a swim at the University's swimming pool (which is £10 for the whole year), or go for a walk along the canal. Planning in time to be active is a great way to boost your energy, keep moving, and look after your mental health. Finally, the all-important social time is scheduled into the week and allows you to have adventures and spend time with friends.

Understanding modules and the assignments

Before going back to university, you can start looking at the modules you’ll be studying over the next academic year – reading the module handbooks available on Moodle is a great place to start. The handbooks give you a good insight into what to expect throughout the year, with overviews of the assignment topics and teaching.

I use this information to help me find relevant books, and I start noting down my questions on the topics. Creating these questions helps me to link the topics to the assignments and prepare for each lecture. By preparing for assignments in this way, you can slowly work on them across the year, breaking them down into more manageable chunks.

Getting your notebooks ready

Finally, whether you love or hate stationery…get your equipment ready! No matter how you like to take notes, from notebooks to laptops, having everything ready can help you hit the ground running on your return. I prefer having one notebook for each module to write down ideas and questions. For those who prefer working on technology, there are many apps that can help you organise your work – these apps can help you find what works best for you, so you can boost your time management over the year.

No matter how you like to organise your time, prepare, have fun, and make plans to try out new things.

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