Are you in the midst of a tough assignment? Are you panicking that you won’t get a 2:1 or a first? Well, you have come to the right place! I’m here to give you some tips on how to study like a top student. You’ll be able to master your assignments efficiently within no time! Say goodbye to those nail-biting all-nighters in the library and say hello to a healthy work-life balance 🙂

1. Studying in a place that is NOT your room!

How do top students study?
Source: Pexels

I must admit, I used to be one of those people that claimed they could “only study in their room”. When I came to university, that completely changed! I found myself doing the majority of my work in the library because my room became so distracting. I’d daydream out the window, treat myself to way too many TikTok breaks and always found myself gravitating towards my bed. If you don’t fancy studying in the library, you could always study in a café! Being a student in Brighton has definitely given me café-exposure that I would have never got in my small hometown! Some cafés in Brighton are perfect for studying, where some give you free refills, some will have loads of plugs to charge your laptop, and some will just have a nice view! It’s definitely worth asking your friends if they know of any good ones or check out Unifresher’s city guides.

2. Complete readings/essays ASAP! 

How do top students' study?
Source: Canva

Now I know this sounds easier said than done but honestly, if you can stick to this habit every week, you will feel the most productive you have ever felt! For example, I used to have a lecture every Tuesday 3-4pm. As soon as this lecture was finished, I would go to the library to read over the notes I made to check that I understood them. I would then start preparing the readings for my Friday seminar. Sometimes, life throws curveballs at you, and you may have other commitments which means you can’t do them immediately after a lecture. Therefore, I’d recommend looking at your calendar to see if you could do some work the day after instead. ASAP is always better than the night before. Not only does it make you feel on top of your work, but you’ll have a better understanding as to what is going on in your lectures/seminars. Overall, the more time spent on assignments, the more well-put-together your analysis is!

3. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness! 

ask for help when studying - tips from top students
Source: Canva

This is a calling to all my fellow “they need to contribute more in class” people. Your lecturers have student hours for a reason! Please make the most of them. They can’t give you exact answers for upcoming assignments, but they can help you define terminology and explain concepts using different examples. If you’re too nervous to ask your lecturers in person, you can always email them! They should get back to you pretty quickly, unless they have made it known they are on holiday. You can also ask your course mates. Obviously, you can’t ask to directly copy their work but sometimes they can explain concepts better than lecturers!

4. Use AI to simplify and better understand

how to use AI to study like a top student
Screenshot of Chat GPT

Another tip is to use AI. While you can’t use chat GPT to write an essay for you, you can use it to explain concepts and theories more simply. For example, type in ‘explain X to me as if I was a 12-year-old’. It sounds weird and a bit like you’re dumbing yourself down, but honestly it’s a really useful way to to get your head around something – quickly too!

You can also use it to simplify abstracts from research papers or chapters from books too. Sometimes no matter how often we read something it just won’t stick, so chat GPT or an AI alternative can be a good way of rewording things and actually understanding them.

5. Have things planned to look forward to! 

Have things planned to look forward to! 
Source: Canva

Studying is exhausting. Having plans with friends or family to look forward to is essential! You could go for bottomless brunch, go shopping or take a scenic walk! Whatever you choose to do, your body will thank you for it. Top students are not the ones who spend hours upon hours in the library. This will lead to burnout, and nobody wants that. The top students are the ones who are able to create a healthy work-life balance between completing work, socialising, and resting. Remember, work smarter not harder! Just because you have completed an 8-hour shift in the library, does not mean that what you have written is 2:1 worthy! You may have been tired and when you read it back, you’ll see that it makes no sense! I find that little but often is always the best approach to completing university work.

All of these tips will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and therefore, you will naturally become a top student! It takes around 60 days for something to become a habit so if you can keep these up for 2 months, these habits will become second nature to you.

Making sure you look after yourself during deadline season is vital to creating a good work-life balance. If you find yourself struggling, read more about how to look after your mental health as a student here! 


  • I'm a linguistic student who is passionate about creative writing. I'm particularly intrigued by the power of poetry and how it communicates with people. When I'm not writing poetry, I am thrift shopping, going on coffee dates and visiting bookshops!

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