Learning advice and skills development

The advisory service of the Central Student Advisory Centre regarding learning and skills development can be used by all students of Heilbronn University for questions on the subjects of learning and organising their studies.

In one-on-one interviews, we will discuss strategies with you on how you can exploit your individual potential when learning. The focus is not on the professional teaching of subject-specific knowledge, but on learning techniques. (How do I learn effectively and purposefully?).

In a counselling interview on the subject of learning, we can talk about questions such as:

  • I want to make use of the lectures more effectively. How can I get more out of them?
  • My performance has not been up to my expectations. How can I focus better on learning?
  • I’m doing well, but how can I improve?
  • I procrastinate learning to the very last minute. How can I become a more organised person?
  • How can I optimise my learning behaviour?

The following issues can also be addressed in a counselling interview:

  • time management
  • motivation
  • dealing with stress
  • strategies for exam preparation
  • learner’s block / barriers to learning
  • mild exam anxiety

and other topics, such as:

Frau mit Tablet im Büro
Consulting Appointment

For in-depth, one-on-one counselling we recommend that you make an appointment. Appointments can be made by phone, by email, in person and via our online booking system:

Our study tips for exam preparation
Diagramm: Y-Achse: Erinerungsvermögen. X-Achse: Zeit in Minuten und Tage. Eine Kurve die zu Beginn kontinuierlich im gleichmäßigen Rhytmus sinkt.

Did you know that after 20 minutes you have already forgotten 60% of what you have painstakingly learned?

Especially in the intensive phase, 2 weeks before the exam, we try to learn as much of the subject matter as possible in a short time; the so-called “bulimic learning” before an exam. A lot of energy and effort is invested in this. To make your learning more stress-free and sustainable, we have provided a long-term learning plan for you on our homepage. You can download it here below.

It serves the purpose of dividing the material to be learned into topics for each examination subject in order to cope with the immense amount of subject matter and to get an overview. Therefore, ideally you should start structuring and working on the material at the beginning of the semester. In the second step, you can, after a certain period of time, repeat what you have learned - these are the “revision phases”. It requires a little more work in the beginning, but in this way you forget less and are less stressed in the last weeks before the exam, because the subject matter has already entered your long-term memory due to the frequent revision and is not forgotten so quickly. This will also make you feel more confident and you will be better prepared for the exam.

We at the Student Counselling Centre wish you every success in the implementation of this study tip.

Download a schedule

At what time do I learn best? Am I an early bird or a late riser?

At the beginning, it makes sense to think briefly about your daily routine and biorhythm, so that you can draw up a daily and weekly plan. Are you a person who is awake and fit early in the morning, or are you someone who likes sleeping in and is at their best in the evening? The graph (see above) illustrates how differently the phases of concentration and problem-solving ability can be distributed throughout the day, depending on the type of person. Surely you will have already noticed at which times you can fully concentrate on challenging topics and when this is not possible at all. Why don't you try to take these phases into account when planning your day, and schedule the intensive learning phases with difficult contents for the times when you can best concentrate. The phases of lack of concentration, on the other hand, can be well filled with activities such as cooking, shopping, cleaning and leisure activities.

How do I draw up a weekly plan?

If you want to create a learning plan for the week, enter fixed dates at the beginning, such as courses at the university, but also sports dates or your part-time job as well as travel times. Leisure activities should also be taken into account so that you have a good study-life balance and stay motivated. You now fill the remaining time slots with learning units in which you prepare for your examinations and prepare and follow up coursework.

What do these learning units look like?

The following recipe is important for memorising the subject matter that you have to learn: short learning units with a subsequent break (see also Karsten, Gunther, 2012, p. 123 et seq), which means:

- 30-45 minutes of learning - 5-minute break,
- 30-45 minutes of learning - 5-minute break,
- 30-45 minutes of learning - 10-minute break etc.

After several learning units you should take a longer break. The brain needs breaks to store what you have learned; so you actually learn more effectively if you take your “creative time-out”. In the break you should rest your mind, get up, stretch and walk around. Fresh air is also good. This way, you will remain efficient longer while learning and you won’t feel exhausted so quickly.

By the way, the saying “we learn in our sleep” is scientifically proven. In fact, our brain stores new information during deep sleep and links it to existing information. Regular and deep sleep is therefore an important part of learning. If you intently read through important contents of the day before going to sleep, your brain will be given the signal that these are contents to be stored. 10-15 minutes are sufficient for this (see also Karsten, Gunther, 2012, p. 57 et seq).

Download an example

Quelle: https://karrierebibel.de/behaltenskurve/ [01.07.2020]

You wonder after the lecture why you couldn't remember everything or why you forgot the contents of your script even though you just read it?

This is because you recorded the study-material with only one or two sensory channels. In the lecture, you sit and listen to the professor; this is mainly where the auditory sensory channel (hearing) is used. At home you read a script; here the visual sensory channel is primarily used (seeing).

However, researchers have found that the learning material is processed and networked better in the brain and is therefore better understood and remembered if as many channels as possible are included.

The diagram above illustrates this very well. You achieve the least learning success if you only listen to the learning material. Therefore it is important to make notes during the lecture or to mark single keywords in the script. If you explain the contents to each other or yourself after the lecture, you have also used the linguistic channel.

More tips for multi-channel learning:

- Create mindmaps on the topic

- Labelling index cards and saying them out loud

- Make voice recordings and listen to them again and again

- Summarize Scripts

- Supplement content with pictures, sketches and colours

- Movement while learning e.g. walking around the room

Learning is very individual. Find out which methods suit you best. Surely you have already determined how you can learn best. Use this knowledge and add further sensory channels to anchor the content even better!

Lerntipp 4 Motivation

You have been studying for your exams for several weeks and slowly your motivation is going down?
We show you a few ways to remotivate yourself and to keep on learning until the last exam.

  • Making successes visible

It makes you proud when you see how much you have already achieved. To illustrate this, you can take a look at your list of topics for the exams: What content have you already learned? These can be ticked off or crossed out, depending on whether you still need to repeat them. Making it clear what you have already learned gives you a good feeling and motivates you to stick with it.

If you divide your learning day into short learning units of 30-45 minutes each, you can crumple up a note for each completed learning unit and collect it in a container or illustrate it with other objects or lines. This shows you how much you have already achieved.

  • Treat yourself to rewards!

Everyone can best assess for themselves what they would like to be rewarded with. Some treat themselves to something sweet, others meet friends or do sports. If you create a nice incentive for yourself, it will be easier to stay on the ball when learning.

  • Breaks are important

Divide your learning day into short learning units and take short breaks of at least 5 minutes in between, which should become longer after several learning units. If you have studied in this way for 3-4 hours, plan a long break, which can last 1.5-2 hours. Pauses are important so that your brain can store the learned contents well. If you study for hours at a time, you will only retain a fragment of what you have learned.

  • Different times

Always the same rut in your everyday learning? Change little things! Go out into the fresh air during your break or learn at a different place. If the weather is good, you can also move the learning place outside, e.g. with the blanket on a meadow.

  • Hang out together

The motivation of your fellow students is also going down the drain. Learning together can be a motivating change. At the same time, it can help to consolidate content through mutual inquiry or to get support with open questions. Since public learning rooms in libraries cannot be used at the moment, learning groups can alternatively study outside at a distance or discuss questions on the phone.

Departmental Advisor

If you have already opted for a particular degree programme and still have detailed questions about it, or in addition to guidance on learning and skills development, you can consult the Departmental Advisor of the respective degree programme in the case of subject-specific questions (for example, concerning the planning and discussion of your individual curriculum).

Contact Persons

B.A. Sandra Besara
B.A. Sandra Besara
stellv. Leitung der Zentralen Studienberatung, Studienberaterin