Winter intensive courses

Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Some university subjects are only offered to students during the winter and summer breaks. Many of these subjects are electives and quite interesting which is why there is a growing trend of students to study all year round.

There are numerous benefits to studying during the winter, one being that it prevents you from losing your rhythm in-between semesters. I often found that the time between semesters for me could be a little dull, and so I really enjoyed taking an additional subject to keep my brain working. Another huge benefit is that it can increase the amount of subjects you complete each academic year with the ultimate aim of graduating sooner.

However, despite the alluring and interesting nature of elective subjects, those who haven't studied a winter subject before, may find it challenging. The main reason why, is because they are often intensive courses. Therefore, unlike your usual university week, a winter intensive may mean you're at university 9am to 5pm for generally a full week. A commitment that can be somewhat more draining than your usual semester, despite its short duration.

Getting through your winter intensive doesn't end at the completion of your course. The next main challenge you will face is one or two assessments that have a significantly high percentage of your subject mark. Some subjects might have an assessment or exam that's worth 80-90%. This can be especially daunting for students who are yet to complete such an assessment. Intensive subjects also carry higher expectations, due to the trend that they are, generally more advanced subjects.

So, what are some of the ways you can get through a winter intensive unscathed? Well, the first recommendation is gaining knowledge and understanding of the course. Make sure you have obtained all the prescribed readings and take the time to read through some or most of them. Having an idea of each topic or module prior to attending your class will make the learning process easier, but it will also allow you to consolidate your learning and understanding. This is more preferable than heading into class on the day and learning it for the first time.

During your intensive course, you need to ensure you have energy reserves to get through each day of your intensive. This is easily achieved through good eating habits (and potentially a couple of coffees). Take snacks into class with you, such as fruit and nuts. You also need to be eating a energy rich breakfast and a wholesome dinner. For some of our food ideas, please head to the study zone. You can also check out for great healthy and energy filled recipes.

After the intensive course is finished, majority of the work begins. This is the time that you are required to devote time to research, studying and your assessments. It's during this period, time-management becomes crucial. Importantly, you need to implement a balanced study routine, a routine that takes into account your study needs but also time you can spend relaxing and recuperating before the next semester of full-time study commences. In regards to the time you allocate for study, make sure you set out an assessment plan that contains stages such as, research, writing and proofreading/editing. You need to set aside 3 hours at a minimum each day, and these hours should be split up into research, reading and writing, or if you're main assessment is an exam, reading, summarising and practice questions. For further study tips, please head to the study zone.

If your assessment or exam is due during the beginning of Semester 2, you might find yourself a little overloaded. Make sure you keep on top of your study plan and utilise organisational skills. Take regular breaks and when you are studying, make sure it's productive with limited distractions.

Although I am all for winter intensives, please make sure you allow yourself to relax and enjoy some time-out. I hope you have found this blog post helpful.

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