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Category Archives: Study

Unleashing Your Study Potential: Tips and Spots on the University of Otago Dunedin Campus by International Students

The lead-up to exams is a crucial time in the academic year. It is your time to retain and understand your content, freshen up your writing skills, and more importantly, develop excellent study habits that you can carry with you through your Otago journey. 

 As semester one exams steadily approach, we have collated a list of student study tips, tricks, and recommendations to help you sail smoothly through your exam preparation. 

Tip #1: There is no one way to study ‘correctly.’

If you’ve found yourself at a standstill, don’t panic! There is no one way to study ‘correctly’ and learning is not confined to single action or style.

Productivity is key to successful study, but this looks different to everyone! Do you get a fresh burst of energy past 7pm? Or is your brain at its best in the morning? It’s helpful to identify when you are most productive, and to plan studying sessions that fit within your natural rhythms.

Tip #2: Create reasonable goals! 

It’s important to create reasonable goals to avoid overworking yourself, goals and checklists are also an efficient way to keep on track, stay motivated and limit procrastination. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound- in other words, SMART.

  • Your goal should be specific: State exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Achievable: Don’t set yourself up to fail with unrealistic expectations, give yourself the time and space to learn at your own pace!
  • Relevant: Focus on what you truly need to work on, before revising easier concepts
  • Time-Bound: Limit procrastination by placing time limits on your tasks, this is a helpful way to remain productive.

Tip #3: Conquer the difficult before revising the simple

Focus on what you understand the least first, before moving onto memorizing what already makes sense to you. This will provide you with a more balanced knowledge and understanding of your content!

Tip #4: Become the teacher!

One of the best ways to memorise and understand information is to teach it yourself! Find a flat mate or friend and see if you can successfully explain a new concept. Although your ‘student’ may not be a member of your course, if they are able to understand the concepts you’ve explained, then you’re on the right track!

Tip #5: Don’t forget to take breaks

Burning out is never an ideal option, it is crucial to nurture your mind and body to remain focused and retain information. Take time to eat, drink and have a moment of rest in between studying. Don’t forget, a healthy mind needs a healthy body.

Quick Links & Resources:

  • PASS Programme: The University of Otago offers Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) to support student success through weekly study groups, facilitated by senior students. To learn more, read here.
  • Library 101 workshops: Recordings are available on the Otago website to learn more about how you can make the most of our libraries. Find out where everything you need is, learn how to search the resources, and how to reference! Link here.
  • Higher Education Development Centre for 1st year students: Find out the support available for first year students, from how to cope with study to strategies for success. Click here.
  • Resources for undergraduate students
  • Resources for postgraduate students 

Study Spots at Otago: Brought to you by international student recommendation!

Guilty of sticking to that same single booth? Featured below is a list of student recommendations for great self-study spots. Sometimes fresh air and a change of scenery is all you need for that extra burst of motivation! Luckily, the University of Otago has an abundance of libraries and study spaces to suit every need – and this list does not include all of them. 


Central Library and the Link

The Central Library is massive, architecturally pleasing and most importantly, a great place to study. With multiple levels, the Central Library has a space for every type of student, whether you enjoy being nestled within rows of books, the privacy of the cubes or the views of the top level. Central Library is a quiet space, with areas dedicated to silent study.

The Central Library is also located right next to the Link, which offers more seating for studying and contains several stores for your snacking needs. The link is a great space for interactive, group study, in a bustling community space.

Exam hours: 6:00am – 12:00am

St David Complex

Across campus, the St David Complex offers a peaceful oasis with beautiful views of the Clocktower. However, expect a little more noise than Central, with St David’s café located below the study space. St David Complex remains open after 11pm, with Campus Watch on hand, meaning it is the perfect place for some late-night study.

The Otago Business School

If group discussion and collaboration is the secret sauce to your study success, then the Otago Business School is an excellent spot. The Otago Business School is open, bright, and multi-level, and is the perfect place to swap flashcards with a friend.

The Science Library

The Science Library, located within the St David’s Complex, is an open space, furnished with large tables and booths, alongside upstairs spaces for study. The Science Library is loved by regulars for its smaller size and quiet nature.

Robertson Library 

Robertson Library located on 135 Union Street, contains a wealth of resources and is a joint space shared by Otago and Polytechnic students. Robertson Library is modern, large, and features a range of spaces for study, whether you prefer a couch or a booked study room.

The Clocktower Lawn

On those #Dunnerstunner days, sometimes the only appropriate choice is to study outside and the Clocktower Lawn is the perfect place for a nice afternoon. Get yourself comfortable on the grass, enjoy the gorgeous trees and the view of our lively campus. Never stress about running late to your next class, with the guiding ‘dongs’ of the Clocktower only a few meters away!

With exams just around the corner, we hope these study tips, tricks and recommendations have been useful for your study journey. Working hard pays off, and at Otago, you are spoilt for options when it comes to needing that perfect study space. If you feel we’ve missed any tips or fantastic spots for study, we would love to hear from you.