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Tackling Textbooks

November 1, 2016 11:22 by Gill Kelley

Tackling Textbooks

Confused on where to start with your new textbook? Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve even picked up a textbook. Here we look at the top tips on how to get started with your CIM studies.

Ensure you know what chapters you are required to read- There’s little chance you’re going to be able to read the whole book whilst studying. Instead we outline which chapters you should be reading then so it coincides with your weekly online learning sessions. Perhaps page mark which pages relate to each specific topic so you can easily find it again.

Read slowly- Take your time, read what you need to slowly. It’s much better readying 10 pages in an hour and knowing all the material, rather than spending an hour on 40 pages and remembering nothing. Perhaps read a paragraph, take a few seconds to take it all in and ask yourself any questions, and then move on. This helps you know the material thoroughly and could help you quote this easily when need be.

Take Notes- General notes, Post it notes, highlighters, annotations, mind maps, bullet points… Whatever helps you best! Of course there are pros and cons to all but only you will know what works best for you and only you will know what your notes mean. Make sure you add enough information to be able to reference the original text when you come to write it up - remember to add the page number to your notes so you can go back to the original text. Colours also help differentiate certain notes from others so be sure to remember what means what.

Structure of the Book- Some textbooks have overviews or summaries and some even quizzes at the end. Focus on the areas you have little knowledge and then use these summaries and quizzes to test your strengths and weaknesses. If you understand more when you are applying your learning (so are pragmatic in your learning style) then try reading the Case Studies before you read the main content of the chapter.

Don’t let the size of the textbook put you off, stay focused and know what works best for you. If it’s the style of writing you aren’t keen on then try another book that covers the same topic; each author writes differently and again it’s about what you can digest and learn from the most. The vast CIM Library is there at your fingertips and helps you find the book you are looking for either online or on site.

Tags: Studying, Textbooks, Reading

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips

Tick Tock, Tick Tock… How do you manage your time?

November 1, 2016 11:17 by Gill Kelley

Tick Tock, Tick Tock… How do you manage your time? How do you manage your time? Photograph: 47009676 © Afrajtova

Rachel is a busy working mum, she has 2 young children who she juggles alongside a full time job in a demanding Marketing role. She wakes early and gets her children ready for the day ahead, grabs a slice of toast on the way out and drops them at two different locations. Once at work she begins her day, attends several meetings and approves various high profile marketing campaigns. She rushes from work to collect her children from the childminder and eventually, after dinner and evening activities, Rachel puts her children to bed and turns her attention to studying. Rachel is on the Diploma course and puts aside an hour each evening to study. She then ensures she dedicates two hours on both Saturday and Sunday whilst the children are occupied. Before Rachel knows it she has completed 11 hours of studying per week.

As we’re sure you know, time is precious and it’s important you don’t neglect all the other important things life throws at you. At CIM Academy we understand this and have put together Qualification courses which we hope allow you to manage your time well and therefore stay on track throughout your studies.

Each module is scheduled over six learning sessions. In theory you should complete a session a week and we make this clear in a week by week detailed study schedule which is drawn up at the start of each session so you know exactly what you should be studying and when. This allows flexibility for personal and work commitments and even holidays or family commitments which cannot be moved. However some dates are immoveable, including workshop days that are included in your chosen route to study, virtual classrooms and submission of final assignments or examinations.

Let’s say however you are not like Rachel; you could perhaps be an ‘early bird’ with no children or even a ‘night owl’. It’s definitely worth having a think about as you will have a certain number of hours to compete each week. To achieve the high grades you want to be putting in all the hours you can. If you are one of the lucky ones to be allocated some time to study in your working hours, great but it is still good practice to plan when you will complete your study hours. Let’s look at a couple of other examples -

Jennie wakes early, and can focus on her studies for 30 minutes first thing each morning before she goes into work.  She prints off the article from her current session and reads it on the train on the way to work.  By the time she gets home from work she is exhausted and doesn’t have any energy left to focus on her studies (unless it is to attend a virtual classroom), but she estimates that she has studied for five hours before she reaches the weekend.  She then studies for two hours early Saturday morning, and for three hours on Sunday morning (after a lie-in!), whilst the rest of her family are out playing sports.  In total she achieves 10 hours of study per week.

Jon would like to keep his weekends free if at all possible.  He knows he will need some time at weekends to write his assignments, but for now he estimates he will do two hours per night from Sunday to Thursday, and so will have achieved 10 hours of study each week.

It’s important to try and gain the support of family and friends. Having the support and guidance is a massive help and will encourage you to work as hard as you can. Sticking something on the fridge perhaps remind you and others that you have homework to do too!

If you are not sure what to prioritise, speak to your Learning Support contact or your Course Director who will be happy to advise you. Here are 10 quick tips we have put together to help get you started-

  • Stay organised.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Don’t leave things to the last minute.
  • Don’t put off getting things started.
  • Work at the time of day when you know you will be most ‘intellectually alert’.
  • Don’t be too much of a perfectionist.
  • Develop good study habits.
  • Take advantage of having others around you who can test your knowledge.
  • Read as much as you can.
  • And ask as many questions as you like!

Stick to the above and you will have a stress free and enjoyable journey with CIM Academy.


Tags: CIM Academy, Case study, Studying

Categories: CIM Academy | Tips

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment

November 1, 2016 11:14 by Gill Kelley

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment Create the best studying environment. Photograph: 53581027 © Stokkete

Studying for a CIM Qualification involves dedicated time and so creating the best working environment for you is important. Of course the days of using a desktop PC at home are long gone and you can now access all your study materials on a tablet or smartphone. It is however still important that you find a quiet area to spend your revision time so here we give you our top 10 tips which you can hopefully incorporate into your study routine.

1. Keep a tidy work space - If you have a clear desk there’s a lot less to distract you meaning you can stop procrastinating and focus on your studies in hand.

2. Try to avoid background noise - Although some people say that background music helps, Accelerated Learning Research shows that music from the Baroque era stimulates the brain to learn - the beats per minute (60) are the same as the alpha brain wave state, and so it helps the brain to be more receptive to learning. This is however very different from being in the same room as others, as this can prove very distracting for all.

3. Break up your studying - It’s amazing the amount of difference a few minutes off a long chunk of studying makes. Take a breath! Get some fresh air and start again! Even just stretching your legs will help. Your concentration will soon start to go once you’ve been looking at something for a while and you will soon find that shortened periods of studying will help you take in a lot more.

4. Phone on silent! - Or just let those around you know you are studying. One less thing to distract you and clicking on Facebook or Twitter is too easy so put your phone on silent or even turn it off completely to stop you from this easy distraction.

5. Take advantage of downtime at work - If you’re one of the lucky ones who is allocated some time to study during work hours then great, as this environment is what you need. If not, and you have a busy home life, then take advantage of any free time you can. This may during your work lunch break or during a slow time of day. Even if it’s not for long, every little bit of time helps.

6. Lighting - It may seem simple but straining your eyes to read in dim lighting or even bright artificial light can cause headaches. Try and find natural light and remember to take breaks.

7. The Clock! - Can be your worst and best friend both at the same time! 5 minutes may seem like an hour which for some can be so off putting. It’s best not to know how long you have been studying for and instead set an alarm so you know when you should be taking that well deserved break.

8. Comfort - Sitting on your bed or on the sofa may seem like a good idea at first but you will soon want to give up on the studying and watch some TV instead. The same goes for a hard, straight back chair, this will soon feel uncomfortable. Instead find somewhere that works best for you and use this as your study area.

9. Find the time that works best for you - There’s no point trying to study late at night if you know you are tired and not going to take anything in so instead find the time of day that works best for you, incorporate this with your perfect study area and you are in the environment you need.

10. FOCUS! - Last but not least focus! Only you can be true to yourself when studying and only you will know if the environment you are working in works in your favour. You may already know or it may take some time to realise but whatever works best for you, is what you should stick with.

Tags: Studying, Time management

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips