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Eeep! When study is overwhelming! - Tips, ideas and coping strategies

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Just thought I’d make a post with some tips for study. I know this is something we can all struggle with.

These are all suggestions so feel free to take them or leave them! Hope they help!

If you only remember one thing, let it be this:

You are important. Your grades don’t define you.


Studying can feel isolating but know you’re not alone! Reach out – and find or make friends that can support you along the way.

If you’re having trouble finding some friends, join some local communities or clubs! They have lots at Uni’s and even stuff like open days are great ways to meet new people and find out what’s happening.

Study groups can also be a great way to meet people and stay motivated. Also remind yourself why you’re doing this; inspirational wallpapers or quotes can be super inspiring.

Remember the saying about the oxygen mask? If you can’t take care of yourself first studying will be harder. You are important. You know the drill - water, food, exercise, sleep.

Try to stay calm. Stuff that might be able to help include mindfulness, breathing exercises, colouring in, going for walks, journaling, listening to music…

If you’re struggling – reach out. See a therapist. Talk to your student counsellor. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Also lots of Universities and TAFE offer disability services – which includes conditions like Depression and Anxiety.


Find the right study space for you. Maybe that’s in your room, or a coffee shop, or the library. Some people find that noise helps; other people not so much. If you like particular kinds of noise, you can find ‘coffee shop’ noise or ‘rain sounds’ to help concentrate.

Make a plan. It helps to do it often so it becomes a habit. Anytime you get a due date, write it down. Maybe you could use a diary, planner, bullet journal or an app. I find the 30/30 App helpful - study for a bit and then break for a bit. You can also get add-on’s for your computer to block sites like Facebook if you find them too distracting.

Find out what study technique works for you. Do you like cue cards? Mind maps? Colour coding? Does highlighting stuff help you remember? Charts, maps, diagrams? Recorded lectures?

Goals! These are so important – not just writing down deadlines but rewarding yourself for meeting them. Even making smaller goals like ‘read two pages from a textbook’ can help. Break it down into bite size pieces, and don’t forget to reward yourself after!
51 Replies 51

Hi romantic,

When I was at Uni in the late 1970s, I was unmedicated and had wild mood swings. It made study so hard. It took me over 5 years to do a 3 year degree and I changed courses many times. Back then there was no acknowledgement of MH issues.

IN the late 1990s I did a post graduate teaching diploma externally and things had changed. There was a learning centre I could ring up and get advice on how to cope with work, children, household chores, study and my health.

It was nice not have to cope alone.

I think planning ahead and organisation of time is important. As an external student I often had 4 assignments due in one week.

I think knowing what your strengths are and seeking help for your weakness. I had lots of ides but I was not good at organising thoughts into a paragraph as my paragraphs could go for pages.

I also think having boundaries and realising ahead of time if your health is slipping before it gets too far.


Hi Quirky

Do you mind me asking how you were organising your time with all your commitments? thats is something i struggle with alot between being a carer, doing a small secondary job, babysitting siblings, pops appointments and my own appointments it can be really hard. so i need to work out what a good way to organise my time. i often only study an hr at a time so can split the times up and the course i want to do doesnt say how many hrs of study are expected/reccomended until i enrol (its online)

when going through school i had a really good way of writing paragraphs and still remember it now. once i learnt that it really helped- not sure if you would be familiar with it.. its called Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link (PEEL). kept me right on track.

when you say boundaries?- can you please explain what you mean by that?

Community Member
Bless you

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hey guys,

I have a couple of tips that help with writing essays (during the exam, like the HSC).

  • Use bright coloured post-its- put these around the house, on the fridge, on the back of the toilet door, etc. Write main arguments and good phrases on them.
  • Record your voice reading draft paragraphs and then play it back and listen to yourself reading it.
  • Practice writing essays at home within a time frame; it will get the words you need to write into muscle memory and writing it under pressure in the actual exam will be easier.

Thanks for all the other tips- and don't forget to relax, have a balanced lifestyle- too much studying can't be good for your mental state!


hi all just bumping this thread up

Hi Everyone,

Startingnew has just directed me here as I am struggling with the online study I am having to do as a requirement from my Employment lady. I am turning myself into a nervous wreck with my study, it is increasing my anxiety levels depression and my anger management skills have gone out the window!

Some of my issues include struggling to use a computer at the best of times, not being able to phone contact the course people when I need advice, not understanding their online help service options, forgetting how to open a new tab to do the research required without loosing the work I am currently doing and having to start all over again and so on.

Plus never knowing how long a section will take to complete as it recommends a certain amount of time, I complete that module than another pops up and says I need to complete that by a certain time limit. I am struggling to allocate time for study when I never know if it will take me 40 hours a week or only 20 hours.

Ah! Just having a vent. I'm not enjoying this at all. I need to get my frustration, anxiety, depression levels and anger under control before I go bang! Plus my husband is expecting lunch!

Cheers all from Dools ( I will read through more of this thread later)

Community Member

Hey guys, there's really good website that can boost your productivity when studying I highly recommend it as it helped me get through my own procrastinating habits. Definitely check it out if you are the type that either enjoys fire crackling noises, rain sounds or a coffee shop atmosphere: https://www.noisli.com/

Community Member
Hi everyone,
Just a quick note to let you know it can be done!
I am a more mature person but last year I completed a degree.
It took me 9 years!

Yes, I suffered from depression during the course.
If you look at my academic record you will see depression printed in bold type.
High Distinction, Credit, Distinction, Failed Did Not Participate, Failed Did Not Sit, Credit, D, HD, FNP, FNS...
Basically when depression was bad I wound back what I did and concentrated on earning, when I felt OK I studied and did well. It was hard, it cost far more than it should, but I completed it.

Study method? Well I procrastinate a lot. Depression compounds that. So I use the Pomodoro method.
This method uses a timer. You set a timer for 25 minutes and give all your attention to the study task for that time. No interruptions. No excuses. No distractions. Only the task. At the end of the 25 minutes you stop studying and reward yourself. 25 minutes, firm. No more studying. Just the reward. For 5 or 10 minutes. Timed. repeat as needed.

Good luck with your studies. I hope my story of (slow but steady) success helps others achieve their goal despite depression.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi DM,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Congratulations on your achievements! With you depression, were you able to recall the information you were reading? Do you recall most of what you have learnt?

I have trouble getting information to stick in my brain! I read it and it seems like I have immediately forgotten it even if I make notes and read them a few times over.

Hi Mimilovesyou, I will check out the information you shared with us, thanks. I usually prefer silence when I am studying. Any noise seems to really distract me.

Cheers all from Dools

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

DM thanks for sharing your story. Those are some really good hints. I struggled with concentration when I was at uni. I still sometimes struggle with concentration. Of late anyways. I'm ok at work but when I'm home my brain is off.

I found like Dools I struggled to retain information. I found it was because I wasn't sleeping well. I found mindfullness before going to bed.

I think if you have the right support you can finish school/uni.