As the age old saying goes...'proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance ' - try saying that five times! So, we've come up with a few tips which will help you plan your NEBOSH Diploma study and make the most of your course.
Set Your Targets
Grab yourself a diary or calendar and make a note of your upcoming exam dates: Units A, B and C exams happen in January and July each year and can be checked on the NEBOSH website.
Also make a note of your exam registration deadline. For January exams this is the 3rd week in November, for July exams the deadline is the 3rd week of May.
Plan Your Time
Each Unit within the NEBOSH Diploma has its own recommended number of self-study hours which you can use as a guide. Remember to be realistic. Short, regular study sessions are more effective than long, sporadic ones, so consider how much time you have in your week to commit to studying and create a plan that you can stick to.
It’s also useful to look for windows of opportunity that won’t disrupt your daily schedule. 30 minutes of reading on your lunch break or listening to audio books while travelling to/from work are great opportunities to factor in some studying.
Pick Your Content
Don’t get bogged down by attempting to learn everything in one go. Break up the Unit into manageable pieces and assign yourself time slots in your plan to study each one, aiming to cover an element each week.
Be aware that sometimes you have to go backwards before you can go forwards. The NEBOSH Diploma requires you to have a good foundation of knowledge in health and safety and basic maths and science skills, so give yourself leeway to catch up on areas you may be a bit rusty on.
Example study plan
Try a Mixture of Learning Techniques
Knowing how to learn can be just as important as what you learn. Research has identified over 70 major models of ways of learning – meaning each person is different. Some will be happy to just re-read notes, others will require a more visual aid to help them remember key pieces of information. Below are a few techniques you could try:
- Be visual - Summarise information into bullet points or key words and draw sketches or diagrams to link them together. Use image search engines to look up features you aren’t sure of, e.g. certain tools or machinery. It’s a lot easier to work out the control measures of a piece of equipment when you can visualise how it works. Tony Buzan explains how to create an effective mind-map on his website.
- Use Audio and Multimedia - Record your lectures on a Dictaphone or Smartphone so you can listen to them again and pick up information you may have missed at the time. Podcasts are a great way to gain valuable information from industry professionals discussing their experience and knowledge and can be listened to while you are on the way to work or on your lunch break.
- Reading/writing - Your course materials are a great source of information. Use flash cards or memory cards to make notes on the key issues as you are going along and get a friend, family member or colleague to test you, this will help you memorise the essential parts of the topic.
You can learn more about learning techniques in our previous post Exams, Revision, Tomatoes, Flashcards and Voices
Put Your Knowledge into Practice
It’s important to test what you’ve learnt to give yourself an idea of how much you’ve actually understood.
Relaying information via discussions with colleagues, fellow students and your tutor can help with understanding; are you able to explain a topic confidently, or do you need extra information to back up your point?
Points brought up by other members of the conversation could also open doors to elements you may not have covered or have overlooked, so don’t be afraid to get involved.
Make Use of Extra Support
Practicing past exam questions under exam conditions, timed, with no notebooks, will give you a sense of the amount of quality information you can get down on paper. Dependent on your NEBOSH Diploma training provider, try and take advantage of your tutor and send them your practice exam answers. Use their feedback as guidance for your studying.
If you are an Astutis delegate, you will also receive free access to our NEBOSH Diploma Webinars as part of your course. These create a great bridge between your own self-study and classroom lectures where our CMIOSH tutors will go over the more difficult aspects of the course. Make the most of the opportunity by asking questions, joining with discussions and taking notes.