Category Archives: How I Survived…

study-tips

Effective Study Tips

So, you’re at that point of the semester where you’ve found yourself searching Google for “Study Tips to Pass Uni”. Yeah, I know that moment. It’s a time you’re hoping to find the ultimate study tip – the answer to all your tertiary prayers, the answer that’ll take away the pain of study and make it just so easy to ace that exam. Well, guess what ….? Sorry! No quick fix here! (apologies to anyone who thought they’d just discovered the long sought-after secret to study success). However, there are still heaps of awesome study tips out there that you can try, and we’ve listed just a few of these below. Give them a go and let us know if they work for you. You’ll still have to work hard, but they may make the whole study thing a little easier. Happy Studying!

Study Tip 1
Hit the books before hitting the hay

This is one for all the peeps who love a little bedtime reading. But forget the fairy tales and put away the John Grisham thriller, Divergent book or whatever else it is you’re reading and grab your study notes. You only need to study for a few minutes just before you doze off to la la land. By taking in this information right before you sleep, you’re more likely to be able to remember them in the future. Why? Well, science has shown that during sleep the brain strengthens new memories. But don’t take your notes in the bed with you. That should be your zone of rest and zen, and having the notes there simply gets in the way of you getting to sleep. Plus, there’s nothing worse than waking up with a face full of algorithms and pen marks down your cheek.

Study Tip 2
Study Wise with Exercise

Work out the brain and the body and boost your marks! Exercise has been proven to improve the speed in which the brain works and processes information. Plus, it makes you feel happier! So, it doesn’t matter if you go for a ride around the park, a jog between lectures, or create a 30-minute circuit in your own backyard, as long as you’re moving and raising the heart rate you’re doing your body (and hopefully grades) a favour!

Study Tip 3
Write, Write, Write to Get  It Right In The Exam

If you were ever punished at school and forced to write lines over and over and over again, you’re sure to be a gun at this technique. Studies have shown that if you put pen to paper and write stuff down, you retain that information much better than if you were simply reading it or typing it on a computer. So, shutdown the laptop, dust-off the biro and start writing and rewriting your essays, notes, formulas and other important bits of info from class.

Write Out Your Notes

Study Tip 4
Say No to the Net

The internet can be an awesome source of information and a very helpful tool when it comes to studying. But let’s be honest, it’s also able to suck you into a time vortex, one filled with dancing cats and Times Square flash dances. So, say farewell Facebook, buzz off to Buzzfeed, ta-ta Twitter, p*ss off, Pinterest and see ya, YouTube! Switch it off and focus solely on the study. Go on, I dare you …

Study Tip 5
Become a Quiz Master

It has been proven that quizzing yourself before a test can greatly improve your memory recall during the real thing. So, set up your quiz, set the clock and quiz, quiz, quiz. Create your own quiz incorporating questions you know you’ve had trouble remembering. The more you are faced with them in a practice mode, the more likely you are to recall it during the exam. If you’ve got a friend doing the same thing, why not write an exam for each other.

 

Handy Books full of Handy Study Tips

Reading & Making Notes – $9.95 MP

 

Brilliant Writing Tips for Students – $9.95 MP

 

14 Days To Exam Success – $9.95 MP

 

 

 

What are your study tips? Share them below and tell us why they work for you.

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Sleeping In – How Not to Do It

 

 

Sunlight shining on man in bed saying "Ugh. Early. Bad."


Waking up early is tough. But uni life, being the punish that it is, often makes waking up a requirement for those wishing to successfully get through the semester. Tutorials, lectures, group assignment meetings in the library at some crazy hour (“no, I do not want to meet you at the library at 10am“) – they just keep popping up in the calendar, until all of a sudden the hours before lunchtime are fuller than a fat dude at the end of a session at the all you can eat buffet.  

To help you out, here are a few handy tips to help you get up when your alarm sounds, so you can get ready and arrive on time to take on the world (or something like that) … 


1. Set an alarm clock up in every corner of your room/house before you go to bed. Make sure all the alarms are set to go off a few minutes apart. That way if you do roll out of bed to turn one off and leap back into bed in the hope of falling back to sleep, the next one is sure to go off just as you’re dozing off. 


2. Set your alarm and lock it inside something that requires you to actually use your brain to open it and shut it off. Once it’s open, you’ll be too alert to go back to sleep.

 

3. Ask someone who loves to annoy you (sibling, mate etc.) to wake you up each morning with their very own unique musical creation.

4. Get a puppy or kitten …

Kitten Waking Person Up

 

5. Set your alarm clock up in such a way that you really won’t want to touch that snooze button …

alarm clock set with mouse trap on snooze button

6. If all else fails, there’s always this (warning: this is for extreme cases of ICANTGETOUTTABEDITUS only).

 

 EXTRA TIP: If you do sleep in, just make sure you’ve mastered the art of the sickie …

I Can't Go Anywhere!

 

 

 

 

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Setting Up a New Kitchen

If your new year of university also heralds in the exciting time of moving out of home and renting somewhere, then it comes with the fun but slightly headache inducing task of stocking a new kitchen.

It can be fun for the first week or two, living off Red Bull, hummus and pita bread. However, that’s not exactly the healthiest (or tastiest) option and take it from me, once you’ve worked through the flavoured hummus, you will hate the goop for a while.

Fortunately, with a bit of planning, setting up your new kitchen can be made a whole lot easier.

I think investing in one or two good cookbooks and some staple ingredients is the best method. I swear by Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Everything is simple, delicious and, while it took me a bit of practice to work fast enough for the ’15 minutes’ part, they are very simple and easy recipes that can be whipped up after work/study; or on a lazy weekend and frozen for a week of microwave meals without the MSG. A few other books that are awesome include Save With Jamie, Bill Granger’s EasyThe Hungry Student Cookbook and The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook.

Ingredients

Living with house mates can be great due to the fact some items often become communal and, therefore, cut costs (and definitely saves having four different bottles of olive oil and the entire contents of a spice factory taking up space). As for the rest of it, your menu is whatever you want. And if that includes popcorn for dinner then go forth and prosper.

I love this list of Jamie Oliver’s pantry essentials. I would probably add other important items, like coffee, wine, beer, pizza, and chocolate, because those are very essential for a student’s daily life. With these items on hand you can easily pick up fresh veggies or meat throughout the week to add to meals, depending on what you feel like cooking.

Also, do not feel afraid of the frozen meal. For the days you cannot be bothered to cook, or are schlepping home from an awesome night out, or are sick, or it’s 3am and you’re hungry, a delicious meal in three minutes is great – so keep a few frozen meals in the back of the freezer.

Utensils

If you’re in a share house, it’s a good idea to start off by discussing the utensil situation with house-mates and work out what you have and what you need to buy – saves having a kitchen with 25 spoons, 3 forks and no drinking glasses. If you’re living in a university accommodation, the kitchen may be stocked with some items (i.e. kettle and toaster) but have no plates, so make a list of everything you need and get it in one hit. It’s far nicer to have everything you need on hand then struggle through without – especially when you buy baked beans but no can opener (true story).

Jamie has a list of essential kitchen utensils here, and he is pretty true in what he says – a good set of knives and great quality pots and pans will definitely improve your cooking and save money in the long run. Other items like cutlery, tongs and mixing bowls can be bought for less money from Kmart or Ikea. It’s also a good start to check in with friends and family who might be more than happy to help you establish yourself in the culinary world by giving you stuff they aren’t using in their kitchen.

In stocking a kitchen, it is also good to consider what kind of meals you will be making regularly to help decide what appliances you need. I personally think a rice cooker is fantastic – it frees up space on the stove and since they turn off automatically, you’ll never burn the rice or yourself. If you’re a green smoothie fan then get a good blender.

Space

Once you have acquired all items, consider the space you have available. If you’re running out of bench space, then an over the sink cutting board or a moveable island can add more work space.

Keeping things in easy, logical reach is a must. Oil, spice, utensils like tongs and stirring spoons should all be near the stove; things rarely used – mix masters or serving platters given by a well meaning relative can be put on a top shelf. Cooking and life in general is made so much easier when everything you need is just there.

Similarly, keep plates and glasses away from the stove – open cupboards might look fab in a magazine, but they and anything on the shelves will attract grease and smoke when you start frying. Store these on the other side of the kitchen.

Also, consider the function of utensils and storage over the design – it may look pretty to have a set of pastel measuring cups, but if they don’t stack, hang or store in your kitchen then they will just become annoying. Make sure tins and canisters are easy to open, and items are of good enough quality to not fall apart 5 minutes out of the box.

So, armed with this knowledge, you can now go forth and be a master chef in the University of Cooking! May the Forks be with you.

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So you didn’t get the ATAR you wanted…

When the ATAR results come out, many year 12 graduates look like this:

minion_high5

But there are often many other students who look like this:

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While not getting the ATAR result you want can be really disappointing, the important thing to remember is this – it’s not the end!

In terms of university offers, there are second and third round offers still to come, plus mid-year intakes. So, sit tight your position offer may still be coming! But even if that doesn’t happen, don’t fret – there really is so many other ways for you to further your education and move towards your professional goals:

University Pathways

If you applied for a uni course and your ATAR isn’t as high as required, don’t panic. There may be other courses you can start to study with and then transfer into your preferred course second year. Alternatively, there may be similar courses that you didn’t consider when putting your preferences in that have a similar career outcome.

The best place to start when wanting to find out all the options available to you is at the uni that offers the course you applied for – talk to student services or the staff in the  pathways office.

TAFE and diplomas

While some people may think of TAFE as uni’s poor cousin, the courses they offer still provide the skills needed either to get you started in an industry, or get you ready for uni. Some courses you take at TAFE even count towards pre-requisite study for uni course transfers.

To get you started here are the links to the state TAFE websites:

 Online Study

You don’t have to go to uni to go to uni – there are some great online courses offered, often with a mix of online learning and on-campus intensive study blocks.

The biggest operator for online uni’s in Australia is Open Universities – they bring together a range of courses from Australia’s top uni’s, while Open Colleges brings together online takes of TAFE courses.

So, if you’re up for a bit of self discipline with your study then learning online is definitely a thing to consider.

Get some experience

There are lots of entry level jobs that you can get without tertiary education. And while it may not seem like a glamorous beginning, you’d be surprised at the transferable skills you pick up along the way.

There are also loads of volunteer organisations that are looking for help – some may even offer the opportunity for you to gain work experience in the career area you want to get into, making it a great way to get hands-on practical experience. The Go Volunteer website is a fantastic place to search for positions.

Reassess …

It’s possible that your ATAR result is maybe telling you something – think about it;

  • Did you actually enjoy the subjects you did in your final year of school?
  • Did you put as much effort into studying as you could have?
  • If you studied your butt off and didn’t go as well as expected is that type of subject really for you?
  • Do you really want to study the same thing for another 3 or 4 years?
  • Can you see yourself actually enjoying working in the area when you finish studying?

Now is as good a time as any to rethink where you want to go next – it’s your life so you need to be happy with the direction it takes.

Main thing is, what ever path you choose to take from here, take a deep breath, relax and ask yourself – what’s stopping me? Because when you know what is stopping you, you can work out how to change it.

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Travel Tips – Choosing Your Accommodation

Choosing the right accommodation when travelling is vital. Because, let’s face it, with just one click of the “book it” button you could be setting yourself up for a holiday in a bedbug-infested shack that causes nightmares for years (and sometimes scars – trust me, I’ve got them!)

Here are some helpful hints to help you choose the right accommodation when you’re going on a trip:

1. Research, research, research

Sites such as TripAdvisor allow you to get some honest thoughts on the accommodation. Yeah, sometimes they’re cray (you know the ones – “I wanted my eggs poached and I got fried instead! FRIED! What do they think this is?! Needless to say, we packed our bags and left immediately.” But you just gotta use your judgement and common sense. If the same negative comments about dirty bathrooms and unfriendly staff are coming up over and again, there’s more than likely some truth to it.

2. Figure out what you want and go from there

What do you want from your holiday? Is it total relaxation. Non-stop partying? Adventure? Luxury? Do you want to make new friends? Immerse yourself in the local culture? Whatever it is, it’s good to have somewhat of an idea when choosing accommodation. That way you can select places that will are more in line with what you’re hoping to get out of the trip.

3. Don’t limit yourself and know your options 

Many people, when they think of holiday accommodation, immediately think of just the traditional options, such as hotels, resorts and hostels. This can often lead to people on a budget settling for a less than ideal place. But there really is so much more out there these days – Airbnb, Couchsurfing,private rentals, guesthouses, homestays and more. Explore your options. You just don’t know what you’ll find!

4. Speak to people

Going somewhere your friends or family have been before? Ask them where they stayed. More importantly, find out if they’d recommend it! If you’re backpacking around, ask fellow travellers you meet along the way. The best way to discover the hidden gems of a city is through word of mouth.

5. Google that sh*t

Once you’ve got your shortlist, Google your potential lodging and see what comes up. The results may make your decision that much easier!

PLANNING A TRIP? You’ll find heaps of great travel advice, tips and destination information to plan your journey within the Co-op’s extensive range of Lonely Planet travel guides. Check them out here!
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How to Win in Your New Job

Meet Jim

Jim’s just about to graduate from university. Lucky for him, his hard work has paid off and he’s already been offered a new graduate position in the new year. Jim’s super stoked and really excited to begin; however, he’s a little nervous. He’s done a couple of short internships throughout his university studies, but nothing long-term. As the office arena is still pretty new to him, Jim is a little anxious about how he’s going to fit into the workplace and avoid the office politics he often hears about.

Jim wants to get off on the right foot at his new company and make good relationships. He also wants to ensure he has the opportunity to show he’s got what it takes to do great things and grow in the role.

Jim wants some advice on how he should approach the workplace “arena”?

Some advice for Jim

Starting off at a new company is always a little nerve-wracking. But it’s important to realise the importance of establishing good relationships with co-workers from day one. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t fit in straight away. That’s the same for everyone! It can sometimes be useful to look to the behaviour of your colleagues to better understand the “vibe” of the company – what’s acceptable, what’s not in terms of dress code, lunching, office hours, meeting styles, emails etcetera. This can really help to ease your anxieties about “not fitting in” to the company.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

You’re new to the company; there’s no way you can know the answers to everything. Don’t waste time trying to solve a problem on your own, as it is often less efficient and can also result in avoidable errors. Seek assistance from your manager or one of your colleagues.  This being said, do not continually ask the same question. Ask the question, listen and learn, ensure you properly understand it, and away you go!

2. Don’t take on other tasks until you’ve nailed the one you were hired for.

If you really want to become a standout at the company, begin by focusing all your attention on the role you were hired for. Once you excel at that and you prove to your manager that you have great potential, your time to shine in the spotlight will come.

3. Get to know your co-workers and build rapport.

Introduce yourself to everyone you interact with and try to get to know them on a personal level. If you are able, take a lunch break with them. Avoid existing cliques; be open to office friendships with all your co-workers, and don’t let other people’s opinions or gossiping dissuade you from getting to know someone.

4. Be honest but accepting of existing processes.

Many companies have “there way of doing things”. Many of these may not make sense to you, may seem inefficient or may be different from what you’re used to. Give the processes a chance; often you will realise why it’s implemented in such a way. If after a while you still feel the process is not working well, raise your concerns and suggest an appropriate alternative in a friendly and constructive manner. Tip: do not simply complain and not offer possible solutions.

5. Stay away from office politics.

Gossip and bitching exists in almost every office. Don’t engage with it. If you can walk away, do so. If you can’t stay out of it and keep quiet! There’s nothing to be gained from gossip in the office, and there’s plenty to be lost if it turns nasty. You’re at the beginning of your career, and building your working relationships is vital to success and growth.

6. Offer to assist where you can.

As you settle more into your role, you may want to start putting your hand up to assist your co-workers with extra projects outside your work scope. Whether this is simply sitting in on meetings or playing an integral part in a task, this will prove your are a team player and motivated to helping the business succeed. It will also give you the opportunity to learn new skills while playing an active role at your company.

7. Be enthusiastic, stay positive!

Maintaining a positive attitude at work is one of the most important things to remember when in the workplace, and it’s so very simple. Stay motivated, be enthusiastic and be bold. A successful future awaits!

 

 

 

Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Adulting

Adulting by Kelly Williams BrownI am not a university graduate.
I am not even a university student.
I am just a slightly overwhelmed 25-year old, and this is why I enjoyed Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown.

It’s not an erotic romance book filled with tales of adultery and the like. It’s a book about the stuff you should know, but may have found yourself pondering as you make your way in the world.

“One of the most jolting days of adulthood comes the first time you run out of toilet paper. Toilet paper, up until this point, always just existed. And now it’s a finite resource, constantly in danger of extinction, that must be carefully tracked and monitored, like pandas?”

Adulting appealed perfectly to my sense of humour. It is quick-witted, funny, brief and yet informative.

With the aim of showing you how to become a grown up in 468 easy(ish) steps, Adulting contains all the knowledge and social skills you should possess as an adult, or by the age of 30, which I personally believe is when you should be considered an ‘adult’ (in terms of being ultra responsible, not for things like drinking, driving or voting etc).

My favourite term discovery from the book would have to be in the ‘Grooming and Personal Hygiene’ section, where Kelly writes about makeup dos and don’ts. I had a big giggle while reading during my lunch break, when Kelly refers ‘Failure Flakes’ – those small disintegrating flakes of mascara that fall below your lash line over the day. Anyone who has worm mascara has experienced failure flakes.

But don’t go thinking that this is a book aimed at females only. There is a lot of male-specific information, but a lot of it is gender neutral. Since it’s been lying around my apartment a lot of friends have picked it up and had a flick through, and (so far) all of them have found something to have a bit of a laugh at or related to. While it is written for an American audience, Adulting is still relevant here in Australia. It’s also a fun and humorous advice book aimed at people like myself who are stumbling their way through their twenties.

A few of my other favourite quotes / life lessons from the book include:

  • ‘Do not steal more than $3 worth of office supplies per quarter’
  • ‘If we were all our most real and raw selves every moment of the day things would be just awful. The world would be full of man-size toddlers.’
  • ‘Stop enjoying things ironically. Just enjoy them.’

Finally, when reading Adulting I realised in the great big scheme of things I wasn’t doing too badly, so I actually rang the parents and thanked them for raising me so well (plus I scored some brownie points towards being the golden child).

Guest Blogger: Cat is a carefree Sydneysider, simply trying to find her way in the world. She is determined not to become her name and end up a crazy cat lady by age 30. She’s also been a Co-op Member since 2011.

 

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Getting a job on campus

Money, money, money! No, I’m not singing the lyrics of an ABBA song, I’m pointing out what a lot of university students are lacking. Cash! Sure, the idea that students are always broke may be an overused cliché. But, let’s be honest, how false is this generalisation?

At the beginning of my degree, I was living off fast food restaurant wages, which meant a big spend didn’t come around too often. But at that stage in my life I didn’t really need money, I needed time. With assignments burying me into a deep, dark hole, I needed a job that was flexible and would fit around me and my workload.

I was lucky enough to score a job working on campus.

In my first year of uni I was slightly judgemental of the people who, in my mind, ‘lived and breathed university.’ You know those people that are basically shoving pamphlets down your throat, yelling at you to save one group, attend this rally or trying to get you to vote for someone you’ve never met – yeah them! But, looking at it now from the opposite side, these people actually were being smart and thinking ahead.

Working for a university was the best job I’ve ever had.

In some way I am a chronic job changer. In a period of two years I have worked at eight different places. But, the uni was definitely the job that ticked all the boxes. Decent pay, nice workplace and flexible, really awesome people. What more could you ask for?

Two-and-half years of working at a uni, all while studying, gave me more skills than someone who had completed a degree and was trying to find their way in the real working world.  When I said that those ‘uni-loving’ people thought ahead, take a second to think about their resume and then take a look at yours. If you want to get yourself ready for a life after university then start now in a professional workplace.

I understand that uni students do an amazing job at the check-out, or asking if someone wants fries with that. But, when an employer is hiring who do you think they’re more likely to choose: candidate A, who worked two years at their local grocery store;  or candidate B, who helped organise events, tutor fellow students and helped the student community? So, get ready now and prepare yourself for a life after university. Because it’s a sad reality when you walk away after graduation with a resumé of nothing more than a couple of short internships and a few years of food service.

It’s really as simple as heading to your university’s website and taking a look at the career section. There you’ll find loads of employment. Put aside your biases and really look at each opportunity as a chance to boost your chances for a future career path. There are plenty of opportunities out there on your campus, so check it out and give it a go. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Guest Blogger: Bradley is an over-excited and sometimes charismatic journalism graduate from UTS. He enjoys talking people’s ears off and taking #selfies – you can connect with Brad here – Instagram: BRADBIRNIE, Facebook or LinkedIn.

UnProfessional by Jack Delosa

5 business lessons you won’t learn in any degree

Gen Y millionaire & university drop-out Jack Delosa shares 5 business lessons you won’t learn in any degree

1. Find a hungry crowd.

Let’s assume you’re starting a restaurant, what’s the number one thing you want that restaurant to have to ensure its success?

Good food, a great menu, good location, good ambience, vibrant people? I would argue that the number one thing you want to find is a hungry crowd. People who are hungry for whatever you are selling.

If you want to start a business, the rate at which you get traction will be the rate to which you can find a genuine demand in the market and address it with the right ‘product to market fit’ and the right ‘message to market fit’. This cannot (read: CANNOT) be done in a text book, with spreadsheets or an elaborately worded business plan. The only way to achieve this is to go to market quickly and keep adopting what you’re offering and who you’re offering it to until you start to get traction and momentum.

2. A small business is not a smaller version of a big business.

One cannot take big business principles and try to apply them to start-ups. It is a completely different game. You have very little money, if any. No brand. Very few people. No million dollar advertising budget. Therefore, throw out everything you ever learnt about working in a large business, and approach this game with a fresh set of eyes, ready to learn from the one person that matters; your customer.

3. Don’t plan.

Big businesses will plan a new product for years. They will plan a marketing campaign for months. They will plan a Facebook post for weeks. As a start-up, to plan is to guess. The fastest and most effective way to build your knowledge of what will work and what will not work, is to go to market, figure out what works and what doesn’t and change according to that. After doing this for a couple of years, hopefully you’ll find a viable business model that can now scale.

4. Rate of learning trumps talent.

Talent is overrated. Particularly in business. The most successful entrepreneurs in the world, often started with very little talent and very little opportunity. Through hard-work and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, it is not their talent that differentiates them but rather their rate of learning. In early stage business our lessons will come from making mistakes, speaking with mentors, engaging in real-world education programs and getting to know our customer.

5. The game is played in your head.

Owning your own business is not a nine-to-five gig. It’s full-on, stressful, demanding and very fast-paced, and that’s if you’re doing it well. As a business owner your ability to shoulder the pressure and carry the emotional discomfort, while remaining level headed and happy, is what will differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.

UnProfessional by Jack Delosa

 

Jack Delosa is an entrepreneur and investor who was recently described by Sunrise as “The Young Aussie Millionaire That Didn’t Finish Uni.” At the age of 27, Jack has created two multi-million dollar businesses, MBE Education and The Entourage. Jack is the author of recently released, UnProfessional – How a 26 year-old university dropout became a self-made millionaire and how you can do the same.

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HELP!

Erm, so that we’re all on the same page here, we’re talking about the government’s Higher Education Loan Program, not one of The Beatles’ hit songs.

Now that that’s sorted, let’s investigate uni fees and how the HELP program can help you (so much dad-joke material here, we’re loving it).

HELP – known pre-2005 as HECS – assists eligible Commonwealth-supported students in paying their compulsory contribution amounts via a loan (read: you do have to pay it back!). The government basically pays your institution the tuition fees that you would normally have to pay, which can rack up to quite a lot. Oh, and if you can afford it, any up-front payments of $500 or more get a 10% discount on the amount paid.

Now, the scary part we know you’re all thinking… how the hell do you pay it all back?! Uni fees can really add up over the years, especially if you chop and change your majors or courses along the way, which does happen. The pay-back scheme kicks in once you start earning more than a certain amount each year. This figure changes annually, but for the financial year 2012-13, the compulsory repayment threshold is $49,095. In other words, once you start earning more than this annually you have to start paying it back; the exact percentage amount determined by your income bracket. Lost? See here for more details.

To find out if you’re eligible for a HELP loan, how to set it up, or for any other information visit Australian Government Study Assist, or the ATO website.