Short & Sweet

Many universities offer workshops on effective time management.

These courses will help you become goal-directed in your work and get through your studies faster.

You will need plenty of time to complete your academic work.

International offices

All German higher education institutions have International Offices or – in German – Akademische Auslandsämter. They advise and support international students and are often your first point of contact on campus. They also organise events and put you in contact with other international students. On this website you’ll find contact details for 

Study habits: how to improve them

The Studienberatung – student advisory service – can support you with answers about time planning, studying successfully and increasing your motivation. During the consultation, expert advisors take your personal situation, skills and needs into consideration.

You can work out a plan and create structures with someone from the advisory service to help you study more efficiently, and in developing the right learning strategies. “MyStudy” at the University of Hanover is one such service. Regardless of whether it is about difficulties in organizing time, improving performance on exams, or the desire to improve your study habits, a visit to the student advisory service is worthwhile. Especially if you are new to a university, contact the advisory service if you are unsure about anything. They can discuss your problems with you, or quickly find a suitable working group.

Individual or group tutoring?

Does being tutored work better individually or in a group? „I mostly work in individual coaching sessions with the students, because the best solution lies within oneself“, explains Kerstin Zimmermann from the learning advisory service at the University of Regensburg. Workshops for groups are also offered at Regensburg. The learning workshop for freshmen at the beginning of the semester is a good example. The aim is to promote the exchange between academic disciplines and to teach techniques such as mind mapping or working in learning groups.

Leonie Anding from Lüneburg has already taken part in one of these workshops. “I was introduced to techniques and strategies to better organize my studies, my time and myself”, she says. “Since then, I always make to-do lists so that I can get everything done on time and not forget anything.” Kerstin Zimmermann has also received a lot of positive feedback. Both are particularly enthusiastic about the swift progress in improving studying skills and grades on exams.

A female student explaining something to a class of students
A female student explaining something to a class of students© DAAD/ Henning Ross

Take advantage of opportunities!

If you are a little shy at the beginning about going to a learning seminar or student advisor, this is completely normal and shouldn’t put you off. Advice from trained professionals can help a lot, so take the opportunity! You can find the student advisory service at your university on the university’s website, or often on bulletin boards in the university or in the library. Just make an appointment or go to the open consultation hours that usually take place once a week.

Take plenty of time for academic writing

The internet plays an important role when it comes to effective time management. On the one hand, it is a great time saver. While a few years ago you used to have to read through dozens of thick textbooks before writing, nowadays you can do it a lot faster with an online search engine. But on the other hand, it is also a temptation. It is very easy to put together an impressive text that you could never have written yourself simply by using copy and paste.
So be forewarned! Anyone who does this without using quotation marks or naming the source can run into serious problems in German universities. Plagiarism, or the incorrect use of someone else’s thoughts or the theft of intellectual property, is not tolerated. Penalties are harsh and include being expelled from university. Because the internet does not forget, infractions can be pursued even years after your paper has been written. Some German politicians have been caught plagiarising papers for their degrees, and it has ruined their careers.

Two students sitting on a small table in a library studying
Two students sitting on a small table in a library studying© DAAD/ Henning Ross

Better be safe than sorry

There are clear rules for academic work

There are very specific rules so that you cannot really plagiarise something by accident. Usually, footnotes are required for direct quotes. These are small numbers that mark the quotations and key ideas and thoughts in the text. At the bottom of the page, or at the very end of the thesis, you can find the corresponding numbers with the exact source, if applicable.

In addition to the correct use of quotations, academic writing also means introducing or developing your own creative and personal thoughts. Other elements are dealing critically and in detail with your chosen topic, picking a logical, systematic structure for your argumentation, and formulating it in a precise but objective way. In other words, other writers’ thoughts may, and should, be used (provided they are properly attributed!), but something new and of your own must arise from them.


The earlier you learn to use your time in a structured manner, the more motivated and successfully you will study.

This, plus the ability to formulate your thoughts precisely on paper, will help you later in life and can help you reach your goals faster.