taking notes

taking notes

Five Secrets to Acing Your Final

I don’t mean to brag, but I have taken roughly 50 tests in my college career, and I’m proud to say I have had only two C’s. The rest were A’s and B’s. No, I’m not a genius, but years of test taking has taught me the best strategy to acing any exam.

This year, skip the all-night cramming, and read these tips on how to successfully prepare for your finals.

No more than a cup: Too much caffeine can make you anxious and make you feel apprehensive about the upcoming test. So, if you need an energy boost when you get out of bed, only have one cup of coffee, or get your energy from natural sources.

Read the rest of this entry »



5 Ways to Improve Your Study Habits

StudyingDo you spend hours studying for a test only to get a C or lower? Most of the time, it’s not how long you study for a test, it’s how you study for a test that earns you an A.

Students often cram three to five hours the night before an exam, and they still don’t feel like they’re prepared. Though cramming may work for some students, it didn’t work for me, and if you’re getting C’s on your test, it’s not working for you either.

Here’s five ways to improve your study habits:

Take notes: This is an obvious solution, but some students think they don’t need to take notes to do well in a class. In my experience, however, good note-taking has gotten me several A’s. Writing something down helps with memorization. You don’t have to fill a whole spiral notebook with notes, just write down keywords. Here’s a hint: if your professor writes something down on the board, that probably means it will be on the test, so write that down too. Read the rest of this entry »



New Sharpie Pencils Top List of Must-Have School Supplies

sharpie pencilThe starting school year is upon us, and with it comes the ever constant quest for the best school supplies before heading back to the classroom. For those in elementary, middle and high school, a universal list is provided. But what about school supply recommendations for college or technical school students to follow?

For those sitting in lecture halls, trying to absorb all the material that is shared by the professor, there are definitely some tools that can make the school year easier. Laptops and computers are expensive, but quickly becoming essential. The laptop can be used for completing writing assignments, doing research, as well as taking notes in class and corresponding with professors and fellow students. A regular desktop computer kept in your dorm room can be used to complete assignments if you don’t have a laptop, but for those that don’t have access to a personal computer, most schools are stocked with several computer labs that are open to students, many of them on a 24 hour basis.

Of course, a computer isn’t going to be the only thing you need for class, but it’s a great start. Read the rest of this entry »



Evernote – The iPhone App Students Can’t Live Without

Evernote is a software application I invented in my mind long before it arrived, but unfortunately didn’t quite have the means to create. Some tech people beat me to it, as usual.Evernote

How often do you find yourself wishing you had written down a website you looked at, or an item you saw that you wanted to purchase? Anything found digitally that you wish to remember is as easy as popping it right into your Evernote account. The information is indexed, and available for searching whenever you need it. Read the rest of this entry »



Adjusting from High School Academic Expectations to College

Most incoming college students are in for a shock when they first enter a college classroom—even if they did well academically in high school. The set of expectations are quite different, and it takes some time to get used to the changes. Here are the changes you can expect.

First and foremost, you are responsible for your own education. College instructors will be more than happy to answer questions and help you if you stop by their office hours. But they’re not. It’s up to you to:

    • Read the syllabus and know when your deadlines are. In high school, you may have had daily reminders about what to read for the next class period, or that a paper is due next week. Not so in college.This information is all on the syllabus, and you’re responsible for keeping track of it.
    • Take good notes. Although the instructor might use PowerPoint or give you some kind of outline to help you organize your notes, don’t count on it. You need to pay attention and get it all down.
    • Figure out what’s going to be on the test. Yes, you might get study sheets and some information from the instructor about what to study. However, in a college classroom, anything you read or hear about in class in fair game for the test.
    • Get help if you need it. Help is available, but you have to ask for it.

Second, one big change from high school is the amount of time you’re expected to spend studying. Instructors generally expect 2 to 3 hours of time outside of class for every credit hour you spend in class. That means if you’re taking 15 credits, you’re expected to spend 30 to 45 hours outside of class studying every week. Sound like a lot? Not if you want to do well.

Another big change is the difficult level of the reading. Your reading assignments will be longer and more difficult—and you’ll be expected to complete them.

Finally, a big change is your schedule itself. Although you’ll probably have an academic adviser to help you out, no one is going to tell you exactly what you need to take. You get to choose your major, choose your electives, and figure out which classes you need to fulfill the requirements for the school and the major. If you forget to take a class that’s required for graduation, you won’t graduate–end of story. Again, academic advising can help you—but you have to seek this out. It’s rarely required for students to meet with their academic advisors, so take advantage of the help that’s available.

If this sounds overwhelming, it is—but it does get easier if you’re willing to put in the work. Come to college expecting to be a little overwhelmed, and know that you’re not alone.





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