As students we have to read and study, unfortunately. The real challenge, though, is to do these tasks effectively in order to not only learn the material, but also to get that most desirable grade of not a failure. To do this, I have compiled some general rules for some of the major aspects of college/school studies.
Rules for Reading:
- Take notes. Color code them to help with retention; try using crayons, it has been found that the combination of scent and color helps people to remember what they wrote.
- At least skim the book before lecture to familiarize yourself with the content.
- Read the book after lecture, this way it makes more sense when you are reading.
Rules for Writing:
- Only have one idea per paragraph.
- Get to the point, don’t ramble.
- Don’t start multiple sentences in your paragraph with the same word, unless you are going for a repetitive emphasis.
- Even if you use spellcheck, that doesn’t guarantee that the word you are looking for is correct. Eye should no.
- Watch your use of rite, right, write, Wright, its, it’s, there, they’re, their, affect, effect, etc. (also goes with the spell check rule).
- Look here for more tips.
- Watch this (below) for some help.
Rules for Studying:
- Make your studying more involved than just reading. Make pictures, videos, speeches, lectures, artwork, etc that relates to the topic. Prove to yourself and others that you know the topic and make it interesting.
- Take notes, have separate notebooks/binders/folders for each subject
- Ask questions.
- Research the topic online if you need more help, there is a list of websites that are helpful below.
- Rewrite your notes.
- Rewrite your rewritten notes.
- Repetition helps. Remember to repeatedly look over things.
- Get some sleep, it helps with retention.
- Spread your studying time out, study daily, not just before exams
Rules for Managing Time:
- Have goals.
- Have priorities.
- Have a plan.
- Have scheduled breaks.
Will work for food…
- Always have a to-do list, laminate it for shower times.
- Sleep 7-8 hours daily/nightly.
Websites That You Should Use:
- Khan Academy – Here you can find video tutorials and practice exercises on various subjects. This is really useful if you need things explained in a different, step-by-step, way, if you missed class, want to learn something new, or you just need some more practice. The videos all contain visuals as the problem is worked out and explained, and the practice problems relate well to the lessons which makes it easier to get the practice you need and to jump in at any point of the sequence of lessons if you feel like you understand everything.
- Chegg – This website sells textbooks, but more importantly it has solutions for the questions found in those textbooks. It is a great utility to have when you are stuck on a question because most, if not all of the solutions, are worked out with explanations. Which is great, even if the questions numbers are not the same as the problem you are working on it acts as a great example to use where you can plug-n-chug through the equations or get an explanation as to where the values are coming from and apply that knowledge to your problem.
- Wolfram Alfa – If you are in a math heavy class, definitely add this to your favorites. This website is like a virtual calculator. It does all the basics, such as add, subtract, multiply, and divide; but, it also integrates, mods, sums, takes limits, and graphs pretty much anything you through at it. Also, if you have a subscription, use your student email it costs less that way, it will also show the work for how it came to the answer.
- EasyBib – Works Cited pages, also known as Bibliographies, are a pain to make. MLA, APA, AMA, ASA doesn’t matter which, all of them can be irritating to remember the rules for. With this site, you can copy in the url of a website or pdf, or even search for the title and authors of your book and it will generate the citation for you. If it can’t find all of the information it will as you for that information if you can find it. Then you can print it out, hanging indents and all, in perfect whatever your professor wants format.
- Thesaurus.com – I know, this one seems random… but when it comes to creative writing, or just writing in general, adjectives and varying word choices can definitely make your life easier, as well as expand your vocabulary. This site will, much like a dictionary, give the definition of whatever word you input but unlike a dictionary its main focus are the synonyms and antonyms of that word. If you are a few words short on your word count, instead of adjusting your settings just add some adjectives to your nouns and help bump up that word count!
- Sparknotes – Who didn’t use this in high school? Here you can find study guides for various subjects, but more importantly you can find detailed summaries for literature that schools often, for some reason, insist that you read. These summaries are often divided up by every couple of chapters (or acts for Shakespearean plays). Usually people need this link here.
- StudyStack – Allows you to make online flashcards and creates playable online games with the information input.
- StudyBlue – Also allows you to make online flashcards, but also allows you to search for flashcards made by others on the topic you are looking for.
- The Purdue OWL – Most professors’ go-to when it comes to how they want you to cite, well, anything. A great resource to have bookmarked and used in conjunction with EasyBib. Click here for the MLA formatting guide.