When I was in college, I was a “cram” all-star: during mid-terms and finals weeks, you’d find me with a cup of coffee permanently attached to my hand for yet another all-nighter, scouring my notes and textbooks. Today, students have a vast universe of tech-driven tools at their disposal to help them study and keep organized which may help to make sleep deprivation a thing of the past!
With everything that’s out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’ve compiled what I think are the best offerings available, along with a little wisdom I picked up during my time as a student. Have a great semester!
- Leverage the Web – Join social learning sites such as Course Hero and Koofers to share the knowledge and learn from other students. Also, check out #textbooktuesday, a day for sharing study tips, by following @textbooks on Twitter!
- Study Groups Go Virtual – There’s no doubt that study groups are a great way of sharing information and getting to know new people. Instead of trudging across campus to the assigned meeting spot, try using Google Docs to conduct your study groups online like you were in online schools. Multiple users can edit documents in real time, meaning that note sharing is made seamless. Did we mention it’s free? And don’t forget Facebook – it makes it easy to find and friend classmates, expanding your network of study partners and note sharing reach.
- Blackboards go mobile– Many colleges and universities are listed on Blackboard, and more and more professors are using the platform to interact with students inside and outside of the classroom. The site just announced the launch of a Smart Phone app, making those interactions even easier.
- Taking notes – Because many professors don’t allow laptops in the classroom, you’re stuck taking notes by hand – but even that can be done more efficiently. Try the 2/6 method, which refers to the way you divide the space on your notepaper. Make two columns and use the red border line on the left as the marker for the “2” line – where you highlight the most important points, and the rest of the page as the “6” column, where you take your notes. This way you’re organized from the get-go, and when studying for exams you make sure you’re focused on the points your professor stressed the most during lectures.
- Brain Food – Your brain is powered by proper nutrition. Medical researchers agree that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain function. Cafeteria not serving salmon? Walnuts are one of the best natural sources of omega-3’s, and supplements are widely available and affordable. Easy recipe – drain off those microwave noodles and add some crushed walnuts and red pepper flakes (gourmet!) or mix some chopped walnuts into the peanut bar jar for your “peanut butter fingers special”.
- Have fun – Don’t let yourself get too stressed – take time to have fun, even while studying. “Study breaks” are healthy, keep you focused and help avoid burnout. Whatever your favorite form of dorm fun – even Facebook stalking or sending a “still studying” Tweet – just keep it legal and you can call it part of good study habits.
Whether you earn your degree via online schools or a campus institution, study these tips!
JT Thome is COO of Textbooks.com, the site that has the cheapest prices on the planet’s biggest selection of hand-inspected used textbooks.
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