College Study Tips

Studying tips

Liberal Arts Colleges Are Losing Their Luster

Written By: aaldana - Oct• 08•12

CityTownInfo.com recently released an article that went over the dramatic decline in liberal arts colleges in America. The article was sparked by a study from Michigan State University that indicated a 39% decrease in these schools since 1990. Many of these schools shut down because of financial difficulties, but others simply changed their programs to reflect modern-day job demands, offering vocational training in place of the arts.

MSU professor Roger Baldwin suggests that losing liberal arts programs could lead to a widespread decline in academia for American colleges. In an interview about the aforementioned study, Baldwin asserts that “we should renew and reinvigorate these valuable institutions before liberal arts colleges disappear from the higher education landscape or shrink to the status of a minor educational enclave that serves only the elite.” Baldwin’s pride has been met with great debate, but he is encouraging others to rally with him to save the remaining liberal arts schools in the country. Only time will tell how much support he will gain.

For now, the increase in job prosperity in the medical and technological fields indicate a continual decline in the need for liberal arts. Nevertheless, there will always be people out there willing to work as philosophers, anthropologists, and the like. They may just have to look harder to find a learning institute to attend.

5 Foods to Avoid When Studying

Written By: aaldana - Aug• 27•12

Some foods are said to have positive impacts on a college student‘s ability to study, but there are just as many foods out there that can have a negative impact. If you want to get the most out of your study sessions, you need to know which snacks to avoid. Here are five foods you don’t want to eat come study time.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods will mess with your stomach and cause you to make instant bathroom runs. (Yes, that would be runs because of runs) you may love the Blazin’ sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings, but you need to reserve that for another time. The last thing you want is an upset stomach while studying.

Turkey

Turkey is very heavy, and it is guaranteed to make you sleepy. Try a different meat instead or eat a nice salad. This may not sound as delicious, but it will definitely help you study.

Bread

Bread is highly absorbent, so it will soak up anything you drink after eating it. This will make your stomach feel incredibly full, which will either cause a tummy ache or make you very sleepy. Try to eat crackers instead of bread. They’re not quite as absorbent, and they still taste great with most sandwich toppings.

Potato Chips

This is more of a mess standpoint than anything else. Potato chips are inherently greasy, and they’re bound to make a mess all over your books. Stick with crackers or at the very least baked chips if you want to maintain some shred of cleanliness.

Candy

The sugar high from candy may be great, but it comes with a crash you won’t want. Try to each fruit instead because it contains natural sugars. Apples, oranges, pomegranates and more are all great for staying alert, and they will keep you awake or a longer period of time. Avoid the Starburst and gummy bears until after your test. Then you can pig out all you want.

The Proper Way to Take Notes in Class

Written By: aaldana - Jul• 21•12

No matter whom you are or what your major is, you are going to have to take notes to get through college classes. You may be able to get away with not doing that in an online college because you can rewind the video lectures, but you still need to have reference materials to study. If you have never actually worked on your note taking skills, consider this a much needed slap in the face. I’ll get you prepared to take notes like a pro so you won’t have to worry about missing anything at school again. Are you ready for this?

Prepare ahead of Time

It may seem a little dorky to read about a subject before you go to class, but doing so will help you pick up on information better. If your professor tells you that he will be talking about chapter five in the next lesson, then read chapter five the day before. You don’t have to memorize the information in it, but you at least need to be familiar with it. Print off any PowerPoint slides the professor gives you ahead of time, and get ready to take notes directly on them. This will make everything easy to follow later on.

Write Shortened Information

Rather than jotting down full sentences, just make bullet points about importance facts. So far in this article, your notes may say nothing more than “Read before. Print PP. Use bullets.” See how that covers all of my information in just a couple words? It wouldn’t take me long to write those couple words by hand, and it probably wouldn’t take you long either. You can come up with your own short hand if you like, or you could even go as far as learning how to type like a court reporter. Just find a way to reduce the amount of time you spend writing so you can retain as much information as possible.

Use a Highlighter

When your professor refers to a part of your book, use your highlighter to mark it down. This will give you a chance to remember the important areas of discussion later on, and it will help you find what you need when you’re flipping through pages. Try to use the highlighter sparingly because using it too much may actually detract from its emphasis. Get some tabs for the pages with highlighter marks so you can easily flip to them when you need to. This is all just a matter of planning for the future.

No matter what classes you are taking or what your major may be, you can use the tips above to take notes well. This is an art that will help you at work and throughout your time at school, so you might as well learn it thoroughly. Test out a few of these ideas and see if you can come up with any on your own. As long as you find a solution that works well for you, you’ll be able to take notes like a pro.

Scheduling Your Tests for Lucky Days

Written By: aaldana - May• 12•12

Filipinos are somewhat superstitious when it comes to numbers and dates. According to pinoy culture, there are certain days of the year that are said to bring good luck to people around the world. There are also days that are considered unlucky, somewhat like the idea of Friday the 13th in America. If you have the opportunity to take your tests for your FBI training or general degree program whenever you want, you may want to schedule the exams on these lucky days. That can’t hurt, can it? Here are just a few lucky and unlucky days to keep in mind this year.

Lucky Days
If you’re looking to get a little lucky on a test this upcoming semester, you may mark these dates on your calendar:

  • January: 1, 3, 4, 5, 28, 29
  • February: 2, 4, 5, 17, 26, 27, 28
  • March: 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
  • April: 2, 6, 25, 26, 27
  • May: 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 18, 20
  • June: 3, 5, 16, 19, 24, 30
  • July: 4, 12, 15, 19, 26
  • August: 6, 9, 14, 19, 26, 31
  • September: 3, 12, 20, 21, 29
  • October: 7, 12, 17, 24, 29, 30
  • November: 1, 2, 11, 18, 23, 28
  • December: 5, 8, 16, 20, 24, 25

If you have a birthday on one of those dates, consider yourself extremely lucky. Something good may be coming your way soon enough. Since many Filipino recipes call for fresh vegetables, Filipinos also believe in lucky planting days. Plan your brain food garden around these dates next year:

  • January: 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 18, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31
  • February: 2, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 17, 18, 24, 26
  • March: 3, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29
  • April: 1, 4, 11, 12, 14, 21, 22, 26, 27
  • May: 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 18, 19, 29, 30, 31
  • June: 7, 8, 10, 16, 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27
  • July: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31
  • August: 1, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28
  • September: 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30
  • October: 3, 7, 10, 12, 16, 17, 21, 22, 26, 27
  • November: 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 19, 20, 24, 27, 30
  • December: 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31

Unlucky Days
You’re obviously going to want to avoid unlucky days when you schedule your tests. Putting them on these dates could lead to an instant F if you aren’t careful. Here are some of the unlucky days of the year, according to Filipino beliefs:

  • March 18
  • September 18
  • August 18

If you have to take a test on one of those days, keep your black cats caged and your ladders shut, just in case. You don’t need any more bad luck than you have to have. You obviously don’t have to believe in all of this, but it is kind of fun to think about. You can make adjustments to your calendar to work around these days, or you can just keep them in your mind for shits and giggles. I obviously won’t care either way ;) Good luck on your next test!

Studying with the Help of a Tutor

Written By: aaldana - Apr• 21•12

Every college student has that one class that he or she cannot get the hang of. You might be struggling with your software developer courses, history courses, language courses, English courses, or whatever else you are taking at this time. No matter what your schedule looks like, you should be able to find some sort of tutor that will work with you to understand the materials. You just have to know where to look at what to look for. Here are some tips to help you find a good tutor so you can get through college with your head on straight.

How to Find a Good Tutor

A good tutor is going to be someone who has a lot of experience in a subject. This person may already have a degree in the subject, or he may just know a lot about it to begin with. If you can manage to find someone with a background in teaching, he or she will provide the ideal solution for you. Otherwise, you may have to just look for people on campus or online who can help you out. Don’t be afraid to work with someone over the internet, as that may be a more convenient option for both of you. As long as you get the studying help you need for school, the venue for your tutoring should not matter.

You may ask your professors about suggestions for your tutor because they might know of someone who can help you out. If they don’t, they may at least be able to hook you up with a learning center so you can start testing out your tutoring options. You could ask your friends for suggestions as well and see if any of them have good experiences with a tutor from their past. If so, you will just need to get some contact information and start looking for your perfect educational match. There is someone out there to work with. You just have to make an effort to find him or her.

What You Might Pay for Tutoring Services

In some rare instances, you may be able to snag some tutoring for free. This is usually the case when a teacher’s assistant runs a quick study session before a big exam. If you need more help than that, you need to be prepared to pay for it. The rates you might have to pay will vary from one tutor to the next, so you may just have to explore your options. Here is a look at the average pay rates for tutoring services nowadays:

Average Rates by Years of Experience

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $7.93 – $20.19 per hour
  • 1-4 years of experience: $8.18 – $29.01 per hour
  • 5-9 years of experience: $9.82 – $41.18 per hour
  • 10-19 years of experience: $12.45 – $52.01 per hour
  • 20 years or more of experience: $12.53 – $58.47 per hour

Average Rates by Location

  • California: $9.04 – $31.04 per hour
  • Florida: $8.13 – $30.77 per hour
  • Illinois: $8.54 – $49.55 per hour
  • New Jersey: $7.70 – $46.64 per hour
  • New York: $9.59 – $50.68 per hour
  • Ohio: $7.57 – $29.42 per hour
  • Texas: $9.64 – $40.73 per hour

You may be able to save some money with group tutoring sessions, but that will limit the amount of questions you can ask. Test the field a little bit, and hopefully you will be able to avoid a bad experience in college.

How to Study at Work

Written By: aaldana - Apr• 08•12

If you are going to school and working at the same time, you may find it difficult to get through all of your studies because of your work schedule. Even if you have the flexibility of online classes, you still have to find the time to study in the midst of holding down a job. This is one of the hardest aspects of being a college student because of the sheer stress that comes with life in college. Lucky for you, there are a few things you can do to study at work so that you can combine the two areas of your life. Here are some tips to help you get through your schooling, even when you’re working 9 to 5.

Use Your Breaks Wisely

Rather than using your entire lunch break to feed your face, why not multi-task and do a little studying? You could listen to lectures on your computer, or you could read while you eat your lunch. If you are going to do that, you may want to eat in your car so that you can have a quiet environment to learn in. Otherwise you may get distracted by the gossip going on around you. You have to show some self discipline if you want to get through your college courses. Is that means eating in your car every now and then, so be it.

Study in the Bathroom

As awkward as this may sound, you do have an opportunity to log some studying hours while you are going to the bathroom. This may not be the most luxurious way to learn information for class, but it is an opportunity to consider. Of course, this depends on how long you plan to be in the bathroom. We won’t get into that though. Bring some index cards with you in your purse to flip through while you’re in the restroom. As long as you’re not in there for 20 minutes at a time, I think you should be good to go.

Listen to Audio Files

If you have a job that does not require a lot of actual thinking, you may consider listening to audio files of your school textbooks. This won’t work for a lot of professions, but it is an option to keep on the backburner. For instance, I work as a writer and therefore need my brain all the time when I’m at work. My husband does a lot of managerial work for our business, which requires less thinking and more “doing.” He can listen to video lectures from his classes because he doesn’t have to drill away at work like I do. You have to figure out if you will be able to do this or not.

Get through Work Early

If you get though your work early, you may be able to create enough down time to study like you would at home. If not, you might actually be allowed to leave early because you got done so soon. Working efficiently will lead to better pay rates and job opportunities, so it is not a bad trait to have. You just have to focus on the chance to study and use it as motivation to get through your work.

If you can’t find a way to study when you are working, you may just want to find a way to minimize your stress so you can focus when you get home. Create a peaceful learning environment for you to work in, and your brain will help no trouble soaking in all that you offer it.

Studying around a Busy Schedule

Written By: aaldana - Mar• 24•12

If you have a busy schedule, you may find it impossible to study for your college courses. Working in a study break for Herzing University online may be damn near impossible with a family to raise and a job at Red Lobster, but it is something you have to do if you want to get through college. Time management always becomes an issue in the midst of chaos, but it is something that you can learn to work around with the right motivation. Before you give up on school altogether, you may just want to learn how to squeeze in your studies where you can. The tips below should help you do just that.

Take Online Courses

Online classes usually have really flexible schedules, so you can study for them when you actually have the time. That does not mean that you can push all of your class work to the end of the week. It just means that you can make time for class whenever you don’t have to work or go to some sort of event. My husband and I work online, so we are actually able to schedule both our jobs and our class work around whatever else is going on in our lives. This is a great setup and one that you should really look into in the future.

Study before Bed

If you take 10 or 20 minutes a night to study for your classes, you will have a much easier time remembering information when you need to take a test or do an assignment. Your mind remembers information a lot better when you sleep because it does not have any distractions. It can just process whatever you read and retain it for use in the future. It is a lot easier to study in short spurts like this than it is to study over long periods of time. Just about everyone can sacrifice 20 minutes before bed. Get in the habit of studying before you go to sleep, and you should find yourself in a much better place come test day.

Study in Chunks

Try to break your studies into small chunks of information. Then you can work in each chunk whenever you get the chance. For instance, you may break up a chapter by page or by subheadings. You may break up a set of vocab words in sets of 10. If you just focus on chunks of information, you will have an easier time retaining what you read because you won’t have to digest as much. It is the same theory as memorizing one phone number at a time, not the phone book. See what I mean? Chunking information makes memorization a lot easier, so give it a try and see what you think.

Final Thoughts

Having a busy schedule can be a struggle some times, but it is something that you will eventually learn to deal with. My husband and I have balanced school, marriage, and business ownership at the same time before, and we’re still alive to talk about it. The key to this whole process is to know what time frame you have to work with and then do whatever it takes to use that effectively. If you can work efficiently and study efficiently, you will be set for life.

PS: I find that making a schedule early on in the week allows me to stay on track a lot easier. Try to make a study plan as soon as possible so you can get a lot done with a busy schedule.

Memorization Tips for College Students

Written By: aaldana - Mar• 10•12

The art of memorizing information is a difficult one to master. Most people struggle to learn all of the information they need for a test because they don’t know how to memorize it effectively. If you struggle to retain information after you read it 100 times over, you may be doing something wrong. Rather than giving up as a result of this, you really need to think about improving your memorization skills so that you can take tests with confidence in the future. A little effort could go a long way in the end. Here are some tips that you should be able to use to remember information better in the future.

One Step at a Time

You can’t memorize a huge set of information all at once. It just isn’t going to happen. Instead of trying to shove as much as you can into your mind at one time, you need to break up the information into small chunks to learn one by one. If you have a set of 50 vocabulary words to learn, study 10 of them a day over the course of 5 days. That way your brain only has a little bit of info to process at one time, making easier for it to retain everything for the future. Take on sections, not chapters, if you want to memorize something successfully.

Sleep on It

Your brain processes information while you sleep, so try to study right before you go to bed if you can. That way your mind can gather all of the information you just tried to shove into it and file it away in your long term memory. You may end up with some funky dreams as a result of this, but at least you will be prepared for an upcoming test.

If you can’t study before you go to sleep, try taking a nap after you study. If you can sleep for 90 minutes after you get done trying to memorize a set of information, you should wake up with some sort of memory of the info. Look over the information once again when you get up to refresh your memory, and then you should have it in your head for a little while.

Use It or Lose It

If you don’t make an effort to use the information you are memorizing, you will have a hard time remembering it in the future. If you are learning vocabulary words for your tattoo artist certification, try to use them in a sentence. If you are learning about a time in history, refer to it in casual conversation. Just make an effort to work whatever it is you are learning into your daily life. This may seem a little forced, but it will help you connect the information with your real life. Then all you have to do is think about something that is familiar to you in order to remember the facts or words.

Conclusion

Memorization comes easier for some people than it does for others. If you struggle to retain the information you read, you may just need to take more time to learn it. You could also be struggling because you are not learning the information in the right way. If you are a visual learner, you need visual aids. If you are an audio learner, you need to hear the information, rather than reading it. Making little adjustments like this can have a significant impact on your ability to memorize things in the future. Once you get a hang of the process, you should have no trouble getting through it time after time.

PS: You can find out what type of learner you are with this quiz: What type of learner are you?

Quick Ways to Boost Your Energy Level

Written By: aaldana - Mar• 03•12

Studying is a taxing process, and it is one that can easily put you to sleep over time. If you are having trouble staying awake when you study, you may want to find a way to boost your energy so you can make it through the process. I’m not talking about popping a 5 Hour Energy and hoping you stay up that long. There are plenty of other ways to perk up without having to chug that nasty crap. Seeing that I pulled tons of all-nighters during my days as an architecture student, I figured I would share some of my secrets to staying up. Follow the tips below, and you should have enough energy to get through late night study sessions.

Power Naps

A simple 20 minute nap can provide you with as much energy as a cup of coffee. That sounds crazy, but it is true. 20 minutes is just enough time for your body to rest without falling into deep sleep. If you can sprinkle in a few power naps during your study sessions, you should be able to perk yourself up long enough to study. The sleep will also give your mind a chance to retain the information you are trying to shove in it. This is a winning situation all the way around.

Peppy Music

I type on the computer all day long, so I get really sleepy when I have to work for extended period of time. The screen just makes me drowsy, which causes me to start typing like thisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. I know that this is going to happen, so I choose to listen to upbeat music to keep my mind going. The music makes me want to dance and move around, which keeps me from falling asleep at the keyboard. Find something that you like to listen to and see if it can help you stay awake.

Eat Fruit

Fruit is rich in natural sugars, and those natural sugars will inevitably perk you up. If you drink soda or eat candy, you are only going to get a temporary boost of energy from the sugars in them. If you eat fruit or drink smoothies while you study, you are more likely to sustain your energy levels for long periods of time. Think about that as you go to put a snack together for yourself because the king sized Snickers bar in the cabinet may not be ideal for you.

Avoid Comfy Furniture

It is really tempting to sit in a comfortable chair while you study, but that is not going to provide you with the ideal learning setup. Comfortable furniture is going to make you tired, to the point that you may fall asleep without even knowing it. I do this sometimes in my office chair when I’m watching TV. It’s not even that comfortable, but it makes me really sleepy really quickly. Try to sit in something that will keep you alert and focused. That way you learn as much as you can in the time you have.

Final Thoughts

If you know you are tired beyond all reason, don’t try to study. Get some rest and go over the information in the morning when you have a better chance of retaining it. Otherwise you may be trying to shove more into your mind than it can handle. If you can manage to stay awake long enough to get through the study session, congratulations. Hopefully you will do well on your exam as a result of that.

How to Cram before a Test

Written By: aaldana - Feb• 25•12

Cramming is far from a good studying technique, but sometimes you don’t have another choice. Perhaps you misread the test date or you had a family emergency come up that prevented you from studying effectively. Maybe a Justin Bieber concert came to town and you had to fight a stampede of 12 year old girls just to get home. Whatever the case may be, there will probably come a time in your probation officer training or police officer training when you will have to cram for an exam. (Impromptu rhyme! Ah, I’m good) When that time comes, I hope you can put some of the tips below to good use. Here are a few ways you could go about cramming for a test you have to take in the near future.

Study and Snooze

The study and snooze method is best way to maintain the information you cram in before a test. Research suggests that taking a 90 minute nap after a study session can significantly improve a person’s chance of retaining information for a test or quiz. If you study a small chunk of information and then take a nap, you will wake up with that information still fresh in your mind. You may consider doing this all night to get in as much info as possible, but watch out for sleep deprivation. That could actually cause you to do worse on your test because you aren’t awake enough to think clearly. Try to balance the sleep and the studying enough to do well on your upcoming exam.

Prioritize the Information

You aren’t going to be able to cram a semester’s worth of information into one night. It just isn’t going to happen. Rather than focusing on the big picture, focus on the most important points in the class. Your professor probably harped on a few topics more than others, so try to start with those topics first. They are the ones that are most likely to be on the test. You can learn the little information if you have time, but you need to make sure you learn as much as you can in the little time that you have. That way you have the best chance of at least passing the test, and possibly even doing well on it. Try to figure out the most important things in the class and work on those first. Then you can worry about the other stuff if you have time.

Review in the Morning

Eventually you need to get some sleep so you can be well rested for your test in the morning. Before you go to the test though, review your study materials so the information is fresh in your mind. If you slept well right after you studied, you should still have a lot of the facts in your mind. Flip through your flash cards or glance over your textbook, just to get your mind as familiar with the information as possible. Then you will hopefully have a memory of it for your test.

Re-Study after the Test

When you get done with your exam, take the time to go back and review the information you missed. You can wait to do this when the grades are out, or you could do it right at the beginning. The fact is that your college courses are supposed to prepare you for your career. If you don’t pay attention now, you will never be able to succeed later on. Sacrifice a little time re-studying so that the information goes into your mind for good. Then you will be able to recall it when it comes up in the future.

The Balance between Social Life and Study Life

Written By: aaldana - Feb• 16•12

If you’re an overachiever like I used to be, studying probably consumes your life. I never studied “hard” per se, but I always felt like I was doing school work. Living a life like this will minimize the amount of time you have for socializing, which is something that most college students crave over time. If you have been struggling to balance your study life and social life, there are a few simple things you can do to keep everything in check. Here are some tips to help you manage your scholastics and scho-laugh-stics at the same time. (Wow, that was corny)

Block Scheduling

One of the easiest ways to balance your social life and your study life is to block your time. Set aside certain days for school and certain days for friends. That way you can fully focus on whichever one you are working with at the time. Most people will use the weekdays to study and then use the weekends for partying. You could choose to do something else, as long as your schedule works well with your friends’ schedules. I am known as a robot around work because I effectively block my work time and personal time. I get a lot more done than most people because of that. You just have to figure out a way to do the same in your own life.

Respectful Friends

If you want to be a success in school, you need to surround yourself with people who are going to respect your studying time. When you have people in your life encouraging you to succeed, you have a much better chance at doing well in all areas of your life. Don’t hang out with people who want you to constantly goof off. They aren’t going to be the ones paying your bills when you get out of school. Once you establish a good group of friends, you should have no trouble studying and socializing as needed.

Limited Internet

When you log onto the computer for your online classes, work, or research, you may be tempted to pop onto Facebook to check your wall. In your mind, this is only going to take a few minutes of your time. In all actuality, it will probably take a good half hour or more once you start getting involved with the conversations. I had to shut down some of my social networking accounts because they were such a distraction for me. They prevented me from being efficient at work. You have to limit your internet usage to whatever you are doing at the moment. Don’t mesh the two sides of your life. If you get done with your studying early and you have time left for Farmville, by all means take it. Otherwise, you need to maintain your concentration so you can do well in your courses.

Careful Combination

In some cases, you may be able to combine your social life and study life through a study group or some sort of event along those lines. If you have people you like to hang out with in your classes, you could invite them over for a study session and a beer afterward. This is not always easy to do because some people get carried away with the socializing, not necessarily the studying. If you think you can focus though, you should be able to get the best of both words at this point.

Think long and hard about your schedule and situation, and come up with a balance that truly works for you.

Making Time in Your Schedule to Study

Written By: aaldana - Feb• 11•12

We all have things to do in the day that may prevent us from studying. Perhaps you have a full time job or you have a family to raise. Whatever the case may be, you probably struggle working in time to focus on your studies. This is not a good thing though because it could hold back your grades and your education as a whole. Rather than being the victim of a busy schedule, you should make an effort to study whenever you can. If you are a motivated person willing to go the distance with your learning, you could do quite well in college. Here are some tips to help you work in a time to study in school.

Study a Little Bit Every Day

You are more likely to retain the information you learn if you take it on in short supply. You could make time to study every night of the week right before bed, and then your mind would have a chance to absorb the information while you sleep. Just study a small set of words, lists, or facts for 30 minutes before you go to sleep at night, and then you will slowly be able to build up the knowledge you need for your criminal justice classes. If you have a busy schedule as a whole, this may be the only way you can work in time to learn.

Listen to Your Lectures

A lot of professors have podcasts of their lectures that you can download and listen to on the go. You could also find audio files of your text books to listen to when you don’t have time to read. That gives you a chance to learn while you are driving in the car or working out at the gym. If you play the information while you are falling asleep, you may be able to retain some of it subconsciously. You don’t have to be right next to a book to study. You just have to find a way to learn the information in it. Audio files can help you do just that.

Study at Lunch

Sometimes the only way you can study for class is to do so during your lunch break. Bring a sandwich to work and eat it out in the car while you read. That way you are guaranteed to have peace and quiet when you study. If you have breaks during work that you can use to study just a little bit of information, use them wisely. You might be surprised by how much you can learn in your off time.

Make Time

At the end of the day, it is your job to make time for studying. You may have to sacrifice some time in front of the TV to do that, but that is a small price to pay for a good education. I don’t care how busy you are or how much you think you have on your plate. You can take some time to study for your courses. This may not always be easy to do, but it is far from impossible.

Try to get yourself in a studying rhythm so that your schedule does not change from week to week. If you know when to study for each of your classes, you will have a better time retaining the information you need for your tests and quizzes. Study for your Tuesday classes on Monday, your Thursday classes on Wednesday, your Friday classes on Thursday…whatever you need to do to get the information in your mind. With a little planning, you should have no trouble learning everything you need to know for class.

How to Use Highlighters When You Study

Written By: aaldana - Feb• 05•12

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love using highlighters when I study. There is just something about putting neon ink on a page that makes me all happy inside. Maybe I’m just getting high off the Sharpie highlighters I like to use, but I think that most people enjoy using highlighters as they study for their classes in college. If you want to get the most out of every study session you have, you need to know how to properly use highlighters as you read. There is no “right” way to go about this, but there is a method that I have found to be highly effective. The tips below will show you how I have learned to use highlighters over the years. Hopefully you can use some of them to study more effectively in the future.

Color Code the Highlighting

In order to know which parts of a book you need to refer to at a certain time, you may want to use different colors of highlighters to represent different subjects. For instance, let’s say that you want to highlight quotes in a book to use later in an essay. You may give each character of the book a different color, and then you can easily know which quotes you are looking for when you go back to the book. I did this when I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver because the book is written from the perspective of five different characters. Without the color coding system, I don’t think I would have ever known what was going on when I went back for quotes.

If you decide to color code like this, you may also think about getting book flags to represent the various colors you are using. Then you will be able to see the quote area from the outside so you can get to it quickly. If you organize your highlighting like you would anything else, you may be able to put it to good use.

Highlight Words, Not Sentences

This is a method that an old English teacher of mine used, and I thought it was pretty helpful in the long run. Rather than highlighting full sentences in a book, just highlight the words that matter the most. Let me show you what I mean with the paragraph I just wrote above:

If you decide to color code like this, you may also think about getting book flags to represent the various colors you are using. Then you will be able to see the quote area from the outside so you can get to it quickly. If you organize your highlighting like you would anything else, you may be able to put it to good use.

As you can see, I only highlighted the words that I thought captured the overall purpose of the paragraph. If you do this while you read, you will be able to remember key words while you study.

Remember Less Is More

When it comes to highlighting something, you have to be careful not to get carried away. If you highlight full paragraphs in a book, you are never going to know what you do and do not want to read. It is better to highlight a little bit of information than it is to highlight everything you read. You have to emphasize the key points that you want to remember later on. If you want to doodle all over the place, do so in a book you don’t need to reference later. That way you leave the study material clean and ready to go.

How to Pick a Good Study Buddy

Written By: aaldana - Jan• 27•12

A study buddy is a person that you can study with on a regular basis. You can basically bounce information back and forth with that person to hopefully get a better understanding for your course material. Some study buddies are better than others, so you need to make an effort to pick the right one for your study style. You can choose to go solo of course, but it may be nice to have someone to support you while you learn. Here are some tips to help you find someone that will be able to help you through the studying process in the future.

Don’t Pick a Friend

While it may be tempting to study with friends of yours, that may not be as productive as you would like it to be. Every time you get with a friend, you are going to want to dilly dally. You guys will start talking about memories, gossip, or something else along those lines, and your studies will be put on hold. The same theory applies to girlfriends and boyfriends, so don’t study with them either. Try to find someone that you don’t know very well, just so you can stay focused on what you are learning.

Find Someone You Get Along with

While it is a bad idea to work with friends, it can also be a bad idea to work with enemies. You need to try to pick a study buddy that you can at least get along with. This doesn’t have to be a person that you can see as the maid of honor at your wedding, but it should be someone you can stand being in the same room with. Otherwise you will have to spend all of your study sessions in misery. Try to find someone in your class or classes that you don’t know well but can still mesh with. That way you can get the most out of your studying.

Choose someone of Equal Intelligence

It may be tempting to pick the smartest person in class to study with, but that may not be as productive as you think. That person is going to want to get something out of the study session too. Otherwise, he or she might as well be a tutor. If you pick someone that has the same basic level of intelligence as you, you won’t have to worry about looking dumb when you start studying. You can get feedback between one another and hopefully learn a lot along the way.

Find Someone with a Flexible Schedule

There is no sense in having a study buddy if you can never reach him or her. You need to find someone with a flexible schedule or at least one that matches yours. That way you can find times to meet that are going to be easy to access for both of you. Avoid people with chaotic work schedules or time-consuming software development courses. You just need to find someone that is going to have an open slot for you whenever you want it.

At the end of the day, your study buddy needs to be someone that you like and can learn from at the same time. In return, you need to be likable and helpful to the person you are working with. You may not be able to find the perfect study buddy the first time around, but keep looking. If you search long enough, you should be able to find a great person to study with well into the future.

Studying Even When You Don’t Need To

Written By: aaldana - Jan• 19•12

Most college students plan their studying around their tests or possible quizzes. The rest of the time, they just spend relaxing and trying to get through school. While this may seem like an incredibly nerdy way to spend your time, you can study during your off time if you want to get ahead in school. As crazy of a concept as this may be, it could be one way to guarantee your success in studying for the future. Before you waste your days watching infomercials on your futon, you may want to think about studying even when you don’t need to. Here are some of the perks that may come along with that.

Get Ahead in Class

If you study when you don’t necessarily have to, you could get ahead in class. In the case of an online course, that may actually allow you to finish the semester early and move on to something else. Every week that you shave off your degree program will get you out into the career world faster. That will inevitably allow you to make more money over the course of a lifetime. When you start seeing early studying as a chance to make more money later on, you may see it in a new light.

Getting ahead in class will also give you a chance to ask questions whenever you come across a topic you don’t understand. If you learn about it in advance, you can have your questions prepared before you get to class. You could also figure out which subjects you are going to need to devote more time to so you don’t end up scrounging to study at the end. Then you can learn what you need to learn in a timely manner.

Learn the Information Better

Late night cram sessions may work in high school, but those usually aren’t enough to carry you through college. If you want to truly learn the information you need for your career, you need to study early on. By taking in bits of information in short supply, you will be able to retain the information more and recall it later on down the road. Then all you may have to do is just review the information for a test that comes up in the future. If you know it well enough, you should ace the test with no trouble at all.

Give Help to Others

Ever heard of a thing called tutoring? Did you know that people pay for that? Indeed, you could use your early studying to tutor other students in a subject and hopefully earn some money along the way. At the very least, you can help your friends and classmates understand information, and that may make you more popular to be around. There is nothing like the feeling that comes along with helping someone out, especially when it comes to something as important as a college education. If you can be the go-to person for information, you may turn out to be more of a badass than you expected to be.

I know it may be tough to get in the studying mindset when you have a full season of Jersey Shore recorded on your DVR box, but I promise that Snooki can wait. You need to take charge of your education, and one of the first ways you can do that is by studying when you don’t even have to. Discipline yourself a bit, and you will see a ton of rewards that come along with that. You never know when your studies will come in handy.

Study Tips for Dead Week

Written By: aaldana - Jan• 13•12

If you are a college student in a continuing education program, you may be familiar with the concept of dead week. This is the week right before finals, and it is supposed to be reserved for studying and nothing more. A lot of students use this week like an impromptu spring break and forget that they have to study along the way. This is far from an ideal situation though because it can actually cause you to fail your finals. If you want to avoid doing that, you need to learn how to properly study during dead week. Here are some tips that should help you do just that.

Schedule Your Studying for the Week

You need to create a schedule for your studying so you get in all the education you can throughout the week. This schedule should prioritize your studying based on the difficulty of your courses and the day you have to take your finals for them. If you think your online accounting courses are easier than your classroom-based psychology courses, you may want to devote more time to the psych classes. At the same time, you need to schedule your studies to reflect the day you have to take an exam. If you plan them in order based on when you have to take the tests, all you will have to do is figure out how many hours or days you need to reserve for each one.

Note that you don’t have to necessarily study in order of your tests. If you want to use the weekend to study for your tests on Monday, you can do that so the information is fresh in your mind. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to at least look over the information in order so that all you have to do is refresh your mind later on. That is up to you and your learning abilities in the end.

Resist the Urge to Go Out

There will most likely be a lot of parties during dead week because most people blow off this week of school. You can’t succumb to the temptations of those parties though. You have to remember what you went to college for in the first place – an education. You can’t risk missing out on that because you were too hung over to study. If you choose to party instead of studying, you could lose out on a lot of time to absorb information for a test. That could cost you a good grade if you aren’t careful with it.

Sleep – A Lot

Try to rest as much as possible during dead week so your mind is refreshed for your finals. If you stay up night after night studying, you are liable to zonk out on the test day because your mind is too fried. Rather than risking that, you just need to try to sleep in the first place. Read a chapter from your textbook and then take a 90 minute nap. That will let the information soak into your head, and it may help you do better on your finals. If you can stay on a good sleeping schedule, you will have a better chance at succeeding on your exams.

Get yourself in the studying mindset right at the start of dead week so that you don’t miss out on a single chance to retain information for the finals. The final exams in most classes are going to be worth a large portion of your total grade, so you need to be as prepared for them as you can be. Hopefully the tips above will help you do just that.

Start Studying the First Week of School

Written By: aaldana - Jan• 07•12

The first week of school is quickly approaching for most college students, and for some, this is just a week to relax before the “fun” begins. If you are planning to just sit back and chill though, you may want to consider starting your studying now. This is going to give you a jump start in class, and it will allow you to make the most of the time you have in school. There are tons of benefits that come along with studying early, so you definitely need to keep this in mind whenever the first day of school rolls around. Here are some of the many reasons why you need to start your studying as early as possible.

Impress the Instructors

By studying before you actually have to, you will know what to expect in your classes. That way when a professor asks a question in class, you will have an idea of how to answer it. If you do this enough, you will be able to get on the professor’s good side. This may not seem like a big deal now, but it could impact the grade you get in the future. As much as we all want to think that instructors don’t pick favorites, they do. It is your job to make sure you are on that favorite list so you can get the best grades possible in class.

Leave Room for Error

Something always seems to go wrong in college that causes you to fall behind on your work. I have experienced this countless times over, and it usually takes awhile for me to recover. If you are able to get ahead on your studies though, you will be able to leave a little room for mistakes. If something goes wrong, you will already be caught up enough to get through it. This is a wise plan to follow in the rest of your life to ensure that you are always one step ahead. This could keep you on track for a long time in the future.

Know If You Want to Drop a Class

You only have a week to drop or add a class without any loss whatsoever, so you need to make a decision about your classes as soon as possible. If you start studying early, you will be able to determine if you want to switch classes within that timeframe. This may even help you determine if you want to change schools or not, depending on what you want to do. You just have to know what you are getting yourself into to figure out if you actually want to go through with it.

Prepare Your Questions

If you study early on, you will be able to prepare questions for your professor related to any information you don’t understand in class. That way you can get your problems solved from the start and move on to the next pieces of information. If you procrastinate when you study, you may not have a chance to get your questions answered before you go in for a big test. Rather than throwing questions up on Yahoo! Answers and hoping for the best, you just need to be prepared ahead of time.

I know that studying early isn’t exactly an ideal way to spend the first week of school, but it is something you should definitely try. While other students are trying to soak up the last bit of freedom they have, you could be securing a good GPA for this semester. This is a great use of your time, and it will certainly pay off in the end.