Posts Tagged ‘Study skills’

Getting Smarter by Using your Smart Phone: 5 Tips on Using Technology to Study and Stay Organized

Categories: College Life

We are a generation that might as well consider our cell phone to be an article of clothing. We wouldn’t dare leave the house without it, and we feel naked when we realize we don’t have it.  We check our cell phones countless times a day to send and receive texts, check emails, play games, call home, watch videos, listen to music, and surf the web. We have on us at all times this incredible piece of technology, but how often are we using it to assist in our college education?

Here are 5 ways in which you can direct some of your phone’s awesomeness into assisting your student self:

Use Your Calendar:

By taking the time to fill in your schedule, including the times you’re setting aside to eat, do homework, see friends, and sleep, you can effectively plan and manage your time. Smart phone calendars also tend to shade in different colors for the times in which you are unavailable, giving you a more realistic concept of your time than a list of appointments would.

Set Task Alarms:

In addition to using your phone to wake up in the morning, it may be beneficial to set other alarms for the times in which you intend to have specific tasks completed. You’ll be more likely to keep on task not only if you’re setting mini-goals for yourself with your phone, but if your phone has something to say about it if you’re supposed to be done reading a chapter and you haven’t even cracked open the book.

Use Your Notepad:

This comes in handy when you unexpectedly run into your professor in the hallway and he tells you he’s moving the quiz up a day, or when your classmate explains a tough concept at the dining hall you didn’t understand when you were studying. You won’t always have your notebooks with you when you have important information to jot down. By using your notepad, or even texting yourself, you can have a mobile record.

Store Your Classmates:

You should have in your phone at least one person from every class you attend. Having instant access to a classmate is a life savor when you’re sick, when you lose your syllabus and don’t remember what’s due tomorrow, or when you accidentally overslept, and you have an exam in literally three minutes.

Look for Apps:

Countless apps are being created everyday. Look for ones that might assist you in learning. There are apps that let you create flashcards, apps that recite audiobooks, and even apps that help students study specific subjects such as anatomy and physiology. You may also enjoy dictionary and thesaurus applications that allow you to quickly access information without having to travel through a web search.

(It is important to note that while smart phones have the potential to greatly assist us in our education, they should not be used to copy or cheat in school, as those actions are likely to result in expulsion from college.)

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How to be a Master Memorizer

Categories: College Life

The thought of memorizing vast amounts of content is enough to steer students far from particular classes or even majors.

Student A: “How’s Dr. Smith’s nuclear power class? I heard it’s a fun and interesting course! Everyone raves about it!”

Student B: “Well, it’s great! But there’s a lot of memorization…”

Student A: “Nooope. No thank you. I’ll just take math history…”

Memorization gets a bad reputation, but having the ability to retain information is not only critical in some fields of study (biology, chemistry, speech pathology, theater),  it’s actually useful! It’s also probably not as daunting as one might think, especially if you know how to effectively memorize with these tips:


Those who use flashcards swear by them. You’ve probably made them out of index cards but in today’s high-tech world, you could also do them electronically via the computer or smart phone. (Yes, there’s an app for that.) Some companies make flashcards for courses, such as anatomy, that you can purchase online or at your college bookstore. Use your flashcards often and at least several days prior to being tested.

Have you gotten your memorization on today? Do your flashcards everyday at the following times and places:


  • Standing in line for food or coffee
  • Five minutes before class starts
  • While waiting for your friend to use the bathroom
  • During the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show
  • While on the bus or train
  • As a transition between homework assignments
  • Five minutes before your club meeting starts
  • While you warm up or cool down at the gym
  • While you wait for your pizza rolls
  • As you wait for the shower to free up
  • Before you fall asleep


Bust a Rhyme:

There’s a reason you remember “i before e, except after c” or the quadratic equation set to “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Link words and ideas to what you already know or what they make you think about. Find some sort of relationship between what you need to memorize and how you can remember. Even if it only makes sense to you, you’ll be more likely to remember the information not only for your next test, but for years to come.

Read with Intent:

There’s a difference between reading your notes and textbook in front of the TV four times, and reading your notes and textbook in a quiet room with the point being to retain the information. Reading something over and over sounds like the answer to memorization, but if you’re not focused on it, it won’t do anything for you. If you’re going to read, and re-read, really focus on what you’re learning and make connections to the material in your mind.


The best way to memorize is to start early, and to refresh your mind often in quick spurts. Instead of setting aside an afternoon before the test, set aside twenty minutes, twice a day, for a week. The information will go a lot further.

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The Do’s and Don’ts for Smart Studying

Categories: College Life

Freshman year is tough. You’re away from home, you’re sleeping six feet away from a stranger, you’re terrified of the inevitable fifteen pounds you’re rumored to gain first semester, and your first exam came back with a grade you haven’t seen since middle school technology when your bottle rocket exploded instead of soared.

College freshmen are often disappointed upon receiving their first exam grade or GPA. Some will admit they had grown accustomed to the straight A’s they received in high school, and didn’t necessarily do a whole lot or try too hard to get them. For those who happened to coast through high school, it can be tremendously stressful and overwhelming to come to the realization that college has higher expectations.  As a result, students who may not have taken a single note in their lives, suddenly find themselves having to set aside hours to study with little idea on how to effectively do so.

According to an article in the New York Times published in 2009 entitled “Colleges are Failing in Graduation Rates,” only half of students who enroll [in college] will end up with a bachelor’s degree. While many students drop out by choice over the course of their four years, it has been said that nearly 30% of students won’t make it past their freshman year, often due to poor performance. Knowing how to hold on to the knowledge you’re given is a powerful tool that will not only grant achievements in the academic world, it will be the fuel to your career for the rest of your life!

The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for smart studying.


Do: Take legible notes with an outline that makes sense to you in notebooks dedicated for each class.

Don’t: Pull a napkin from your pocket and chicken scratch a few key words before stuffing it into your book bag.


Do: Review notes often.

Don’t: Let the day you take notes be the last time you ever see those words again.


Do: Memorize in sets of three, adding on more sets as you go.

Don’t: Overwhelm yourself by trying to memorize everything at once.


Do: Keep an open mind to other places you can find information discussed in class, such as online databases, review books, articles, tutors, web sites, textbooks, and so on.

Don’t: Assume your professor is the only source you can learn from, especially if you’re having difficulty doing so.


Do: Test yourself by creating situations as similar to your exam as possible.

Don’t: Assume you truly know the material just because you’ve read your notes a few times and it all sounds familiar.


Do: Start studying at least a week before your exams, asking questions and following up in areas you don’t understand.

Don’t: Try to cram it all in.


Do: Find out your learning style by taking a multiple-intelligence quiz online, and cater your studying to your specific needs.

Don’t: Assume there’s only one way to learn anything.


Do: Find a dedicated academic support system, such as a study group you can work and discuss ideas with.

Don’t: Get involved with groups that cheat, copy, plagiarize, or end up with you doing all the work.


Do: Make your profile on to get info on colleges and scholarships!

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