Choosing Your College Classes

Guest Post: Madison Hewerdine is an author who writes about health insurance attorneys and has a passion for dancing.

Picking out your college classes can sometime be just as stressful and hectic as picking from the many different health insurance attorneys. You have to first figure out which classes you are required to take, these are normally called general classes. The general classes are required but you still have to figure out the timing to fit them into your schedule.  You then have to figure out what classes you want to take each semester for your major and minor. Only after you have finished these can you figure out the classes you want to take for fun or for extra help.

Here are some tips to help you as you’re figuring out your class schedule:

  • Use the required classes as a base. As you are going through trying to pick out your classes, pick out and map out the classes you are required to take first. These include your generals and the classes you need for your major.
  • Map out a four year plan. Before you sign up for classes you should map out a four year plan. Then each year after you originally map it out you modify it each semester you sign up for classes. You modify it to make sure it is accurate in what you are required to take and what you have already taken.
  • Make a list and prioritize. Make a list of the classes you want to take and put it next to your list of required classes. Prioritize the classes or rank them according to what classes are most important. After this you will be able to figure out where you can make sacrifices as far as your classes and scheduling goes.
  • Ask around. Once you have figured out what classes you need and want to take you have to figure out the scheduling and the teachers. Sometimes you will not be able to pick a teacher or a time that you want but you should try to make it work the best you can. However, when you can choose your teachers and the times of classes, ask around. Ask others about the teachers you have and what they think about them.
  • Go to class. Go to more classes than you need the first day. You will get to see all the different classes and teachers and be able to choose better what you want for yourself. After you decide, you can drop the classes you don’t want to keep.

What is involved in Productivity?

Most accomplished and productive people usually have one thing in common which is obsession with completion. When they are faced with projects, it is almost their compulsion to finish the task. If they are faced with a project, they would usually break it into manageable chunks especially when they are organized and systematic.

Some of them usually go for all-nighters especially when the project is too big to finish in a few sittings. But no matter how big or small the project is they usually get it done on time and in a consistent manner. If you want to be like them, it takes self discipline and hard work but you’ll get there.

However, if you focus on completion, you can finish tasks and projects in due time.

•Create your project list

If you have around 10 projects to complete, number them from 1 to 10 with 1 being the most important and 10 the least important. For example, you can put the project with the nearest deadline as the first priority. You should also label each project basing on their completion criteria. The first five on the list should be the go-list while the second half as the hold-list.

•Check your list daily

Make sure that you are making progress by completing small outlined tasks for the day. Your primary goal should be completing the project even if it means giving it a big push.

•Finish and start

Once you have finished one task, you can now start on a new project. Do not repopulate the list without doing the rest of the projects on the list. You can reload once all 10 have been finished.

You might be wondering whether this works and it does. Doing this kind of system teaches you to develop a trait that will help you become an accomplished student.

How to Do More and Work Less?

Doing more and working less is simply hard to implement. How then will you make things work out for you without wasting too much of your time? Below are some tips you can use to start working less and be more productive.

    • Always keep track of how much you are actually getting done in a single day. It is common to feel guilty if you have things you need to do and yet you chose to have a lot of fun. Your current and future output when compared should show some increase. If you keep track of the things you actually did, it is easier for you to be more productive and spare time for some leisure.
    • Avoid doing the same thing in one setting. Put some new experiences in between or discover some new methods of doing things so that you wouldn’t fuel the lazy person in you. You can join organizations, start new hobbies or find new challenges that would fuel your imagination and your mind.
  • Know your motivation and keep it. If there are one or two things that can motivate or inspire you to do more, go for it. Not knowing what motivates you in doing something is an easy way to let the boredom creep in. Find a higher purpose why you should attend classes or finish assignments or projects.
  • Sit down and focus on one task in one hour and you’ll realize you have done more than you can when you try to do all things at once in an eight our day.

How to Be Effective in Taking Down Notes

Focus is the key to taking down notes effectively. Only take down notes that are new to you. What’s the point of writing down the things you already know? Furthermore, take down key points that are relevant and can be used later on. That being said, there are two major things you need to understand when taking down notes namely –

  • New
  • Relevance

Taking down notes effectively means you have actually done the reading yourself. The information you need to take note includes –

  • Dates for your notes to be in chronology and understand the entire event
  • Names for you to associate the events or ideas better
  • Theories which essentially are the main key points
  • Definition of things that is new to you
  • Points of arguments and debates such as pros and cons, criticisms of an idea and both sides of the coin.
  • Illustrations and exercises

There are still things you need to take down. If your professor hardly writes on board then everything he writes in there should be written down unless the information is deemed self-evident or known. Also, listen to what your professor is saying. Anything relevant to the subject or topic that is not found in any printed document, text or books should be written down.

Your classmates may give information that is relevant as well. Try to capture their comments or questions. This will help you understand the entire topic later on.

Lastly, write down all your questions as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor and get you the answers you need.

Time Management Tips for College Students

Time management is one of the things that are not taught inside the four corners of a classroom. It is a skill you need to develop so that you become more productive and do many things all at once.

•Always read your emails and don’t leave anything sitting in your inbox. Sort out the emails into categories or folders. If the message needs more time before replying, leave it on the to-do folder and so forth. The point is you need to clear your inbox from clutter.

•Multitasking isn’t always good especially for college students who didn’t grow up in the technology invaded world. Multitasking is deadly if you don’t know how to juggle watching TV, replying to instant messages and doing homework all at once. Try to limit this practice.

•Prioritize the most important thing in your list. The first thing you need to do in the morning before you do anything is to list down the things you need to do whether you do this on your phone, notebook or paper is completely up to you.

•Read your emails daily but do it on schedule. It wouldn’t do you any good if you read emails as soon as it arrives. Even though someone contacted you, this doesn’t mean you have to respond immediately. If you want to be more productive at what you do, focus on the task that you specified on schedule and stick with it.

•Instead of making random notes just about anywhere, take advantage of bookmarking services. This will help you get rid of the clutter.

The best thing about time management is you get to achieve many things in a day without compromising on anything.

How to Make the Best Out of Your Semester

Most students worry about making the best out of their semester which is usually gauge by the lessons you have learned throughout. But a more important thing is – how?

Organization This is usually self-explanatory for college students who have a hard time coping with time management and even studying. But here are some practical things you can follow –

•Take notes – “A dull pencil is better than a sharp mind.” This is usually one of the greatest adages that you can follow about studying and learning. There are things that your sharp mind tends to miss later on but when you write everything down on your notebook or post-it papers you enhance your chance at remember it later on.

•Agenda list – It is important that you make a regular weekly list of itinerary. Your agenda should give you sense of direction and purpose making everything better every day.

•Real time inbox – This is a figurative term which simply refers to a permanent place in your room or apartment where you study. This is where you will place all your notes, books and assignment papers.

•Get to know your professors – Search engines usually give you short biography on your teachers. Alternatively and more accurately, you can search about them in your school library. Learn about their research interests and knowledge.

•Study partner/mentor – The secret to success is not about being alone but being able to find someone who can understand your habits and study style.

How to Improve Your Performance on a Written Exam

“In life, you take the exam first before you learn but in college you learn first before taking the exam.”

There are two primary skills that you need to practice and learn about namely –

  1. Time management
  2. Deduction

Time Management

When you are taking a written exam, the first thing you need to do is to allocate an enough time for you to complete the total items of the exam. This is what proper time management is all about. If you don’t allocate enough time for each of the item, you wouldn’t have enough time to think. The best things that you can do include –

Sort out the Exam Questions

There are three categories by which you can divide the sets of questions during an exam but even though this takes time the end result is usually worth it. The three categories include –

  • Questions you know well (easy questions)
  • Questions you know better (moderately hard)
  • Questions you know nothing about (hard questions)

If you go through the examination items, answer the easy questions first since they usually don’t take too much time followed by the moderately hard questions. More importantly, allot more time on the hard questions since they would usually take time to answer.

Do not leave any items blank especially on items that you know nothing about. Sometimes, the best guess is the best answer rather than leaving the space blank.


The power of deduction is usually related to answering questions especially in the moderately hard and hard questions. By using this skill, you will be able to arrive at an answer that most people would call “educated guess.” Deduction merely takes off two erroneous answers basing on factors.

Being Productive While Commuting

Generally, it is not good for the eyes to read while on the road. Well, I beg to differ – most of the time we spend at least 30 minutes walking to get to our classes.

Thirty minutes can make a big difference in your learning experience. Here’s how to be productive while commuting –

  1. Listen to audio books, podcasts and class recordings – It has been proven that listening can significantly improve your knowledge base. It helps you discover the things you might have missed before.
  2. Always keep flash cards with you all the time – Flash cards are easy to read and it doesn’t even take 30 minutes to cover everything.
  3. List your priorities for the day – You can list on a piece of paper your itineraries for the day so that it is easier for you to stay on track.
  4. Proofread your papers – You can scan your papers and check for grammatical, spelling and sentence construction errors.
  5. Scan class notes – Reading while you are on the move is a big no-no thus it is better to scan your notes or probably take a peek on highlighted texts.
  6. Return calls and text messages – If you missed some calls and messages, the great time to respond or take a call is during your commute.

Finally, learning how to relax through breathing techniques while you are commuting is a great way to become productive.

Get yourself an internship

Summer’s coming up and this is the time for internships, which often lead to a career after graduation. There are many places to look, including your counselor’s office, your college bulletin boards and the web. Between FastWeb and Google, you should be able to find lots of companies looking for interns.

Another option is the U.S. government. I took an internship with the IRS last spring and it was great. The pay was excellent, there were vacation and sick leave and flexible hours. Given the chance, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Government Internships

For more opportunities, click here.

How to create a successful outline

Not enough people know how to properly create an outline and that amazes me. The first step is to actually understand the material you’re reading because if you’re simply taking chunks of the chapter, you’re not going to get anywhere. There are different types of outlines, there’s one that the professor wants you to hand in, outlining your research paper and there’s an outline of a chapter. This lesson is going to cover both.

Research outline

This will be the guts of your paper. Once you’ve figured out your topic and the general direction of your paper, creating an outline is pretty straightforward. You really need to know your thesis before completing the outline and my suggestion if you’re confused, is to not worry about the thesis until the end. Start with the information.

Once you’ve gathered your research, you generally know the idea of what you want to talk about first. If you’re completely lost, choose the idea that would be a great opener – something that’s controversial, interesting or your audience would agree with. To choose what’s next in line, ask yourself, “After idea A, what is an easy transition?” If you’re going from dogs to VCRs, there’s probably not going to be an easy connection. Transitions between different sections can be made very simple if you choose topics that seem to flow well together. Also remember that nothing is set in stone. If later you realize you should have put topic B where topic F is, change it.

Because this article is so long, I’m going to cut it off here and allow you to view the rest of entry if you choose to do so. (more…)

Next Posts »