I discovered another new website with great study features – Quizlet. With a free membership you can create sets of vocabulary words and study them. It allows you to set the privacy of the set, whether it’s for you only, your friends or public. After, you can familiarize yourself with them and also go through online flashcards. Quizlet also will let you create a test, with multiple choice, matching and fill in the blank questions. You can also alphabetize and export your vocabulary sets.

I’ve been using Quizlet for about two weeks now and it’s my favorite online study tool. I’ve created twelve different vocab sets for four different classes and it’s worked wonders. My favorite option is the exportation…I can pull the words into a Word document to print out or print flashcards. The website is very fast and works great. I haven’t had any problems. You can import words (copy and paste only right now, which makes it easier if you already have your words typed up. One trick I’ve learned is when typing words, you can tab to the next word if there aren’t enough boxes and it creates a new box for you instead of having to push the button…makes it much easier and quicker to add words.

Cramming 101

Cramming has different views, some say it’s great, others disagree. Personally, I always cram at the last minute, especially for classes I don’t feel are pertinent to life or my career (classes like history or biology). Yes, it’s nice to know that stuff, but it’s not important enough for me to spend hours learning it all. So, I’ve devised a nice, easy way to fit as much info into my brain in a short amount of time long enough to be good for a test.

1. Figure out what you need to know.

This is the most important step. Don’t try to force feed your brain information that isn’t important. If you have a hard time figuring out what your professor will test over, ask someone or go through the book. Most chapters have key facts, a summary, etc. that outlines the most important things.

2. Timing: Give yourself enough.

It’s best not to start at 2 am the night before a 9 am test. Cramming works best the night before, but with a good amount of sleep. A foggy brain doesn’t recall well. Make sure you have enough time to cram, depending on the material, at least a few hours, and enough time to get a decent sleep.

3. Mood: Be in a good one.

If you’re upset, distracted, pissed, whatever, it’s going to affect your cram session. Try to relax, forget about the outside world. Do whatever you need to, even if that means *gasp* going to the library to find yourself a nice, quiet place. Personally, I hate the library. Something about the incredible quiet bothers me. Plus, it always smells like an old lady.

4. Make a plan.

Know how you’re going to go about this. Do you mostly need to learn vocab? Do you need to learn theories? Do you need to know formulas?

For classes where you need to regurgitate definitions, try creating a matching test at Easy Test Maker. It’s free and is easier and cheaper than flashcards. There’s also flashcard software available if you’d rather do that. Either way, this is a great way to memorize.

Multiple Choice
Most professors have two very possible, one could-be and one completely off choices on multiple choice. By the time you’re in college, you should be very familiar with this format and very good at taking them. So, study important facts, but focus on details. Anything bolded or reiterated in lecture and anything that might be related. Multiple choice is when you’ll be asked who passed the Emancipation Proclamation.

If your professor provides possible essay prompts, definitely take advantage and at least get all the information you’ll need. I don’t recommend actually writing the essay out, just write it in shorthand, get all the info out and how you’re going to answer the question. Read over this a few times afterward and then once again before the test and you should be set.

If you’re not lucky enough to be given the question ahead of time, you’re in for a little more work. Learn the big picture and a few things to fill in the lines. Once you have that down, bullshit is your best friend. Don’t make things up, just surround your facts with fluff.

Commonly confused words

The English language is very complicated and there are many sets of similar words that people have trouble with. Are you one of the many that confuse these words?

accept – to receive: “She would not accept my proposal.”
except – all but: “Everyone went except John.”

access – admittance, a way of approach: “No one had access to the room.”
excess – amount larger than needed: “He had an excess of paper.”

accent – particular way of speaking: “She had a New York accent.”
ascent – upward climb: “The mountain has a long ascent.”
assent – to agree: “The teacher assented to accepting a late assignment.”

advice – recommendation: “His advice was to study.”
advise – to make recommendations: “He advised me to study.”

affect (verb) – to influence: “Her actions will affect the rest of us.”
affect (noun) – an emotional response: “Even when his dog died, he showed little affect.”
effect – result: The effect of his good grades helped him get a scholarship.”

alter – to change: “She had to alter her plans.”
altar – platform in a church: “The priest stands at the altar.”

capital – 1) city/town that holds government seat: “Austin is the capital of Texas.”
2) supply of wealth: “You need capital to start a business.”
capitol – 1) U.S. Congress building in Washington D.C.: “You can tour the capitol.”
2) a building where a legislature meets: “You can go to Austin to see the capitol.”

conscience – sense of right or wrong: “Some people seem to have no conscience.”
conscious – aware of: “He made a conscious decision to help us.”

eminent – well known: “He is eminent in the field of psychology.”
imminent – about to happen: “The storm was imminent.”

stationary – unable to move: “I rode the stationary bike.”
stationery – paper for letter writing: “I bought new stationery.”

8 ways to aid your memory

It is easier to forget something than to remember so to help yourself remember something, apply as many of the following techniques as possible.

1. Be flexible. Experiment with what helps you remember, whether it’s a mnemonic or simply adding color.

2. Overlearn. Practice and reorganize what you intend to remember in as many ways as possible. Use it while speaking and writing, even act it out. The more time you spend, the more it’s ingrained.

3. Imitate. Schedule study time to reflect the time of day when you’ll be using the material (make study time the same as test time). Create a similar environment. Study without music if the room will be quiet. Study at a desk instead of on your bed.

4. Rephrase and explain. Try role-playing. Take the view of the teacher and explain the material to someone else, your dog, or a stuffed animal. You definitely understand the material when you can teach someone else.

5. Eliminate accidental and unrelated associations. A study situation where a phone rings constantly produces breaks in the association process. If you’re singing along to Eric Clapton throughout your study session, you will relate the material to Eric Clapton. This is only helpful if your topic is indeed Eric Clapton.

6. Eliminate previous mistakes. Take note of any previous mistakes you’ve made while studying and don’t do them anymore. If music distracts you, don’t play music during your next study session.

7. Decide on order of importance. Some things are more important than others. In a particular chapter or topic, decide what’s the big picture and organize everything else around that.

8. Become emotionally involved. This doesn’t always work with schoolwork, especially if you don’t care about a particular subject. But notice how you remember things you care about. If you can somehow relate the topic to something you care about, you’ll remember it better.