Did you know that, in a Pew Research Center survey taken last March, 67 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they have a smartphone? Two-thirds of young adults! And that’s not even counting the ones that are using iPads.
That means a whole lot of college students are carrying around mobile devices. But is there any educational value to this technology (other than the ability to Google answers and make your professor think you’re a genius)? Of course! Here are some of the best apps that college students can use to help them study and do better in class.
Taking notes in class can be such a chore, especially when your professor talks like the Micro Machines guy. (YouTube it if the reference is too dated, kids.) The point is, it used to be that your only alternative to taking notes was to record the lecture and play it back later. That’s great, but sometimes you just want to be able to read what was said. Well, now you can, because Dragon Dictation is a free (!) iPhone and iPad app that will record your professor’s lecture and instantly transform what he or she is saying into text. Awesome!
Tired of writing flashcards out by hand or typing and printing them? StudyBlue Flashcards is a free app that works on just about any mobile device (Android and anything Apple), and it boasts lots of benefits that regular flashcards don’t. First off, you can access cards created by other users, so there’s no need to recreate common flashcards that a dozen people have already made for you. Second, you can set the app up so that you get study reminders. And finally, these flashcards actually keep score, so you know how well you’re doing and where to focus your studying efforts.
Much of college is dedicated to working on larger projects, and often that means teaming up with other people. Dropbox makes group work a breeze by allowing you to share documents on the cloud and choose who gets access to what. It’s also nice for when you somehow forgot to turn in that paper and can show your professor that you really are sending it while you’re standing in front of them instead of cheating and adding a few final touches.
Sign up for Dropbox with your student email and get double space!
Okay, obviously not every college student is going to need one of these, but consider this. Before apps, anyone in math, science, or technology-related fields would have to spend at least $50 (and often $100 or more) to get a good graphing calculator. Want to know how much this app featured in Time magazine costs? $1.99. See, sometimes technology really does make things better. Except maybe for Texas Instruments.
For college students who do like to take notes or documenting things, Evernote is essential. It lets you record lectures, jot down information, take photos, store documents, and even “favorite” websites for research purposes. But the best part is that you can keep all of this information in a single, easy to find location so that when you’re studying for your essay on Chaucer or your Bio midterm, you can just access that folder and everything will be there waiting for you. Pretty convenient.
Samuel Clemens is a former educator who spends his time reviewing study materials for students. Click here to view the study guide he recommends for Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
We all know the drill – head straight from class to work in a restaurant or shop then go home and shower left with just little time to prepare for the next day’s examination. How do you stay sane in this kind of routine while you are in college? Tough, isn’t it?
Well, college is the stage of learning how to do a balancing act especially when you are working your way to finish school. How will you deal with situation such as this without losing yourself?
List down all assignments, work schedules and socialization you wish to attend. Forgetting your next day’s quiz is a lame excuse.
2. Label the list according to priorities
Among the items, what are the things you cannot do or survive without? To help you with this, make sure you consider what happens tomorrow or in the future. What are the consequences of your decisions and priorities?
3. Enjoy once in a while
Enjoying leisure time once in a while is your right – there is nothing to be guilty about. Too much of anything is definitely not good and the same is true when you just work and study without going out, catching up on sleep or starting a hobby.
4. Stay healthy
Getting enough sleep, exercising and most of all eating healthy are greatest practices for you to stay alert and ready for the tough days ahead. It prevents you from getting sick and it can combat stress. No matter what, your body is still your biggest investment.
The mere fact that you’re taking down notes means you wanted to retain the information you wrote down. With that said, you should know exactly what you need to write down otherwise you’ll end up with too much garbage in the information you tried to acquire.
- Identify what’s new to you. There is no point writing down something that you already know. Why will you write down the information you’ve known from the heart?
- Determine whether your professor will most likely use the information later. Focus on things that directly demonstrate the lesson you’re studying including pertinent names, places and dates.
- Tricky information. We are well aware that our professors always try to trigger our logical mind by setting out traps and tricky questions in their examination. More often than not, the answers to these traps are given out during their lectures – not in the book. If you are particularly keen about observing such habits then it will be easier for you to crack it down.
- Side comments. Sometimes, side comments are ignored or considered unnecessary. However, most practical questions and answers can be found on side comments whether during lectures or books.
- Doubts. Your doubts and questions are the best source of useful information especially when you are faced with a tough exam ahead. There is not a single student in existence without questions about a certain lesson. If you have doubts, write it down and verify it in your research later on.
There is no easier way to face college than to plunge into it headlong.
Procrastination is a hard habit to break especially when you’re in college. But in order to give you a clue on how you can beat this, try the following advice –
- Recognize the pattern of procrastination. Since it is a habit, you must be able to recognize when it is happening. No one can do this for you and there is no easy way to do this than becoming conscious of your own habits. Who knows what you will discover in the process?
- Reward yourself for every project or assignment accomplished. There must be some form of redundancy in your life especially in college. Break this redundant pattern by rewarding yourself to do something different as your prize for completing a task.
- Try peer pressure. No, this is not the same as what you’re imagining right now. It simply means you need someone to always check up on how you’re doing. Allow them to punish you and be serious with it otherwise this will not work.
- Identify the sorts of punishment or consequences you will receive if you don’t do the task apart from grades or teacher’s reprimand. It should be grave enough to make you feel pressured. This will stimulate your mind in some way.
In college, your employer is your time – if you want to get a bonus, you need to work hard for it.
“There is always time for everything.” You might have come across this self-explanatory adage. But, do you really understand what it means? When you are faced with a pile of homework and projects, you will always be overwhelmed and feel like you’re running out of time. Here are some things to help you get things straight –
- Set your priorities. You’ve probably heard or read this before but seriously – there is no way around this. If you want to master time management, you need to break it into manageable chunks and it starts by setting priorities. List everything that must come first and put the rest down the bottom of the list if you can afford to do them later.
- Approximate the time according to the level of difficulty. If the particular project or homework needs more time then give it more focus. Do not jump from one project to another just because of time constraint. It will not get you anywhere near finishing that project.
- Learn how to say no. Yes, it’s better said than done but it does have its own benefits and advantages. It is only by saying no that you can free some of your time to take care of things that you should attend to.
Finally, always do today what you can instead of reserving it for later. Remember that in life, there is no later.
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.
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.
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 –
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 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.
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.