Most of us experienced being thrown into a group as professors simply adore projects done by a team. It may seem easy to complete a project when done with a team but it is actually a lot harder than we think.
The reason is – personalities. Yes, personalities will make it harder because you will be thrown into a group different from your circle of friends. So, how do you deal with it?
This is the type of person who doesn’t care about what’s going on in the group. It is often frustrating to remind this person often but give him a series of small tasks and he’ll do just fine rather than overwhelming him with large tasks he couldn’t possibly do.
Don’t underestimate an introverted person in the group because he is an asset. Assign a specific task for him to do and he will get it done but don’t forget to ask his ideas regarding the tasks rather than expecting him to speak up because chances are – he won’t.
It would be great to have a few of this personality in the group which will serve as the backbone and the easiest personality to deal with. They will be the ones who will carry out the plans the group has mapped out and make sure it is done on time.
Last but definitely not the least –
Every group will have a person with leadership personality and he’s the one who will take control things from the start. You just have to let him do his thing but understand that his weakness will be on the details. Help him map out the small details like deadlines and roles.
These are just the major personalities you have to deal with when thrown into a team. Dealing with them in the right way will make your group all the more productive.
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.
“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 –
- 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.
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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Proofread your papers – You can scan your papers and check for grammatical, spelling and sentence construction errors.
- 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.
- 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.
While laptops give us convenience in many ways, they also place us at risk for injuries. The reason being is because the keyboard and the screen are attached in such a way that you cannot work your way around this particular design.
The risks –
- Awkward wrist position
- Pressure on the carpal tunnel
- Flexed neck
- Rounded shoulder
The best that you can do is to minimize the risks associated with using laptops.
- Work on a table that is appropriate for your height
- Sit close to the table on a comfortable chair
- Bend your head as little as possible
- Make sure your ears are directly above your shoulders
- If you intend to use your laptop for long periods of time, it is best to get separate monitor, mouse and keyboard to decrease the risk for injuries
- Have a laptop stand or alternatively use books underneath the laptop
- Do not rest for your hands on the laptop surface while typing and make use of a 3-ring binder under the laptop. This decreases the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Make sure your elbows are not bent more than 90 degrees and this is best achieved by getting a high-enough chair
- Reduce strain on your back by making sure you have footrest if your chair is high.
There will never be a true ergonomic position when using laptops thus it is still important to take a break and change position often.
College is the turning point in the life of most students. But, achieving academic success in college is also a struggle for most. How do other students manage to achieve their goals?
Selecting the Best Place to Study
The most convenient way to study is the dorm room if you are living in one but it is usually a very poor place to learn anything. It is a haven of temptations and distractions from television to friends going about the hall to your bed. Studying in your dorm room is bad enough and lying down on your bed while studying is even worst. Before long, you will realize it’s already morning and you still have not gone further than page 1 paragraph 1 of the book you were holding.
Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is to find yourself a study place. It should be a place that will promote learning, productivity, efficiency and concentration. It should be the place where you spend your time working on your academics.
You can try to experiment on what works for you. Make a set of criteria like the level of noise, availability, cleanliness and accessibility.
Developing Study Skills
Once you have found the perfect place to study, you need to get started on developing your study skills.
- Break subject matters into manageable chunks
- Use your free time during daytime to study
- Spend more time on difficult classes
- Review notes, ask questions and discuss things with peers
All of these are the basic skills you need to work on. You will achieve academic success in no time if you follow them religiously.
If you polled 1000 college students asking their reasons for studying, none of them would say because it’s fun. Studying is one of those things like cleaning the gutters; you do it because you benefit even though you’d rather be doing anything else. Here are some ways to improve your study skills.
When studying, the easiest way that you can hurdle formulas, definitions and other concepts that need to be memorized is through mnemonics. It is the most common study skill among college students.
It is stressful to read out one whole chapter from a book. Making an outline of what you are supposed to study will help you study quickly. The main advantage of reading and writing is you will memorize the key concepts quicker.
There are test exercises or mock quiz from books or better yet you could make one for yourself. The idea here is so that you can gauge how much you have already studied.
Some people say too much and too little of something is bad. This is the importance of taking breaks in order to allow your body to recuperate and your brain to digest the information you have studied. Have you heard of saturation? This happens when no matter how hard you try to retain the information you are studying you can’t. You need to take a short break in between study period to allow memory retention.
The most common problem among college students when it comes to studying is time management. Instead of leaving studying for the last minute and cramming for exams, if you set out time goals and develop management skills, your life and academic career will be much easier.
Steps to improving your time management
- Make an outline of how you make use of your time. This will help you recognize the pattern such as time spent in activities not related to school and the time spent on your normal activities.
- When you have accurately recognized the pattern of how you are spending your time, it is time to find out how many hours you need to study weekly. Take into consideration how many classes you are attending, class difficulty and how many hours the classes usually take. Basically, you need to spend more time on difficult classes followed by the moderately difficult and lastly the easy classes.
- Make a time table. It should fit the kind of personality you have. You need the time of your classes, work (if you have), time for meal and meal preparation, etc. Create your schedule based on what works for you.
- Prioritize. Socializing is important, but studying is even more important. If you turn down 1 in 5 social activities, you can use the gained time to drastically improve your academic skills. Remember college is only supposed to be four years so if you get through it quicker you have more time for life.
- Relax. Placing too much stress on yourself sets you up for failure in dealing with difficult tasks. Nobody said achieving goals is easy.
It can be quite challenging to gain skills in time management but if you hang in there you will definitely achieve it. If other students have done it, so can you.
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.
Flashcards can be a very helpful tool, especially in classes where you need to memorize. Vocabulary, dates, number, formulas. It’s all easier to remember with flashcards. Here are some alternatives to regular paper flashcards.
Flashcard Exchange is the world’s largest library of printable flashcards, according to their slogan. A free membership will allow you to create unlimited flashcards and share them if you choose. Without an account, you can study with the millions of flashcards available the public. A one-time membership of $19.95 allows you to use images in your flashcards, print them out and use the Leitner card files as well as export cards to Word or Excel. The free membership is fully functional and unless you want to print, is a great way to study.
Flashcard Machine is a great way to create, study and share flashcards online. With free registration, you have the ability to create unlimited flashcards and share them with others (even non-registered users). You can separate flashcards into multiple subjects and groups and include images and audio. The website isn’t as polished as Flashcard Exchange, but it does offer a few more options and is free.
iFlash is a Mac shareware program designed to help you study with virtual flashcards. There is a free trial and for $14.95, you can purchase the program. It allows you to print, edit and share your flashcards easily. You can create multiple card faces (word, definition, example, etc.) and export flashcards to your ipod.
Genius is another memorization software for Mac that I’ve already posted about here. It organizes info using the “Leitner “learning cardfile” system, and it quizzes you using a spaced repetition method.” It’s also free and my favorite way to study.
Memory Lifter is a free Windows flashcard software. It’s a pretty basic flashcard software and since it’s PC only, I haven’t been able to test it, but the features seem nice from the website