Tag Archives | studying

Image by Samantha Marx, Flickr

Image by Samantha Marx, Flickr

Here’s a situation that may sound familiar to you. You walk into a library hoping to get some work done. You find an empty seat, sit down, and open up your textbook. But then it happens. Seated nearby are two or more students yapping amongst themselves, constantly interrupting your flow of concentration.

Now, if you happen to be the culprits in this scenario, you might claim in defense: “But we’re not talking out loud, we’re whispering”. Believe it or not, my ears have the ability to detect low-level sound. So, no matter how low you whisper, I can still hear you gossiping about Sally’s relationship problems.

Not only are you wasting my time, but yours as well. So, here are some productive things you can do in a library instead:

Beef Up Your Assignment By Doing Research

Excelling in education requires a strong work ethic, and having access to the right resources can influence the outcome of your work. Luckily, your institution’s library can help you in this respect.

University libraries are filled to the brim with scholarly material, making them invaluable assets. One can spend dozens of hours sorting through rows of books filled with information on any given topic. However, for convenience, you can decide beforehand what books you will take out via a library computer.

When logged onto a computer, open a browser, and it will show a search engine for finding material within the library catalogue. When typing in your topic, make sure to include important keywords pertaining to what you are researching. You can narrow your search down by decade of publication, name of the subject matter, and academic discipline. Following these steps will garner search results more relevant to your topic.

Upon finding a catalogue entry you want, you will notice a little boxed symbol situated underneath the title of the book. If the symbol is green, the book is available. If it’s red, it’s currently unavailable. In the case that it is available, jot down the book’s catalogue number, i.e. “HD6072.5”, and the floor it’s shelved at. The shelves are arranged in sequence by code; this will help make your search easier. For example, if you’re searching for a book that’s numbered “HD6072.5”, just go to the shelf titled “HD2532-HD7000” to find it.

Search for Online Resources

When browsing the library catalogue, you can also refine your search to online entries, and even narrow it down further to EBooks or Journals, Magazines, and Newspaper Articles. Your university will also grant you access to a number of online academic journals from a variety of academic disciplines. Another useful online resource your university may provide free access to is Jstor, an incredibly helpful tool for finding articles pertaining to the Liberal Arts. If you are a science major, on the other hand, online resources are perfect for finding the most up-to-date scientific research.

Hold Group Meetings – Without Disturbing Others

At any library, there are group study rooms available. Make sure that you only work on such projects inside a study room. Group meetings are not allowed in the main study hall so as to not disrupt other students who are working. Book one of the rooms online or through the front desk. Before doing so, be aware of the booking policies. Each library has its own set of rules, so make sure you go over them via the library website. Generally, a room can only be booked by a group of 2 or more students. In addition, your booking may be forfeited in the case that you arrive 15 or more minutes late, and you may not book a room for more than 3 hours nor for less than 20 minutes. Make sure to abide by these rules when utilizing this service.

Study Quietly

If you’re not researching or taking out any books, there are other measures you can take to avoid disrupting everyone else in the library. One method is to simply not sit at the same table with your beloved “BFF”. That doesn’t mean that you have to ignore them; you can still meet up with them after studying at a designated hot spot via text. There, you can gossip about the inner-workings of Sally’s love life.

How you utilize the resources made available to you will be a deciding factor in your academic success, and using the library effectively is a great habit to get into right from freshman year.

Image by Tulane Public Relations, flickr

Image by Tulane Public Relations, flickr

What comes to mind when you think of tutors? That nice lady who used to teach you piano lessons at home during middle school? Let’s get rid of the stereotype; a tutor can be anyone who has knowledge or skill in a subject and devotes time towards helping others learn it by offering private lessons. Some people tutor leisurely, while others do it to earn extra income.

Tutors can earn anywhere from $13-$20 per hour (sometimes more!). You’re likely thinking about better ways to spend that hard-earned money from your part-time job – but you don’t want to sacrifice your education. Like any other student, you love getting things for free – and we’ve got a few ways you can get the same quality lessons without spending a dime. So if you’re having difficulty with that statistics or finance course and the first test is in a few weeks, you’ve read the textbook several times but still don’t get it, don’t fret! Here are some free options for you to explore before you tear your hair out:

  1. The Course Teaching Assistant (a.k.a. the T.A.)
  2. Your professor probably doesn’t have sufficient time to explain the material individually with each student taking the class – but that’s why the T.A. was invented. A T.A. could be a graduate student taking a masters or PhD program in your subject, or an undergrad student who got an excellent grade in the same course who is willing to teach others. Teaching Assistants are highly under-used by students, and completely free of charge. Your prof will gladly provide the Teaching Assistant’s contact information if it’s not already on the course outline. Keep in mind, they tend to help professors grade assignments – so they’re a good place to get tips when learning the material.

  3. Study groups
  4. Do you tend to browse through Facebook while in class? Make it productive! Do a search for a study group in your course. If you can’t find one, speak to the people sitting around you to see if they’d be interested in forming a study group. You’ll be amazed how many times people will have the same idea but were too shy to suggest it.

  5. YouTube
  6. If you’re shy or not into group study, you still have options, one of which is YouTube. Every minute, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube (seriously – check out the stats), and most certainly you’ll find a video – or a dozen – about your course or even the particular chapter you’re struggling with. One big advantage is you can pause and rewind the video as many times as needed. Don’t restrict yourself to YouTube either; a general Google search for videos on your subject will provide you with more results if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

  7. Clubs and Societies
  8. If your internet is down, or you don’t have the T.A.’s email address, or you don’t want to speak to that guy who sits beside you in class, chances are there is a club or a society in your school filled with people who are passionate about the course or subject you need help with. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask questions.

Remember that tutoring is not the only option. If you’re willing to explore, you’ll be able to find ways to help you succeed in your course.

Image by Ohfoohy, Flickr

Image by Ohfoohy, Flickr

With the volume and speed at which information is given to you during university, you can often times feel completely lost. No matter how many times you look over your textbook or your notes, a concept just doesn’t seem to stick. Instead of ignoring it and hoping that it doesn’t appear on your exam, it’s time for you to ask for help. There are plenty of people and resources out there that can help. When you want to ace that course, think about starting here:

Online Resources

If you can’t follow what your prof is saying during the lecture, being taught the material from a different angle may be just what you need to succeed. With the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward videos and podcasts, those who like learning things slowly have the opportunity to really let the information sink in. Try these:

Professors and TAs

They’re the ones who teach the course and give out the assignments and exams, so it only makes sense to contact them for help. This does not mean bombarding them the night before an assignment is due to answer all of your questions; it means attending office hours and going to every tutorial. You don’t want your prof to think of you as “the procrastinator” and they definitely won’t appreciate staying up late to answer questions you should have asked several days ago.

Students Who Have Taken the Course

Getting help from a student who has taken the course with the same prof may be the best place to get help. Sometimes, they can even be more helpful than a prof or a TA. A student who has been through the experience will know tips and tricks to understand course content and how to do well in the exam. There might be certain things these students picked up on that the professor liked seeing in assignments and essays. Definitely ask these people for help! If you feel like you’re really struggling, consider paying for a student tutor who will assist you throughout the term.

If your school has a Students Offering Support (SOS) chapter, take full advantage. SOS offers Exam-AID sessions run by students, for students. For a small donation of $20, you are given access to an Exam-AID session usually taught by a student who has taken the course. Sessions cover the entire course and come with notes made by the student instructor. This great organization puts all proceeds from Exam-AID sessions toward development programs in Latin America. Whether you attend their Exam-AID sessions as a way to cram or as a refresher, you can rest assured your money is going to a great cause.

Students Currently Taking the Course

They may not have the expertise and knowledge that professors or previous students have, but they may be struggling in class just like you. You’re all in the same boat, so help each other out! Consider starting a study group and meet once a week to discuss questions, readings, assignments, etc. It’s also a great way to make some friends in class.