Tech Tools For Study Habits & Organization

August 8, 2013  |  General Tips, Note-Taking, Study Skills  |  No Comments

Students are always looking for new ways to make studying just a bit easier, and just a bit more convenient. Of course, we’ve all had the experience of having to lug a massive textbook around, trying to read, memorize and absorb as much as possible before a major exam. Sometimes, this is just the way it has to happen! But these days, there are also a lot of new tools available to help students with organization and study habits. For example, here are a few ways in which apps and new technologies can help with school.

Read More
How To Find Cheap Textbooks

How To Find Cheap Textbooks

April 14, 2012  |  How to, Note-Taking  |  No Comments

Finding cheap textbooks can be difficult and cumbersome. The easiest way to get a hold of a copy of the required textbooks is of course to purchase the book through the local campus book shop or shop online on one of the many online book stores. However, there are also cheaper alternatives that could save a great deal of many in the long run.

In this article, we will discuss some inexpensive ways to find your textbook.


BookByte – Your Source For Cheap Textbooks

Bookbyte is a website designated for selling and trading textbooks. You can find all sorts of cheap college textbooks ranging from anything from mathematics & natural sciences to social sciences and art. Great place to start digging for cheap textbooks. Click here to start browsing!


The library

The classic venue for students since time immemorial. If you are short on cash, the library is definitely the first place to visit. Many university libraries have a policy of storing – at the very least – 1 copy of every required course textbook. These copies are often restricted to by read only on library grounds and can’t be borrowed. If you’re library has such a policy, it can be a great place to study, especially if you don’t need to have the book with you at all times. If you do, I would recommend trying to find an inexpensive copy of the textbook online.


Borrowing From Friends

If you at the present time know any seniors, that’s a great thing. As friends, you can borrow or lend copies of your textbooks to each other. Remember to treat that person’s copy as if it was your own, return it in good condition as soon as you don’t need it anymore. I’m sure you are aware how irritating it can be when someone loses something you lent out to them.

Learn Like a Baby

November 12, 2010  |  Educational Theory, Note-Taking  |  6 Comments

Be a baby, or learn like a baby?

We live in a day and age where we as human beings try to find out how we can maximize our learning capabilities in order to stay relevant on the market. At this very moment, there are thousands of ambitious minds surfing the web trying to find information on how to learn effectively. Read More

How To Write on an Essay Exam

June 21, 2010  |  Note-Taking  |  1 Comment

Writing essays on an exam isn’t the same as answering simple questions on a conventional exam. Some people prefer the essay format while others would rather be judged with a plain old exam where all the questions are straight forward. In this guide you’ll learn how to write your essay on an exam. Read More

Writer’s Block

January 30, 2010  |  Note-Taking  |  14 Comments

Unfortunately we all know what writer’s block is and how painful it can be but is there a way to overcome it?

First of all, let’s try to define the word to get a feel for it. Writer’s block is a condition in which an author momentarily loses the ability to produce new work. This condition varies widely in intensity, sometimes it lasts for a few seconds/minutes and other times it can last for months.

There are many different ways to overcome writers block, below I will mention some that I find very useful. Remember that, although it may be difficult at the moment to get anything down on paper, if you have patience and keep trying eventually it usually starts to flow.

6 Words That Eliminate Writers Block

What are these six words you ask? Before I reveal them, let me introduce the man who came up with the neat little formula we’re about to learn.

His name was Rudyard Kipling and is regarded as a main innovator in the art of the short story. During his lifetime he wrote this powerful, yet concise poem describing these 6 amazing words:

“I keep six faithful serving men
Who teach me well and true
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who.”

If you ever get stuck while writing, always think of those 6 words:

Blue Arrow What: What am I writing about? What will be included? What type of content is relevant and so forth.

Blue Arrow Where: Where does this take place? Where can I collect the information needed and so forth

Blue Arrow When: When does it take place? When will I be finished and so forth…

Blue Arrow How: How did this happen? How can I collect more information on the subject and so forth…

Blue Arrow Why: Why did this happen? Why should I have to do it in this manner, can’t I do it in this matter instead?…

Blue Arrow Who: Who was responsible for this? Who can I talk to in order to get more info and so forth…

Movement is good

What’s really stopping you from writing is usually the movement it self and not so often the lack of ideas. This means that, as long as you keep on moving that pen (or keep on pressing those keys) you won’t (hopefully) face any writers block! For instance, you might start out your story in this manner:

“I had just opened the door when all of a sudden yada yada so I called out in fear yadayda” The yada yada represents the block and instead of just stopping completely you should write yada yada instead. Remember, you’re writing a draft so nothing says it has to be perfect. It’s the end result that matters anyway, right? When you feel that you’re finished, just go back and revise it. It’s as simple as that.

Write With Passion

What I am about to reveal to you is so chocking it could give your English teacher a heart attack! 🙂 Here it goes: You should always (momentarily) FORGET about grammar when starting on a novel/essay and just focus on writing. Write with passion, write with insight, write as if your life depended on it!

Turn Off The Inner Editor!

Have you ever noticed that your writing is the most intense when it comes naturally without any external compulsion? Why is it so? I really don’t know, all that matters is the fact that it works like this and that you should write in this matter.

Yes, grammar are is important but you’re not writing in stone which means that you can always go back later and edit your material. The important thing is; just write and let your passion splash all over your draft.

KWL Table/Chart

November 21, 2009  |  Note-Taking  |  1 Comment

A k-w-l (or k-w-l-h) table/chart is a form of graphical organizer, first introduced in the mid 80’s by a researcher named Donna Ogle.

It’s usually counted among instructional techniques, it sets out to answer the following three important questions:

(1). What I Know
(2). What I Want to know and
(3) What I’ve Learned.

By systematizing previous knowledge in such a fashion it becomes easier for an instructor or a student for that matter to keep track on what has been done previously and what needs to be done in the future.

How does it work?

Divide your paper into three different columns (equally large) just like in the picture below. In section “A” one writes down the current date and the particular course this applies to.

Section B, C and D follows the same order as the acronym KWL; in ‘B’ you write what you know right now. In section ‘C’ you write down what you would like to know and finally in the last section marked as ‘D’ you write down what new knowledge you’ve learned.

Further notes
Although a kwl chart is usually composed of the three columns previously mentioned some prefer to add a fourth and a fifth column; K-W-L-W-H. The second W stands for “Further Wanderings” where the student fills in additional thoughts that came to mind.

The addition of the final “H” was proposed by teaching instructor Margaret Mooney and it stands for How the students can gather further information on the subject.

Helpful resources

Blue Arrow pdf Download a template kwl chart – A downloadable template for kwl charts.
Blue Arrow Cornell notes – Article discussing a specific note taking technique.

Cornell Notes

November 21, 2009  |  Note-Taking  |  2 Comments

The Cornell note taking system is a systematic way of formating and organizing your notes, the system was initiated by an education professor at Cornell university in the late 50s.

There’s a link to an article by the Cornell University describing this system at the bottom of this page.

How does it work?

Cornell Note Taking System

Start out by dividing your paper into two columns (click on the image to enlarge). In area “A” (see picture) you fill in your notes as the teacher is speaking or while you´re reading your textbook.

When the lecture is finished you fill in your own questions concerning the notes. Comments or keywords are placed in area “B”.

You can then chose to cover section ‘A’ and ask yourself questions from the left column, this should be done regularly. Finally in section ‘C’ you write a small summary of the notes.

Further Notes

During the lecture, write in paragraphs, leaving a line between each new line of thought. Having your own shorthand mode might be a good idea. Try and stick with the general ideas rather than illustrative ones. And also try to write as legibly as you possibly can.

Helpful resources
Blue Arrow Pdf Explaining the Cornell notes system – By The Cornell University
Blue Arrow Download A Template Cornell Notes – A Microsoft Word file

Study Guide Pro