Day to Day

Take good notes. 

  • Always take the notes for a particular class in the same notebook. Spiral bound notebooks were invented because they solved the problem of keeping related information consolidated in one place. Take advantage of this.
  • Date each entry into your notebook.
  • It is usually best to keep the notes for different classes separate from each other. Spiral notebooks with built in dividers are excellent for this purpose.
  • Your notes should contain as complete a record of what the instructor said as possible. Of course, you should not try to write every word spoken, but don’t leave out ideas. When you study, your notes should call back to your mind the entire sequence of ideas presented. Take care to spell all new words carefully. It you don’t know how to spell a word, ask your instructor to write it on the board. Most will automatically do so for new or difficult terms.
  • Anything the instructor writes on the board should appear in your notes. If the instructor took the time to write it out, he or she considers it important. You should do the same.
  • If possible, try to take your notes in some kind of outline form. The organization of ideas is as important as the content of those ideas, especially when it comes to learning the material for an exam.
  • You might find it useful to have a second color of pen or pencil available for highlighting important ideas or indicating vocabulary.

Be involved in your classes. 

Don’t simply pretend you are a sponge, ready to soak up whatever the instructor says. You are there to learn, not to be taught.

  • If the instructor is moving too rapidly for you, or if you don’t understand what is being said, say something!
  • Ask questions if you are confused. Confusion is definitely your worst enemy.
  • If your class includes group activities, participate as fully as you can. Such exercises are done for your benefit, not to provide a break for the instructor.

Review your notes every day. 

This suggestion is one which we have all heard a thousand times. Unfortunately, most of us never really believe it until we actually try it. Spend 30 minutes or so each evening going over the notes from each class. There are at least two tremendous benefits to be gained from this discipline.

  • Research has shown that reviewing new material within 24 hours of hearing it increases your retention of that material by about 60%. This means that you will be 60% ahead of the game the next time you walk into class. If you want to significantly reduce the time necessary to prepare for exams, this is the way to do it.
  • Reviewing material before the next class period enables you to identify points of confusion or omission in your notes, which prepares you to ask the questions you need to ask before the next lecture. Again, confusion is your worst enemy.

It is excellent policy to give high priority to new vocabulary. Language is the most fundamental tool of any subject, and it can seriously handicap you to fall behind in this.

Keep up on your reading. 

Unlike most high school teachers, many college instructors don’t give specific reading assignments. You are expected to go to your text for the reading related to the materials covered in class. Be independent enough to do this without being told.

Using Your Textbook

Don’t expect your instructor to give you detailed, page by page textbook assignments. While some may do so, many do not. College teachers are much more likely to expect you to use your own initiative in making use of the text.

In most cases, it will be most useful for you to at least skim the relevant chapters before each lecture. You should receive a course outline/syllabus at the beginning of the quarter, which will tell you the subject for each day. You may receive chapter references (or even page references), or you instructor may expect you to be perceptive enough to refer to the Table of Contents.

  • When you first approach a chapter, page through it fairly quickly, noting boldface headings and subheadings, examining figures, illustrations, charts, etc., and thinking about any highlighted vocabulary terms and concepts. Also take note of the pedagogical aids at the end of the chapter–study questions, summary, etc.
  • When you have finished surveying the chapter, return to the beginning and read in more detail. Remember to concentrate upon understanding. Don’t simply read through the words. Any words which you don’t understand you should look up. If you own the book and intend to keep it, you may want to write definitions of such words in the margins. You may also find it helpful to make observations and other useful notes in the margins. If you don’t intend to keep the book yourself, you should carry out similar activities on a page in your class notebook.
  • On this first trip through the chapter, you should concentrate upon catching the major subjects and points of the material. Also take note of those things which you don’t understand. If the lecture on the material doesn’t clarify those points, you should ask your instructor to explain.

Following coverage of the chapter’s material in class, you should go back to the book and read it again. It will probably be helpful to skim through it first, as you did when you first looked at it. The tables and figures should be more readily read in detail. If you are a truly conscientious student, you will outline the chapter and prepare a vocabulary list of the terms which are pertinent.

At this time you should think seriously about the review and study questions at the end of the chapter. Do your best to answer all of them as if they were a take-home exam.

You may also want to develop a system of cross referencing symbols to use when comparing your class notes to your notes from the text.

Remember that your instructor will probably not use the same words which you find in the text book. nothing is more frustrating than to discover that what you hear in class is no more than a rehash of what you read in the book. However, if your instructor knows his/her subject, and the author of your text knows his/her subject, the meat of what they say should be the same. 

NOTE: Nobody is infallible. Your instructor may make mistakes. Don’t expect them to be more than human.

Preparing Assignments

Here’s another thing we have all been told thousands of times: Don’t leave assignments until the day before they are due! If you have a paper to write or a lab report to prepare, begin it as soon as possible. In most cases, instructors will be delighted to receive work early. Remember that many papers or projects require quite a bit of research before you can even begin writing. In most cases, it is impossible to accomplish the necessary preparation in one day or even one week. In some cases, instructors won’t accept late work at all. They are perfectly justified.

Another sore point: Be aware of the appearance of the work you submit. You should want to be proud of every assignment you submit, and that includes being proud of its appearance. If possible, assignments should always be typed. Never turn in an assignment written in pencil. Pages torn out of notebooks are sloppy and unsightly.Think about this point every time you hand an instructor an assignment. That paper represents the quality of your work, and your instructor is perfectly justified in taking its appearance into consideration when assigning a grade.

Preparing for Exams

Keep in mind that you want to be an active learner, not a passive one. The more you use and manipulate the information, the better you will understand it. Using and manipulating information in as many ways as possible also maximizes your ability to access your memory.

Do not wait until the night before an exam to study! Of course, you should be regularly reviewing your notes, but the preparation still takes time.

If your instructor hasn’t explained to you how he or she designs exams, ask. this is a perfectly legitimate concern. However, keep in mind that an instructor has the right to design exams in whatever fashion he or she sees fit, and in most cases you have no business asking for changes in that design. You need to learn to handle all testing styles–including the dreaded essay exam!

A good first step in preparation is to read through your notes a couple of times. While you are doing this, you might also;

  • Highlight major topics and subtopics, with the goal of generating an outline of your notes. Even if you take your notes in outline form, this is a good practice. Major topics often extend through more than one day’s lecture, and it is easy to lose track of the overall picture from day to day.
  • With a second color, highlight all vocabulary terms.

Outline the entire set of notes. When you study a large body of information, you should study from concept to detail, not the other way around. It will, in fact, be much easier to learn the details if you take the time to learn the concept and theory first. The least efficient approach to studying is to attempt to memorize your notes from beginning to end. It’s not the words which are important–it’s the ideas.

Consider ways of dealing with the information other than those used in class. the more ways you can manipulate and experience the material you are trying to learn, the more secure your understanding and memory will be. Some suggestions:

  • Make charts, diagrams and graphs.
  • Make lists.
  • If the subject matter includes structures, practice drawing those structures. Remember that a drawing is useless unless the important structures are labeled.

There are almost always types of information which you will have to memorize (eg. vocabulary). No one has ever invented a better device for memorizing than flash cards.

One of the most universally effective ways to polish off your study activities is to prepare a self test.

  • Challenge yourself as severely as you can.
  • As you are studying, keep a running collection of “exam questions.” If you seriously attempt to write difficult and meaningful questions, by the time you finish you will have created a formidable exam. When you begin to feel you’re ready for your instructor’s exam, take out your questions and see if you can answer them. If you can’t, you may need to go back and reinforce some of the things your are trying to learn.

Never, ever pull an “All-Nighter" on the night before an exam. This is a "freshman trick,” meaning that good students learn very quickly that it is futile. What you may gain from extra study time won’t compensate for the loss of alertness and ability to concentrate due to lack of sleep.

On exam day:

  • Try not to “cram” during every spare moment before an exam. This only increases the feeling of desperation which leads to panic, and then to test anxiety. You may find it useful, on the night before an exam, to jot down a few ideas or facts which you wish to have fresh in your mind when you begin the exam. Read through your list a couple of times when you get up in the morning and/or just before you take the exam, then put it away. This kind of memory reinforcement not only improves your performance on the test, it also improves your long-term memory of the material.
  • Be physically prepared.
    • Get a good night’s sleep.
    • Bring necessary writing materials to the test–at least 2 writing tools, erasers, blue books if necessary, calculators if appropriate and allowed. Be aware of what the instructor has specified as permitted for use. Some instructors object to exams written pencil; some prohibit use of tools like calculators. It is your responsibility to know these requirements; you should be prepared to take the consequences if you don’t.
    • This may seem silly, but go to the bathroom just before the exam. Don’t expect your teacher to let you leave to do this during the test! The tension which generally goes along with taking an exam may increase the need to perform this physical activity, so you may need to go, even though you don’t particularly feel like it.

Some Final Suggestions

You should receive a syllabus for each class. This is the Rule Book for that class (in my classes, we call it the Survival Manual). Know everything on that syllabus! Your teacher has the right to expect you to know and abide by any rules and stipulations on that document, and it is perfectly within his/her rights to penalize you for failing to do so. Respect dates and deadlines, and expect to lose points if you turn things in late.

Never miss an exam if you can help it. You will rarely be more ready for the exam in two or three days than you are on the scheduled date, and the annoyance the teacher will feel about having to arrange a special exam time for you can actually hurt your grade in the end. Miss exams only if you absolutely have to.

Save everything. Never throw away a handout or a returned assignment or exam. With this in mind, equip yourself with a pouched folder for each class.

Develop systematic behavior patterns associated with your schoolwork.

  • Keep your class materials together and neat.
  • Never allow yourself to be caught at school without the necessary notebooks and materials. If you develop systematic habits with respect to attending classes, etc., this will be no problem.

It is excellent practice to set aside a study area at home, and to designate a particular span of time each day as study time. However, don’t fall into the trap of feeling that study should never exceed the preordained time limits. You put in as much study time as is necessary to master the material for your classes.

12.11 pm // i made some biochemistry flashcards for carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism! they’re basically condensed notes but they’re much more convenient and organised this way as each side of the card is a different subtopic plus now i can study on the go ~~ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ 

[ from my instagram @studyingg ☄ ]

Study methods + tips

02.03.2017 | Day 3 of the February study challenge! 

What are my favourite study methods? 

Originally posted by intoastrangeworld

To be honest, I’m still experimenting with different study methods and finding out what works best for me. But here are some of them! 

For math and sciences: 

When I do my homework, I highlight the questions that I had trouble with, so when it comes time to review my notes, I redo the highlighted questions to make sure I understand everything. Then I do ALL the review questions I can find in the textbook. 

Ideal study music: Either have no music, or play some light jazz. 

For arts and languages: 

I go over my notes with a blue pen and underline, summarize + annotate my notes to make sure I really understand the material. Usually on the side I will put some funny acronyms and pictures to help me remember the material. Then I just quiz myself by making sure I can explain each subtopic I have learned so far! 

Idea study music: Kdrama OSTs (Scarlet Heart Ryeo/ Descendants of the Sun anyone?) or any laid back feel songs. 

Thanks again for everyone’s support! 

Disclaimer: I have never taken a non-science college class. Meaning, I have no idea how to take notes for humanities or social sciences. Not saying this method won’t work for that, just that I can’t guarantee it will. Also, this method is not about achieving pretty notes, only structured practical notes.

What you’ll need:

  • Notebook. I use a notebook. Most people I know use a notebook. Why should YOU use a notebook?
    • You won’t get as many handouts (if any) as in highschool.
    • Professors won’t ask to see hw in your notebook. For all they care, your notes could be a comic about the class. As long as you pass, you do you.
    • You don’t have as many classes in a day so even if you carry around notebooks, your bag won’t be all that heavy.
    • You can divide it into three sections: class notes, seminar notes/work and lab work. All in one for your studying comfort.
    • Professors WILL reference that formula from 3 classes ago and when you have no idea wtf they’re talking about, you can just flip a few pages.
    • Seriously, no one in your class wants to hear you snap loose leaf paper out of your ring binder.
    • And let’s be honest, your notes are going to get jumbled up any other way.
    • If you’re taking a continuation class and you’ll need to revise from these notes, it’s much easier to pull out a notebook than to look through the thousands of notes from all your classes and try to figure out which are the ones you need and what is the correct order.
  • Two pens, three tops. Blue for general notes, black for sections and the other color for subsections or underlining. Go for black for general note taking if you want to (I do it too sometimes) but blue strains your eyes less.

In class:

  • Structuring notes: not every structure works for every subject and professor so you should figure out a method for each one. That said, I usually start out with a basic structure and then tweak it along the way to better suit my needs:
    1. The name of the unit should be your ‘big title’. ‘ORGANELLES’
    2. Every ‘big topic’ (very easy to identify – usually the professor will make it really clear that you’re moving on to a different topic or it’ll be on the slides) inside the unit is assigned a number. ‘3. Mitochondria’
    3. Every ’big aspect’ of that topic is a subtopic. ‘3.4. Structure’.
    4. If there are even more sub subtopics, continue with the numeration system. Otherwise proceed to use bullet points for any enumerations. If there are enumerations inside these enumerations (wow enumerception), change your symbol for each level. Instead of bullet points you can use dashes, squares, spirals, Xs…
    5. The exception for this is when the enumeration corresponds to steps in a process. In that case, I number each step and circle the number.
    6. For each level you descend, indent your text. It’ll be easier to not get lost. Skip this if you’re working with a small notebook and you’re afraid of running out of pages.
    7. Sticky notes are your best friend. Does some random piece of info the professor just decided was important enough to be mentioned not fit into your very methodic structure? No problem, add a sticky note. Cute + calls attention to it, so you won’t forget.

Keep reading


Happy National Tea Day! I drank enough tea to float an armada this morning at a tea festival where I got oodles of loot, and highly caffeinated. I started doing a bit of work with my friend at 4, and have waffled around a bit, dabbling in answering some questions for a different course than the one of the above notes, but since my friend and I keep discussing Molecular Reaction Dynamics, I thought it would be best for the both of us if I switched over to that. 

Fun tip- if you have a problem with writing concise notes about a subject, limit the paper size you can use and tell yourself that you have to keep the notes brief. Here I’m using giant flashcards that are about A5 size, and splitting them in half and trying to use one card or one size per subtopic. Making them really helped me with this course, since I didn’t know enough to make full-on notes, and the course was not very loosely structured so I needed extra flexibility.

A mind map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.

Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.

In a mind map, as opposed to traditional note taking or a linear text, information is structured in a way that resembles much more closely how your brain actually works. Since it is an activity that is both analytical and artistic, it engages your brain in a much, much richer way, helping in all its cognitive functions. And, best of all, it is fun!

This is a mind map about – conveniently enough – mind mapping itself. It presents, in a visual way, the core elements and techniques on how to draw mind maps. Yes, I know this may look a little too messy initially, but bear with me: once you break the ingrained habit of linear note taking, you won’t look back.

Benefits and Uses

I think I already gave away the benefits of mind mapping and why mind maps work. Basically, mind mapping avoids dull, linear thinking, jogging your creativity and making note taking fun again.

But what can we use mind maps for?

  • Note taking
  • Brainstorming (individually or in groups)
  • Problem solving
  • Studying and memorization
  • Planning
  • Researching and consolidating information from multiple sources
  • Presenting information
  • Gaining insight on complex subjects
  • Jogging your creativity

It is hard to make justice to the number of uses mind maps can have – the truth is that they can help clarify your thinking in pretty much anything, in many different contexts: personal, family, educational or business. Planning you day or planning your life, summarizing a book, launching a project, planning and creating presentations, writing blog posts – well, you get the idea – anything, really.

How to Draw a Mind Map

Drawing a mind map is as simple as 1-2-3:

  • Start in the middle of a blank page, writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop. I would suggest that you use the page in landscape orientation.
  • Develop the related subtopics around this central topic, connecting each of them to the center with a line.
  • Repeat the same process for the subtopics, generating lower-level subtopics as you see fit, connecting each of those to the corresponding subtopic.

Some more recommendations:

  • Use colors, drawings and symbols copiously. Be as visual as you can, and your brain will thank you. I’ve met many people who don’t even try, with the excuse they’re “not artists”. Don’t let that keep you from trying it out!.
  • Keep the topics labels as short as possible, keeping them to a single word – or, better yet, to only a picture. Especially in your first mind maps, the temptation to write a complete phrase is enormous, but always look for opportunities to shorten it to a single word or figure – your mind map will be much more effective that way.
  • Vary text size, color and alignment. Vary the thickness and length of the lines. Provide as many visual cues as you can to emphasize important points. Every little bit helps engaging your brain.

Final Thoughts

Mind mapping is an absolutely fascinating and rich topic – this post only scratches the surface. If you want more reference material now, Wikipedia is always a good starting point.

In the meantime, please give mind mapping a chance – try it out. Follow these handy tips and see the results for yourself. Don’t worry too much about doing it the “right” way – just make it fun.


how to learn meaningfully

learning should be about gaining knowledge for a lifetime advantage rather than just for a good grade, and I know that we all don’t learn meaningfully all the time but here a some general tips on how to do so:

1. take notes, you need to have a source of information for any topic that you would like to learn 

2. read your notes, practice problems, begin to master all related to the topic 

3. don’t have expectations to be completely knowledgeable on a topic in a few days, this takes months even years 

4. don’t stop studying your resources or notes , they will be a solid source of information for as long as you keep them

5. if you are attempting to really learn a school subject, don’t stop studying after you get a grade that wasn’t up to your standards, no one is perfect at learning, it’s called trial and error

6. practice the subtopics you’re bad at, you won’t every truly learn the material until you push through everything related to it, the good and the bad

7. if you’re a high school or college student, do not stop learning and studying when the school year ends 

8. remind yourself why you wanted to learn in the first place, remind yourself of the motivation that you began with 

9. as you become more skilled and informed, start to learn variations of the topics you started in to become even more well-versed 

10. be confident in what you have learned and studied, it’s taken a lot of hard work to learn something meaningfully, what an amazing feat 

hope these are helpful! 


Check out some of my other masterposts below the cut! 

Keep reading


{ Useful App #1: Eggbun - Chat to Learn Korean. }

Eggbun is an app where you can learn basic Korean for free, in a mobile-friendly, chat-setting! Yes, the lessons will be set like you’re chatting with someone~ Of course, you don’t have to worry because it’s all bot stuff. (I can’t even talk to real people on HelloTalk, and that’s where Eggbun comes in.)

This app is available on the Play Store here and the App Store here. I’ll be explaining each screenshots one by one. Please bear with me, hehe.

  1. That’s the app on the Play Store.
  2. The list of courses available! There are hangul lessons, number + counter lessons, classroom settings, even basic beginner conversations (of TTMIK)!
  3. The front page of a course you tap on. There are many subtopics/lessons on each course, and you can see your progress as it will be displayed on each course/frontpage (given that you sign in with a Google account first.)
  4. That’s how your lessons are taught; it’s as if someone is chatting with you! 
  5. Useful Culture Notes to help you learn more about the Korean culture and formal etiquette! They’re bite-sized but very informative.
  6. And that’s the front loading page. I just thought it looked nice, so I put it there, haha.

You can use this app for free, of course, but there are paid options as well. The option menu (which is not included here) will let you change the keyboard settings, buy the app pass if you’d like, or even to read about the creators of the app! 

I just found this cute app recently and I think it really needs more love. It’s very good for Korean beginners, but it can also act as a ‘test’ thing for some lower intermediate learners as well! Also good for people who are scared of real conversations (…people like me…), and I shall not mention why, haha. 

I’ll be making more of this ‘Useful App’ posts in the future as well, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading, have a nice day and happy learning!

{ korean language resources // japanese language resources }

Russian Language Apps

Originally posted by areweevenalive

I’ve been meaning to make this post for months, but here it is. When I started learning Russian four years ago there weren’t many apps out there, but now the app market is bigger and there are some great apps. Here is what I recommend and like. Since I am an Android user, I’m not too sure about recommendations for iOS only apps.

Write it! Russian

  • Cost: Free
  • Link: [Android
  • Thoughts: This is a nice app to practice writing cursive cyrillic letters.

Tengugo Cyrillic

  • Cost: Free
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This is an amazing app to learn the alphabet and it is made by linguists so you know it is good. I liked their approach and it makes learning Cyrillic simple.


  • Cost: Free 
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: I think everyone knows this app. It is great for vocabulary and when first starting a language. It is fun to play and allows you to practice pronunciation. 

Mondly Languages

  • Cost: Free with in-app purchases , code MONDLY
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This is a great app, similar to duo/Rosetta Stone. It teaches you starting with the basic themes and builds up on that. You can choose to learn with Latin or Cyrillic letters and it has a heart system if you get a wrong answer. 

Mango Languages

  • Cost: Free , need a US or Canada library card
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This is a great app for learning languages if you are more of an auditory learner. Their approach is more conversational compared to the two above and the lessons are fun to go through. 

Russian Verbs Pro

  • Cost: $5.99, but the demo version is free
  • Link: [Paid] [Free] Android Only
  • Thoughts: This is my favorite app on this list. It has over 1000 verbs and conjugates them for you, shows you imperfective/perfective forms, participle forms, you can look up verbs in English or Russian, has a favorite function, and I just find it 100 x’s more convenient than that 555 Russian verbs book. 

LangApp Russian

  • Cost: Free
  • Link: [Android Only]
  • Thoughts: I like it as it provides different methods to help you with Russian. It has a word of the day feature, you can read short news articles  in Russian, has a glossary, and a memorizer feature to help you learn words. This is best suited for beginners that can read Cyrillic.

Yazh Russian Case Declensions

  • Cost: $1.50 for full ad-free version, free for ads
  • Link: [Paid] [Free] Android Only
  • Thoughts: If you are struggling with case endings or need some practice, this app is perfect for that. It presents you nouns, adjectives and pronouns like a quiz and you have to either choose the correct declension based on what is asks you or you can type it out if you want a harder challenge. This is great for beginners as well as advanced learners. 

Russian Idioms

  • Cost: Free
  • Link: [Android Only]
  • Thoughts: If you are at an intermediate level or above and want to know more about Russian idioms, this is for you. There are cute drawings that illustrate the idioms with the translation and definition.

Learn Russian 6,000 Words

  • Cost: Free with in-app purchases
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This is a nice app to help build your vocabulary. The interface is good and you can choose to learn from Cyrillic or Latin-based letters. There is a large selection of themes and subtopics to learn from. You can learn from writing the words, choosing the image, matching games, and listening. My only con is the fact you have to pay for advanced vocabulary or the ad free version.

Learn & Play Russian

  • Cost: Free with in-app purchases
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This is a nice app for learning vocabulary. It helps you learn vocabulary by presenting a word and the picture, then you can either play by choosing the right word for the picture or by spelling. This is mostly for beginners that want to improve their vocab.

Russian Class

  • Cost: $2.99, Free Demo
  • Link: [Android] [iOS]
  • Thoughts: This app is a great grammar reference.  It has vocabulary, listening exercises, phrases, grammar tips and tables. A great addition to duo or a class.


  • Cost: Free
  • Link: [Android] ios coming soon
  • Thoughts: This is another app to be able to read Arabic texts with translation side to side. The great things is that it has audio and you can choose the source language.

Also, if you don’t have them, download  Anki and Memrise.

(2:28 pm // 25.04.16) Criminal Law notes. I swear this particular topic will be the death of me, we’ve only seen 3/13 subtopics and my notes are already 21 pages long. Studying for the upcoming test will be tough.

In other news: this semester ends in about a month so I’m getting swamped with tests, essays and seminars. I just had a holiday but I spent it organizing stuff and building IKEA furniture (after roughly 2 months the shipment with my things from Spain finally arrived).

I The Beginning

Before you even start studying maths you’ve gotta get your things together. The notebook you use to do your homework problems, your revision notebook, extra grid paper, textbooks, pens, pencils, rulers, geometry sets whatever you will need in this study session. Now maths is one of those subjects where no matter how long you redo your homework problems you won’t do as well as you hoped if you don’t learn how to apply the maths. So I’ll be focusing on how you can learn to apply mathematics, along with a few techniques that will prevent the ‘3 stages of downfall’.

II Applying this weird things called mathematics

Theory is a good place to start, however, don’t just parrot the theory so you can trek through those problems. How did people come up with these theories? Were they derived from another concept? Do these rules apply to all areas of this topic? What is the purpose of the concept itself? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself so that you aren’t limiting your brain. Here’s an example: ooh I recognise this problem, I’m going to do it the same way I did it originally to get it right. If you have this mentality in an exam, when a harder question decides to knock on your door, will you know how to do it? Hmm…

III The first stage of downfall

‘I make so many silly errors’. This is actually my life and I’m working towards fixing this. I tried out this method and it seems to be working so far: when you’re redoing problems from your own textbook and other textbooks, mark it and for me, most of the time the questions I get wrong are silly errors. If you have sufficient working, you can look back and see what made you draw the conclusion that was wrong. Write all these reasons on a sticky note and each time you attempt a question, go through the list of causes in your head and after you’ve completed the problem, go through the checklist again to make sure you haven’t done anything on the list. For me, it actually had to do with my handwriting- something that I could easily control. In the actual test, if you have enough time, redo each and every question to make sure that you haven’t made any stupid mistakes. My original working is in pen and my checking is in pencil (I outline this on the front of the test so my teacher isn’t like what the hell is this???).

IV The second stage of downfall

'I didn’t have enough time’. Again, actually my life. So, when you’re doing the practice problems, time yourself and go as quickly as you can but make sure you are 100% accurate. That’s why it’s important to recognise the causes of your silly errors first. Write down the average time it takes you to complete a problem belonging to a specific subtopic, but it doesn’t count if you got the problem wrong. Then you can not only figure out what questions in the test to focus more on based on your time and accuracy, but you can figure out what subtopics are your weaknesses and you can make them your strengths :))

V The final stage of downfall

'I’m not good at maths’. Yes, the final stage of downfall is your mentality. If you constantly believe that you’re horrible at maths, you won’t try as hard because 'what’s the point I’ll fail anyway’. So not true. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING A LITTLE MATHS PROBLEM IS FREAKIN NOTHING FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A GOD/GODDESS WHO IS HELLA INTELLIGENT AND CAPABLE OF EVERY SINGLE THING

I hope this helped you guys + go smash that maths test Xxxxxx

How to: Use a Syllabus

I have had a disconcerting number of asks lately dealing with syllabi. Which means it’s time for another in my ever popular line of “How to” posts.

Let’s begin with finding a syllabus. Hopefully your school handed you one before you even knew you needed it. But as seems to be the case, this isn’t happening as often as it should. Let me tell you now. YOU NEED A SYLLABUS FOR EACH CLASS YOU ARE TAKING. If your school did not provide you one - try asking your teacher for a copy. They might not know that they should be sharing this with you. If they refuse or give you a hard time, don’t stress. Simply go on google, type “[class name] ib syllabus [year]”, and a pdf or word document should be linked in the top 20 hits. example: “HL Biology ib syllabus 2015″ If you need help finding a specific class, let me know. If you have a copy of a recent syllabus/find a really good copy online - PLEASE let me know, I will make a library of links to make it easier for people to find these. Really, so much of success depends on syllabi that it’s crazy and unfair for students to be working without them.

Now that you have the syllabus - you need to learn how to read it.  At the beginning, it may have a bunch of boring information about how that subject is scored. This isn’t critical to the purpose of the syllabus. Right now, we’re more interested in teaching you what you need to know, rather than explaining how you’re going to prove it. The meat of the syllabus is divided into Core topics and Higher Level topics. Everyone (SL and HL) studies the core, but only HL has to study the additional topics. In some classes like Biology, there may be optional topics that your school will choose to focus on. Looking at the syllabus, under Core topics, you will see Topic 1. Think of this as a chapter in a book; it represents an overarching theme of study. Ex. Biology - Cell Biology. Following the Topic are subtopics or section headings. Ex. Biology - Topic 1.1 Introduction to cells. Underneath this subtopic will be a sequence of questions or statements that could be asked or referenced by an examiner. This is what you are expected to know. Exactly. There are rules in place, where professors who write the exams have to prove that the questions come directly from the syllabus. What I am telling you is that if you are familiar with the syllabus there is no possibility that you will see something new on the exam. The IB literally hands you a study guide and says if you know everything on here, you’ll get a 7.

This sounds great right? fool proof? You might then ask me why everyone isn’t getting a 7?  Go look at the sheer length of a blank syllabus and then come back. Yeah. It’s crazy how long they are. Here’s what I recommend: get the syllabus on the first day of IB. Heck - a bunch of my followers are reading this before they’re even in IB. Go get it now. ASAP. As soon as you know about syllabi, get them. Before you start a new topic in class, read the syllabus (don’t waste time previewing the book! There could be a bunch of interesting facts in there that won’t matter at all come exam time. Stay focused on that syllabus). As you cover a topic in class, keep a running syllabus going. You should have a binder of notes organized by topic, subtopic, and the question in the syllabus followed by the answer. If you do this as you go, it will be 100% easier come revision - because all your notes will already be organized per topic and you can focus in on memorizing the information. 

Now the syllabus for each class will look a little different. By now you should understand that a History class is not taught the same way as Biology. However every class is held to the standard of providing a syllabus with topics and subject focus points. Anything you are learning should directly relate back to a point on the syllabus. If you stay focused on the syllabus, then your exams will be much easier.

If you ever don’t understand something in the syllabus, either ask your teacher or feel free to ask me, because I guarantee you there is nothing more important in all of your exam prep than the syllabus.

May Masterpost Challenge! 10/20 Masterposts

May Masterpost Challenge by @educatier, the goal is to make 20 Masterposts in May!

How to: Revise for Exams

I know this is a little late for a lot of people’s exams, but I hope it helps those of you who have exams in the next few weeks!

Organising Revision:

  • Make a list of everything you covered this year. Split it up into topics and subtopics. 
  • Identify the topics with information that is needed in order to understand other topics, and mark them so you know. 
  • Identify the topics you struggle with the most, and the topics you struggle with the least. Mark them so you can tell quickly.
  • Make a study schedule. Try to leave enough time so that you don’t need to rush, but if you’re really short of time, focus on covering as much content as possible. Make sure to cover all topics necessary for understanding other topics, if you can, and then focus on the smaller topics so that you’re more familiar with more content.

What to revise:

  • If you’re studying for an exam like English, History or Modern Studies (essay subjects), and you already know several quotes or examples, focus on practicing questions. You can know everything about the topic but lose marks because you’re answering the question incorrectly, or you aren’t familiar with how questions are phrased so you don’t understand what the marker is looking for. However, if you don’t know enough quotes and examples, divide your time between memorising quotes and examples and practicing questions. You can use practice questions to test how much you actually remember. 
  • If you’re studying for Music theory, focus on memorisation and listening to examples. If your exam is 2 weeks+ away, practice listening to audio clips and picking concepts out. If your exam is next week, just memorise. Memorise the concepts and what time period and type of music they’re used in. If you suck at picking out concepts from a piece of music, focus on identifying what kind of music it is, and memorise the concepts that are used in each kind of music. (This saved my grade in Higher Music, trust me.)
  • If you’re studying for a Science exam, spend a lot of time practicing questions. Like, a lot. If you can’t answer questions even though you know the content, practice until you can answer them. If you can’t answer questions and don’t understand why the answer is what it is, spend more time on revising content.

When you have more than a month:

  • Study a little most days. Make a plan to revise everything in the course and estimate how long each topic will take to revise.
  • Set aside time each week to go back over everything you’ve revised that week.
  • Set aside time at the end of the month/each month to go back over everything you’ve revised so far.

When you have 2 weeks or less:

  • Revise every day, for a fair length of time. 2ish weeks isn’t very long to cover everything in the course, but it’s fairly doable. 
  • Schedule time to review daily and weekly - about half an hour daily should suffice, and a few hours each week to go back over everything you covered that week.

When you have a day left:

  • Accept now that you are not going to cover everything, but you can still improve your grade.
  • Get up early, study as much as possible, but please don’t pull an all-nighter.
  • Review after each break, to make sure you still remember everything. If you don’t remember something after the break, you won’t remember it during the exam - try looking at it from a different angle, or memorising it a different way. 
  • If you’re studying for a science exam and you don’t know the formulas by heart, memorise them now
  • Make summary sheets/flashcards. Don’t just rewrite out your notes as it’s too time consuming - instead, try to condense the information as much as possible.
  • If you can’t answer questions, instead of practicing, try to figure out a “formula” of sorts for answering different kinds of question, and memorise it.
  • Otherwise, focus on covering as much content as possible. If you don’t have time to go in-depth, just focus on touching on as many topics as possible.

I hope this helps! If you have any other tips let me know. :)

I wanted to make a page, or group, in which people with social anxiety who have a difficult time making friends can communicate with each other. The trouble is finding said website? I was originally thinking some sort of forum site? Because something like a facebook group isn’t well structured and can reveal too much information for someone who isn’t all that comfortable sharing. Also, a forum site can make like subtopics, like interests or hobbies, that people can talk about and make the conversation interesting and easier to approach. Buuut, I never used a forum site nor know any that are easy to use. Perhaps you guys know of some that can help?

Tips and Tricks of The Studying Kind.

Without a doubt, my two study heroes are the brightest witch of her age, and a certain caffeine-guzzling Gilmore girl. A casual observer would enviously notice that the one thing the two of them have in common, is that they have seemingly mastered the balance between achieving their academic goals and, well, to put in simple terms, having a life.

The striking difference between highschool and college is that, you have to be fully prepared to source and gather reading material, do tons of note-making and research all on your own, and this can be horrifyingly overwhelming if you don’t have a clear plan of action. Because Psychology is such a diverse field, it’s important to approach your subject matter with clear focus and a level head. 

So here I am, in the second year of my Bachelor’s degree, armed with little tips and tricks, to help you navigate the pitfalls of inefficient study behaviours.

1. One way to do that is to make a study guide for yourself, if one isn’t made available by your department. A study guide could mean anything from course outlines to breaking up chapters into manageable chunks that can be learned in an efficient manner.

2. Make chapter or unit outlines.
This is a super-simple tip that basically tells you to write down all the major headings, topics and subtopics in a comprehensive list. Make bullet points, use fancy arrows, mutli-colour fineliners…whatever floats your boat, but remember, the point of this is to make an easy-to-grasp framework on which you will base your study schedule.

3. Stick to your study schedule.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve detracted from a study session by simply not adhering to my schedule. Let’s be realistic, allow for breaks and social-media distractions, but set an alarm or a timer on your phone to remind you to get back to studying.

4. Annotate, annotate and then annotate some more.
Psychology textbooks and course materials have technical terms by the dozen that you simply have to learn and remember. Arm yourself with a trusty highlighter and get to work. (Personally, I use a highlighter, a couple of different coloured fineliners, post-it tabs and a pencil to annotate my study materials.) This helps fix terms and definitions into your brain, leaving more of your working memory to focus on the broader concepts in the coursework, instead of you having to refer to the glossary every 2 minutes.

5. Notecards/ Flashcards.
Use handy post-its (which are a godsend) or notecards to write down important concepts, definitions, published authors and their works, formulae etc. One fun way to use them to memorise key concepts…write a question on one side and the answer on the other. Flip them over and test yourself.

6. Make visual learning aids.
Many of us find that putting things into flowcharts and diagrams often uncomplicates complex topics. Concept maps are one of the best study tools that have been devised. It helps by keeping a central topic in focus and expanding into related topics and ideas along the branches. It is especially useful when studying inter-related chapters.

7. Make acronyms, mnemonics, acrostics to help you remember important keywords in your study material. It always helps to colour concepts with personal experiences that relate to you. I find it easier to remember examples if I can extrapolate the subject matter into my daily/personal life. 

8. Form a study group, make lecture buddies in your classes to exchange notes with.
Sometimes skipping a lecture/practical is unavoidable and sometimes, let’s face it, we all need a break. What’s important is that you don’t miss out on any notes, course materials or handouts from the professor that may have been shared during the class. Keeping up to date with the course means not dropping the ball on reviewing and revising lecture notes on a day to day basis, and you can’t do that if you don’t have them in the first place!

9. Solve Question Banks and past papers.
These are indispensable resources that you simply must make use of. Hit up your library, psych department or even your seniors for practise papers. When it comes to solving exam papers, practising with past papers and setting a time limit, will definitely hone your speed and accuracy, ultimately giving you an edge over your classmates. 

10. Accept that a bad grade, is sometimes, unavoidable and inevitable.
Not everyone can sustain a perfect score in psych all through the year. Many psych majors will regale you with horror stories of low-grades and rushed essays, but it’s how you bounce back from a setback that determines the kind of student you will be. Wallow for a day or two, treat yourself to your favourite meal or an aromatherapy candle, and then get back to the grind with renewed vigour.

Your education is in your hands for the first time. You may have excelled in the academic setting of your highschool, or been dragged ahead by determined teachers, but boy oh boy, in college, “Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.” 

You can do this.