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Grace Fleming

Grace\'s Homework/Study Tips Blog

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Organize with Evernote

Monday May 26, 2014

One of the most important things you can do to make the most of your study time is to stay organized. But staying organized is really difficult for some people!

If you struggle to keep track of your school handouts or your research, you should really test drive a free version of Evernote. This is a great tool for keeping all of your school-related documents in one place, but it's also a tool you can use to manage your time and your thoughts.

Evernote allows you to save notes, photos, PDFs, and more in notebooks that are completely searchable and sortable. It also comes with a To-Do list feature and a microphone for recording lectures. One of the best features? The ability to turn your own handwriting into text. Read more about the ways you can use Evernote to organize your life and your school work.

Final Projects Due Soon!

Saturday May 24, 2014

Deadlines are approaching! This it the time of year when we realize we should have started working on those big school projects a little sooner than we did.

Are you working on a project or big term paper assignment that will be due in a few weeks? If so, there are some things you should think about. First of all, you should know that you take a big risk by putting off your research. Just think--there may be lots of other students researching the same topic as you. That means all the resources will be checked out of the library. You could really get stuck!

A good way to make sure that you give yourself enough time is by creating a backward planning calendar. This planning method helps you determine precisely when to start each step of your project.

If you've started your research and you're having trouble keeping track of your sources, you should try using a colored coding technique. Learn to use colored sticky flags to mark specific sub-topics. This method makes it so much easier to organize your paper!

Photo © Brian Chase / iStockphot.com

Pre-Grading Your Papers

Friday May 23, 2014

The best way to ensure a good grade on a paper is to grade it yourself before the teacher looks at it. There are a few ways you could go about it.

First, you could find a study partner who will agree to do a paper exchange with you a few days before the due date. The two of you should agree to exchange and review papers with brutal honesty. Each of you should read, review, and grade your partner's paper, using the assignment as your guideline.

If you don't have a study partner, you can still pre-grade your paper using an assignment checklist. Once you've completed a final draft of your paper, use the checklist to grade yourself on each element of your work.

Waiting for Grades

Tuesday May 20, 2014

There is always a period of "hang time" at the end of a semester, once finals are over, and those final results are pending. For some students, the wait can be maddening! If you're waiting impatiently, there are a few things you can do.

Inventory your strengths. Was your attendance great? Were you always on time? Did you always remember your homework? Did you finish your assignments on time? Focus on the things you did really well this year--and write them all down. Give yourself kudos for a job well done. You can build on these strengths.

Don't beat yourself up. If you're certain you're not going to get a great grade and now you're tempted to beat yourself up about something, you obviously know what it is you've done wrong. Focus on turning it around next time. There will always be another chance!

Talk to your teachers. Visit or write to your teachers to get an idea of what you can change or what you can improve upon to become a stronger student. If there was one particular teacher with whom you really connected, be sure to keep those lines of communication open. You may not believe this, but teachers can actually turn into friends!

The Best Time to Study?

Thursday May 15, 2014

Believe it or not, some students say that the most effective time to study is early in the morning.

It doesn't really matter what time of day you prefer to study, as long as your study time pays off! What time is best for you?

Smart Study Habits

Monday May 12, 2014

How do you know what to study when you prepare for a test? Do you go into your study hour like a scatter bomber, trying to hit every topic covered in the past few weeks, or do pinpoint certain topics and study with a plan? When do you start to prepare for a test?

My advice is to start early and always have a plan.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start preparing for every test as soon as you start a new segment. You should treat every night as a test prep night, and create your own practice test questions as you go. Put your test questions on an index card and set them aside until you have a stack of questions at the end of every week.

At the end of every week, use your stack to take a practice test. This is just one of many good study habits you should adopt. You'll find that one strategy will work best for you.

Skim Before Reading

Monday May 5, 2014

Girl Reading

Do you skim over a reading once before taking the plunge--or do you dive in head first?

I think it's always a good idea to glance over any reading to get a feel for its organization pattern before you really sink your teeth in too deeply. Even when reading an essay question on a test, you should skim first to establish a frame in your mind. Some brains need to set up a framework before they can effectively process and store information. Take a moment to skim before you jump in!

Do You Procrastinate?

Tuesday April 29, 2014

Sure, you love your dog. But do you feel the overwhelming need to feed him as soon as you sit down to study for your algebra test? Don't fall for it! It's a trick!

You're actually creating diversions to avoid the things that are really important--like sticking to your project timeline or your study agenda. Diversions can be found all around you, so be sure to avoid the possible excuses before they pop up. Put your dog outside, turn off the music and the phone--yes, the cell phone, and grab a snack before you begin.

Take the procrastination quiz!

Avoiding End-Of-Year Stress

Friday April 25, 2014
Are you stressing about your projects and heading for end-of-year burnout? It's important to stay focused at the end of the year, but it's also really difficult, especially for students with certain personality traits. This article on burnout will direct you to a personality quiz to determine whether you're in danger.

These articles offer tips for relaxing and avoiding harmful stress that might affect your grades.

You might also try the Burnout Quiz.

Are You a Good Leader?

Sunday April 20, 2014

Being the leader of a group project can be fun and challenging, but it is not always easy. As a leader you'll quickly discover that there are all types of personalities in any group, and some of those will be easier to work with than others.

You may also find that you face your own personal challenges as you try to lead the group. For example, some first-time leaders may come across as too bossy to their close friends, and some may come across as timid, because they don't want to make their friends angry. Are you likely to be too bossy or too soft? It's something to consider, but it's something you can control if you plan ahead.

Before you volunteer to lead a group, review some of the leadership styles and consider what qualities and organizational tools will be necessary during the completion of your project. As always, planning ahead will save you plenty of headaches.

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