Author: Julie Mathis

Study Tips for Exam Week

As you prepare for final exams, you need to have a strategy to make it through the week. These studying tips will help you organize your time and succeed.

Get Enough Sleep

exam week take a nap
First things first, get enough sleep! When studying for exam week it is best to study in advance instead of cramming the night before. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. You need enough sleep to recall information and think through the questions. Once you’ve finished studying for the night try to relax so that you can get to sleep more easily.

Take Breaks

exam week take a break
While you are studying, it is best to take a break every few hours. You can only concentrate for so long and you need to take breaks to retain information. After so many hours of studying, take 30-60 minutes to do something mindless that you enjoy.  Watch an episode of your latest Netflix addiction or scroll through your social media news feed and forget about the stress for a while.

Type Your Notes

exam week type your notes

Type out your notes from class and combine the information with corresponding facts from the textbooks. This way you have a comprehensive overview of the material to review. If you already type your notes in class add information from the textbook to make sure that you will remember all of the information you need to succeed. If you do this throughout the semester you will have a comprehensive study guide for the semester.

Study in Groups

exam week study groups

Studying in groups is helpful when comparing and contrasting notes, especially if you have a difficult professor. Sharing study tips with each other is also helpful. Some people study better alone but most people benefit from studying as a group. In a group you can ask and answer questions to prepare for the exam and discuss the information that you think is the most important. There should be places for you to study in groups at the library and you can usually reserve a study room.

Make Flashcards

exam week flashcards
Making flashcards is a great way to review for your exams. You can use the term on one side to either write out the definition or you can use the definition on one side to review the term or fact. It is best to make flash cards throughout the semester and keep them in a file to review at the end of the semester. The information can seem less overwhelming when it’s broken up into individual questions you are tackling one at a time.

Drink Coffee

exam week drink coffee
Drinking coffee will help you be more alert and be able to think more clearly. If your classes are in the morning and you have been studying late, make sure to drink coffee to wake up. If you have night classes, it is still a good idea to drink coffee before a night exam to avoid getting tired. Make sure you drink a glass of water to each cup of coffee you have to avoid dehydration.

Review the Chapters

exam week Review the Chapters

If you have time, re-read the chapters your exams are covering. If not, scan the chapters and find the information that you think is most important and facts that you have covered in your notes and the text. Studying the textbook is the best way to succeed in most classes. Most of the test will come from the reading because the professors want to make sure that you did the required reading that they assigned and paid attention to their lectures on the textbook in class.

Listen to Music

exam week listen to music

Listening to a playlist while you study for exams can help you relax. Most students get nervous before exams, especially if this is your first semester or year. You can go to youtube and listen to music for exam study concentration or to cool down between study sessions.

Bring Snacks

studying tips bring snacksYou should bring a water bottle or drink and a snack to class if you are taking a long exam and the professor allows you to do so. Drinking too much caffeine can make you shakey. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat every so many hours to stay steady.

Follow these studying tips to the best of your ability and you will have success on exam week. Once you have finished exams, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishment! Go out with friends or go holiday shopping. Good luck! Have any other tips? Share with us in the comments below!

Best Genres of Music for Studying

Most of us dread studying and would do just about anything to make it more enjoyable. Adding music to your studying routine can be beneficial to you for many reasons. Listening to a variety of genres can influence your mood and attention span to create the best studying atmosphere for you. Here are some genres of music that you would be smart to add to your studying playlist.

Classical Music


Listening to classical music while studying or writing can really help you focus. Classical music is based on steady tempos and is generally composed of instruments that play quieter tones. Therefore, it is more likely that you will be able to concentrate on the information and it will be less easy for you to get distracted by the music. Classical music can also help you relax and take your mind off of irrelevant things that could distract you while studying.

Pop/Rock Music

music - pop/rock

Rather than listening to loud rock or alternative styles, listening to quieter pop/rock compositions can be less distracting background noise when studying. Listening to pop music is known to increase self-esteem and listening to rock music is known to enhance creativity. Put those two together and you have a winning combination. Additionally, the extra confidence can really help drown out the doubt you may have if you are nervous about the exam you are studying for.

Cultural Music

music - cultural

Listening to music from other cultures in the world can be very interesting and can also help you be more creative and more knowledgeable in your studies. Exposing your brain to new rhythms and languages helps keep your mind sharp. Have fun finding new music and learning a thing or two along the way. It’s best to choose steady, light beats that allow you to relax and concentrate.

These are the genres of music that I have found to be most beneficial to my studying. Each person finds music helps them study in different ways. Try these genres out and see which fits your studying style best.

Creative Ways to Study History

When you are in college, learning about the cultural issues in history can be challenging. Here are some creative ways you can learn about a diverse range of cultural issues in European and American history.

Watch History Movies

Watching films that have a historical theme can help you receive a background in history, literary time periods and the arts. Films that are based on history provide a cultural framework that describes the popular issues in history at that time. Go ahead, make learning history fun. Some of the most popular historical films include Marie Antoinette, The Duchess, Gone with the Wind, Young Victoria, The Duchess, Schindler’s List, Alexander, Henry V, Pompeii, Letters from Iwo Jima, Elizabeth, Titanic, Ben Hur, Agora, Munich, The King’s Speech, The Patriot, and Brave Heart.

Attend Operas

You can learn more about Italian, French, and Chinese history and literature by watching operas. Popular French operas originated in the 17th century and will help you learn about life and society during the classical age. The opera is characterized by tragedy. Through the musical performance, operas describe and define cultural issues based on the class warfare, war, royalty, revolution, and romance. Some of the more popular operas include Carmen, Faust, The Tales of Hoffman, Pomone, Don Quichotte, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. Operas originated in Italy in 1600. Some of the most popular operas include Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, Guilio Cesare, Attila, Macbeth, among others. There are also Russian operas that emerged in the 18th century such as War and Peace, Oresteia, and the Queen of Spades. And also you can learn about the culture and heritage of China by studying the origins of Chinese opera. More than likely, your college or university will host operas at the performing art center for you to watch.

Attend Classic Ballets

Watching or attending classical ballets is a great way to learn more about history and culture. You can learn more about literature by watching ballet performances based on Shakespeare’s plays. You can watch Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, among others performed as ballets. Ballets are based on timeless romances include magic/sorcery, fairy tales, and tragic endings to define hidden cultural aspects at that time. Similar to the opera, cultural issues pertaining to class warfare, war, and revolution is often defined by the allusions in the film. Literature is a theme in ballet since there are storybook ballets and other literary pieces are transformed into ballets. There are some ballets that are also operas, such as Carmen and Don Quixote, and it is interesting to watch the differences in how they are performed. Also, classical ballets include Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Carmen, and Don Quixote. Storybook ballets include The Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. You can learn about French and Russian history by studying classical ballets. The performing arts center at either your college or one near you should host ballets. During the holiday season, watching The Nutcracker live is a great way to celebrate the holidays.

You can share your experience about the cultural issues found in historical films, operas and ballets with others and your professors. Part of the learning experience in college is to connect arts and culture to historical themes and literature to history. In order to become educated you must connect ideas, themes and patterns to a greater cultural context. You can keep a journal of the information you learned by watching history performed as an art which can help you on tests and write research papers. Enjoy your nontraditional studying of history!

Affordable Stores for College Students to Shop

The struggle can be real for college students when it comes to shopping. You want the latest trends and styles but are likely pretty broke. Here is a list of affordable stores for college students to shop.


Ulta Salon

Ulta Salon is a great place to buy brand name hair products, cosmetics, hair accessories, make-up kits, make-up bags, and organizers at discount prices. The store often has sales and if you decide to get an Ulta Card you can receive more discounts and free products with your purchases. The website also provides the current ad so you can find the best deals. The store has make-up brands such as Urban Decay, Smashbox, Lorac, Lancome, Bare minerals, Becca, and Tarte. There are also other numerous skin care products that are sold with the cosmetics. The products are more affordable than purchasing them from the department store and they are quality products.



Forever 21

Forever 21 is an affordable store with an eclectic clothes line from nearly every era, which makes the store unique. The dresses are at the most twenty-forty dollars and they are in all the latest and most popular styles and selections. You can find party dresses, formal dresses, and casual dresses within a very reasonable price range. Whatever your style is, you can be sure to find it at Forever 21 because there are clothes for all personalities. You can buy clothes for work, school, or a night out at Forever 21. Also, they have the most trendy tops and skirts at affordable prices. Their jeans are also the latest styles and they are much cheaper than going to the department stores to purchase jeans. The store has sales and the clothes are already at great prices, so I would highly recommend shopping there.



At Aeropostale you can find the latest casual trends at affordable prices. There are also dresses for special occasions and casual dresses that are the latest styles at Aeropostale. You can buy casual graphic tees, throwback tees, sweaters, polos, jeans, leggings, skirts, and pants at the best prices. You can relax in their clothes. Wear the clothes around the house, hang out with friends, and go to class in style. If you still want to dress preppy at school there are a variety of school uniform styles at Aeropostale. If you are looking for the latest casual styles, shop at Aeropostale.


American Eagle

All of the latest trendy and casual clothes are at American Eagle. There are casual dresses in the latest styles for school or for other informal occasions at American Eagle. The latest styles and varieties of jeans are at American Eagle that you can relax in. Their jeans are made of the best fabric and at the best prices. The clothes last because they are well made, as opposed to other stores. Also the most stylish casual skirts are at American Eagle. The clothes give you comfort and style.


Wet Seal

If you are looking for clothes for the night out, work, and school you can shop at Wet Seal. The store has affordable prices. Similar to Forever 21, there is a variety of styles that can match any personality. There are very casual dresses to dresses for parties. There are white and black dresses for other special occasions and parties. They also have casual dresses for the winter. The store has tops and pants that are both casual and formal wear. Be sure to check the store for sales. The clothes are already at great prices to begin with which makes it more affordable for college students.

Gilmore Girls: A TV Series for Young Adults

Relating to Gilmore Girls


One TV series that most aspiring college students can relate to is the series, Gilmore Girls. The series follows Rory, who is a high school student that has to work her way to the top of her class to find success and be accepted into a prestigious preparatory school. Her mother, Lorelai, interconnects with Rory’s struggles in the plot to make her way in life because she is a single mom.

The Challenges of Attending College


Once Rory attends Chilton Preparatory School, the series focuses on her dreams of becoming a Harvard Student. Though she has the potential to succeed, she comes from a broken home where she cannot afford to go to one of the Ivy League schools. Rory’s grandparents become influential in the plot, since they are wealthy and offer to help with the tuition. They make an agreement to help Rory pay her college fees. Loralei and Rory must attend dinner on Friday nights. Rory and Loralei have to try to be as polite and well-mannered as they can, though they are not of the upper class society. The show has some comedic moments in it, as Rory and Lorelei try to make their visits as interesting as possible in upper crust society. There are also issues that arise from their differences, and the series emphasizes this aspect of life.

Finding Success and Happiness in Life


As Rory has to learn how to interact with upper class society, she also has to strive to fit in an elite school with students that are from the most affluent families. Rory works to keep some of her high school friends such as, Lane Kim, who is a precocious character as is Rory. She discusses relationship and fashion issues with Rory as she must abide by strict standards that her family has for her regarding her relationships. As opposed to Lane, Rory is from an unconventional home as her single mom has a complex love life. This is a contrast to her friend, Lane’s, Christian family. Of all Loralei’s complex relationships, her relationship with Luke at the diner is the most predominate one as she frequently goes there to seek friendship, love, and advice for all of life’s problems. Rory also has a complicated relationship with Dean, who is a down-to-earth character that seems to genuinely care about Rory. They date for a while when she also receives advances from Tristan, a rich student that is superficial and is the opposite of Dean. Similar to Rory’s decision to fight off Tristan, Rory also befriends and fights against, Paris Geller, who is another upper class student. She maintains her status through cleverly keeping her enemies close, in order to succeed in school and in life. She learns to find happiness despite the many issues, conflicts, and set-backs that occur in the plot through her witty and distinct sense of self.

Life Lessons to Learn from Rory


Rory teaches students to not only work their hardest in their classes and to discern who your real friends, but she also helps college and high school students learn that they must play it “cool” around those who you know aren’t in your best interest. The popular crowd poses no real threat to the highly intelligent Rory who can quickly and easily verbally fight off her opponents. She helps others use this mentality as they have to overcome the social and emotional issues all students encounter in school. Rory teaches the viewers to challenge all of the philosophical and social aspects of life through her journey as she must work through life’s main problems to continually find out more about who she is as a young woman in the series. The character helps you learn strategies about how to make it through the challenges of young adulthood when you may not know who to befriend and how to tactfully distance yourself from your enemies. Through the series’ emphasis on the differences between the values in Rory’s family, the elite upper class, and Lane’s family, you learn how you must choose your words wisely and find strength through implementing strategies that are appropriate to each situation, in order to deal with society at its best and worst as a young person. You learn through Rory’s characterization to not let anyone take away your own opinions and sense self-worth from you as she tactfully fights her way to the top of the social ladder by attending the socially brutal upper class schools. You can learn to not let others make you feel less than your best through Rory’s ability to handle difficult issues in the most accurate and appropriate ways. By watching Gilmore Girls, you also can learn to that you must find out what your opinions are about the world and what you value most, in order to succeed. The series tells you that life is what you decide make of it as Rory beats the odds and the standards that society has set against her. The series challenges you to work through life’s trials and find your way in life.