Exams

How to Conquer Finals Week

With the semester nearing an end, finals week is quickly approaching! Wait what?! Where has all the time gone? Here is my list of the 3 biggest distractions during finals week and my expert advice on how to conquer them.

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1. PHONE

We all love our phones because they are able to connect us with the world and let us know what’s happening around us at all times. The problem is that with so many social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Yik Yak, StumbleUpon to check, it can take hours to get updated. Even games on your phone are a terrible idea during finals week, you might as well say good bye to that G.P.A. if you have any games like Tetris on your phone.

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Game found @ www.flash-gamer.eu

 

HOW TO CONQUER:  Get a friend to change your passwords during finals week! Make them promise not to tell you the passwords until after finals, not matter how many times you beg. This way after finals you can take as long as you like to get caught up on life, you should also check out the eCampus social media sites for even more updates!

2. FRIENDS

Friends or “study buddies” are great to hang out with when you have nothing to do. In fact they are a ton of fun… but maybe not the best influencers during finals week. You always have that one friend who only has one easy final so they become the biggest distraction you could imagine.

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HOW TO CONQUER: The best strategy for this is to start studying early and give yourself enough time to do what you have to do. Take some time for yourself to get majority of your work and studying done ALONE, so that you can meet up with your friends to take a break at Starbucks.

3. INTERNET

Your phone is pointless now without social media, you have your study breaks with friends under control but the one thing harder to stop is the World Wide Web. It’s always so tempting to get on YouTube and watch goofy cat videos for hours. This one below is hilarious but definitely not what you need during finals week.

 

HOW TO CONQUER: Approach looking up random websites, online shopping and watching funny videos by a reward system. You study for 3 hours and then you get rewarded with an hour internet break. This way you’ll be able to get through your studying much faster but don’t forget to retain the information otherwise this reward system doesn’t work.

HAPPY FINALS WEEK. MAY THE GRADES BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR.

5 Unique Uses for Your Textbooks

wallpaperNot sure what to do with the textbooks you’re now finished with? Well, you can either sell them to eCampus.com for cash, check or 20% back for in-store credit. Or, if you’re just looking for an excuse to flaunt your creative proclivities, you can try these five ideas that will have your friends wishing they were as resourceful as you.

1. Dorm room Wallpaper: Take down your John Belushi and Pink Floyd posters and let yourself stand out from the crowd. Creating wallpaper from the pages of your old textbooks is sure to transform your inane décor into an indelible ambiance. I personally recommend textbooks from classes such as Art History, Biology, English (Norton’s Anthology), and even Cartography, to name a few.

2. Hidden Book Safe: For the nefarious-minded readers, the uses for this are a no brainer. For the rest of us, this can be a good place to hide your spare cash or other small, valuable belongings like jewelry. For fun, try hiding a smaller book inside of your hollowed out bigger book. Awww, how adorable. Learn how to DIY here.safe

 

3. Invisible Book Shelf: Put your books on a shelf without the shelf. Wow! Stare at the picture long enough and it’ll begin to make sense.

4. Bookcrossing – Send your books on a journey: Remember “Where’s George?”—the service that tracks the location of certain $1 bills? Well this is like that, but with books. If you no longer want a book, send it on a journey and see where the wind takes it. Hell, if it makes an interesting enough trip, you can retrace its path and interview the people it’s touched along the way and then write a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the journey.

5. Origami: Envision a flock of beautifully crafted cranes suspended harmoniously over your head. Folding paper into beautiful shapes is a great way to palliate your boredom and focus your Zen. Get creative with what paper you’ll use for each design. I like the idea of folding a crane from that Ornithology textbook collecting dust on my shelf. (This book would also be amazing for the wallpaper mentioned above).

Hopefully I’ve covered every possibility of what to do with your textbooks once you’re finished with them. Have any other ideas? Let us know below!

The 2013 SAT and ACT Guide

standardized-testingIt’s that time of year again. Soon, high school students all around the country will begin taking standardized tests for college. Whether you’re taking the ACT or SAT, it’s always nice to have some pre-test advice. And while I can’t exactly help you with the actual test questions, I can answer some common questions that many students may have.

Q: Where do I sign up for the test?

A: For the SAT, head over to the official SAT website and follow the instructions to register for your test. Do the same thing at the official ACT site to register for the ACT. Public and private schools around the country are made available for testing, so search through the list of nearby schools and choose the testing site that works best for you.

Q: Should I take the SAT or the ACT?

A: While most colleges and universities only require one of these tests, it can help to take both. Many colleges require, or prefer, SAT scores over ACT scores. I recommend taking the SAT first, and the ACT can always act as another positive to add to your transcript. Before signing up, look at which colleges you are applying to, and see which test they prefer.

Q: Should I study?

A: Absolutely. There are many SAT/ACT prep courses, websites, books, etc all meant to boost your scores. While the tests are labeled as standardized, some information, such as vocabulary, will prove challenging to many students. I guarantee if you spend time in any of the above listed prep opportunities, your score WILL be much higher.

Q: What do I need to score?

A: Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. However, there are helpful resources to help you decide. Some colleges and universities weight SAT/ACT scores heavier than others. Also, some colleges ask for higher scores than others do. I, once again, highly recommend visiting your prospective colleges’ websites and looking for their past class statistics and requirements.

Q: Do I need to take any SAT II’s?

A: SAT II’s are subject tests the SAT offers to test a student’s knowledge in a particular subject. Depending on your major selection, and college choice, you might be required to take an SAT II in a relevant subject area. As an engineering major, I didn’t take any SAT II’s. However, I know that those students who did take them had an enormous leg up in the application process.

Q: What tips do you have for actually taking these tests?

A: Relax! Study far ahead of time so you aren’t cramming last minute. On the days before the test make sure you get lots of rest and relaxation. Cramming before the tests will NOT be pleasant for anyone involved, I promise. Make sure you eat a decent breakfast before the test, and just stay calm!

I know that taking the SAT/ACT can be very stressful, but if you make sure you study ahead of time, I promise you’ll do well. Check your school or library for any books or tips on SAT information, and check out the websites mentioned above for any more things that I might have forgotten. Good luck!

Big Girl Pants: Taking School Seriously Without Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Especially once senior year hits, we end up holding more and more responsibility. It is important to take these responsibilities seriously, doing your homework, staying present in class (literally and figuratively) and overall staying on top of your game.

Along with this, networking, interning and applying for jobs are all on the horizon.

It is easy to get wrapped up in all of this work. You know how girls and boys end up having social lives that are all consuming? Remember petty high school drama? I’m sure you do, as it will be around you for the rest of your life, in college and in the workplace. Getting too wrapped up in work is just as bad.

Senior year in college is a crucial time in your life as the decisions you make will shape your future. If you research and apply for jobs and prepare for graduation, you will be in a much different place the day after graduation than someone who doesn’t.

There’s one big factor to remember though. You are young. This will be the only time in your life where going to crazy themed parties is acceptable. This will be the only time you are able to pull and all-nighter and still be a functional member of society the next day. This will be the only time you are able to wake up and wear yoga pants on a day you have work to do.

Savor it.

Remember you need to get work done, but savor and exploit the times you do not.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to take a fun class, save an hour or so right after class to go to the library and get homework done so everything’s out of the way and be sure to get an eight-hour sleep. Eat right. Take care of yourself. Make a time to prepare for after graduation. Make time to go out on adventures with your friends.

It might take some tea, some coffee and a legal drink, but you can get all your bases covered. I promise. If you are determined and persistent and manage your time right, you can do it all.

Big Girl Rants: Why can’t there be a BYE in college classes?

Although some school policy forbids professors to mark a student down for attendance, some of those professors have found a loophole in requiring in-class participation and smaller classwork assignments. Other schools, mainly small ones, let professors keep attendance as a percentage of the student’s overall grade.

I am all for going to class and doing what I have to do to get this degree, but at some point, it seems like college is holding people back. Throughout my academic career, I have taken courses at Ramapo College, Florence University of the Arts and California State University of Monterey Bay. As I graduate from Ramapo, I ensure my courses relate to courses I would have taken there, but I seem to be repeating a lot of material.

A prime example is taking a course this semester that is a student newspaper workshop course. I am all for working on the student newspaper, interviewing faculty and writing up articles, because no matter how much writing experience you have, you can always have more and writing for different platforms, for different audiences is something I have made it a point to expand. The problem is the lectures. I understand if a student has no journalism experience they need some explanation, but if I understand the material and continue to make deadline, why can’t I leave?

I mean don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of myself as high and mighty and I’ll reiterate the fact that I enjoy working on the paper, but why can’t college classes have a BYE just like sports?

We had to take AP tests to have our high school AP classes count for college credit. Why can’t that logic follow into college? Shouldn’t we be able to take a test before the course or do the classwork and pass the midterm and final for a grade? It gets frustrating to know that I am taking four hours out of my week on top of the time spent writing the articles to listen to a lecture I have heard before. Instead, I could be working on my other internships.

Anyone else feel like this? Sometimes getting to the end of a degree, you realize more and more how ready you are for the next step, a step into your Big Girl Pants.