Monthly Archives: April 2017

10 Awesome Tricks to Become a Super Productive Student

How to be a productive studentFull of enthusiasm and good intentions but have no idea how to get everything done? Even if you are one of those students who attends every class and spends hours in the library each day, this is all useless if you are unproductive.

Productivity is the most important skill you’ll acquire as a student. Being able to balance your academic, social and personal lives is what will help you perform better both at university and outside of academia.

Luckily, there are some tips and tricks to help you stay on track.

1. Set achievable goals

Setting goals is a perfect way to motivate yourself. However, make sure to set yourself only realistic and achievable goals. If you settle on too many aims, you’ll just decide that you won’t reach them and stop trying to. Instead, focus on smart, measurable and significant goals.

2. Plan everything

Planning everything in advance will make your life less stressful as you’ll be able to control all tasks and duties. Keep a diary and list all things to be accomplished. As a result, you’ll never experience the deadline panics and you’ll always know what’s around the corner.

3. Create a better study environment

A good study environment will keep you motivated at all times. Therefore, you need to choose a quite and comfortable place to study. Good lighting is important, so either use a desk lamp or pick a naturally bright room. Don’t work on your bed – let your sleep place be for sleeping.

4. Limit distractions

Make sure to limit all distractions and you’ll be able to easily focus on your tasks. Consider what may lower your productivity – Facebook, cat videos, phone calls, online shopping, loud music – and do your best to stay away from these things.

5. Take study breaks

Schedule breaks in your study plan. The perfect productivity formula is 52 minutes of work and then 17 minutes of relaxation. Here are some great break ideas: have a healthy snack, go outside and get some fresh air, have a short walk. However, avoid watching TV or browsing social media – it’s not effective for your mind and body.

6. Keep a “done” list

Creating the “done” lists will help you keep track of what you’ve accomplished during a day. Every time you achieve something, add it to your list. It will motivate you to work on the new things faster.

7. Wake up early

If you want to become a super productive student, you have to get up early. Waking up at the same time each morning is essential for starting your day on the right foot. Form this useful habit and you’ll have enough time for accomplishing all goals and tasks.

8. Surround yourself with people who inspire you

The company you keep is very important for your productivity and motivation. Make sure you are surrounded by people who share your goals, this will keep your standards high. Consider to get a study buddy or join a study group and keep each other on track.

9. Wear headphones

This is slightly antisocial, but it’s something you can do to focus. Wearing headphones shows people that you cannot talk or do something right now. This is perfect for having that “do not disturb” working time.

10. Sleep and de-stress

Being well-rested will help you focus and be more efficient when it comes time to work. Therefore, make sure to get enough sleep and don’t forget to find time for fun. Fun is important, not just for your health, but for learning as well.

Writing an Analytical Essay: The Most Useful Hints

How to write an analytical essayOne of the most frequently assigned essays in English is an analytical essay. In can be a challenging task to complete, but mastering its technique is essential as most academic assignments have a strong requirement to write with an analytical focus.

So, what is an analytical essay?

The key to understanding the nature of this type of essay is a word “analyze.” Yes, your main task is to present a deep and well-structured evaluation of the topic or problem. An analytical essay is not a summary of the work. If you find yourself paraphrasing the information or simply retelling the story, you are not writing an analytical essay.

The Most Useful Writing Tips and Tricks

1. If you may choose a topic, investigate the subject that inspires or fascinates you. You don’t have to fully understand that, but if you are really interested, you will be more motivated to figure out the unknown things.

2. Your essay should follow the requirements. A lot of students receive the low grades because they fail to read the instructions attentively.

3. Make sure your essay has an arguable thesis at the end of your introduction, which you will then develop in the main body through an analysis of the chosen topic and explain with specific evidence.

4. The structure of an analytical essay should be the following: introduction + body + conclusion + works cited.

5. All paragraphs have to be fully worked out and contain transitions. Each paragraph in the main body of your essay should include a topic sentence that introduces the issue to be discussed.

6. Avoid phrases “As far as I am concerned,” “To my mind” – the reader already understands that everything you write is your opinion, unless you attribute to another author.

7. Don’t include unnecessary long descriptions or plot summaries (in a case of novels or movies). You don’t need to describe the topic in details, your job is to remind the reader of the information that provides evidence for your argument.

8. Make certain your essay follows a logical structure and organization.

9. It is better to avoid the generalizations, such as “all people think,” “since the beginning of times,” etc.

10. To develop your argument, you’ll need to include at least one academic source.

11. You need to fully develop your voice and ideas. Avoid using too many quotes or summaries of other people’s works to not let the secondary sources dominate your essay.

12. Never use the quotations to substitute your own thoughts. Quote only those sentences that would lose their power if you paraphrase them.

13. Cite the sources according to the citation style specified in the requirements.

14. Leave a reader with a clear picture in his or her head.

15. Thoroughly revise your essay for clarity and coherence. Make sure it is error-free.

Preparing the analytical essay is difficult, but it can be one of the most rewarding forms of writing to master. So, practice, practice, practice!

How to Write a Historiography: Step-By-Step Guide

How to write a historiographyA historiography or historiographical essay is an examination of different ways in which historians have approached a particular topic. Unlike a research paper, it is not a study of a historical issue, instead, it is an analysis of how the interpretation of historical events by different scholars has changed over time.

A historiographical paper has to present a detailed overview of the main works on a topic and summarize and evaluate the arguments of each of those works. For the development of a clear and well-structured essay, you need to follow some crucial steps.

Choose a Topic

There are several useful strategies for coming up with a topic. The easiest way is to choose one of your assigned readings. Try to look for a topic that is really interesting for you – it will make the reading and the writing process much easier.

Alternatively, you may brainstorm a topic from scratch. If you take that approach, narrow down the topic to a specific area and focus on a particular historical event or person.

Once you have a topic, start looking for works on your subject. Take advantage of a mixture of various books, articles and publications. Generally, books tend to be more influential and relevant, especially for older topics. However, for modern issues, articles are more available.

Evaluate the Historians’ Viewpoints

Depending on the source you are using, there are some strategies you can apply to evaluate the scholars’ stances:

  • Books – You need to watch the structure of the book; how the author builds the argument and what he implies is the most important part.
  • Book reviews – The best way to find out the point of some work is to read a book review. This will provide you with an insight of how other historians respond to the author’s argument.
  • Periodicals – Look whether the article is often cited by other authors writing about the same subject.

Write Your Historiography

There are several possible ways to organize your historiographical paper:

  1. You can report writers in chronological order, monitoring changes over time.
  2. You may present the main schools of thought regarding your topic and discuss each one separately.
  3. If you need to prepare a large paper, you can address the works of the previous historians and describe how they relate to your own analysis.

All methods work for preparing a historiography.

Once you decide upon the organization, proceed with writing. You should begin your essay with a thesis that presents the issue and introduces your sources. In the main body of your paper, you have to develop the points of agreement or disagreement. You have to analyze why different historians have different opinions on the same subject. Is it due to the national affiliation, ideology or personal experience? These questions go to the heart of your historiographical essay. In a conclusion, briefly summarize the findings and access the credibility of the sources you’ve used.

Make sure your paper is consistent and well-structured. Revise it carefully to confirm that you’ve presented a cohesive picture of opinions and debate.

ACT Writing Tips: 5 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score

ACT writing tipsThe written part of the ACT often strikes fear in the hearts of many students but there is no need to worry! A specific approach to the essay section and learning the main tips and tricks will help you prepare the most powerful piece of writing.

So, what do you need to accomplish in order to receive a high score? Here is all important information.

1. Write a Powerful Introduction and Conclusion

You need to know a little secret: your first and last paragraphs matter more than the middle. ACT graders need to read a lot of essays very quickly, so they pay more attention to the introduction and conclusion and simply scan the main part of your work. If the beginning and the end of your essay are well-written and logical, then most likely other paragraphs will be too. By reading these parts, the grader may tell with confidence what score you will get. However, it doesn’t mean that the middle part shouldn’t make sense. Just devote a bit more time to writing the introduction and conclusion of your essay.

2. Sell Your Examples with Details

A good essay should be persuasive. Interesting and specific details not only present the value of your point of view but also make an essay more interesting to read. Therefore, it is important to back up the statements you make with the fine points. You may even decide to support your position with a real-life story. It will only make your work more noticeable and memorable.

3. Organize Ideas in a Logical Manner

Your essay should be structured in a logical manner with distinctive paragraphs. Great ideas don’t make sense if they are not arranged well. Organization is important to effective writing because it makes easy for readers to follow your thoughts. To make your writing more consequent, use transitions between the paragraphs. Constructing effective paragraphs may be really challenging due to the effort involved in planning. However, the results can greatly improve your chances of getting the high score.

4. Use the Right Language

The use of language is very important, and voice, tone, word choice and grammar are always taken into account. Make sure to avoid slang, misspelling and grammatical mistakes. Your essay should be flawless and error-free. Also try to vary the sentence structure and use relatively sophisticated vocabulary. The ACT graders always pay much attention to the proper language use, so improve your mechanics of writing.

5. Carefully Review Your Essay

Once completed, read through your essay. Make sure it is on topic and persuasive enough. Check whether you don’t repeat the same ideas by using different words. Proofread the work for typos and mistakes as they may damage the most powerful essay.

The ACT test doesn’t have to be challenging or stressful. The tips mentioned above will give you the confidence and the ability to score well and bring you closer to the college of your choice.