Monthly Archives: February 2019

Tips and Tricks on How to Focus on Homework

someone's hands open a poetry book

Being tired and annoyed after a long day in school or college is absolutely normal. In such a mood, it’s hard to motivate and force yourself to start working on your assignments for the next day. Many students can’t cope with procrastination looking for the answer to the question “How to focus better?” and end up using study drugs which is not recommended.

Fortunately, we have a few tips that will help you to stop procrastinating, increase your productivity and get to work. Keep reading our article to know more.

Find a Comfortable Place

It’s easy to feel distracted and unfocused when your setting doesn’t match the task that you have to complete. That’s why setting the right atmosphere is the first thing you should do when starting working on your assignments.

Here are a few things that you need to take care of before you actually start doing your homework:

  1. Your working place has to be a desk (or a table) with a comfortable chair. Now, many of you would say “What’s wrong with doing your homework while lying in bed?” Actually, everything. When you sit or lay on the couch or bed, it relaxes you too much and makes you sleepy. A comfortable table and a chair will be the best option for sitting straight and keeping yourself toned.
  2. Open your window to get fresh air. When your brain lacks oxygen, it can’t work correctly, so it makes you a slower thinker. Fresh air and deep breathing will help you to keep your mind sharp and avoid headaches.
  3. Bring some snacks to your working place. You will probably want to have a snack during this study session, so grab them beforehand. Otherwise, you will have to walk outside the room to grab something to eat, and it will negatively impact your concentration. Staying in the room where you are studying is the best tip on how to concentrate on study continuously for long hours.
  4. Find a place where the rest of your family or your mates won’t bother you to study. The best option would be a separate room with a door closed. If you have someone at home, ask for privacy and silence. Try to avoid doing your homework in the living room, because it will be much harder to focus with a talk show on TV or chatting family members in the background.

The atmosphere and the place you are studying at are very important for setting up the right mood for a cram session and keeping yourself focused.

Eliminate Distractions

This is the most important and the hardest step. When you need to focus on your assignments – which can be quite boring, let’s face it – it’s hard to keep away from the temptation of using your phone, checking social media and watching TV shows. But you can do that, you just need to follow easy steps:

  1. Block your phone or give it to someone while you are learning. It is a simple rule for anyone who wants to succeed in studying – not using your cell phone. To make it easier for you, you can log out of your social media accounts, to turn off the Wi-Fi on your phone or to switch to the airplane mode. This way you won’t receive messages, calls or annoying notifications and will be able to stay focused. If you know that you won’t be able to keep yourself away from your phone, give it to a parent, a friend or use an app that blocks your screen for a preset time – Flipd, Offtime, etc.
  2. Avoid listening to music with lyrics. When you are trying to understand information that you are reading or to formulate a thought that you need to write down, the side noises can hinder. Especially when someone is talking or singing. It happens because your brain is trying to process the information it receives by hearing. If you need some background music, choose some tracks without lyrics. Classical music will do the best.
  3. Don’t watch TV. It distracts you just like music. Avoid watching it; otherwise, your productivity will severely decrease.

All of these tips are great for school and college students who get distracted easily. The less you interrupt your studying process, the more focused you will be while completing homework.

Organize Your Time

Time management is one of the most essential college skills. If you can productively organize the time you spend on doing your homework, you can change your studying routine and spend less time every day working on another assignment.

What does it mean? Time management in studying means that you need to create an action plan first and then follow it without messing the time limits you established.

For example, your plan for the evening might be:

3.00 PM – 4.00 PM – Math assignment
4.00 PM – 4.30 PM – Rest
4.30 PM – 5.30 PM – Science assignment
5.30 PM – 6.00 PM – Rest
6.00 PM – 7.00 PM – Literature assignment
7.00 PM – 8.00 PM – Dinner
8.00 PM – 9.00 PM – Art assignment

As you can see this plan implies an alteration of studying and small 30 minutes breaks to help your brain rest and get ready for the next assignment. You can have snacks, use your phone, listen to music or do some exercises during these breaks. Just give yourself some reward for the amount of work that you completed. You would also be surprised how easily you can manage your time in college.

  • If you set up the schedule for studying at home, it will be easier for you to get to work faster. The mind gets used to certain actions that repeat from day to day. So, just like you are used to going to school in the morning, you will be used to getting to work when the homework time comes. Not everyone can establish such a schedule. But you surely ought to try it.
  • Start with the most time-consuming and challenging assignments. As soon as you get to work, your concentration is much stronger than at the end of studying session. Dedicate the time when you are focused the most to the assignments that require more time and effort.
  • Establish the priority of each assignment that you have to complete. Give the main priority to the assignments that are urgent or value more and start with these tasks. If all of your tasks are important and you don’t have enough time to finish all of them, consider turning to a professional service for help.
  • Cross out finished assignments from the plan – you will see your progress and feel more satisfied with your productivity. Moreover, such a tactic helps boost your motivation to do homework.
  • Don’t try to be multitasking. When you try to complete a few assignments at the same time, your concentration gets worse due to the variety of information that your brain needs to process. Focus on one assignment at a time. After finishing it, you can have a break and then start a new assignment.

As you can see, the time that you spend on your assignments is as important as the time you give yourself to relax between your study sessions. Such breaks not only help your brain to keep concentration for a long time but also provide you with an opportunity to avoid the temptation as you know that after completing another assignment you can enjoy the things you like – music, social networks, etc.

We hope that you found our pieces of advice useful and will feel more focused the next time you have to start your homework assignment.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Critical Response Essay

colored papers anchored to the whiteboard with magnets

Students have to write different types of essays all the time. However, they face many problems when it comes to writing a critical response essay. Why is it so hard to manage? What are the main components of it? We will answer all these questions in our complete guide to help you learn how you can write this type of essays quickly and easily.

What Is a Critical Response Essay?

First things first – let’s find out what a critical response essay is and what components it includes.

It is an assignment that is based on your analytical skills. It implies the understanding of the primary source, such as literary work, movie or painting (its problematic, content, and significance), and the ability to perform critical thinking and reflect your opinion on the given subject.

The aim of critical response essay is to get familiarised with the subject, form your opinion (the agreement or disagreement with the author), reveal the problematic of the piece and support your claims with evidence from the primary source.

For example, your task might be to analyze the social structure in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

How Is It Different From Other Essay Types?

Every essay you write has a very similar structure that consists of an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. While this type is not an exception and is quite similar to an analytical essay, it still has differences. One of those is the fact that it contains two parts. The first part includes a quick summary of the analyzed work. The second part is a critique – a response to the author’s opinion, facts, examples, etc.

What Should You Pay Attention To?

Before we dive into the guide and the steps of crafting your critical essay, let’s take a look at some of the most common pitfalls that often occur during the writing process of a piece like this.

Not knowing what you are writing about.

This makes no sense, right? So, be sure to read the piece that your topic is based on and make sure you understand what it is about.

Not understanding what your task is.

Be attentive to the task and make sure you understand what is required from you. You would be surprised if you knew how many essays are written without even touching the main question or problematic.

Being in a hurry.

A lot of students start working on their essays at the very last moment and do it in haste. You can avoid a lot of mistakes if you are attentive, focused, and organized. If you have too little time to write a strong response essay yourself, you can always get the assistance of a professional writing service. This will help you to be on time with your assignment without sacrificing its quality.

And now let’s begin your journey of writing an essay.

Step 1. Examine the Primary Source

Before starting actually writing your critical essay, you need to get acquainted with the subject of your analysis. It might be an article, a book or any other type of text. Sometimes, this task is given for pieces of art, such as a painting or a movie.

So, the first step would be to gain as much information about the subject as possible. You might also search for some reviews or research papers on the subject. Be sure to examine the primary source thoroughly and read the complete text if it is a piece of writing.

Advice: make notes while you are working with your primary source. Highlight the main points that will build a basis for your analysis and which you can use to form your opinion on. Notes will also help you to structure your essay.

Checklist:

  • Did you read the whole text or examined your primary source thoroughly?
  • Did you find information on the topic of your assignment?
  • Did you write down the key points that you are going to use for your essay?

Step 2. Analyze the Source and Your Notes

After you finished with your primary source, try to analyze and summarize all of your findings. Identify the problematic of the piece and find the appropriate notes that you have made to structure your future essay.

Formulate your opinion – are you agree or disagree with the author? Can you support your statements with evidence?

Checklist:

  • Did you examine all the notes you have?
  • Did you form your opinion on the subject?
  • Did you find the arguments to support your main point?
  • Did you succeed to define the strengths and weaknesses of the work?

Step 3. Write Your Essay

After you have all of the needed materials next to you, you can start working on the text of your essay.

  1. First of all, write a critical response essay rough draft.
  2. Reread your draft and make your edits.
  3. Proofread and edit your final version.
  4. Check for plagiarism, grammatical and punctuation errors.
  5. Write a Works Cited page or bibliography page (if required).

Now, we will look at each part of your essay in detail. Keep in mind that you have to follow the guidelines provided by your teacher or professor. Some critical response essay examples will come in handy at this step.

How to Write a Critical Response Introduction

Your introduction is the part where you have to provide your thesis statement. Once you have your opinion and your thoughts organized, it’s pretty easy to make them transform into a statement that all your essay will be built on. Express your agreement or disagreement with the author.

For example, your thesis statement might be:

“Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare is a masterpiece that raises the problem of social inequality and classes differentiation which aggravates the drama culmination.

Advice: make sure you have evidence to support your thesis statement later in the text.
Make your introduction in the form of a brief summary of the text and your statement. You need to introduce your reader to the topic and express your opinion on it.

Checklist:

  • Did you embed your thesis statement?
  • Is your thesis statement complete and suitable for the topic?
  • Can you support your thesis statement with evidence?
  • Did you summarize the analyzed subject?
  • Did you start your introduction with a catchy sentence – a powerful statement, fact, quote or intriguing content?
  • Did you include a transition sentence at the end of your introduction?

How to Write Critical Response Paragraphs

Explain each of your main points in separate body paragraphs. Structure your text so that the most strong statement with the following supporting evidence is placed first. Afterward, explain your other points and provide examples and evidence from the original text.

Remember that each of your statements should support your main idea – your thesis statement. Provide a claim at the beginning of the paragraph and then develop your idea in the following text. Support each of your claims with at least one quote from the primary source.

For example:

To distinguish the division between classes and express the contribution of each social class Shakespeare used different literary methods. For example, when a person from a lower class speaks, Shakespeare uses prose:

NURSE
I saw the wound, I saw it with mine eyes
(God save the mark!) here on his manly breast—
A piteous corse, a bloody piteous corse,
Pale, pale as ashes, all bedaubed in blood,
All in gore blood. I swoonèd at the sight. (3.2.58-62)

At the same time upper-class characters speak in rhymed verse:

MONTAGUE
But I can give thee more,
For I will raise her statue in pure gold,
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet. (5.3.309-313)

Checklist:

  • Did you support your thesis statement with claims?
  • Do your claims appeal to critical response questions?
  • Did you provide evidence for each claim?

How to Write Critical Response Conclusion

The best way to conclude your essay is to restate your thesis statement in different phrasing. Summarize all of your findings and repeat your opinion on the subject. A one- or two-paragraph conclusion is usually enough if not requested more.

We’ve also prepared some critical response essay topics for you:

  1. Explain the changes of the character throughout the novel: Frodo from Lord of the Rings/Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  2. Examine a setting and the atmosphere in the novel Gone with the Wind/Jane Eyre.
  3. Investigate the cultural or historical background in Romeo and Juliet/Macbeth.
  4. Describe the impact of the supporting character: Horatio in Hamlet/Renfield in Dracula.
  5. Describe the genre of the work and its influence on the mood of the piece: To Build a Fire/ For Whom the Bell Tolls.

This was our step-by-step guide to writing your perfect critical response essay. We hope our tips will be useful to you!