Author Archives: Steve Aedy

Using Study Drugs to Earn an “A”: Why You Should Think Twice

In pursuit of academic excellence, it has become a common practice among college students to take study drugs. Between classes, clubs meetings, games and summer internships, students have little time to study. And to get a boost of energy for those all-nighters, many decide to take stimulant drugs.

“Smart drugs” like Adderall or Ritalin are prescription stimulants that are often used inappropriately to enhance the mental performance while studying. They are usually prescribed to treat ADHD, but in fact, about 1 in 5 college students use them without prescription to increase productivity. On many college campuses, they are easily attainable, that’s why they are so appealing to the overwhelmed students.

Risks Versus Rewards

Study drugs help to focus on the tasks and improve motivation to study, but the short-term benefits come along with the risks.

For people who suffer from ADD or ADHD, these drugs may have a calming effect. However, for those without the symptoms of a mental disorder, they are more likely to cause nervousness and euphoria.

Study drugs have different short-time risks like increased heart rate, blood pressure, irritability and insomnia. Sometimes they can cause paranoia and even hallucinations. After all, the misuse of such drugs can be really dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol and other drugs.

In addition to the health risks, a student who uses study drugs may face the legal consequences, such as fines and suspension from college. Misusing the prescription drugs is against the law and increases the chances of committing a crime when you are under the influence of substances. However, the most disturbing risk of using the study drugs is an addiction. Apart from the serious health problems, it may even lead to death.

Healthier Alternatives to Study Drugs

Despite the serious consequences, the use of “smart drugs” is alive on campuses. The highly competitive academic environment increases the risk of drug abuse. However, the study drugs shouldn’t be an answer to the students’ stressful life. There are many healthy alternatives that will help you manage your academic and social life.

To beat the stress, it is important to rest each day, without your phone, Facebook or friends. Eat the healthy food, get plenty of sleep and practice some relaxation techniques. Yoga, for instance, has been proven to reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The key to productivity is also having fun. That’s why don’t forget to take breaks and spend time with friends. It’s extremely important to re-energize for the next study session. You may also consider drinking coffee, Red Bull or Mountain Dew instead of taking pills. These are not the healthiest strategies, but at least they are legal and not dangerous.

Surely, college is competitive and you want to excel in academics. But it’s not worth becoming dependent on a drug and experiencing all side effects, especially when there are great alternatives.

Prepare a Persuasive Speech in 5 Easy Steps

Prepare a speech in 5 stepsTalking comes naturally to us and we don’t even give our conversations the second thought. But when faced with the prospect of speaking in front of the audience, this seems a burden. By far, the best way to learn how to write persuasive speeches is to read the great ones. But if you are looking for some quick tips, here are a few steps to follow.

1. Learn about a Topic

A major part of the difficulty about writing a persuasive speech is choosing a topic and learning about it. You need to know as much as possible about the subject you need to speak on. Spend some time doing a research and learn all the sides of the issue. You may read academic books in a library or find relevant articles online but make sure to use only reliable sources. To find out what other people think about a topic, use radio talks or editorials, but don’t rely on them as your only source of information as they may be biased.

2. Define Your Goal

You have to understand what you need to achieve with your speech. Do you want to present your own opinion on the issue? Make a sale? Persuade your audience to vote? Or perform some other action? Once you define what you expect from the audience, you’ll be able to easily craft your message. It is also important to understand the views and knowledge of your audience about a topic. People who know little about the subject need some background information and simpler language. However, the experts on the topic may find this kind of speech boring.

3. Write a Strong Opening

Before you can start persuading your audience, you have to attract their attention. A strong and effective opening has the following elements:

  • An attention grabber – this can be a little startling or dramatic statement that will get your audience’s attention instantly.
  • A link to the audience – you need to emphasize that you have something in common with the audience.
  • Your goal – explain what you hope the speech will accomplish.
  • A road map – present the main points of your speech.

4. Offer Persuasive Evidence

The main body of your speech should include several convincing reasons to support your point of view. Arrange these points logically. Make sure to use credible sources from your research to back up these points. You may use the real life examples that the audience can relate to. Even the argument based on facts and logic should relate to the audience’s interests and lives.

5. Conclude with a Call to Action

The conclusion of your speech should remind your audience of what you have told them. But don’t just restate your point of view, instead, use this as a chance to present a clear call to action. Use concise and strong sentences that elicit confidence. You don’t want to sound as passive or timid. Don’t be afraid to use some humor in your speech. It will connect you to the audience and make your topic easier to hear about.

Write like you talk and remember that practice makes perfect!

IELTS Essay Writing Tips

IELTS essay writing tips

Without a doubt, essay writing is the most challenging section of IELTS. Writing 150 or 250 words in the time allowed is the biggest concern of many students. Indeed, it is quite hard for people from a different cultural background to get high scores on the exam because of the another thinking mode. But with the right preparation, you can make sure that your essay will be good enough to attract the score you really want.

There is a lot to remember: you have to manage your time, keep to the word limit, use great vocabulary, avoid mistakes and find solid points to make about the topic. It may look impossible but it is all attainable if you know the main tips and tricks.

1. Keep your introduction short

Remember that you have only 40 minutes to write an essay, and some of this time should be spent for planning. That’s why you need to write your introduction quickly so you can start developing the body paragraphs. You just have to do two things: state the essay topic using some basic facts and present what you are going to write about.

2. Choose a controlling idea for each body paragraph

Your IELTS essay should contain 2 or 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph should present one main idea and include several sentences to support it. You need to give enough facts, examples and arguments to answer the essay question. Make sure to stay on topic because you will be penalized if you stray off subject matter.

3. Be clear and straightforward

You need to write clearly and get to the point. English essays reflect a straightforward way of thinking, so make sure you develop your ideas precisely. Choose your words deliberately, pay attention to the sentence length, avoid unnecessary explanations, rewrite or delete needless phrases, eliminate redundancies.

4. Be logical

Logic is one of the most important factors of a good IELTS essay. Your sentences and paragraphs should have a clear reasoning, which aims for supporting your point of view. To build logical connections in your essay, you need to use transitions. They are important tools that will help you connect your ideas properly.

5. Use rich vocabulary

IELTS exam is the time to show what you know. Stay away from the over-used adjectives, such as “good” or “bad.” Instead, use more expressive words, such as excellent, wonderful, or horrible. The more precise words will make your language alive and help you get higher points for your essay.

6. Avoid slang and contractions

Find the best way to express your thoughts without using the slang or colloquial expressions. You need to show off the best English you know. Also, make sure you don’t use contractions in your essay. Academic tasks demand formal writing, so don’t write in a style that is improper to use.

7. Add the personal touch

An essay should reveal your personal feelings and opinions. It has to show your individuality. If this personal touch is lost, the essay will be colorless. Therefore, don’t be afraid to express your own point of view.

These techniques are key to producing a powerful IELTS essay. Keep these tips in mind and try your best!

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.

How to Write an Abstract for Your Scientific Paper

How to write an abstract for a scientific paperAbstract is an essential part of every scientific project. It is a short, self-contained piece of writing that describes a larger work. An abstract includes the essential or the most important thoughts about the entire paper to allow the readers understand the point of your work.

Writing an abstract can be a bit intimidating, especially if you face the task for the first time. However, the following information will help you overcome the possible challenges with ease.

What Makes a Good Abstract

  • Well-developed, clear and concise paragraphs that can stand alone as a source of information.
  • Elements of a full-length paper, including purpose, focus, methods, results and conclusions.
  • Plain language understandable to a wide audience.
  • Material that doesn’t contain information not included in a paper.
  • No referencing.
  • Passive structures to describe the findings that focus on the issues rather than people.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content.
  • The same style of language found in the original.

Key Elements of Every Abstract

Your abstract should include 5 important sections:

1. Introduction

In your introduction, you should state the purpose of your paper, why you undertook the experiment and why a reader would be interested in the larger work. Something motivated you to explore this topic (an observation, question, frustration you experienced), so let the reader into your head.

2. A statement of the problem

You need to make a clear statement of the problem you’re going to solve in your paper.

3. Methodology

Specify the approaches or models used in your work. Be clear and concise and don’t include details about the materials used unless it greatly influenced the procedures.

4. Results

Indicate the results that lead to the conclusions you have drawn. Mention the contribution you’ve made and again, don’t give too many details.

5. Conclusions

Briefly describe the conclusions that you derived from your investigation.

Important Steps for Writing

Explaining a scientific paper in an abstract of 250 words can be challenging, but if you divide the writing process into logical steps, the task will be much more manageable.

  1. First of all, reread your paper attentively.
  2. Next read each part and specify the most important information in one or two sentences.
  3. Then read the sentences one more time to make sure that they cover the main points of your paper.
  4. Ensure that you have written something for every element of an abstract.
  5. Check the length of your abstract and reduce the words if necessary.
  6. Edit your abstract for flow and language.

Produce an abstract when you have finished your paper because by then you’ll have a clear picture of the findings and results. Make sure your abstract informs the audience of all important points of your scientific paper and remember that grammar, spelling, syntax, originality and neatness are important.

Ultimate Tips on Writing Lab Reports

writing lab reportsLab reports are an important part of all laboratory courses, including Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Natural Science, and usually a significant part of your grade. A lab report is your chance to show what you did in your experiment, what you learned and what the results meant.

When preparing a report, it is always important to be attentive to the requirements and guidelines as they may vary greatly. Some instructors require to include lab reports into the lab notebook, while others ask to prepare the separate reports. There may be some differences in format and writing style. However, there are universal guidelines for scientific writing, and you need to make sure that your report follows them.

Lab Report Essentials

1. Title

The title should be brief and describe the main point of your investigation. Aim for less than 10 words.

2. Abstract

In about 100 or 200 words, summarize the purpose of your lab report and major conclusions.

3. Introduction

Provide background information and explain the objectives of the lab. In other words, say why you did the experiment. Keep it short!

4. Methods and materials

List the materials and methods used but don’t overwhelm the reader with details.

5. Results

Summarize the important data from the experiment, describe what they mean.

6. Discussions

Compare expected results with actual results, explain the results in terms of the purpose, suggest how the they could be improved.

7. References

Include a reference list if it is required.

General Tips on Writing

In scientific writing, it is important to follow the specific rules to make sure that your report presents data and outcomes in a clear and persuasive way.

1. Be concise. You need to say as much as needed while using as few words as possible. A lab report is not an essay, it should be concise, straightforward and to the point. Avoid repetitions and unnecessary details.

2. Write in the third person. When you’re describing an experimental procedure, don’t use the words “I,” “we,” “my.” This may be a bit difficult to get used to, so pay special attention to the wording in your lab report.

3. Use correct verb tenses. It can be difficult to decide which tense (present or past )to use in your report. When describing the experiment, you need to use the past tense, as it has already been conducted. When you are talking about the equipment, theory or report that still exist, use the present tense.

4. Write about the real results. Resist the temptation to lie about the results in your lab report. Write about what really happened and not what should have happened. If something went wrong, it would be a great idea to suggest some ways to improve the work in future.

5. Don’t copy the lab manual. A manual can be a helpful guideline when you need to explain the purpose of your experiment. However, it is essential to use your own words when describing the results.

When the report is written, reread it, watching specially for lack of precision. Make sure you have enough time to edit and proofread your work thoroughly.

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Spring Break If You’re Stuck on Campus

spring breakSo, you’re stuck on campus during your spring break. Sure, you’re a little jealous of your friends who are going on a wild trip to Panama City Beach and will enjoy pool parties and crazy nightlife. But don’t be upset. Spring break on campus can be as fun as it is on a trip!

Check out the following suggestions to make your vacation productive and surprisingly fun.

1. Make New Friends

Staying on campus during the whole break can be lonely, but you shouldn’t forget that many students also skip the trip. As well as you, they wonder how to spend free time with pleasure. Therefore, if you feel lonely, figure out who else is on campus and enjoy a great time with new friends. You can plan a dinner out, shopping or a movie night in someone’s room. This will make your holiday experience much more enjoyable.

2. Redo Your Dorm Room

Use free time during a spring break to rearrange your dorm room and make it cozy and fashionable. Refreshing your living space will have a positive impact on your mood and general well-being when you return to classes. Experiment with the interior redecoration, buy new furniture or get rid of the unnecessary things. Consider to cover the walls with posters, photo collages or your own paintings. Redoing your room is a great way to stay busy during a vacation.

3. Try Something New

Staying on campus during a spring break doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sleep and watch Netflix all the time. With no obligations and no busy schedule, you have enough time to try something new. Pick up a great hobby and master your talents. Forget about being a “coach potato” and impress everyone with your new skills. Cooking, scrapbooking, building models, yoga, origami, photography – the opportunities are endless. Choose the one you like and start practicing while you have free time.

4. Start Getting Into Shape

When was the last time you had a great workout? Can’t remember? Then take advantage of your spring break and start getting into shape. There are many inexpensive ways to stay active. Don’t miss a chance to visit a gym a few times during a vacation. Consider running, biking or long-distance walking. To spend more time on the fresh air, you can take a mat and do some yoga or pilates. Exercising is good for your body, mind and spirit, so spend free time effectively.

5. Get That So Much-Needed “Me Time”

Instead of your classes, work and extracurricular activities, you can finally focus on yourself. You can spend time on the things you like. Watch a film, read an interesting book, paint your nails or go for a walk. Choose the best way to treat yourself and finally tackle that to-do list. Taking some time for you and your hobbies is beneficial for your piece of mind.

Whether it’s your first time staying on campus during a spring break or your last one, make it a vacation you will remember!