Category Archives: Education

How to Spend Less Time on Homework

a girl is checking her wrist watchWe all know how hard it is to manage your homework and your social life at the same time. Sometimes you can’t help thinking about the things that you would prefer doing rather than sitting with an unfinished essay in front of you. So, is it possible to spend less time doing your homework? We believe it is. This post will tell you about the most efficient tactics that you should use to be more productive while doing your homework.

1. Stay Focused

When talking about productivity, it’s hard not to mention how staying focused is essential. Having too many thoughts and things that distract while doing your homework is a surefire way to increase the amount of time you spend on your tasks.

Analyze your usual study routine. What is it usually like? You probably sit with your TV, music, or YouTube on and try to do your homework. That is too much information for your brain to process. As a result, you retain information way worse than you could without such noise in the background and have to spend more time dealing with your assignments.

If you try focusing on your homework without texting people or watching entertaining videos, you might notice that you don’t need as much time to finish your work.

You can try a method that usually works for people who tend to get bored, concentrating on one task quickly:

  1. Decide what task you are going to work on.
  2. Set the timer for 20 or 25 minutes.
  3. Concentrate on the chosen task until the alarm goes off.
  4. Take a five-minute break.
  5. Repeat all the steps.

You can alternate tasks if you have a few of them to be able to work on each of them with fresh eyes. For example, if you have to complete an essay and finish your science project, try working on the essay for 20 minutes, taking a quick break, and then working on your science project.

2. Take Notes in Class

Taking notes is essential for every student. They help to retain information and build a study system that will suit your needs and your learning type. But have you ever thought about the way you take notes in class?

There are a few note-taking systems that are widespread among students. Here are some of them:

  • The Outline Method. This is one of the most common methods for taking notes. It implies using bullet points and subtopics that help to structure information into subcategories.
  • The Cornell Method. The main difference of this method is the page layout: the page is divided into two columns or blocks with the small column used to write down questions, comments, etc., while all the notes go into the large column.
  • The Charting Method. When this method is applied, the notes are written down into a table with separate columns with separate categories that are relevant for the topic.

Your note-taking method can be a game-changer for you. If you find a method that works for you the best, you will notice how the effectiveness of your home study sessions grows.

Basically, all you need to do is to try different page layouts and find out which method works for you the best. It will be easier if you know your learning style. There are many different styles of learning, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.

Developing a system that is the most convenient for you will make studying information much more effective and will allow you to structure the data without losing critical aspects.

3. Set the Timer

It is known that strict deadlines make people work faster. If you want to spend less time on your homework, you might need some motivation to stop procrastinating and get back to work. That is when setting a deadline can come in handy.

Decide how much time you objectively need to complete the task and set the timer. You can even reward yourself if you are on time to stay motivated while on your breaks (and breaks are essential).

For example, you have a one-page essay that you know you can finish in two hours with time for proofreading and editing included. Set the timer for two and a half hours to have a few breaks through the working process. Be strict and do your best to finish the work on time.

After a few times of trying this method, you will notice that you procrastinate less and finish your homework faster.

4. Don’t Put Homework Aside

Every student knows that putting the homework off until the last moment isn’t a healthy habit. However, most students do so no matter what the consequences (like sleepless nights and low grades) might be.

Try managing your homework piece by piece. Divide the massive assignments into smaller pieces and do them one by one, day by day. For example, if you need to complete a 3000-word research paper, you can start slowly by completing a paragraph a day. It won’t take much time and will make the task much easier. If you can’t help missing your deadlines, turn to a professional service that will help you manage all of your assignments when it is needed.

Remember that it is always hard to start. But once you do, the rest will be much easier to deal with. Don’t procrastinate!

How to Write an Impressive Conclusion to Your Essay

a woman typing on a laptop

It is said that the beginning of your essay or any other written piece makes the first impression and defines whether your piece is worth reading. We have already covered the topic of a catchy introduction to your essay, which you should check out. But what about your conclusion?

The ending of your essay is the part that leaves an aftertaste and defines the opinion that your reader will make about your piece. So, when it comes to a professor who is reading your essay, you obviously want to give a good impression and earn a high grade. Of course, even the greatest conclusion won’t save you if your main paragraphs are, to be frank, bad IN this case you might prefer turning to a professional service to edit your work or write it from scratch). However, it can add a few points to your essay, improving your grade.

So, here are some tips for writing a powerful and impressive conclusion that we have found for you.

1. Restate Your Main Point

It’s not a rare case when students forget about their main ideas and thesis statement points when they get to the conclusion. Basically, when the ending of an assignment is that close, all you can think about is finishing it as soon as possible and hitting the required word count.

However, your reader might lose the point too and be confused with what your essay was actually about. In order to avoid a situation like that, it’s essential to summarize your findings and results.

For example, you can go back to your thesis statement and restate it again in your conclusion. But don’t just copy it word for word. Putting the same sentences in your essay or any other academic work is a serious mistake. If you want to touch the subject once again without sounding repetitive, change the form and wording of the original sentence.

Let’s say you have a thesis statement that sounds something like this:

“Fashion is one of the most profitable and influencing niches due to its strong visuals and constant changing, which tricks people into thinking that they have to buy new and ‘trendy’ clothes in order to match the society.”

When you get to the conclusion part, you can transform this sentence into:

“Trends are dictated not by the needs of society as a whole, but by the small number of people who do not have their interests in satisfying the demand but rather making fashion a way to gain power.”

So, this is how you can have the main idea of your essay formed into one sentence and restated in your conclusion without having to repeat yourself. That is what makes your essay look complete and adds clarity to your work.

2. Pose a Question

Asking a question at the end of the written piece is a common literary practice. It not only gives a great impression as it directly speaks to a reader, but it also makes him or her more involved in the piece.

Why is it great to use the same tactic for your essay? They help your readers to get a new perspective on the topic and grab their attention, making your essay more memorable.

For example, you can end your essay with something like:

We hear about the waste problem so often nowadays, that it might seem even banal. But what if the banalest things are the most important?”

Or:

When it comes to social norms, they seem established centuries ago. So, it’s not surprising that it’s hard for us to believe that ordinary things and traditions used to be very different from what we know now. But what are norms anyway?”

3. Suggest a Solution or Perspective

It’s always great when an essay not only studies a problem and its reasons but also can describe a perspective for further studies or ways to solve the problem. If your conclusion can perform a look into the future, it gives a reader a base for further thinking and sticks better in their memory.

What suggestions can you put into your conclusion? Let’s look at the example:

It’s often said that preventing crime is the right way to make one more step to a Utopian society. However, nowadays it’s hard to imagine a system that would be that effective and able not only to analyze and gather various data but also build links and correlations. AI technologies can be the solution that we are looking for.”

How to Build a Conclusion

What makes a great essay? A powerful introduction? Detailed and structured body paragraphs? A strong conclusion? Well, each of these parts matter. However, logical flow and the transition from one part to another are also essential.

So, when you end your body paragraph, don’t cut them. Put a transition sentence that will show that your essay is coming to an end.

For example:

Of course, the way we approach freelancing will change with time. It’s not impossible that it will be completely gone, though now it’s hard to imagine such a scenario due to its popularity.”

After the transition sentence, you can start your conclusion with a new paragraph. Stick to the general form of an essay paragraph:

1. A topic sentence. This is the sentence that helps a reader understand what the paragraph will be about. It’s important to use such topic sentences every time you start a new paragraph as they give your essay a logical flow and help tie all the parts together while making reading easier.

2. A supporting sentence. This is where you can put the summary of your work. Highlight the main points and findings, putting the strongest and most relevant first. Explain how your ideas and findings fit into the concept.

3. The closing sentence. Close your essay with final words.

So, these are the best tips on how to write a compelling and impressive conclusion. We hope you find them useful!

How to Start a Narrative Essay

a girl is writing something on a piece of paperEvery good piece of writing has to catch a reader’s attention from the very beginning. A great school paper, especially a good narrative essay, has to do that too. It not only has to be exciting but also easy to read and understand as a reader forms an opinion on whether a piece is worth reading from the first lines. If they are dull or too complicated, an impression from the rest of your essay might be ruined.

This means that paying much attention to a narrative essay introductory paragraph is crucial in order to create a high-quality piece of writing. If you struggle with introduction parts in general or with the beginning of your narrative essay in particular, you will find this article very helpful. We have put together all of the best pieces of advice on how you can start your paper with a catchy and exciting introduction.

What Are the Specifics of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a type of paper that is meant to develop a student’s creativity and imagination. When writing a narrative essay, a student has to describe some fictional or real event in the form of a story that will have:

  • A catchy introduction
  • A plotline
  • An atmosphere
  • A climax
  • Conclusion

A narrative essay is often written in the first person as it commonly tells about the author’s life experiences, but there might be exclusions. A lot of such compositions performed in high school or college are obligated to use dialogue, monologue, sensory details, and other literary devices to show writing skills and knowledge. So, how to start a narrative essay introduction? Let’s take a look at the strongest narrative introduction techniques.

Start with a Quote

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” – Beatrix Potter.

Quotes are great to start your essay with. Not only a narrative one but any other type of essay too. However, starting with just any random quote isn’t the right option as your beginning sentence should be relevant to the rest of your essay and also make sense to a reader.

Finding the right quote is not easy. Some of the quotes are too famous and too often used, so they seem to be too banal while others aren’t appropriate for your topic. So, the process of searching for the quote for your essay might take a while. Be patient and use the following platforms to search for the quotes:

Each narrative essay us different as it tells a different story and gives a different impression on the reader. When picking a quote, pay attention to its tone and make sure to choose the one that will suit the atmosphere of your essay.

Start with an Anecdote

“One time, I saw a balloon trapped in the branches of the tree behind our house. I couldn’t reach it from the ground, so I started climbing up. The bark of an old tree was crumbling under my feet, and small leaves were falling as I was moving up. Once I reached the balloon and tried to grab the string, it was taken away with the wind. I wasn’t able to climb down, so I waited for 4 hours for my parents to come home and get me off of the tree top.”

An anecdote is a short personal story that describes some event, situation, or personal experience. When used at the beginning of an essay, they help put a reader into a particular setting or build an atmosphere. Some anecdotes can be used to make the audience laugh, but others deliver a specific message that will help to understand the author’s ideas and point of view. They also might be sad, odd, or even tragic.

When creating an anecdote to start your essay with, remember that it has to be relevant to the main idea of your paper and set the right tone for a reader. You can add some fictional details to your anecdote but don’t make it too fantastic – remember, that anecdotes should represent the stories from real life.

Start with Statistics

“Around 70 percent of students say they have witnessed bullying in their schools. I am one of them.”

You might think that using statistics is suitable when creating a research paper, explanatory essay, or a dissertation. In other words, any other type of school paper but not a narrative essay. However, statistics can be used as a supportive fact that will make your paper more polished. It will also give the impression that you have conducted research and prepared some interesting numbers that can be used to support your ideas.

Numbers always add value and reliability to your words. They also help perceive and remember information better than when reading a plain text. Professors and teachers love finding such details in the works of their students. They know that statistics require time and effort which you can save if turning to a writing team for help.

Start with a Question

“What was there so enchanting and mysterious that made me sit there in silence with my eyes wide open? I didn’t know then and neither I know now. But this was the day when I discovered the hypnotic power of nature.”

When you start your essay with a question instantly makes your reader wonder what the answer to this question is. This is one of the most commonly used literary devices that help to establish contact with your readers and engage them.

Asking a question is also a way to boost your imagination and break through writer’s block if you experience one. Questions make you find the answers, and sometimes they can lead to very unexpected ideas.

Use questions also to make your reader involved in your story. For example,

“Have you ever wondered what our lives would be like if we couldn’t feel the taste of food?”

Such questions intrigue and speak directly to readers, therefore help to establish contact.

Wrapping Up

Starting your paper is not easy. That is the reason why many students seek help and wonder “how to write an introductory paragraph for a narrative essay?” Not always you can come up with a good idea of how to make your introduction compelling and powerful enough. It’s especially hard to write the first sentence or as it is also called a hook sentence which attracts the attention of your reader and sparks interest. However, with the help of our tips, it will definitely be easier for you to create catchy introductions to your narrative essays or even other types of school papers.

How to Create a College Freshman Resume in Less Than an Hour

A lot of students, when entering a college, face a need to create a resume that can be requested both on campus and when applying for a job. How can a student create such a resume and keep it as modern and suitable as possible? We have gathered the best tips for your freshman resume, so don’t waste your time and let’s dive into this topic.

How to make a resume as a college freshman, and do you need one?

You never know when a new opportunity arises, so college freshman resume is better to be prepared beforehand in order to use it for:

Basically, this is the document that represents your strengths, sums up your accomplishments, and tells about your experience. Consider creating such a resume even if it seems like you don’t need it right now. For example, you might need a college freshman resume for an internship, and without a complete document on your hands, you might be too late to fill the vacant position. So, don’t miss your chance! Let’s create a freshman college student resume together.

1. Contact Information Block

Contact information is one of the most important parts of your resume. Make sure to update this block of your resume if something changes so as not to miss your opportunity because of the old phone number.

What information to include:

  • Your current address (campus, rented apartment, house)
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address

Make sure to create and use an email address which looks professional. Use your full name instead of nicknames for your email address name. Nicknames are more preferable for informal communication with your friends.

2. Your Objective

When creating a college student resume, provide an objective. This extra touch will make your resume look more polished. Your college freshman resume objective or in other words a summary should be brief and laconic (usually cut down to one sentence) to show your intentions and goals clearly.

Example:

To get into the university that will provide me with the exceptional knowledge of financial management so I will be able to develop a successful career.

3. Education Block

Commonly this block goes before achievements and work experience blocks. Here, you should provide information about your education, such as academic level, school, GPA, major, expected date of graduation from college, etc. You can also mention relevant coursework as a separated or included block with information about the subjects that you are currently studying or studied in the past.

Don’t forget to mention your honors or specific projects that showcase your skills.

Example:

The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH.

The Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies

Graduation expected May 2023

The Wooster High School, Wooster, OH. (High school information should be removed from your resume when starting your sophomore year).

Awards: National Merit Scholar

GPA: 4.0/4.2

Graduated May 2019

4. Employment Experience Block

When you are a freshman, typically there is not much information that you can put in your resume. So, all the relevant experience will be suitable.

How to write a resume with little experience?

It’s hard to write a lot in this block when creating a resume for college freshman as usually there are not many jobs for those who under 18 available. But you can include all of your part-time jobs and volunteering projects that you have participated in. Don’t forget to mention what your duties were or what goals you have achieved while working. Even your experience as a teenage babysitter can be put in here if presented as a job that taught you how to be responsible and attentive.

A tip: if you feel that this block seems too poor or irrelevant, you can combine two blocks together – Employment and Relevant Projects to put more info in here.

Example:

Sales Seasonal Associate (June 2018 — July 2019)

Bath & Body Works Store, Wooster, OH.

  • Provided excellent customer service and helped customers to choose the most suitable products.
  • Operated the cash register.

5. Activities and Honors

If you can add something more about your education, it’s great. Use this chance to tell about sports, music, and art events you participated and your achievements in the spheres besides the school program. If you took on a leadership role, it’s a great chance to put this information too so to emphasize your ability to work in a team and organize the working process inside the group.

It’s also a great place to mention your honors or club membership.

Example:

The Wooster High School, Wooster, OH.

  • National Honor Society, Secretary.
  • Tennis team (January 2017- May 2019). Team captain (September 2018 – May 2019).

6. Skills

To let your prospective employer or any other person know about what responsibilities will match your abilities, list all of them if the are relevant skills. Such a list can be very diverse depending on the vacancy that you are aiming for, competition, etc. However, computer skills and foreign languages levels can be met pretty much in every resume.

Example:

Computer: Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access.

Languages: Basic Italian and Spanish

Personal: Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

Other: Experience in social media promotion (Instagram, Facebook).

Templates to Use

If you are not sure about the format of your resume, you can use templates which provide excellent guidelines and help you to structure your resume properly. Such templates can be found on platforms like:

Choose the one that will be the most suitable for you. Pay attention to the readability of your resume and its structure.

Basic Rules to Follow When Creating a Resume for College Freshman

How to write a resume as a college freshman without mistakes? Just follow these simple rules:

  1. Keep your resume up to one page.
  2. Break your resume into blocks for easier reading.
  3. Use bold font for headings and bullet points for lists.
  4. Use separate email address created specifically for professional purpose.
  5. Update your resume at least once a year or more if you need to update any information in it.
  6. If you need to send your resume, send it in a .pdf format instead of .docx or .txt.
  7. Print your resume when you go to interviews.
  8. Use casual language and avoid complicated wording.
  9. Remember that your font size should be different for various components of your resume: bullet points – 10pt, contact info – 12pt, your name – at least 16pt.
  10. Avoid long paragraphs.
  11. Proofread and edit your resume or ask someone to do that for you. You can also ask a career counselor or any other professional to look through your resume and give you an opinion on it.
  12. Avoid lying in your resume. If there are no jobs to list, it’s better to create a resume with no work experience to avoid embarrassment when confronted lying.

So, these are the basic tips that you should follow when creating your resume. Keep in mind that sometimes you might be given specific requirements to your resume, so you will have to tailor according to the vacancy or the contest that you want to participate in. Also, you will need to write a compelling cover letter as an addition to your CV.

We hope you will find our tips useful. Good luck with your resume!

Grant Application: How to Write a Grant Cover Letter

a student writing a grant request letter sitting at the desk

Many students rely on educational grants. Getting one is a great accomplishment and an exceptional opportunity to graduate without debt. That’s why it’s important to understand which type of grant you can apply for and how to do it properly.

What Is a College or University Grant?

Grant is an option that allows you to study for free. What this means is that you don’t have to pay anything back even after graduating from college, as all of the costs will be covered by the Federal Government.

There is a significant difference between a college loan and college grant. A loan has to be paid back after graduation, and grant, in its turn, is non-repayable.

There are a lot of different grants that students can apply for, depending on the type of school program or specific conditions, such as low income, single motherhood, etc.

What to Do if You Want to Apply for a Grant?

If a student decides to apply for a grant, first of all, he or she has to conduct research on the preferred learning institutions and types of grants they offer. After that, one can start an application process which may vary for different learning institutions. For example, some colleges accept emails, others require letters. So, make sure to find out the procedure for the desired college or university.

Why should you write a letter?

Writing student grant application letters is a common practice in learning institutions. They represent information about:

  • The applicants
  • The programs they want to apply for
  • The reasons for getting a grant

Learning institutions get a lot of applications each year. So, they have to decide which students deserve to receive a grant.

In your letter, you need to provide convincing arguments on why you deserve receiving the grant. You have a chance to explain your situation and provide reasons for a learning institution to pick you. If you’re not sure whether you can do that properly, you can always turn to a professional writing service for help.

How to Write a Request Letter for Grant

Many students ask “How to write a grant proposal for education?” and “What are the specifics of a request letter for a grant?” Like any other formal letter, this one has a similar structure:

  1. Contact information.
  2. Greetings.
  3. Brief information about the program you want to apply for and why.
  4. An explanation of your current situation (for example, financial) and why you need a grant for studying in a particular learning institution.
  5. The showcase of your strongest arguments on why you deserve a grant.
  6. The complimentary close.

Keep in mind that this letter will be the first communication between you and the representatives of a learning institution. So you need to be specific but brief and explain your situation in a laconic and informative manner.

Such a letter is an essential part of your application, just like an application essay. Therefore, you should definitely check our tips on how to write a scholarship essay without struggling.

How to Write Letters for Your Grant Applications?

To make the process of writing such a letter easier, we have prepared a sample grant request letter. Use it to provide your arguments and support your application for the grant.

Sample cover letter for proposal submission:

To: X

[contact information]

From: Y

[contact information]

Dear Dr. X

My name is Y. Currently, I’m a student of [your high school]. I’m really interested in the [desired program] and the opportunities that your learning institution provides.

I’m writing to ask you to consider me for [the name of the grant or scholarship program] award. You can find all the needed materials, such as transcripts, recommendation letter, and financial statements, enclosed. [Also add other evidence that you need to attach. For example, if you are a single mother or you are a veteran, etc.]

Becoming a [type of professional] is my big dream that I work hard to make come true. [List your achievements in studying, participation in sports, community service or volunteering projects and any other facts that emphasize your strengths and diligence]. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue studying and get a degree that will allow me to make my contribution to [the sphere of your specialization].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

Details are essential

Consider who will read your application letter for funding support and keep your language clear and understandable. Avoid writing ambiguous and vaguely formulated sentences. This is one of the most important pieces of advice for writing any letter to a learning institution. For example, this is one of the rules which you have to stick to when writing your personal statement.

In your letter of the grant request be sure to also mention that:

  1. You want to study at this particular learning institution.
  2. You are interested in the chosen program.
  3. You have conducted research and know a lot about the opportunities that this learning institution provides their students with.
  4. You appreciate the time of the representatives of a learning institution.
  5. You are willing to provide any additional documents if they are needed.

Also, be sure to find ouе the receiver name. Usually, you can find contact information on the website of the learning institution.

Of course, make sure to proofread your letter and fix the mistakes as grammar is important in any type of writing, especially in the formal one. If English is not your first language, you might find our tips on writing in English as your second language useful.

These were our tips on how to write your letter of the grant proposal. We hope that you find them useful. Good luck!

 

8 Awe-Inspiring Writing Strategies Famous Writers Used

a man typing on typewriter keyboard

Creating a decent piece is not an easy thing to do. Whether you need to write an essay, a review, a short story or a blog post, you might face the same difficulties as other professional writers do. So, we have prepared some useful tips from the best authors that will help you to improve your writing skills, beat writer’s block and increase your productivity.

Here are 8 strategies for developing writing skills from the best and the most productive authors in the world.

#1 – A “Daily Writing” Strategy of Steven King

Steven KingPhoto credit: Evan Agostini

If you don’t know who Steven King is, then you probably live under the rock. Being the king of the horror genre and one of the most productive writers of the 20-21 centuries, Steven King is glad to tell the story of his writing career. Moreover, he gives useful pieces of advice in his book On Writing. One of the most significant lessons from him is his strategy of daily writing.

A “Daily writing” strategy is all about constant practicing. King says that when you start your project, you shouldn’t stop for a single day until you are satisfied with your draft. Only by writing every single day, you can keep your skills strong enough. As writing skills can be trained like muscles, you have to keep them toned up.

Try to write at least one small piece a day. It doesn’t matter what it would be – a blog post, a letter to your girlfriend, etc. If you keep practicing every day, you will get used to writing and following your creative plan.

#2 – A “Cocoon” Strategy of Roald Dahl

Roald DahlSource: The Times

Dahl was commonly described by his friends as an “odd fellow.” While he was writing, he was sitting in his armchair with his legs wrapped in a sleeping bag. He could stay in this position all night long.

The setting around you is very important, so finding the most comfortable place and position is key to get your imagination free and stay productive for a long time. Some people love working while laying in bed, for others it’s crucial to have fully prepared stationary.

Not only Dahl was weird about his writing habits. For example, Gertrude Stein was writing only in the driver’s seat of her Ford and Hemingway wrote all his works while standing.

You should also find a special place or atmosphere which will awake your talent. If you want to stay more focused while studying or working, check out our article about the art of concentration.

#3 – A “Small Steps” Strategy of Graham Greene

Graham GreenePhoto credit: Yousuf Karsh

“In the old days, at the beginning of a book, I’d set myself 500 words a day, but now I’d put the mark to about 300 words.” Graham Greene

This writing strategy for struggling writers is all about the goals and methods of achieving them. Of course, you could set a plan of writing just as fast as Steven King (King writes about 10 pages or 2,000 words per day), but you would quickly realize that this tactic leads to exhaustion of your imagination.

Take slow steps, and establish manageable goals for each day of writing – you will see that the quality of your writing is much better when you’re not in haste.

#4 – A “Last Line” Strategy of Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne PorterSource: Hulton Archive

A lot of writers start working on their pieces as soon as a plot idea hits them. But sometimes it leads to a block when one can’t figure out how to end a story. In order to avoid such a situation, Porter did other way round – she wrote the ending first. When she had an idea for her another piece, she wrote the last line and after that the last page of her piece. Only then she began working on the whole plot.

It’s a brilliant tip for every piece of writing, not only for stories and novels. When you start working on your essay, the first thing you should do is to formulate your thesis – a quick summary of your paper’s purpose. So, basically, you write your essay starting from the end of it.

This is one of the best writing strategies for students who are working on their papers and need help with formulating a thesis statement.

When you know how your piece will end up and what the whole plot leads to, you can be more comfortable with writing the rest.

#5 – A “Don’t Look at It Again” Strategy of Neil Gaiman

Neil GaimanPhoto credit: Rich Polk

It’s hard to fight the temptation of revising your written piece before it is finished. But Neil Gaiman advises the opposite method – writing till the end without looking at your work.

Don’t come back to recite the pieces that you have already written the previous day – write what comes to your mind. And when you are finished, compile all of the parts and edit the whole thing. You might find some pieces surprising as you have already forgotten about what their content is.

Moreover, Gaiman suggests looking the piece through after some time:

The best advice I can give on [revision] is, once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.

#6 – A “Wait for It” Strategy of Hilary Mantel

Hilary MantelSource: The Daily Beast

Sometimes you get stuck. Instead of sitting with your piece in front of you, do something else. Draw, clean, listen to music or go to sleep. Sometimes you just need to take a little break and wait for a good thought to come.

She also recommends avoiding chatting or going to the party in this situation, as “someone’s words will pour in where your lost words should be.” Many students also find this advice one of the most useful among all of the writing techniques and strategies. And while you are waiting for your muse, check out our tips on essay writing.

#7 – A “ Writing Ritual” Strategy of Toni Morrison

Toni MorrisonPhoto credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sander

As we talked about the atmosphere and habits of writers, there are also some strange rituals that could be helpful to anyone who wants to get used to writing. Morrison claims that she didn’t realize it before one conversation with another author in which they talked about the things they do before writing. Morrison observed that she always got up before the dawn, made herself a cup of coffee and watched a sunrise.

You might also have some ritual that helps you to set up the right mood for work. Pay attention to the things you usually do before writing or establish new traditions.

#8 – A “Question” Strategy of Mary Lee Settle

Mary Lee SettleSource: AZ Quotes

A National Book Award-winner Mary Lee Settle said that she always started with a question and then tried to answer it. This way you will never run out of ideas as you can ask yourself about anything in the world and then evaluate your thought. For example, “What if I wake up in another universe?” “What if Shakespeare lived in our time?” “What if the gravity disappeared for a second?” etc.

Wrapping up

Students don’t have to be professional writers, but they can find the authors’ experience helpful as they commonly face the same difficulties. So, we hope that you have found our list of writing strategies that authors use helpful for your studying routine. Try out these tips to find ones that work for you.

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.