Tag Archives: Study Tips

Tips for Online Students

Studying online can be a fantastic way to enhance your education, and it offers a number of advantages that traditional education doesn’t. However, there are a few things you should know before beginning an online course:

1. Make sure your schedule includes plenty of flexible time for studying.
The biggest advantage of online education is the fact that you can do it anywhere at any time, leaving you free to dictate your class schedule. However, many students who aren’t use to this freedom and minimal structure find themselves swallowed by the work when they should be able to manage it better than ever. The answer? Always leave yourself extra time as wiggle room to complete assignments. For instance, if you’ve got a paper due on Friday, plan to have it ready to turn in on Thursday. If you make the early deadline, you’ve got plenty of time to give it a polish or turn it in early and enjoy a small break. If the paper turns out to be more complicated than expected, you’ve got an extra day to get it done.

2. Be sure to speak up (so to speak).
Online courses are fantastic for students who enjoy working on their own, but they can feel daunting and isolating for many students accustomed to typical classroom settings where they can ask the teacher questions at any time. Fortunately, online courses allow for just as much student-teacher interaction as traditional ones. Between e-mail, instant messages, and online chat rooms, you can discuss your assignments with your instructor and classmates in order to make sure you understand the work. Never feel that just because you’re studying online means you need to be cut off from your colleagues.

3. Budget your time for work.
Being able to hold down a full-time job while attending school online is one of the key selling points of distance education, but that kind of juggling takes a certain amount of practice and a good deal of determination. A job doesn’t (usually) allow for the same kind of flexible scheduling you can find with an online school, so it’s smart to start off with a lower number of classes until you get the hang of balancing your academic and professional lives. Once you’ve got a good rhythm established, you can take on more classes without jeopardizing your career commitments.

4. Create a helpful study environment.
Basically, just because you can study at a coffee shop doesn’t mean you should. It’s important to set up a work space that’s clean, quiet, and designed to be used for long periods of reading, writing, and studying. Some students set up desks in their bedrooms, while others use spare rooms or the kitchen as a dedicated work area. Wherever it is, make sure it’s your space, meaning you can always use it when you want.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a great online education. Good luck!

This guest post is contributed by Kate Cunningham, who writes on the topics of online university rankings. She welcomes your questions and comments at her email Id: cn.kate1 @ gmail.com.

Golden Tips for IELTS Writing Module

TASK ONE
In Task 1 of the Writing Module, you are given about 20 minutes to write a minimum of 150 words. You are asked to look at a diagram, table, graph or short piece of text and describe the information in your own words. There are three important steps you should follow:
preparation, writing and editing. These steps will help you to write a coherent and well organised essay in the time given.

Preparation (about 2 minutes)
You need to spend 2-3 minutes working out exactly what you are going to do. You should pay attention to the following points:
•Study the question carefully. Most Task 1 writing involves writing a report which describes some information given. You may wish to note the instructions with a high-lighting pen.
•Think carefully about the topic. Outline some pertinent points.
•Ensure that your ideas are arranged logically.

Writing (about 15 minutes)
When writing a Task 1 report, include:
•introductory sentence
•body paragraphs (1-3)
•concluding sentence (optional)

Introductory sentence
The introductory sentence explains what you are describing, for example:
•The table compares the population growth and interstate migration in each Australian state for 12 months to the end of 1994.’
•The graph shows the growth of computers in Australia between 1975 and 1995.’
•The pie chart represents the proportion of gases contained in natural gas.’

Body paragraphs
When discussing the date presented in the task, identify significant trends and give examples that relate directly to the given information to support your statements. If you are explaining a process or an object and how it works, you need to group your information so that it follows a definite logical order.

Remember that the use of verbs expressed in the present passive voice is often appropriate when giving a description of a process or procedure, for example:
“Coffee beans are pulped to remove their casing. They are then soaked in water, rinsed thoroughly and dried. After the beans are sorted, they are roasted in a kiln and blended. Next, they are packed and dispatched to shops and supermarkets.”

Concluding sentence (optional)
A simple concluding statement could include any of the following, where relevant:
•significant comments
•a potential solution
•an overall summary of the ideas
•future implications.

Editing (about 2 minutes)
Make sure that you have followed the instructions carefully. Be sure that you have written what you intended and that no important ideas are missing.

In the last few minutes, check for obvious errors, such as spelling or grammatical errors.

TASK TWO
All too often students begin planning or even writing their answers in the IELTS Writing Module before they understand what is actually expected of them. Following the steps below will help you to plan a well-structured and coherent essay or report that addresses the given task.

Preparation
You may wish to spend about 5-7 minutes working out exactly what you are going to do. There are five steps to consider.
•Study the question carefully. Most task statements or questions have a key instructional word or words telling you what to do. Note these words with a highlighting pen.

There are also key topic words which point to the most important parts of the question. Underline those words too. Ask yourself how the key words relate to the given instruction.
•Think carefully about the topic. How do you feel about it?
•Establish a point of view and list some points for development. The answer normally takes the form of a short essay. The word essay’ comes from an old French word essai which meant to attempt or try out, or to test. In an IELTS Writing Module Task 2 answer, your purpose is to develop your point of view in a convincing way.
•Decide which points will be written as topic sentences. Think about how they will develop into paragraphs.
•Ensure that your points are arranged in a logical order.

Writing
When you are writing a Task 2 answer, a structure based on the following elements could be used (summarised in the flow chart opposite).

Introductory paragraph
The introduction of a Task 2 answer should begin with a general statement or idea of your own that takes into account the key topic words or their synonyms. The last sentence of the introduction should include a thesis statement which shows the point of view or direction that will be taken in the answer.

Body paragraphs
Body paragraphs each consist of several sentences that are arranged in a logical way to develop a main idea. You can expect to write about 2-4 body paragraphs for a Task 2 answer. Each of these contains an appropriate connective word to ensure a smooth transition between paragraphs. This connective is then put in a topic sentence which is the main point of the paragraph clearly stated in a sentence. Every sentence in the paragraph must be directly related to it. Try to develop every paragraph adequately. This may be done through the use of examples, explanations, detail, logical inference, cause and effect or making comparisons or contrasts. There are many different ways to organise your ideas for body paragraphs. Be confident of the ideas you choose.

The conclusion
A good conclusion serves several purposes:
•It indicates the end of your essay.
•It gives your final thoughts and assessments on the essay subject.
•It weighs up the points in your essay and should strengthen your thesis statement.
•Do not simply repeat your opening paragraph. This appears too mechanical and superficial.

Introduction
•General statement
•Thesis statement

BODY PARAGRAPH 1
•Topic sentence including connective word
•First supporting sentence
•Second supporting sentence
•Third supporting sentence

Body Paragraph 2
Body Paragraph 3

Further Body Paragraphs

Conclusion
•Final assessment with concluding connective
Editing (about 3-5 minutes)
In the last few minutes, you should check for obvious errors, such as spelling or grammatical errors. Be sure you have written what you intended and that there are no important ideas missing.

Study the checklist for editing. It lists points to think about when checking your essay. Become familiar with the list so that you will know what to check for in the actual IELTS Writing Module.

Checklist for Editing
1.I have used accurate grammatical structures, for example, consistent verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, accurate word formation (especially of nouns, verb and adjectives) and appropriate use of a’ and the’ as well as prepositions.
2.I have used a range of sentence structures.
3.I have used appropriate vocabulary.
4.I have used accurate spelling.
5.I have stated the main idea for each paragraph in a topic sentence and all the points are related to this topic.
6.I have used connective words effectively to link ideas so that the thoughts move logically and clearly from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.
7.I have developed each paragraph adequately.
8.I have supplied enough detailed information and sufficient examples or facts.
9.I have developed a definite point of view.
10.Every paragraph that I have written has definitely helped to address the task.

The writer, Miraj ul Haq, IELTS Instructor for the last 13 years, can be contacted on imspk@yahoo.com

This post was submitted by Miraj.

IELTS Tips From an 8.5 Student

Recently one of our students told us he had just received great news – he scored 8.5 in his IELTS test last week! We asked him if he’d mind sharing what he considered to be important IELTS examination techniques.  These IELTS tips are for any students who are already competent using the English language and are looking to understand the how the test works and techniques for performing the best you can.

  1. The first and most important tip is to understand the exam. You should make sure that you have a good idea of each of the different modules, the different language skills that are being tested in each module component and have a good idea of the sorts of questions you’re likely to be asked. I found examples of the different types of questions used on the official IELTS website.
  2. I bought some IELTS study guides from the bookshop, not really for the book itself, but for the practice tests that come with them. I took several mock tests and made sure that I kept to the times strictly. So my second IELTS examination technique is know your timings and stick to them!
  3. There are only two modules – reading and listening – that you have complete control of your performance. It is down to you in how accurate your answers are to score high. The writing and speaking modules however, are not totally in the student’s control. So, be sure to score the most points you can in the reading and listening modules.
  4. My fourth IELTS study tip is to practice your listening skills as much as you can. I watched English TV, news and talk shows pretty much every day.
  5. For the writing module, planning is vital. As for any exam you sit, even in your own language, that requires an extended answer, you should always sketch out a skeleton plan for your answer. I’d also recommend you spend time before the IELTS exam learning and practicing key vocabulary to use when interpreting data in tables and graphs. This in an important tip of all the ILETS study tips – you should use correct terminology liberally in your answer.
  6. Make sure you can leave five minutes at the end of the test to check your answers. I can’t stress how important this is! I’ve been able to go back and spot a silly spelling error and correct it or returned to right more for answers to questions I wasn’t quite sure of. Remember, under exam conditions you are bound to make some silly mistakes, but with good IELTS examination techniques, you will have the time to correct them.
  7. In the speaking module, you’ll generally find that the examiners are kind and friendly and will true to help make you feel relaxed and confident enough to have a slightly more formal type of conversation.  My IELTS study tip here is that you don’t have to sound brilliant of use very complicated language – I spoke slowly, but with clarity and accuracy using pretty average vocabulary.
  8. My last IELTS study tip is to practice, practice and practice some more! Also, it is important to keep your practice going right up to your exam date. Don’t work hard, think you’ve got it sorted and then stop before your exam; you should do at least two mock exams in the days before your real one. Remember to time yourself!

Competitive Exam Study Tips No One Told You About

There are exams and then there are exams; some are more important than others because they can make or break your dreams, and in the process, make or break your life. Competitive exams are nerve-wracking ordeals, especially because you are competing against hundreds of thousands of others who are also vying for the limited prizes available. So your chances of success depend on more than just your natural abilities – you need to step up your preparation and performance by more than just a notch if you want to succeed. Here are a few study tips that help you do just that:

  • Start early: The best time to start preparations for important exams is yesterday, which means that you need to start as soon as you can. A little preparation every day goes a long way in helping you remember what you’ve learned rather than a large amount of cramming towards the end. Don’t put off starting the studying process, because if you do, you lose out on more than just time.
  • Choose quality over quantity: Rather than studying for hours together and just memorizing all that you can, set up an intelligent system of study that allows you to learn more within a shorter period of time. This way, you don’t tax yourself too much and also end up doing more than you usually do.
  • Don’t look at what the rest of the crowd is doing: Don’t compare your progress to that of your friends or classmates who are also taking the same exam with you. Instead, stay true to your schedule and focus on your efforts alone. The same advice holds good when you’re writing your exam too – don’t look around at what the rest of the competition is doing; keep your eyes on your paper and concentrate on what needs to be done.
  • Stay focused: Don’t let anything derail your study plans, not family, not friends, not any crisis. If your goal is to crack the exam, you need to be focused and not succumb to any distraction that comes your way. Ensure that your family and friends give you the time and space you need to prepare for a competitive exam.
  • Don’t give up: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Don’t give up just because you tasted failure in your first attempt. Instead, use this as motivation to do better the next time, and use your experience to avoid making the same mistakes that cost you success the last time you took the exam.

Confidence is everything when you’re sitting for a competitive exam, so make sure you have plenty of it by preparing adequately.

This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of katsanders25@gmail.com.

Study Tips for Students

Study Tips for StudentsEvery one of us is different and we all as individuals need to find the best way for us to study. Studying is not just about obtaining knowledge, but about demonstrating that you can stand out from the crowd and offers a way for you to show your areas of excellence. Good study tips will help you to get the most of your time spent studying. So, prepare your brains, set a solid foundation and pick up some quick and easy student study tips.

The following general tips for studying should help you, not matter what your course of study:

1. Find a calm and relaxed place to study

Make sure that you choose a place that has comfortable surroundings and that you enjoy. It should be quiet and comfortable and have the space for everything you need; space for your books and pens and your all important favorite study pillow! It’s good to be organized and being able to leave these things in place at the end of each study session means you do not have to waste any time looking for things outside of your study area.

2. Sleep well

It’s been shown with scientific research that sleeping is very important for healthy brain function. Good, deep sleep will enhance your memory and having had a refreshing 8 hours, you’ll find it easier to understand abstract concepts and even become more creative.

3. Schedule your time well

Take some time before you start studying to plan your time properly. Make sure you plan reasonably and honestly too; ensure that you can stick to the schedule. Remember to include any regular activities – such as going to the gym or playing football with your friends – the key is to make sure that you study plan fits around your regular activities. Remember that if you plan ahead and schedule your studies properly, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything from you social timetable.

4. Take regular breaks

Like sleep, breaks are important for our brains too. Every 40 minutes or so, take a quick break from the books and do something else for 5 minutes. Have a walk and a stretch, grab a snack or a drink or simply stare out the window and quietly day-dream. But remember, keep it to around 5 minutes; this is enough time to rest your brain and to keep your focus on the task at hand.

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5. Find a study partner

Study partners and groups are a great way to get ahead with your studies and to break to boredom of studying alone. Granted, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but there are some clear benefits of studying with a partner. You’ll find it easier to concentrate on the tougher topics and having other views and knowledge available, you’ll help each other with new tips and ideas. You could take the study group concept further and specifically seek out people who you consider better at a particular topic than you and therefore you can make the most out of your studies and learn from them.

6. Set goals

How will you study? What are you aiming to achieve each day? How far through the course material will you go each day? It’s very useful to break your study time down into chunks and to concentrate on smaller, bite-sized pieces of information to learn. The key thing about goals is that they should be constantly reviewed. As your studies progress or the topics get harder, rethink your goals and set more time to things that need them.

7. Get some exercise

Exercise is not only a great way to relieve stress and make you feel happier, but it is also excellent for our brains. Good, regular exercise helps your brain to receive more and more oxygen, allowing you to concentrate more and helping to improve your memory.

8. Try to eat well

A balanced diet is important no matter what task we are trying to complete. If you want your body and mind to be in optimum shape, then a healthy diet packed full of vitamins and minerals is essential. You want to be energized and alert, not tired and weak from eating the wrong foods.

Study Your way to Success

Many of you have written in, asking for ideas on how you can get into the course of your dreams, or win a scholarship that will help you get there. One way to opening the door to success in the future is by improving your academic results today.

Whether you are at high school, completing your undergraduate degree, studying English, or working on your post-graduate qualifications, you need to prove to your teachers that you have the ability to succeed. And the better your results, the more choice you’ll have for further study in the future.

Plus, you’ll also improve your future career and salary prospects. A recent study in Switzerland looked into whether being a good student is important. It found that graduates with higher grades found jobs with better career prospects when they graduated. So, it is clear that having good grades will affect your salary prospects.

Studying is the ability to learn, understand, and analyse information, and put that knowledge to use. This might be through an exam, essay, assignment, or practical use in an internship.

Study smarter, not harder

We’ve talked to study experts around the world, and come up with a guide on how your can make your study time more effective. It’s not about the time you put in, but how smart you study. And when you are trying to fit study around all the other busy parts of your life, such as part time work and family, this is essential.

We have split our top twelve study tips into the way your mind, body and spirit can help you study.

Mind

1. Pick and mix your study techniques
There are many different ways of learning and revising. Try a few, and see what works for you.

  • Tape your classes, and listen to them on the way home or to work
  • Review index cards with key words or points
  • Organise the course information to make sense of the big picture
  • Mind map or colour code different elements of your subject
  • Make more notes as you read your own notes – find different ways of explaining things

2. Make a plan
Set up a revision timetable in your diary or weekly planner. Allocate time for assignments well in advance of the due date

3. Review often – and quickly
Never wait for the day before your exams to review your notes (also know as ‘cramming’). Read over your notes straight after class, and then again in short frequent bursts. Do some coursework every day.

4. Ask questions before a test
Before a test, ask your teacher what material will be covered and what kind of questions to expect. They may have some sample papers for you to practice on.

5. Edit a friend’s paper
Offer to edit an assignment for a friend. It’s a great learning experience, as everyone approaches their work differently.

Body

6. Eat, exercise and sleep
You need to stay fit and healthy to concentrate and learn.

7. ‘A’ students never miss a class
Sit in the front row if you can – it improves concentration. And don’t skip the first and last minutes of a class, when there is often important information about tests and assignments.

8. Know yourself
Do you study better at night or early in the morning? Plan your study time around when you work best.

9. Location, location, location
Choose a quiet, well-lit room to study in: your school library, an empty classroom or a study room. Put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign at home. But make sure you take a short break every 90 minutes.

Spirit

10. It’s all about attitude
Stay positive – you can do it! Write positive messages on your wall. Be enthusiastic about your subjects.

11. Trust your instincts
Don’t doubt yourself in an exam or essay question. Just go with your instincts – and stick to them.

12. Better together
A study group can help you stay motivated. Share your ideas, and test each other. You may also find an online group, where you can study with students from other universities or even other countries. It’s a good way to get a fresh perspective on your subject.

You may find that not all these tips are right for you, or for your course. But hopefully you are now inspired to try a new way of remembering information or preparing for a test.

Top Tips for Studying Foreign Languages

Top tips for studying foriegn languages from UK Student News and Events

Learning a second language is a great idea and while it may not be easy, you will certainly find it very rewarding. It will definitely be a challenge so we’ve put together the following tips to help anyone studying foreign languages. We hope you’ll find them useful and they should help you to study effectively, get rid of your nerves as well as give some pointers on how to achieve success in your foreign language classes.

A little everyday goes a long, long way. Learning a foreign language is totally different from studying a subject. You can’t leave all the work to the last minute and hope to “cram” just before exams. Studying foreign languages is a cumulative process and if you want to get the most out of your course you should study for a couple of hours every day.

Study smartly. Split your day’s study time up into smaller chunks, no more than 30 minutes in length and spread them out through the day. Not only will you get more done this way than if you spent 2 hours solid studying, but by focusing on different topics throughout the day you will be able to cover a lot of material. This way, you’re practicing all the elements of the foreign language, every day.

Go to class. Do remember why you’re studying a foreign language in the first place – for the experience and to achieve something. Even if you haven’t finished your assignment, still go as you will learn so much more if you go! Classes provide the ideal opportunity to practice your foreign language skills with your teacher – more often than not a native speaker – so you really should make the most of the opportunity.

Make friends to help you whilst studying a foreign language.Talk to other people. Introduce yourself, make friends and you’ll soon have loads of people who you can practice with. Not only can you study together, but we all know how good it feels to be amongst friends and a happy environment means you will progress much further while studying a foreign language. It’s also a good to idea to get to know your teacher. Why not have a coffee with them after class and you can discuss your goals and worries too.

Know your grammar. Grammar is the most important part of any language and if you want to progress whilst studying a foreign language you will have to learn it. Sorry, but that does mean some boring study sessions, but once you’ve got the basics you’ll be flying along in no time.

Do your revision. Tests are very important so make sure you prepare for them. The best way to prepare for your language tests is to practice past exam papers and do them under timed conditions too. This way you will be really comfortable with the format of the paper, how the questions are asked and how long to spend on each question. Even though exams are there to test your progress, you should remember that these exam techniques can help you relax and ultimately do better.

Follow our tips for studying a foreign language and be happy!Be happy! Make sure you have a good attitude and that you do all you can to enjoy your studies. Hopefully you’re already motivated enough to study a foreign language once you are on a course, so keep your goals in mind so you can stay positive throughout your foreign language course. Remember it’s ok to make mistakes – that’s how we all learn.

Ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for any help from your teacher or fellow students. If you followed our advice and quickly introduced yourself to people you should have no problem in getting a study group together. Your fellow students will support you and group study is a great way to practice a foreign language.

Be sure to come back soon as we’ll be bringing you a guide to reading, writing, speaking and listening next. You could also register to stay up-to-date with UK Student News and Events.