At College Mate, we advocate for hard work and perseverance to get the results you want. Read the textbook. Stay up all night studying. Edit your paper a thousand times before submitting it. And be prepared for class.
But that’s not always possible is it? Even the best students fall behind and need shortcuts to catch up and get the ball rolling again. So with that in mind, here are six great tips to help you work smart and stay on top of your game.
1 – Read the PowerPoint Slides
Your professors want you to read your textbook – even we want you to read the textbook. But let’s be real: have you seen the size of those things? Reading the whole textbook is a goal you should work towards, but not one that’s always possible. When that happens, consider looking up the PowerPoint slides for the textbook.
Even when your professors don’t provide these, the textbook publishers may have a website where you can retrieve them. If that fails as well, then just google PowerPoint slides for the textbook, and the specific chapter.
Some other lecturer at a university 3000 miles away has likely already gone through the trouble of turning the chapters into slides, and posted them online.
2 – Google Homework Answers
Of course you should do your homework yourself. This provides you with much needed practice, and helps you to understand the material better. But who doesn’t get stumped from time to time? We’ve also all had that one professor who thought their class was the only one we had all semester, and assigned us way too much homework.
There’s a remedy for that. Copy and paste the problem or question into the Google search bar. We can almost guarantee that someone somewhere has already worked on the same or a similar assignment, and has the answers waiting for you.
Never forget to look over the answers yourself. Use “reverse engineering” to figure it out for yourself. The point is to get you through the homework faster: not to skip the whole process of learning.
3 – Pay Attention to the Coursework/Assignment Outline
Has someone ever asked you to do something without fully explaining what they need? Then after spending forever and a day working your butt off, they tell you, you really didn’t need to go through all that trouble. As you’ll find out, that happens a lot in class as well.
Whenever your instructor assigns a project, ask for an outline. This should include the main topics you need to cover, how the information should be organized, what formatting style you should use, how the project will be graded, and the impact it has on your overall grade.
This saves you a lot of time, and prevents you from going through any unnecessary trouble. Don’t go submitting a 20-page research paper, when the professor only wanted a 3-page essay.
4 – Use the Cop-Out Route to Write Summaries
In our post – 6 Quick Tips for Writing a Summary – we included a cop-out route for making the summary writing process as easy as possible. This is also a great way to make notes for studying later on.
So how do you do it? In a well-written document, each section starts with an introduction that sums up the main points. Likewise, each paragraph should have what is called a ‘main point’, ‘main idea’, or ‘topic sentence’ at the beginning or end of the paragraph.
Find each topic sentence, throw them together, re-word them, and ta-da! Just like that, you’re done.
5 – Automate your Citations
As previously mentioned, one of the important things you need to know when completing work for professors is what formatting style to use. This decides how the project will look, and how information is organized. But most importantly, it dictates how you give due credit to external sources.
There are three main formats or styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago. Different professors and classes can require different formats, and trying to remember the individual rules for each one can be a real headache.
6 – College Mate Tips
College Mate is a great resource for information on how to make your college experience easier, and more enjoyable. We provide tips on everything from how to boost your GPA to how to make the best of Tinder.
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College is more than a rat race with a piece of paper at the end. It’s a journey of self-discovery, professional growth, and personal fulfillment – and these tips will help get you there when you need it most.