12 tips and tricks every student should know


Get the most out of university and college —with the least amount of effort —thanks to these habit-forming tips and tricks. #lifehacks.

  1. Take a deep breath and relax

All you need for your First Day is a good night’s sleep, a backpack, a notebook and a pen. Consider the first week of class as an introduction to your surroundings, your teachers and your classmates.

  1. Textbooks: Buy used or (gasp!) rent

New textbooks, what for? Get up to 50% off your workbooks by buying online or renting them for an even lesser fee. We like Text Book Exchange and Text Book Rental. If you are short on cash, most universities and colleges set aside copies of textbooks at the library.

  1. Attend Orientation week.

From places to get free snacks, best study spots, strict teachers and cheap eats, Orientation week is about so much more than campus shenanigans. Plus, you’ll meet new people (and we hear the parties aren’t bad either).

  1. Let your teachers know who you are

A study conducted by the National Centre for Social Research found that “bias”, “personal feelings” and “neat handwriting” influence how teachers grade their pupils. Although being nice, respectful and attentive won’t get you through college or university, your in-class behavior could be the difference between a C+ and a B-.

  1. Record your lectures to supplement your note taking.

Leave the computer at home and bring your recorder and a notebook instead. Studies show that going analog (taking notes by hand) helps you retain more information. While you scribble away, hit record (you can use a program like Audacity or VLC media player to do this). Listen to the lectures on your daily commute (on double speed to save time).

  1. There’s an app for that

Keep yourself from getting distracted by running a program to block certain websites while you study. Anti-Social and StayFocusd are apps available for both Macs and PCs.

  1. Don’t forget to reward yourself

Take frequent breaks and reward yourself with a coffee, a funny video or a favourite snack to keep yourself motivated. Feeling sluggish? Grab a pair of sneakers and go for a run or head to the gym to lift some weights. Exercising is great for your physical well-being as well as your mental state. Also, add a playful touch to your group study sessions by using gummy bears (or other treats) to study.

  1. You’ll always have a class that bores you to death. Find a documentary on the subject.
  1. There’s a sample test for that

At some point during your college and university journey, you’ll stumble upon a wishy-washy, mysterious or just plain ol’ evil teacher who’s cheap on exam preparation. Google “site:edu (subject) exam” to find a sample exam in the desired field.

  1. Where’s my class again?

Take a picture of your schedule and save it as display on your phone. When you’re running late, searching for your agenda only to realize you forgot it on your desk with —gasp— your schedule (and classroom number inside), you’ll be oh-so glad you did.

  1. Get with the Pomodoro method of studying

Named after a tomato shaped timer, the Pomodoro technique consists of working in 25-minute intervals (or pomodoros), followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 “pomodoros” are complete, you can take a longer 20-minute break. Optimum studying, guaranteed.

  1. Always prep the night before.

This last tip will serve you throughout life: setting your clothes, preparing your lunch (or snacks) and cleaning out your bag the night before is an efficient way to jump-start your morning.

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