It’s that time of the year again. First year University students are stumbling into post-secondary institutions, wide-eyed and scared, with no idea of what they’re doing, where they’re going or how they’re going to get there. Those who’ve been in the institution for a while are shaking off the after-effects of a summer of binge drinking, and dragging themselves bodily out of their beds and back to campus.

One of the most difficult aspects of school (aside from organizing and balancing a healthy social life whilst still actually managing to get some work done) would have to be studying. For a lot of us, it’s a constant struggle to concentrate, retain, and focus. You’d think one of the most daunting adversaries to effective studying would have to be the computer. After all there is, bar none, no more effective time waster than the internet.

Actually, a computer can be a lot more helpful than you think.

Organize Yourself

Organization still plays a pretty huge part in effective study habits. You need some way to effectively manage your time. There’s day timer and calendar software all over the place, some of which allows you to set up automated alerts.

And let’s be honest – it’s considerably easier to keep a file folder organized than it is a notebook, sheets of paper, course handouts, and…you get the idea. Plus, there are countless applications basically designed to keep you organized and on top of things. Evernote’s just one example.

Online Resources

Believe it or not, there’s more on the internet than cats, jokes, and porn. There’s a reason this is called the information age. There’s a positively massive archive of facts, figures and even study strategies out there on the world wide web, if only you know where to look, and how to do it without deciding it couldn’t hurt to go on YouTube for a few hours.

More Effective Note Taking

Let’s be honest – we’re capable of typing way faster than we write. That means we can take down more information at a faster pace, allowing us to consider the information a lot more closely than we would be able to if we were writing. True, shorthand does exist, and there’s some contention over how typing effects memory, but I still hold that it’s a rather effective means of note taking so long as you’re disciplined enough to avoid distractions while doing so.


Believe it or not, music does actually help you focus. You might say “Well, I’ve got an MP3 player/radio/stereo that does the job just fine.”  And yeah, that’s certainly true, but there’s one thing you’re failing to account for. YouTube. There’s actually a very massive collection of tunes on there, and I’ve found myself tossing up a tab to the website on more than one occasion to find music to work to. Again, though…don’t get distracted. Log on, find your music, and then get to work.

Of course, if you don’t think you have the willpower to go on YouTube without watching five hundred separate videos about puppies, you can always look for the numerous free online radio stations, freeware music, or iTunes. The list’s a pretty long one, truthfully. You could also try out Pandora.

Fact is, you’ll find a lot of music online.

Access To Class Materials

As technology becomes more and more pervasive in our every day lives, more and more professors at post secondary institutions are using computers as a supplementary teaching material. More often than not, a prof will post lecture slides, course information and even study guides and assignments online for all to see.

Don’t ignore those resources.

Social Networking

Miss an assignment? Didn’t get notes for a particular day of class? Want to organize a study group? Hop online! Social networks are useful for more than just pointless gossip and internet drama. They’re also incredibly useful tools for networking with classmates and friends, all of whom can lend you a spot of valuable aid when it comes to passing your class.

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