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EP 50: A Simple Formula for Academic Writing

Academic writing is simple, really.

It is simple to write essays if you know how to write them. Today on the show we will provide you with a simple formula for academic writing.

Join Cath Anne on Episode 50 for a tried and true formula for writing academic essays. Use this formula on essay exams, in formal written essay assignments and even for college entrance exams.

Looking for study tips, help with essay writing, or advice on how to be a better student? Welcome to The Homework Help Show, a weekly show where we teach, assist, and offer valuable insights for student life. From study hacks to writing tips, discussions about student mental health to step-by-step guides on academic writing and how to write a resume, we’ve got you covered. Want your questions answered? Write them below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #askHHG

TRANSCRIPT:

Cath Anne: [00:00:00] Hi guys and welcome back to our channel. My name is Cath Anne and this is Episode 51 of The Homework Help Show hosted by Homework Help Global. Here on the show we provide you with valuable content for your academic and student life. We just recorded our fiftieth episode of the show and in order to celebrate we went back to review some of our favorite academic tips and put them into a little compilation video for you guys. As always, don’t forget to connect with us on our social media platforms. All Of our information is linked and listed in the description box below and please let us know if you like this type of video. Jump into the comments section and let us know if this is something that you want to keep seeing more of as well. Maybe share with us one of your favorite academic tips as always. If you do like the video feel free to give it a thumbs up and make sure to subscribe to her channel so you don’t miss out on any more of our content Today we will cover everything from writing and taking to problem solving and student mental. Let’s jump in.

Cath Anne: [00:01:23] Okay let’s start with some writing tips from writing a thesis statement two you’re doing a line to writing a strong conclusion.

Cath Anne: [00:01:32] Don’t use contractions. Now what are contractions? Again, this is for academic writing. Contractions are words like don’t, can’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, isn’t, haven’t, and hasn’t. So these are the shorter forms of words like do not, cannot, could not, would not,, should not, is not, have not and has not. It is better to write out the word in full with the academic paper or in your business writing because it just looks more professional. Notice how for example with cannot. It is one word. It’s condensed into ca-nn-ot whereas if you write do not, it still remains as two separate words so that’s important to note when you are expanding contractions. This is a really important one because it’s something that can really slip your mind when you’re writing an academic paper and it’s really important to be attentive to using tractions through your paper. So always make sure that you go over your paper before you get in and make sure that you are not using contractions before you handed in because this is one that professors really do not like. It makes your writing seem a little bit too kind of easygoing colloquial so make sure you are avoiding using contractions. Expand those words and sound more fresh.

Cath Anne: [00:03:11] Avoid it there are or there is when we write we don’t want our sentences to be too wordy or convoluted. We want our sentences to be concise and to the point so use it there are, it adds words that really don’t need to be there. They’re kind of redundant and are not required.

Cath Anne: [00:03:32] So for example there are many issues that politicians face daily so that adding a little bit of time and words to your point. You really don’t need there are at the beginning of this sentence. Instead you could just write politicians face many issues on a daily basis much more simple, it’s much more to the point.

Cath Anne: [00:04:00] Avoid words like really, very, a lot, and so. So the reason for this is that it weakens your writing when you’re using these words. You really do not need to use these words. When you use some of these words it makes your writing not as strong so it makes it come across as a little bit more amateur and you really don’t need to use these words.

Cath Anne: [00:04:25] Let’s talk about what the differences between passive voice and active voice and I’m going to use an example to do this. Immigration reforms were implemented by Trudeau that is written in the passive voice. Here we have the past tense of the verb to be. So we have were and we also have the past principle of the verb to implement so implemented and now we also have the word by which is usually something that indicates that we are speaking in the passive voice and as you can see it is just not a very strong sentence it doesn’t. It takes away from what Trudeau has done it doesn’t put him kind of front and center with the sentence so the sentence would be much stronger if it was written as Trudeau implemented immigration reforms.

Cath Anne: [00:05:23] This strengthens the message of the sentence. So there is a difference between the strong verbs and weak verbs. Let’s do another example a weak verb is he gave assistance to my friend. So here we’re using the word gave with the noun assistance. As you can see the word systems can be actually used as a verb. So a stronger way to say this would be. He assisted my friend. It’s much more direct and much more straight to the point and the verb is much stronger. You get stronger sense of what the writer is trying to say when they’re using that type of fire.

Cath Anne: [00:06:05] You want to explore other points of view and this is absolutely necessary when you are writing an academic paper because you don’t only want to provide one view of a topic or one analysis of some research because you want to have a well-rounded analysis. So by presenting and exploring other points of view you’re also going to have a stronger argument because you’re going to understand what the other person or what the other group of people will say about the topic and you will be able to therefore strengthen your argument.

Cath Anne: [00:06:43] One of the first things you want to do when you’re beginning to write an essay is make sure you understand the topic and the question that’s being asked. When you’re doing an essay you really want to take the essay prompt and kind of deconstruct it deconstructing the essay question really helps to kind of frame what you’re going to write. It is really important to structure your essay because this gives it a logical flow at one of the most basic and helpful ways to structure an essay is to use the five paragraph structure and because of. Five paragraph essay format is so common your professor will know or your reader will know what to expect. So if anyone hasn’t heard of the five paragraph essay I’m going to go through it a little bit more in-depth. But basically what it is, it’s an introduction, three body paragraphs, and then a conclusion. There are tons of templates that you can use if you’re a type of person that likes to use a template. Certainly take out a piece of paper and write down your eight your topic and your research question or a thesis and then use three body paragraphs and your conclusion and that gives you a bit of an outline to work with.

Cath Anne: [00:08:01] Many of us do not give ourselves enough time to edit. A lot of students do not edit their work but even if you are an incredibly amazing writer you’re still going to be need to edit because you’re gonna make mistakes. It’s just the nature of human beings we all make mistakes so we all have to edit. So make sure that you’re giving yourself a lot of time to edit and proofread. And again I know that it is best to save paper if we can, but in this case it can be really helpful actually to print off your essay and do the same thing that you did with the initial essay question just go through and highlight things underlined things cross things out and then you can go back onto your computer and type up and insert all of the edits that you made.

Cath Anne: [00:08:56] Paraphrasing refers to the process of taking some language and reworking it in your own words but still capturing the same theme and you really want to make sure that you’re not plagiarizing when you do this because it can be really tempting especially if something’s written very eloquently and you don’t feel that you can do it justice to kind of copy it and think that no one will notice. That is not the case because we have programs now which can track whether things have been plagiarized or not. So it is likely that when your prof runs something through the plagiarism checker and it comes up as plagiarized then you could be docked for that. So make sure when you’re paraphrasing really break down the concepts. In the same way that you did in the initial question really breaks down the concepts in that paragraph. If you think it’s a really strong paragraph that you want to include in your essay then certainly use it but you have to put it in your own words so make sure you’re going through underlining highlighting circling and then reworking it in your own words. And there’s no shame in using a thesaurus or a dictionary to kind of flesh out and figure out new words to use that capture the same essence.

Cath Anne: [00:10:23] Make sure you do your research prior to writing and sees the statement being familiar with the information out there will help you to find a legitimate argument and be familiar with the topic that you’re discussing. It will make it way easier for you to write an effective thesis statement.

Cath Anne: [00:10:43] Don’t bury your thesis statement in the body of your first paragraph. You wanted to be at least. The second to last paragraph or the second to last sentence or the very last sentence in your introduction paragraph.

Cath Anne: [00:10:57] Finally be creative and use your own words when you copy another person’s opinion or argument. You are risking the Tanz of plagiarism. Writing a well crafted original thesis statement will get you good points with your professor and make you stand out as a student when you were writing a thesis statement.

Cath Anne: [00:11:18] Make sure to avoid restating the that is given by the professor on the exam. This might be tempting because it just seems easier. However it is indicative of lazy and boring writing. This will only go to show your professor that you don’t care very much about the essay question and it won’t bode well for you on the exam when you’re writing an essay for an exam. You want to be creative and show that you can think in a critical way and independently. Be creative. Use the notes that you have already written prior to your exam and draw on those to develop a well-rounded essay that is creative and interesting and engaging to the professor.

Cath Anne: [00:12:02] End with a strong conclusion. Most writing guidelines suggest that it is best to restate the points that you’ve made through out as well as to summarize your essay in the conclusion. However this is also indicative of boring writing and it’s an ineffective way to end your essay. Think instead about synthesizing the various points that you have made throughout your exam as a question rather than just simply restating although you’re not trying to prove a new point you’re going to try to synthesize your points into a well-rounded argument that you have also shown in your essay. Think about it as a way to tie everything together at the end of your essay.

Cath Anne: [00:12:48] Learning how to study is crucial for academic success and it is important to find methods that work for you. While everyone has their own study style try incorporating some of these tips into your study routine before you begin to study.

Cath Anne: [00:13:04] Make yourself comfortable but not too comfortable. You don’t want to fall asleep. Grab a snack a glass of water and a cup of coffee or tea. Always study in the same place every time. When you begin your exam recall the place that you studied this will help you with recall on your test and it will help you drum up some of the information that you studied in that specific place.

Cath Anne: [00:13:34] Beware the forgetting curve when you begin to study. There is a tendency to forget very quickly this tendency is even stronger when you are studying new information. This tendency is referred to as the forgetting curve. Forgetting occurs naturally when there is no effort made to retain the information. A way to combat this is to review your notes regularly when you are actively studying. Review your notes every 20 minutes to increase your retention of new information.

Cath Anne: [00:14:10] The Pomodoro Technique is a cyclical system. You work in sprints and then you take a break. Working in short sprints increases productivity and taking a break. Increases motivation and creativity. All you need to complete the Pomodoro Technique is a timer. First decide on the task you would like to complete for example if you’d like to review all of chapter one that will be your task. Set your timer for 25 minutes and work for a 25 minute sprint. When the timer goes off. Make a checkmark on a piece of paper you have at the side of your desk. This will indicate that you’ve completed one pomodoro take a five minute break then reset your timer and begin a new 25 minute session complete four rounds of Pomodoro. Once you have completed the full four rounds take a longer break this break can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Get up stretch walk around. And get something to drink. Once you have completed your longer break you will be ready to jump into a another four round session of pomodoro active learning is just as it sounds.

Cath Anne: [00:15:35] In order to truly learn a new piece of information you must engage with it and trick your brain into working with it. This activates new neural pathways in the brain which creates new space in the brain for new information. There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate active recall into your study routine and I’m going to give you a couple of steps about how to do that. Step 1 copy it all down so you’re in class. The T.A. Professor instructor puts a question up on the board record that write that down in your notebook. Don’t use a computer use a pen and paper or pencil. And don’t worry at this point if you don’t understand this is part of the process. Step number two. Start small. Start by breaking a problem down and go through step by step breakdown each component of the problem Ruyter equations drawing out all of the concepts that you have learned thus far right out formulas that you have learned and work diligently with the question, putting everything you know into the question. Even if you don’t get the correct answer this is going to be a step towards your learning process. Step number 3 do active recall. Once you become familiar with all of the steps involved in solving this type of a problem, engage in active recall by taking a new problem and trying to figure it out from the ground up. You can still break it down into steps write out all the formulas and everything that you think you need to solve the problem and come to a solution. And again make sure you are not looking at the answer. The less you make use of those resources the better you are going to be able to adapt and to be able to do this process in a time crunch on an exam.

Cath Anne: [00:17:23] So another way to do active recall is to really hone in on the information that you are learning. Let me explain. Have you ever become frustrated at another student because they seem to have spent a very small time in studying when you have been cramming for weeks and weeks and weeks. Well this is likely because they have honed in on specific information that they believe the professor will be putting on the exam and you may have been staying a bit too broad. So what you want to do when you are studying for an exam is to hone in on very specific information that you think will be on the exam and study that information. You can do this by asking the professor questions about what is going to be on the exam. You can look at key themes that arise throughout the course of this semester. If there is a topic that the professor keeps going back to it is a good bet that that will be on the exam. You can look through your textbook as I mentioned and look for practice questions because those tend to be the types of information that will arrive on the exam. You can consult with former students of that class and see if they remember anything that may have been on the test in a year before.

Cath Anne: [00:18:46] Basically the reason flashcards work is that they promote something called active recall. This means that it helps you to exercise the muscle which allows you to actively retrieve information from the brain which is one of the most effective ways of studying because it’s helping you to exercise that muscle of retrieving information. And when you do that over and over and over again it actually strengthens that muscle.

Cath Anne: [00:19:14] So it might be tempting to use someone else’s cards because as I said they can be a little bit time consuming to make and if you’re super busy and you’re a student you might not want to take that extra chunk of time that it takes to create your own flashcards, but it’s really important for you to make your own flashcards because 1, you are going to retain more information if you make them and because one of the most important tenets of taking information is actually learning the information and working with it in your brain and that helps you to retain the information. So even though you might save some time using someone else’s flashcards they won’t be as effective for you if you do because you won’t be as familiar with the content that you’re creating.

Cath Anne: [00:20:10] Exams are tough but we all have to get through them. Creating a pre-study routine and going into their exam with a positive mindset can help to improve your overall performance. Here are some tricks to incorporate into your study routine that will help you to ace your next exam.

Cath Anne: [00:20:29] When you receive a multiple choice test, make sure to read it over thoroughly before you begin answering any questions. Review each question. Sometimes professors will provide hints throughout the test that will indicate the answers to other questions. Reviewing it in advance can help you to answer these questions appropriately.

Cath Anne: [00:20:51] Answer the difficult questions first in a multiple choice test. This will allow you to use your brain power for the difficult questions to begin with. Then when you have less brain power you can focus on the easier questions.

Cath Anne: [00:21:06] When you receive a multiple choice question, read it twice. Because multiple choice questions are seemingly easy to answer and usually quite short we might rush through them and answer them incorrectly. Take some time to read them over twice and this will enhance your chances of answering them correctly when completing a multiple choice test.

Cath Anne: [00:21:31] Check your answers at the end of each page. This will allow you more time at the end of the test even if you do not have time to review the whole test in its entirety. You will be able to know that you have reviewed each page as you’ve got along when there are only a few questions such as on each page. It is easier to check a test for mistakes.

Cath Anne: [00:21:57] Understand that it’s rare for consecutive answers to be the same on a multiple choice test. If you’re trying to figure out the difference between a and b consider your last answer. If your last answer was a it is likely that this next dancer is not also say the same stands for true and false questions. If you are trying to narrow it down you can rely on the fact that it is rare for two consecutive answers to be the same.

Cath Anne: [00:22:28] When all of the above or none of the above are present, they are correct 52 percent of the time.

Cath Anne: [00:22:37] Although you may have the urge to cram before your test or study as much as you can getting at least 8 hours of sleep before your test is essential. Sleep is an active process where the brain works to heal the body and it produces hormones which are beneficial to repair and growth. This is obviously a major component of learning and processing. This is also time for the brain to reconsolidate memories and things that we’ve learned or studied during the day. So particularly when you are studying for a test you’re going to want to make sure you are getting a good amount sleep so that your body can process everything that you’ve learned.

Cath Anne: [00:23:23] When you wake up in the morning from your really good sleep make sure you are having a healthy breakfast but nothing that is too heavy. You want something a bit lighter because when you are digesting a heavy breakfast this can actually take blood flow away from the brain and you’re going to need all the blood flowing to your brain. So you are able to piece that test. Also if you are a coffee drinker try to avoid drinking caffeine right up until the exam time. This will give you the jitters before the test and you are also already full of jitters. So you don’t want to increase that in your body. It’s fine to have a cup of coffee but maybe limit it to half a cup and make sure you’re having it with your breakfast early in the morning and not right up until when your test is happening.

Cath Anne: [00:24:09] Write down your anxieties and fears do a bit of a brain dumb. Research has shown that when you do this you can actually free up space in your brain and it will improve the grade that you get on your test writing things down will help you to understand your fears and manage them more effectively.

Cath Anne: [00:24:27] Arrive at the test ahead of time. Give yourself lots of time to be there and be present for the test you will want time to mentally prepare and rushing or running late to the exam will certainly increase anxiety because you won’t feel as prepared and your body won’t be settled and ready to take a test.

Cath Anne: [00:24:49] Make sure all your materials are ready to go. For example make sure that your computer is working properly that your calculator has batteries and then it’s turning on. You want to make sure that all of your pencils are sharpened and that your pens are working well as it will ease your mind when you are entering into the task and it will free up space in your mind so that you can focus on just taking the test.

Cath Anne: [00:25:14] Develop some pre-test rituals consistent habits and behaviors can put you at ease in a stressful situation. So when your body is ready to be stressed out some of these habits that you’ve developed along the way can help to put your body at ease for example go for a short walk listen to some of your favorite music and visualizing your success on a on an exam are all strategies that you can use to put your mind and your body at ease before you go into a test.

Cath Anne: [00:25:45] Do a short meditation. It doesn’t have to be anything long just close your eyes and breathe deeply and relax your muscles. This might not be for everyone however it is an effective strategy. I’ve used it myself before going into an interview and I can tell you that it truly does work. Do this for about five minutes you can do it for up to ten minutes. Set a timer on your phone. Think back to a time when you did really well on a test. You ace the test and you scored well that was you in your zone free capture feelings of what it felt like to be in your zone and experience that by recalling how you actually felt in that situation. Think about how you are calm your muscles were relaxed and your motivation to succeed was very high by visualizing success and by putting your body into that state. You were actually helping to manifest a better agree on your test and you putting your body into a state to be prepared for success.

Cath Anne: [00:26:45] Avoid sitting or standing around anxious people. We’re all familiar with the group of people prior to an exam who are standing outside the gymnasium or the classroom and they are not prepared for the test. So they are evidently swamped with stress. However standing around these people is not going to help you in the least if you know the room is crowded and you know the people are particularly anxious. Don’t worry about being a loner. Find yourself a spot to go and just chill there. Think positive thoughts take deep breaths do your basic meditation and focus on your own preparation and your own future success in the exam.

Cath Anne: [00:27:28] While academia will require you to study right and take lots of tests it will also challenge you in other ways from dreading group projects to critical thinking skills. Here are some tips that will help you to navigate the obstacles that you will face throughout your academic career.

Cath Anne: [00:27:53] Let’s talk about the five steps or the five stages in group formation. First we have forming the forming see what happens when the group first meets each other are introduced to each other they share information about their backgrounds and their experiences their interests they learn about the project and they start to gain an understanding of where they will fit within the group and what role they will take on as the group begins to work together. They move into what is called the storming stage. Unfortunately this state is unavoidable. Every group most especially a new group that has never worked together before will certainly encounter a storming stage in this stage. Group members compete with each other for status and they look for acceptance from the others in the group. They have different opinions on what should be done and how it should be done. And these all present challenges in group formation. This stage will come to a closure when the group becomes more accepting of each other and learns how to work together towards a common goal. Third we have the norming stage when the team moves into the norming stage they are beginning to look beyond their individual goals and towards the bigger picture and the larger project. They’re no longer focused on individual tasks but rather they’re focused on working together. They’ve developed processes and procedures that will help them to work towards larger goal. They respect each other’s opinions and they value each other’s differences. Fourth we have a performing stage in the performing stage. Groups are highly effective. They focus on reaching the goal as a group. The team members have gotten to know each other. They work really cohesively. They trust and they rely on each other. Now I should mention that not every group is going to make it to the performing stage. They may just rest in the norming stage and this is completely fine particularly in cases where you are working with people that are in your class and it is just a small group project. Finally we have the adjoining stage in the adjoining stages. The project has been completed and team members are looking to go their separate ways. This stage takes on a new perspective and looks at the team wellbeing rather than the individual project itself. At this stage you will have completed your project and you may want an opportunity to celebrate what you’ve done together. It’s always important to remember that every team every group regardless of what you’re working on will follow these stages of development. Knowing the stages and understanding them will help you to navigate the different challenges you encounter. It will help you to understand where you are in the group process and why some behaviours might be coming out. It will also help you to understand your own role within the group and the different processes that your group members are participating in.

Cath Anne: [00:31:00] One of the first tips that you can use to enhance your critical thinking skills in academia is to ask basic questions. So what are the day that is that as we know our social world is really complex and there is tons of information to take in and as students when we’re going through research and literature. It can often be overwhelming and seem very complicated and just be a little bit over our heads. However we can begin to simply by asking very simple questions.

Cath Anne: [00:31:32] So a second tip to developing your critical thinking skills is to question your basic assumptions so particularly when you’re running a paper or thinking through a problem you are going to be coming at it with your own biases and analyses from everyday life. We all of these basic assumptions and that’s okay but that. Academic quality work must extend beyond out basic assumptions towards analysis and the synthesis of information we check our own assumptions at the door we can go into analysis with a clear head. And go into research with an open mind which is really important.

Cath Anne: [00:32:15] Although you will evidently be drawing on academic literature and information when you do the research and write papers it is important to remember to think for yourself. While this does not mean incorporating your own opinion or biases into your writing it does mean that you must analyze the situation through a critical lens. So go back and ask. Basic questions as we discussed what is missing. Is there a gap in the literature. What is this research saying. Does it make sense in relation to other research that you’ve seen on the topic think through the literature using your own power of deduction. So although you will be drawing on resources to make your point you want to make sure that you’re using your own critical thinking skills because you’ll be increasing that critical thinking muscle.

Cath Anne: [00:33:05] Here are some steps to implement the Corson method into your routine. If you are facing a complex problem. Break it down into smaller components. If you get stuck ask yourself what is it that I do not understand. Right. Each small question down. And then ask yourself where are you getting stuck. Give yourself at least 15 minutes on each component of the question in order to understand exactly where you are going wrong or what you don’t understand. Consult with other students after the 15 minutes. Maybe they have an idea of how to solve the problem that you’re not thinking of. If you are truly stuck then go to your professor after the 15 minutes be able to show your professor exactly where you are getting stuck and ask them a very specific question about the problem you are having. What you’re hoping to avoid here is going to the professor right away as soon as you get the question without taking the time to break it down and understand where you might be going wrong or where there might be a misunderstanding. If you use the Corson technique you are strengthening your critical thinking skills.

Cath Anne: [00:34:16] As we near the end of our 50 tips I would like to switch gears and move towards a life and side the classroom student life is stressful. It can be difficult to find a balance between doing well in school and everything you have going on outside of school. Too much stress can be detrimental to your health which is why mindfulness and self care are so important.

Cath Anne: [00:34:42] So like you know yoga practice and meditation practice you also have to practice gratitude and that’s why it here is that way because it is actually just something you have to work on. Many of us don’t realize that our brains are not actually hardwired to practice habitude either. Sounds like a weird statement. We’re actually hardwired to the other way and be preventive and look for the dangers in life so that kind of prevents us from naturally seeking thoughts of gratitude. So one of the ways that we can practice gratitude is to wake up in the morning before we even get out of bed. We can make a list in our heads of. Three or five things that we’re grateful for and then other ways to bring to your life is to look at your whole day through a lens of gratitude. So not just in the morning as we navigate your day. You look at things to be grateful for. So. Whereas. Sometimes we see the negative in life. So say we’re driving in traffic in Toronto and the highway is really bad. That can be a really negative experience but if we frame it through a lens of gratitude we might think I’m grateful to have a car to be able to commute to work. I am grateful to be able to have the money to put gas in my car and then that gets you towards closer to a lens of gratitude and you approach life in a more graceful way.

Cath Anne: [00:36:28] If meditation is not for you there are some other ways that you can navigate stress and overwhelm. So one of the ways it’s called 5 4 3 2 1, or 1 2 3 4 5, and it’s actually a mindfulness and awareness technique that you can use when you’re trying to go to sleep and you’re feeling restless. It will help them to calm down. If you’re in a stressful situation it will bring you more mindfulness and just bring you into the present moment and stop any amazing thoughts. Having so what it is basically you start the number five and you and you’re thinking of it as you go down. So you start with 5 and you say- you want to think of the five things they see so you’re in a room and you might look at five things you see. So five things I see are my computer my phone my microphone my cup of tea and my glasses. And you literally nailed them out loud if you’re a worker in class you may not want to hear anything to yourself but if you’re in your car or somewhere alone or you’re trying to get to sleep it might be helpful to let me know loud say in your name. Five things you can see. And then you also want to name five things you can hear so I can hear the dripping tap. I can hear my computer fan running. I can hear the wind outside. I can hear my voice. I can hear the German track so you can name things again if you can. If you can only hear so many things. So the idea is that you want to name five things you can hear and then you want to name five things you can feel so I can feel my hands touching together I can feel my legs on the couch I can feel my feet on the couch I can feel the. I can hear the question. So you want the five things you keep getting calm just this process and then you want to do four things each and then three and then do one. And honestly every time I do this how’s the vulnerably. So this is an amazing technique they can use. It’s very calming and very mindful. It brings you in the present moment and it makes you not think about all that there’s something going on in your head and also helps you be a little bit more observant.

Cath Anne: [00:39:36] Make smart resolutions and what I mean by smart is S M A R T which is the acronym for making a smart goal. Don’t make vague statements about your goals. A lot of times we will set goals but we won’t be able to attain them because they are too vague. This is where the smart acronym can come in handy. Use the smart acronym to make defined and achievable goals. Let’s go through what the smart acronym stands for. Make goals that are specific measurable attainable relevant and time bound. For example don’t say I want to work out or say I want to work out three times a week. This is a very specific goal. It’s not as vague as I want to work at more measures that will keep track of it and write down how many times you actually go to the gym within the run of a week. This will help you measure your goal and in the long run help you to be more successful. Make sure your goal is something that you are able to attain. So make sure it is attainable. Don’t set a goal that is too lofty. For example if you are not going to the gym at all now maybe don’t make a goal to go seven days a week. Start out with 3 and if you get more. That’s great. Just make sure your goal is attainable. You also want to make sure that your goal is relevant. Is it something that means something to you. What does losing weight or getting fit. Going to the gym mean to you. Does it have meaning in your life. Your goals should have meaning because that will help motivate you along the way and if they don’t have meaning then you will be less likely to achieve them. And finally you want to make sure that your goals are time bound. Three times a week that gives you a logical timeframe within which to work and it can help you along the way to being more successful.

Cath Anne: [00:41:30] Prep your meals. Mealprep can help with time management. Each Sunday take a few hours to go grocery shopping and get everything you need for the week. Plan out a menu and make meals in bulk use a big pot or a crock pot. Make meals in bulk and then freeze them throughout the week so that you have something to quickly grab while you are trying to focus on school and you don’t have to worry about meals smoothies are also a great option for breakfast grab and go make a batch of muffins and have them on hand free self in the morning so you can grab it and run out the door to take the bus or drive to school.

Cath Anne: [00:42:06] Know your support network. When things get stressful at school it can be really helpful to know that you have some people in your life that you can fall back on and that you can rely on some students living at a distance from their families may not have these building connections so it can help to foster these relationships. Reach out to these people before you go back to school and ask if they’re willing to help with anything while you are in school. Do you need a drive to school when it is a big snowstorm and know someone that has a truck. Connect with them and see if they’d be willing to do this. Do you need a respite from school or being in the city. Maybe you have family living outside the city could you visit them on the weekend and just have some downtime to do some studying at their home. These are all ways to foster relationships but also to secure your support network so that you feel comfortable moving into a new semester and that you feel secure having that support network especially if you’re living away from home.

Cath Anne: [00:43:06] Stress is a normal part of life but there are times in our lives where we have more stress than other times. For example during exam period if you find that you are not responding to situations the same way as you always will. It could be due to stress. Take a step back articulate stress and find a way to manage and cope with stress.

Cath Anne: [00:43:30] Be intentional about your time. Create a schedule that works for you complete difficult tasks during your highest energy times and leave simpler tasks to when you have less energy. If you are a morning person and you have a lot of energy in the morning spend your high energy times to complete difficult tasks leave easier tasks until a time when you have less energy. Figure out a schedule that works for you and for when you have the most energy keeping up on your schoolwork is an imperative aspect of managing your time and managing stress. When you let your schoolwork go it could cause undue stress. You will spend your time catching up and this will cause you more stress in the long run. Spend some time throughout the week finishing readings and completing tasks when you keep up on your schoolwork. You will also save yourself stress during exam time because you will be more familiar with the content of your course and you will require less time to study.

Cath Anne: [00:44:36] Tip number fifty. Have fun. For some people you are only in college or university once. Make sure you have fun. Culture has time for new experiences a time to meet your friends and learn new things. Always focus on your studies. However make sure that you build in time to have these wonderful experiences get out into the community do some volunteering and spend time with friends.

Cath Anne: [00:45:11] Okay that’s it for me this week guys. This has been our 50 academic tips episode. We can’t believe we just filmed our fiftieth episode and we look forward to providing you with more valuable content to come. So make sure you stay connected with us. We hope you found some tips that you can incorporate into your academic life. As always we love when you connect with us on our social media platforms and if you want to do so all of our information is linked and listed in the information box below. If you liked this video and you enjoyed this format make sure to give it a like and subscribe to our channel. If you have any questions jump into the comments below and we’d love to hear some feedback about whether you liked this type of episode and whether you’d like to see more. Let us know what your favorite academic tip is. Thanks so much for joining me you guys happy 51sr episode of The Homework Help Show and we will see you next week here on the show. Take care.

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