Chronodex planner

I’ve received quite a few messages asking about the Chronodex Planner system (designed by Patrick Ng), so I decided to write a few sentences about it. Basically, it’s a very compact and organized way to put all your daily tasks in one little circle, as well as a daily opportunity to color something (stay inside the lines!). All you do is get a Chronodex Template (I used this one), come up with a to-do list, color in specific sections on the calendar and go be productive. You can tweak the system according to your needs, of course. Here are some photos:

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Chronodex templates can be found with a simple google search and printed out for your convenience.  For reference and a little inspiration, here are some helpful links:

  1. Home page for Chronodex Planners: although it looks a little outdated, the template is always the same and can be used any day
  2. Facebook Page
  3. Make it a stamp! 
  4. Stamp No. 2
  5. Chronodex Group on Flickr

What types of planners do you guys use? I’d love to know!
study hack just kat

iPad Apps for Students

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If you have made the decision to use a tablet or an iPad for school, congratulations! I have found it to be so helpful, both in terms of freeing up some space in my backpack as well as keeping everything organized and in one place. One frequent question I get from my Tumblr followers is what are the top apps you can use for school?

Here is a quick list of productivity, note-taking, document reading, to-do list and some fun apps that can be integrated into your school life.

1. To be Productive

  •  When studying, the Pomodoro Timer can help you organize your schedule. The Pomodoro Rule (aka 45-15 rule) allows you to work for 45 minutes and rest for 15. Studying in smaller chunks like these helps you keep your best focus and re-energize when the concentration goes down.
  • If you are not a fan of set schedules, but would like to keep a clean and organized to-do list for all your activities, I’d recommend the GoodTask app

2. To Be Organized

  • To those who enjoy keeping a calendar online, Sunrise Calendar is a beautiful app. Similar to iCal, it includes Google calendar, Exchange and iCloud support, and is available on laptops, iPhones and iPads. It is also offered on Android!
  • StudyCal is also a great option for students who like to keep their daily tasks, class schedules, assignments and even grades all in one place.

3. To Take Notes

  • I take notes using GoodNotes app (Here is a screenshot). It is very simple and easy to use, doesn’t lag, and has handwriting recognition in case you need to do a search of you notes. Also includes PDF annotations as well as allows you to take photos and insert them right into your notes.
  • Another option is Notability an app very similar to Goodnotes, except that it offers a voice recording device and allows you to listen to the recording and see how you wrote your notes during lecture. Super cool!
  • Evernote and OneNote are also great apps for taking notes in class, but mostly if you prefer to type them. Both are saved on a cloud and are accessible from any device!
  • For various short and random notes, the App Store offers Post-It app, which lets you create Pinterest-like boards of post it notes from your photos.

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4. To Study 

5. To Keep your Files

  • Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneDrive, etc. These can be found in Bundles in the App store for free! Good to have just in case.
  • The app I use is Documents Free. It’s very simple and saves everything even if I’ve just opened it once. Helps with files like class syllabus that I randomly decide to check in the middle of the year.

6. Other Helpful Apps

Here is a screenshot of my iPad and the apps that I use:

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Android Apps for Notes

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This year I’ve found that taking notes digitally, that is using a stylus and an iPad, is quite helpful. So I’ve created a list of some Android apps that have similar functions as Goodnotes, Notability, etc. (this list is coming up next!)

Before the list, though, I just want to say a few words about using apps to take notes. Like to any method, there are advantages and disadvantages. For example, I constantly get distracted at my iPad. A message blinks, the lecture gets boring, or if I’m waiting for an important email- it’s too easy to switch screens…so there goes my quality listening time. On the other hand, the iPad has really saved my butt (or should I say my back?) this quarter, as my backpack would have probably weighted 15 tons if I had journals in there in addition to the textbooks.Roblox Free Unlimited Robux and Tix

1. Quill

This app is one of the better ones I’ve found, and it’s only $1.00 on Google Play. Looks like there is a variety of options for pens/pencils/colors/fonts, etc, there’s an option to connect a special digitizer pen and some options for PDF annotation.

2. Equil Note

Also looks like a great app, with very nice reviews! Free and supports the Equil Smartpen (this means you can write notes with a ballpoint pen on paper and it automatically transfers those notes into the app. Converts handwriting into editable text and recognizes 11 (!!) languages. By far, my favorite on the list.

3. Handrite Note Notepad Lite/Pro

A simpler version of the first two apps, Handrite Note Notepad allows you to simply write stuff down and see it appear on the main page. The images on google play show it being used on a phone, so hopefully it’s more spacious on the actual tablet.

4. Evernote

Definitely the best app for typing notes. Notes can be synchronized on any device (apple, windows, android) and are reachable from anywhere. I use this app mostly to take screenshots of stuff I like on the internet and then finding them in my phone when I’m at a craft store (thinking, “What should I buy today….?”)

5.  Notepad +

Looks like a great app and the closest one to resemble Goodnotes! Allows you to annotate PDF’s, take handwritten notes and even draw some fun pictures! This is the app I’d buy ($2.99, by the way).

6. INKredible- Handwriting Note

A very simplistic, neat app with a zoom in and palm rejection features, different pen options and a very comfortable interface. Love it!

7. OneNote

A Windows classic and the master of organized notes. Type, draw, hand write your notes and find them on any device. If you don’t  like any of the previous apps, go for this one and you won’t regret it!

 

I’d love to hear what apps you use to take notes! Comment below and help out your fellow students!

Shopping for Planners Online

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Trying to figure out the situation with planners right now, so here’s a list of some nice ones I’ve found online:

1. Whitney English Planner
Very minimalistic, elegant and practical. I’ve seen it being used at my university, and the reviews are wonderful!

2. Filofax
A great little system that allows you to keep everything you need in one place. A bit on the higher end, however, but people use it for years. You can refill with whatever sheets you need (monthly/weekly/daily/to-do’s/meals, notes, etc.), use a ton of sticky notes, stickers, etc. The whole website is magical.
Check out also: Filofaxomania, Filofax, Filofax & Planners on Pinterest

3. Moleskin
A planner and notebook classic. Would love to get one at one point. Moleskine is also used in the Bullet Journal system

4. Papyrus
Gorgeous vintage-style planners and paper supplies. Awesome quality and also available in stores!

5. Amy Ruth Designs
Very pretty planners, notebooks, phone cases etc.

6. Erin Condren’s Life Planners
Great planners! Customizable, also on the higher end, but come with tons of accessories filofax-style.

 

Comment below and tell me about your planner!

Transtutors: An Online Tutoring Center for College Students

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***Edit: See the Transtutors Blog here. It has very nice College tips and interesting articles!***

 A few days ago I was approached by an representative of TRANSTUTORS.COM, which isan online tutoring center that offers access to 600,000+ solved homework problems. Thousands of answered questions, variety of courses, an online tutoring system sounded very tempting to me, so I agreed to review the website.

  Like many other students, I am very familiar with procrastination and often find myself in situations where I am scrambling to complete the next week’s homework on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, pulling all-nighters is not something I can do physically: after about 11 p.m. my brain decides to pass out, and I end up in a staring contest with my textbook.

Transtutors is a great resource for students who are looking for quick solutions to their homework problems. For $20/month and a little extra, you can get any question answered. All you need to do is submit your homework question, pay around $3-$4 dollars to get it answered, and wait for a tutor to write you a response.

Their database of questions in the Question Bank is humongous- the website offers “unlimited access to 600,000+ solved Q&A from your college textbooks and courses.” It looks like you could find a solution to any question! However, unless you are a Premium (or at least a temporary) subscriber, you cannot see complete explanations from the tutors, as they are cut off after a short preview. Otherwise, the answers to those questions are so thorough and exact, that I would definitely recommend at least trying out the service to see them. There were also several options of getting a tutor to help you online. You can 1) submit and answer with a price offer, or 2) schedule a class with an online tutor and pay a little later.

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The one detail that surprised me about the services is the $20 dollars a month membership fee. However, in addition to this Premium Membership, you also have to pay around $3-$5 dollars to receive an answer to your specific question.The reason for that is it seems that the tutors on Transtutors are reliable sources – the “job openings” section is hiring real professionals in the field.

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Something else that surprised me is technical support. Unlike what I’ve experienced on other websites, their service was phenomenal. As soon as I logged in to the site, a little window with “Kevin the Support Operator” popped up (it looks like an advertisement, but there is actually a person sitting there waiting for you to start the chat). He was polite (as far as I could see on my computer screen), helpful and offered technical help with my submitted question.

I think overall I had a fairly good experience with Transtutors. Except of the price ranges, I enjoyed looking at the different resources and help the website offers. For students who often struggle with last-minute homework completion, Transtutors is a great resource. It would be worth paying for the monthly membership if you are someoe who googles his or her exercise questions at least once a week. However, if you only do it every couple of months, I would suggest picking one of the other membership options, which are also available on the website.

How to Take Notes from a Textbook

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Textbook readings

Hey guys! I’ve received so many questions about reading textbooks and taking notes on that, so I am going to share with you how I do it.

I like to write on the margins. Not highlight. I don’t use a special color coding technique to separate my comments from key terms from titles from definitions.

My system is very simple and makes sense to me. All I use are:

  • A pencil
  • An eraser
  • Small (not tiny) sticky notes

To start, I think it’s important to read actively. This means to think through the material, note things you don’t understand, complete little practice problems at the end of each section and connect new concepts with each other and the old ones.

The margins of my textbook are pretty thick – so thick I can fit a small 2 x 1.5 inch sticky note.

  • On the sticky note, I write definitions and very important concepts that go with the definition. This means that I have anywhere from 2 to 6 sticky notes per page.
  • I underline important explanations and quotes in pencil. Whatever I think is super important, I underline. I choose not to highlight in order to avoid stupid highlight-every-word-what-if-I-need-to-see-it-later kind of thing.
  • I write small comments in pencil on the margins, near the sticky notes. Usually these are longer explanations of the sticky notes, a little map of the concepts (how what I’ve just read connects to each other), and, most importantly, my own connects that I make while reading. This seems to help a lot, because if I look at this text in a few weeks, I’ll be able to remember my train of thought at the moment of reading.

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That’s it.

It sounds like a lot, but come test time, I will only use the margins and skim the text part of the book for any underlined parts.

I’ll let you guys know how that goes for me this quarter: I’m taking two Psych classes (4 chapters a week, 30 pages each…..) and a Math class.

Scholarships and Financial Aid Websites

*Credit goes to the Bellevue High School Counseling Office*

Chegg: www.chegg.com
Database for scholarships and purchase/rental of textbooks. Very helpful for college students!

Zinch: http://www.zinch.com/
Find scholarships, colleges, financial aid information, etc. here.

FastWeb: www.fastweb.com
Over 400,000 scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans. Customized search based on your personal information and achievements.

Athletic Aid: www.athleticaid.com
Sports scholarships for student athletes

Careers and Colleges: www.careersandcolleges.com
General search for scholarships

College Success Foundation: www.collegesuccessfoundation.org
Scholarships and mentoring to low-income students in Washington state

Colleges, College Scholarships, and Financial Aid page: www.college-scholarships.com/100college.htm
Links to helpful information about colleges and scholarships

College Board: www.collegeboard.com
Scholarships, loans, internships and the CSS Financial Aid Profile.

College Planning Network: www.collegeplan.org
Information on financial aid and scholarships.

FAFSA on the Web: www.fafsa.edu.gov/ (MAKE SURE THE URL ENDS WITH “.gov”!!)

FindTuition.com: www.findtuition.com
3+ million scholarships and grants. Search by eligibility, major, college and more.

Go College: www.gocollege.com
Different Funding Sources.

Mach25: www.collegenet.com/mach25
Provided by CollegeNET, a databse of 600,000 scholarships. Also creates a letter to send to scholarship coordinators.

MeritAid: www.meritaid.com
A directory of merit-based scholarships

National Collegiate Athletic Association: www.ncaa.org
Official website of NCAA

Scholarships.com: www.scholarships.com
Free search and info about student loands, the FAFSA, even scholarship scams.

 

“How to Win at College” by Cal Newport

Hello everyone!

I’ve been reading a very interesting book by Cal Newport (he has a website called Study Hacks, haha, but we’re not the same people): How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students.

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Honestly, this book has been the most helpful guide to studying that I’ve ever read.

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