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Study Tips and My College Experience

leaving cert study tips
Ohhh a study tips and college experience post? Say whut! Yess I know exam season is nearly over, but hey, if you're a college student, chances are you'll have a repeat in August at some stage (like moi). Honestly, I never had any intentions of doing a post like this. My college experience has been a bit of a whirlwind, and I'm not the best at studying but two weeks ago I got an email from a blog reader asking me to share my thoughts on the course I recently completed in Athlone IT - Social Media Marketing and I had planned on doing some study tips but didn't think anyone would be interested until I got that email. I'm no expert, I just know what works for me, and after spending a disgusting amount of time in the world of education and exams, I think I've got a bit of experience ;)
I've combined the two together in this ~master post (maybe do a video at some point), tips at the beginning and a brief experience at the end.
pen organisation starbucks mug
exam study tips fruit
Study Tips
First things first, get organized. Whether you study from a desk in your school/college library, the kitchen table or your bed, make sure you have everything you need. There's nothing worse than sitting down to study, getting in the zone, and realizing you've forgot something.
When it comes to studying, I keep all my essential pens and highlighters in this mug from Starbucks, I find having them easy to grab from the mug is a real help and having these pens separate from my day to day pencil case makes it easier to find what I'm looking for. I do a lot of mind maps, so color plays a big part in that process.
It's important to have snacks on hand too. I don't think what you snack in is of huge importance, once you're staying fueled and hydrated that's all that matters. It's better than not snacking. It is worth keeping in mind however, that things like crisps and chocolate give you a quick burst of energy and a long hard crash. I like to go for fruit and coffee. I drink 2 litres of water everyday so I always have water on hand anyway but you should definitely reach for water over things like Coca Cola and Red Bull.
how to study for college exams
mind map example
Notes - If you haven't heard of a mind map before, you've obviously never had to sit through a semester of Learning to Learn. I think every AIT student is a mind map whizz at this stage. Personally, I enjoy mind maps, pulling out the important pieces of information and jotting down simple bullet points next to them saves so much time when it comes to studying. Assuming you've stayed on top of things throughout the semester you'll find mind maps a real breeze when it comes to actual exam prep. If you haven't, then you may find them a little harder to work from as you need to know the material rly. If you don't know how to mind map, check out some tutorials on YouTube :)
Always make sure your notes are clear and to the point. They may not like to admit it, but half the time lecturers fill their slides with what I like to call 'filler slides' ie. points of information that you really don't need but they're just throwing it in to make the module look longer. Sift through these slides after your class and pull out the important pieces, it cuts down a lot of material when it comes to studying. I like to delete some of the slides with pointless information, takes away some of the pre-exam stress.
apps for studying on the go
This app saved my life this semester. It's a Google Drive app and is PERFECT for on the go studying. I commute to college and taking out all my notes on the bus can be a bit awkward so it was like Christmas when I discovered this APP. We used Google Drive a lot in one of our modules last semester and it was only towards the end that I realised there was an app. I was able to access all my slides, notes and class notes in one little place. Saving them 'offline' meant I was able to view them on the go without worrying about being connected to a wifi or even spending my data. Anything I edited was changed and saved with no issue, and I was able to share the documents with a friend so we could work on questions at the same time and not worry about emailing them to one another.
I definitely recommend this if you spend a lot of time on the go or working in group projects, it's a life saver.
My College Experience - a brief blurb because I plan on doing a video.
I recently graduated from Athlone IT having done two years studying Social Media Marketing, I'm currently doing the add on Digital Marketing and plan on doing the level 8 add on in September.
The Social Media Marketing course in Athlone IT was a new course the year I applied for it (2012), I applied on a whim, I had an interest in Social Media and marketing in general always interested me. I was on a year out that year having gone to IT Sligo and hating every minute of it. I had no idea what I wanted to do and felt pressure from those around me to head off to college straight away, society and the expectations from teachers and peers at the time had me feeling like college was something I had to do and honestly guys, if you're currently in the position of having to choose a course and start college in September - do not rush into it. Despite what secondary school teachers will have you believe, you do not need to go straight away. College isn't going anywhere, take some time and work out what you want to do. I have friends who continued with courses they hated because they felt like they had to, or they didn't want to face the embarrassment of 'dropping out', and now they're stuck with degrees that they've no intentions of using - not ideal.
I did drop out, and I hated it at the time because people like to talk, they make a big deal out of it 'ohhh you dropped out?', it comes with a tone, like you're committing a crime. It's silly.
If I hadn't dropped out, I wouldn't have done my course and met so many incredible people and found something I love to do. As cheesy as it sounds, everything happens for a reason and I'm very happy things worked out the way they did.
I plan on going more in depth in a video but really, college isn't for everyone, there's a lot of pressure put on leaving cert students to go to college. I remember in my school if you were doing a PLC afterwards, they didn't entertain you in our career guidance class. Ridiculous. Not everyone is good at remembering huge quantities of information and that' what the leaving cert is at the end of the day - a memory game. Just don't stress out too much, at the time it seems like it's all that matters, but, as time goes on and you're sitting down with your friends over coffee four years later, you realise how backwards the whole system is and how at the end of the day, it really didn't matter that much at all.
Any thoughts? Comment below.