Students blog

Explore the latest trends, tips, and experiences in college life in this blog written by fellow students.

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  • A nighttime photo of a campus building with tall pillars and holiday decorations.

    Study Spot Review

    Alivia Clay

    As college students, we know the struggle of finding the perfect study environment. The place where we can dive into textbooks, lecture notes, and research papers without any distractions. Our study environment plays a crucial role in our productivity and focus, shaping our overall learning experience. So, let's dive in and explore three popular study destinations: the library, the coffee shop, and the comfort of home. Join me as we uncover how these environments impact our studying and find the spot that suits us best.

    The Library

    With its peaceful atmosphere and rows of books, the library offers a scholarly ambiance that's hard to beat. The library provides an ideal setting for concentration, where silence is key, and distractions are minimized. Surrounded by fellow students, the shared commitment to learning can be inspiring. However, for some, the silence and formal atmosphere may feel isolating or even dull. While the library is often a go-to destination for serious studying, it may not be the perfect fit for everyone.

    The Coffee Shop

    The aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the gentle hum of conversations, and the cozy atmosphere—coffee shop has become a popular study spot for many college students. These vibrant spaces offer a unique blend of ambient noise and a relaxed environment that can stimulate creativity and productivity. The background activity can provide a sense of companionship, making studying feel less lonely. This concept is called body doubling. However, for those easily distracted, the noise and social opportunities in a coffee shop might hinder focus. It's a delicate balance between finding inspiration and managing distractions.

    Home

    Our cozy haven, familiar and comforting, is our home. Studying in the comfortable corners of our personal space can provide a sense of security and convenience. No commute, no time restrictions, and the freedom to create our own study environment. Whether it's a peaceful room or a bustling household, home caters to individual preferences. However, the challenge lies in maintaining discipline and staying focused amidst the comforts of home. The allure of naps, binge-watching favorite shows, or succumbing to endless procrastination can easily derail productivity.

    Each study environment offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The library provides a dedicated space for uninterrupted focus, the coffee shop ignites creativity and energy, and home offers comfort and flexibility. The ideal study spot varies for each person, depending on their learning style and preferences. So, fellow college students, let's embark on the quest to find our perfect study environment—one that enhances productivity, sparks inspiration, and propels us towards academic success.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A laptop computer showing Pearson Channels on the screen and an iPad open to a students notes.

    Pearson+ Channels is a Game Changer

    Mia Gutierrez

    “I’m Not a Math Person”

    “I’m not a Math Person” is what immediately went through my head as I registered for my intermediate Macroeconomics class last semester. I wasn’t looking forward to this course at all whatsoever and wasn’t too fond of the content that was going to be taught. I honestly went in with low expectations and was aiming for a passing grade. I’ve always had a difficult time with classes that are math based or even just have a portion focused on numerical calculations. I am also more interested in Marketing and the creative side of Business, so Economics wasn’t that appealing to me. My mindset was to simply get through the class so that I could attain my degree and do what I love most after I graduate.

    What Changed…

    Although, I said above that I only wanted to get credit for the class, I still did my best to understand the class content and studied a significant amount of time outside of our weekly lectures. I truly thought I was only capable of earning a passing grade due to the fact that math was one of my weaknesses; however, that all changed within the first few weeks of the course.

    My study sessions consisted of looking up videos online that could better explain more difficult concepts in detail and looking over lecture notes as well as adding my own notes to them. My professor did a decent job at teaching the content, but I still felt there were times when I couldn’t understand what he was saying or even get my questions answered by a classmate. When this first happened, after the second or third lecture of the semester, I decided to check out Pearson+ Channels during one of my study sessions.

    The Solution: Pearson+ Channels

    For those who may not know, Pearson+ is an eLearning hub with instant access to eTextbooks, videos, and study tools for student support. One of the tools that I found to be most helpful is Pearson+ Channels. Channels consist of mini-video courses that go over content that has most likely been taught in your classes. They not only have Macroeconomics but also a wide variety of topics such as Biology, Psychology, Accounting, and more!

    What specifically helped me in the Macroeconomics Channels course is the teaching style of the instructor. Brian utilized language that made complicated concepts easier to understand. He also made the course engaging by having viewers follow along with a set of notes to fill out and by creating diagrams to explain various topics. I enjoyed his use of simple examples and how straightforward he was. This video series assisted me greatly in my studies and even helped me to feel more comfortable going to class, answering questions out loud in lectures, and feeling more confident going into tests.

    Victory!

    Pearson+ Channels aided me in gaining an overall better understanding of Macroeconomics. I was surprised at how this learning tool allowed me to have a more positive attitude in this course. I ended up not only getting an A on my first test but also an A in the class. I am grateful for the knowledge that Pearson+ Channels has given me and plan on utilizing it in the future. If you are looking for a learning tool that appeals to a majority of students’ learning styles and helps you to master the material to a certain extent, try out Pearson+ Channels – it’s a Game Changer!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A tablet with a smart pen next to a spiral notebook opened to a blank page with a pencil on top.

    The Pros and Cons of Digital Notetaking

    Charlotte Fieffe

    Pencil and paper, the most iconic duo, have been my go-to tools for the majority of my school life. But with the rise of technology in the classroom, thanks to shareable files, folders, and notes, I decided to make a switch to digital notetaking in my sophomore year of university. Examples of digital notetaking tools include tablets or digital notebooks and smart pens. Making the switch to digital notetaking came with some pros and cons. Here are a few to consider before making the switch for yourself.

    Cons

    Third-party apps: I immediately noticed that I would need to download and/or purchase one or more apps to even make my digital notetaking dreams a reality. I knew what I was getting myself into in the first place, due to extensive research, so I wasn’t taken aback by this concept. But I do urge others who are considering spending a measurable amount of cash on a digital device for notetaking to consider other unmentioned costs that come with it. There are many different apps to consider when looking at digital notetaking, and it all depends on your preferences and needs. Look at your course work and learning style when shopping for notetaking apps, so that they are the best fit for you. I found looking up tutorials and videos for different apps to be the most helpful for me to discern my needs and making the best selection.

    Affordability: Choosing the right device for your digital notetaking journey is important, since you are the one who will be using it! However, this will take some extensive research on your end. Look for device brands and/or stores that offer student discounts. Also consider your after-college needs from this device; for example, will you be able to continue to have a use for this device after graduation? For me, I knew that I would want continue with digital notetaking upon entering medical school.

    Compatibility: When I first received my device, I was a little apprehensive about the compatibility when it came to other devices (aka my phone). I wasn’t sure where everything was or how to use it and I was considered returning it (I know!). Having different brand devices can make it difficult to successfully set up apps and access between devices. But it takes time! Take the time to get used to the device, especially if it’s a device that you don’t really know. Watch tutorials and step-by-step videos, get used to the feeling of writing with the device and where to access files and whatever you will need.

    Pros

    Everything in one place: I enjoy having files, notes, textbooks, apps, and photos from class all in one place. As a commuter student I end up carrying a lot of “unnecessary” things. Having everything all in one place not only lessens the load but makes everything easily accessible so I can access everything I need for a class on one single device. Accessibility means shareability, so if a classmate missed a lecture or needs a recording, I can easily send them a file without that many issues.

    Readability: I noticed that when writing with regular pen and paper, my notes were either too scrawny, smeared, or completely illegible. Writing digitally helps this problem immensely. With different notetaking apps I am also able to record the lecture while simultaneously taking notes and go back through my notes to see exactly what I wrote. I also noticed that my writing was much neater and easier to read when I transcribed things digitally.

    Manageable multitasking: Although multitasking is deemed the most heinous of heinous of study tips, having a device that can split screen and allow me to multitask is extremely beneficial and time efficient. I am able to watch a lecture and write my notes side by side, making it more efficient and bearable since it’s all on one device.

    Digital notetaking definitely was a transition but so worth it in the end. So far, I have enjoyed the pros way more than I have suffered the cons. A lot of people feel very apprehensive since it is still so new in the world of academia. Explore digital notetaking options and consider your own learning style. You may find it to be just as useful as I have.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A textbook on a bed, alongside an open planner and laptop with class notes appearing on the screen.

    Ace Your Finals

    Ashanti Crowder

    As the finals frenzy kicks in, college students are eager to come up with any tips or tricks to help study. Through my journey in college, I have tried all of the “best tricks” to study, and compiled a list of five that helped me during finals season. Whether you have hours or minutes to study, these hacks are the ultimate roadmap to acing your exams!

    The Pomodoro Technique

    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that can help significantly with your productivity. To implement this technique, you start with setting a timer for 25 minutes and focus on studying during that time. Then, when the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Repeat this process four times and then take a longer break (around 15-30 minutes). This method helps you stay focused and prevents burnout!

    Active recall

    This method is my personal favorite, active recall is a study technique where you actively quiz yourself on the material you’re trying to learn. Instead of re-reading notes, try to recall and explain the information from memory. I like to pretend I am teaching the material to someone. This helps reinforce what you already understand as well as help identify the topics you need more help in!

    Flashcards

    Flashcards are a great tool for condensing information into small, easy to remember pieces. Create flashcards with key terms, concepts, and questions on one side and the answers on the other side. I personally use Pearson+ to create flashcards straight from my E-Text! An additional trick I like to use is writing the topics in different colors to distinguish their chapter, subject, or section.

    Group study sessions

    Studying with friends or classmates can be an effective way to prepare for finals. By explaining concepts to each other and discussion, you deepen your understanding of the material. Plus, you may learn some new study hacks! Some fun ways to study my friends and I use are turning the material into a Jeopardy or Family Feud game.

    Healthy Habits

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during finals season is extremely important! A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep can significantly impact your cognitive abilities. You want to keep your mind sharp and focused! I like to eat oatmeal and fruit on the morning of a big exam. I’ve also found that doing yoga the night before helps me be more relaxed and less anxious on test days!

    In conclusion, acing your college final does not have to be stressful or overwhelming. By implementing these five easy hacks, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to stay organized, take breaks, and prioritize taking care of yourself. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help! With a little discipline, you’ll be well on your way to conquering your finals.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • Three students sit at a table in a college common room. They are gathered around a laptop computer and are looking at the screen with interest.

    5 Study Tips from Science Majors

    Melanie Perez, Ariana Santiago, Grace Oh, Maggie Parker, Taylor Perline

    We’ve asked science majors from universities all over the country to share their no-fail tips for studying success. From the first day to finals, use these tips to help you study smarter.

    1) Calendarize the syllabus

    The first thing one should do after registering for their class is look at the syllabus. I like using a spreadsheet like Google sheets or Excel to list out all the assignments and quizzes/exams. This lets me know far in advance the average number of assignments I have a week. Plus, I can put the exams in a calendar and track the amount of studying I have to do. - Melanie Perez, Florida International University

    Learn more about how to increase productivity and organization when you’re in college.

    2) Practice active recall

    On some random Tuesday during my first semester, I decided I wanted to use one of the whiteboards in the library to study. I’ve never looked back.

    Active recall on a whiteboard is my secret weapon when it comes to studying. Active recall is a study method in which you write as much as you can remember about a topic, then go back through your notes to fill in the gaps.

    Back when I used to study with my notes online, I would trick myself into thinking I knew the material just because I read it over multiple times. With the whiteboard, there’s no pretending I know the material. I write down everything I can remember, and then I go back to my notes to fill in what I can’t remember.

    After that first round of writing, I erase everything.

    I make sure to close my lecture notes and erase every single speck of writing on my whiteboard and write it all over again, trying to include what I forgot the first time. Since it’s not my computer or a notebook, I can’t scroll or turn back to my notes and cheat; either I remember it, or I don’t.

    I find that making mind maps with arrows and hand drawn pictures or diagrams is extremely helpful for putting concepts together, especially for biology. The space and flexibility (you can easily erase and move things around) a whiteboard provides is perfect for that.

    With this method, I can easily pinpoint my areas of weakness and cut down on study time since it only takes me around three rounds of active recall to remember and connect everything. Also, it’s way more eco-friendly than doing it on sheets of paper! - Ariana Santiago, Temple University

    Discover how to find your perfect study space on campus.

    3) Stay motivated

    The material in most science based classes is extremely dense and can be difficult to take in in one sitting. Something that helps me stay motivated is to take breaks.

    Studies have shown our brains can function and focus most efficiently for roughly 30 minutes to two hours. Therefore, in order to keep studying without draining my brain too much, I will study or work on an assignment for 45 minutes then take a five- to ten-minute break.

    My favorite thing to do is get outside for some fresh air and even take a quick walk to reset my focus before getting back to work. This helps me stay motivated and avoid passive learning. - Grace Oh, University of Oregon

    4) Do practice problems. Don’t memorize.

    Memorization doesn’t allow for a deep understanding of a topic, which is crucial in biology due to its complexity.

    Rather than just using flash cards to try and understand processes, which are often too intricate to easily summarize, you should try working through examples and practice problems.

    This type of studying will give you real experience with applying equations and concepts. It will also make you more confident going into an exam because you’ve gone beyond just memorizing facts. - Maggie Parker, Syracuse University

    5) Take care of yourself

    The most important thing to do is to take care of yourself.

    Studying all day long with no fun in between can lead to burnout. It can take a physical and mental toll on you.

    Your college years are an amazing time when you’re young and able to have fun. Go to the sports games, spend time at the gym, join a club, and hang out with your friends! I also love to reward myself with a sweet treat after exams. You are working hard! - Taylor Perline, Ohio State University

    For more study tips and tricks, check out the Insider Tips video located within the Freeman Biological Science 7e Mastering Biology course. View an example here.

  • A person looking at a laptop screen open to Pearson+.

    Pearson Products for Auditory Learners

    Ana Cooper

    Growing up being homeschooled, I had to do a lot of reading and learning independently at my own pace. That helped me in high school and college especially with the rise in audiobooks and videos. As soon as I got a computer, I learned that watching the movie adaptation first helped me better understand the book. If I read a physical book, it would collect dust and probably never be finished. But if I catered to my learning style and did what was best for me, nothing could stop me.

    Learning Styles

    Everyone has a main learning style meaning that there is a particular modality of learning that helps you learn and retain information best. You could be a visual learner, auditory learner, or kinesthetic learner, meaning you learn best by doing hands-on activities. Using all the modalities in one way or another is the best way to learn because it uses as much of the brain as possible. Increased sensory input improves memory and cognition. Now that was slightly science-y so let me tell you about my experience.

    Need for Speed

    I am an auditory learner. I have always had exceptional hearing which helped with dance and piano, but also with school. I could reread the same page over and over again and be more confused the more I read it. But if I could listen to an audiobook, I could finish the book in a few hours or days, depending on the length of the book. The more I listen to audiobooks, the faster I am able to listen to them. Last summer, I wanted to see how far I could take this by listening to podcasts at 2x speed. Sometimes even 2.5x or 3x. Other people I knew said they speed it up a *little bit* but not to the violent speed that I had. When other people listen to what I am listening to at high speed they say it sounds like another language, yet I understand it perfectly. So clearly, this is my dominant learning style.

    Pearson+ Audiobook Features

    Sometimes I do have to read the textbook to understand a certain concept or process and know the technical terms. Few things put me to sleep faster than reading. What’s great about the eTextbook feature in Pearson+ is that I can listen to the audiobook and read along with the book. The text highlights as I’m reading so I will never lose my place or re-read a line of text. What is even better is when I can’t sit and read my book and I have to commute, my Pearson+ will sync with what I was reading on my computer and pick up where I left off on my phone app. I can plug my phone into my car and listen to a whole chapter while I commute to school and run errands around town. I even listen to my eTexts when I am going for a walk.

    There was one semester where I had human growth and development, sociology, and microbiology courses. The amount of reading was outrageous, but I was able to keep up with it all whether I was either driving and listening or studying at my desk. No matter what, I was absorbing tons of information.

    I got some of the highest test grades in those courses because of how well I was studying for my own learning style. Others were making flashcards, studying the PowerPoint, or straight up reading and weren’t doing as well. As soon as you can, take an online quiz or just ask yourself how you learn best and cater to that learning style as much as possible. Whatever your learning style is, Pearson caters to all of them.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

  • A young man lies on his back outside on a concrete step. He is wearing headphones and using an app on his phone.

    A Language Learning Journey

    Princess Robinson

    “Ah-beh-se-cheh-de-eh-efe”, accompanied with a military tune, were the words of the alphabet song that my first high school Spanish teacher played every day. I will never forget it. While some view the language class requirements as a hassle, taking them seriously, especially in high school, changed my life. Indeed, learning multiple languages has benefits, including opportunities to cultivate meaningful relationships, improvement of your first language, and strengthening your memory.

    When a positive engagement or activity evokes feelings of joy and doesn’t seem burdensome, one is said to be passionate about something. Having the ability to speak multiple languages lights my countenance and confirms a part of my purpose. My first high school Spanish teacher was energetic, humorous, and patient. I attentively took notes as he paddled the desks of the drowsy students with a yard long ruler. While I was an average Spanish student, what allowed me to grow in it was repetition. I didn’t exceed the high school Spanish course requirement, but in the summer of my junior high school year, I began to look at my Spanish book and make Spanish vocabulary flash cards, ranging from colors to food. Grocery store runs became opportunities to practice what I had learned. Some people were astonished, celebratory of the bravery of learning a new language, and some were critical. In fact, many people have told me to just speak English. I keep in mind that learning languages is for everyone to learn, is not cultural appropriation, but is a desire for improved communication.

    Learning a second language can improve your first language and enhance memory. Prior to learning Spanish, I didn’t fully grasp the context of the English sentence structure. For example, Spanish taught me that the words for “to be”, “ser” and “estar”, are verbs. Studying a second language also requires a willingness to be disciplined and consistent in training the brain to adapt to different grammatical and sentence structures.

    It can be tricky to figure out the distinction of gender differences in grammatical structure for languages where there are grammatical differences in communicating with males and females. Saying “how are you?”, for instance, is structured differently in some languages because the pronouns you, him, her, and them represent gender in word differences in acknowledging a man or woman. When you begin to study a new language, your brain begins to adapt and you increase your ability to multitask.

    Learning new languages can cultivate priceless connections. As mentioned earlier, as I built my Spanish vocabulary, I implemented what I learned by practicing with people in shopping centers, school, and even church.

    Apps are a primary way to learn languages. In addition to Spanish, I am learning Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Hindi with Pearson’s very own app – Mondly by Pearson, included free when you use Pearson+!

    I’d love to see language learning apps incorporate live instructors from different countries that are willing and able to give personalized lessons. Recently Mondly by Pearson added new options to practice real-life conversations and chat with a personalized virtual language teacher with Mondly VR and Mondly AR.

    Learning a new language takes dedication and discipline. Immerse yourself in YouTube videos in the desired language, use your language learning app on a regular basis, and seek out opportunities to converse with someone who speaks that language. Above all practice, practice, practice and you’ll begin to realize the results of your hard work!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • Blog author Arwa’s spiral bound journal showing a page of her annotated notes.

    Reading Between the Lines: The Power of Annotation

    Arwa Hammad

    Do you feel stuck in a reading rut, unable to recall the knowledge you've just absorbed? If this is you, don't worry because there's a solution: annotation! Although there is no "correct" way to use this approach, annotating can be described as writing your thoughts, questions, and observations immediately on the material you're reading. This establishes a permanent record of your thoughts and ideas for future reference, while enhancing your comprehension of the subject matter.

    Highlighting

    To begin annotating, I typically take a highlighter and a pen and jot down my thoughts on a sentence, passage, or chapter I've read. I prefer to apply my prior knowledge before reading the chapter and critically search what I have read. This not only enables me to revisit and comprehend what I have written but also allows me to analyze the text in real time, aiding me in understanding the material and identifying where I have encountered confusion.

  • Two textbooks stacked in front of a laptop and a desktop monitor. There is a set of headphones sitting on the top book.

    Find Your Space

    Tristan Larkin

    College students need a productive space to study and work on assignments. While many students prefer to work in their room or apartment, often that space is shared with roommates whose academic schedules do not line up. For those students, it is crucial to find a space where they can focus. Even if someone feels comfortable in their current study space, trying new places can still lead to an even better studying experience.

    How To Find a New Location?

    Explore! Try new spots around campus: outside, different parts of the library, classrooms. Gather your study materials, walk around the campus until you find an inviting place, sit down, and try it out. If it doesn’t feel right, pick up and try somewhere else. Students often limit themselves to popular places, like libraries or outside the coffee shop. While those are great, do not be afraid to branch out and find somewhere no one has recommended. There are hidden treasures everywhere.

    No One Size Fits All

    People like different spots. Just because a bunch of people say the school library is perfect for them does not mean that it is for you. Everyone needs to find their own place. A spot that seems ideal for one student may be full of distractions for another. Determine how much noise level, light, and overall aura of the space is conducive to your study preferences.

    You may even prefer different locations depending on the subject you are working on. If you’re working on flashcards or getting a reading assignment done, it may work to find a relaxing place outside or in quiet corner of the library. If you’re getting group work done, you probably want to find a space where you can sit around a table and have a conversation without begin shushed by a librarian.

    Give it a Shot!

    Many students can get pretty set in their ways with where they like to study, and that is totally understandable! People like structure and consistency, especially in school. But if you study in your bed, it can be hard to resist falling asleep. Working at the kitchen counter can lead to distractions from roommates. Finding the right place to work will lead to a more positive and productive study session.

    If you ever feel like you want a bit of a change, try out a new space. There is nothing to lose, and it might lead to a pleasant surprise.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!