Learn More About Study Smart Tips

You know how to study—at least, you know how to study in the context of high school. But college is a whole new ball game, and you’ll need to develop a new set of study skills. Luckily, we have some insider advice for taking your study habits to the major leagues.

Study smart tip #1: don’t cram

According to a recent research study published by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), students who forego sleep to pull “all-nighters” and cram prior to a big test are more likely to perform poorly the following day. Ample sleep is critical for academic success. Students should keep a consistent study schedule leading up to their test and get a good night’s sleep to ensure a great result.

Study smart tip #2: seek out effective study tools

Whether it’s using flashcards or re-reading passages in a text or e-book, all students have their own way of assessing their preparedness prior to a test. However, there are tools available that make the studying process much easier, more engaging and more effective. (You can check out McGraw-Hill LearnSmart™, an adaptive “digital tutor” that continuously assesses students’ knowledge and skills and provides personalized recommendations that helps them master content over time, as well as the McGraw-Hill Tegrity Campus, a comprehensive lecture capture system that allows students to “relive” the lectures that aren’t fresh in their minds.)

Study smart tip #3: jump around

A majority of students naturally review material for a test or a midterm in the order in which it was taught; that is, going through notes in chronological order. This type of studying, also known as “blocking,” may be effective for some, but research out of the University of South Florida suggests otherwise. If you study “out of order,” according to the research, you are more likely to retain standalone knowledge and are therefore able to recall information in a randomized way, which is how many tests are designed. Studying in sequence is restrictive, and forces you to remember content in the order in which it was studied.

Study smart tip #4: power down

The 21st century student is an avid “digital multi-tasker,” capable of answering the phone, reading and sending a text message or e-mail, and listening to music all while preparing for a test. Though this might be considered “the new normal,” these distractions might—according to research by Stanford University—negatively impact a student’s ability to retain and accurately recall information. While collaboration and discussion are an important part of the learning process, when it’s crunch time, students should opt for an environment that is quiet and void of any digital disturbances.

Study smart tip #5: books, then bed

A guide on memory issued by the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College recommends that students should review difficult material prior to bedtime, provided that a student is mentally and physically strong before hitting the pillow. This is because challenging information is oftentimes easier to remember after a good night’s rest, as the brain typically consolidates facts in your memory that are freshly accessible the next day.

Some College Study Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

When you first enter college, academic life may seem easier: you don’t have to wake up early for six hours of class every day, and there’s no one nagging you about doing your school work. One of the best parts of college is being able to freely create your own schedule and pursue your own interests without the rigid rules and structure of high school.

However, with great freedom comes great responsibility, and every student will have to learn the art of studying and time management at some point in their college career. Use these tips to get ahead of the curve.

Look at the syllabus ahead of time and plan accordingly

Unlike high school, college professors will usually have their class already planned for the semester with all the assigned readings or problems listed ahead of time so there are no surprises. Often, you’ll be expected to do these readings and problems before class so you will better understand the lecture and participate in the discussion. Looking ahead at each class’s syllabus also allows you to plan your social events, work, etc. around the amount of work you have.

While reading, make annotations and notes on a separate piece of paper

Whether they are a STEM major or in the humanities, every college student will be expected to read a lot of information and understand it in a short period of time. While reading, it is best to make annotations directly on the reading itself. These annotations may include notable underlined quotes, a quick summary of what you just read, or definitions of words you don’t understand. In addition, it also helpful to write longer notes of what you just read on a separate piece of paper. Although this is tedious, taking the time to summarize what you just read will cement the knowledge in your brain—much better than just reading the material quickly once.

Review your class notes at the end of each week

Reviewing notes at the end of the week will make sure you truly understand what you just learned and allow you to synthesize and connect all the concepts. It also gives you the chance to see if everything you wrote makes sense; we’ve all gone through our notes that we wrote many class sessions ago only to find that we have no idea what we were talking about earlier. Reviewing notes early prevents you from cramming an entire quarter or semester’s worth of notes at the last minute.

Practice working through problems without your notes first, then look to them for reference

When you first learn a concept, it might make sense and the problem may seem relatively easy because everything is fresh in your mind. And it can be tempting to whiz through, say, a problem set using the in-class notes you just took and then be finished, but many students often find that they quickly forget a just-learned concept once new material rolls in.

It is helpful to study your notes first, close them, and come back to the problem a bit later and do as much as you can without referencing them. After that, then you should review your notes to see if you’ve made any mistakes. Following this habit can also help you prepare for future tests

Sleep and eat well—consistently

No matter how many times students are reminded to sleep and eat right, this advice often gets pushed aside in college. After all, what’s more fun: ordering an extra cheese pizza with your friends at 2:30 in the morning or going to sleep at 10 after a sensible dinner? But taking care of your health in college is essential to doing your best in the classroom (not to mention feeling good outside of it). Eating well will give your body the energy to focus and perform well in studies. Sleeping proper hours, especially before a test, will allow your brain to process and synthesize all the concepts coherently. Studies show that people who get quality sleep right after studying will recall things better than people who don’t. After all the hard work, treat your body and brain to some well-deserved rest!

Should You Know About Some Memorization Tips and Tricks

There are two parts to memorizing something: getting it into your brain and then getting it out again. Surprisingly, the first part is relatively easy. Your brain can hold a lot of information. Just think about all the song lyrics and tunes that are in your head.

Don’t try to memorize too much at one time. Instead, break it up into parts. If you are trying to memorize a poem, don’t do the whole thing at once. Memorize just one stanza at a time.

You can sometimes “chunk” information. Remembering 10 numbers in a sequence is hard (3 0 7 5 5 5 8 2 9 4). But remembering 10 numbers in telephone format is a lot easier (307-555-8294).

Remember just the critical information. If you are making a presentation about constellations, you don’t have to remember every one of them. Find out what your teacher expects for the presentation and focus on those aspects.

Repetition over time is the most important method of getting information into your head and retrieving it readily. Don’t cram; the information won’t stick. Repeat the information frequently over time.

Writing things down and saying them out loud are wonderful ways to help you remember things. When you use these two strategies, think about what you are trying to remember. Just don’t say things out loud when they will annoy other people.

Mnemonics work for some people. This is the strategy where you associate information with something else. One of the classics is the mnemonic for the planets, at least when Pluto was included: “My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.”

Adding a tune to what you are memorizing can be really helpful. The best example is the alphabet song, which you probably learned when you were four or five years old. Isn’t it unbelievable that you could remember all 26 letters at that age?

One of the toughest memory tricks is unlearning incorrect information. Instead of trying to unlearn it, try recalling it with a different cue. If you are constantly misspelling “weird” as “wierd,” you can always get it right if you remember it as “We are weird.” The “we” will help you spell it correctly.

Here’s something you should memorize. Ask your friends for their memory tricks. They might not all work for you, but some of them certainly will.

Should You Know About Some Smart Side Gigs For Job Hunters

The average college grad takes about six months to land a job after college, depending on factors ranging from the field of work to the current job market, according to The Balance. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to eat and have a roof over your head during this time, a predicament which can be both stressful and scary — particularly as your bank account balance creeps closer and closer to zero.

However, just because you haven’t landed your dream job yet doesn’t mean you can’t earn enough to support yourself while you look. In fact, a number of part-time and decent-paying side gigs are out there, including the following six picks:

1. Interpreter/Translator

The benefits of speaking multiple languages are many. Here’s one more to add to the list: You can work as an interpreter (converting spoken or sign language) or translator (converting written language) and earn decent money doing so.

Given our increasingly global society, demand for people with these skills continues to grow. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of growth for translators and interpreters is 29 percent — significantly faster than the average. And while some jobs in this area will have experience requirements, others will offer short-term or on-the-job training if your language skills meet their needs.

If you’re looking for flexibility, meanwhile, you can’t go wrong working in this up-and-coming field. Says the BLS, “Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers. Some work for translation companies or individual organizations, and many translators also work from home. Self-employed interpreters and translators frequently have variable work schedules. Most interpreters and translators work full time during regular business hours.”

2. Copy Editor

Have a way with the written word? If so, copy writing may be the perfect fit for your part-time needs. So what do copy editors do, exactly? Explains Houston Chronicle, “A copy editor is responsible for an initial round of proofreading to ensure that written text is concise, consistent and both grammatically and factually correct. Those in this position also ensure that each sentence is easy to read and that concepts expressed are in a logical, sequential manner. The position typically involves working at a magazine, newspaper, website, corporate communications department or advertising agency. It is a key part of an editorial team comprised of writers and editors that may also include proofreaders and fact-checkers.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you’ll also need a solid grasp of grammar and knowledge of one or more accepted style guides, depending on the industry in which you’re working.

An added bonus? At an hourly rate of just over $18, copy editing landed a spot on Business Insider’s roundup of highest-paying side gigs for in-between times.

3. Tutor

At $17.28/hour, tutoring also claims a spot on BI’s list of best-paying side jobs, and just so happens to be right up the recent college grad’s alley: After all, you’re sporting all that newly acquired knowledge, why not put it to work? As one recent English Lit grad and current law student told The Guardian of her tutoring work, “It’s a really good earner and perfect if you’re doing a time intensive course as you earn more than you would per hour doing something like waitressing.”

Concludes The Guardian of this part-time path, “The tutoring industry is expanding and the student body — with its expensive education, free time and typically empty bank accounts — is a rich source for potential new tutors.”

Meanwhile, online tutoring has opened up new opportunities for aspiring tutors regardless of where you live.

4. Tour Guide

Know your city inside and out? If so, there are plenty of opportunities to share your local love by working as a tour guide. Check out Tours By Locals, Vayable, and Shiroube, companies which connect locals with travelers looking for more authentic experiences while on the road. Weekend work is plentiful in this field, meaning you’ll have plenty of free time on weekdays for interviews and other job hunting-related tasks.

5. Recreation Work

Love the performing arts? Working with kids? Hiking, skiing, kayaking and other adventures in the great outdoors? If so, consider recreation work. This job sector is incredibly versatile, with lots of opportunities for both part-time and seasonal employment.

Community centers, recreation departments, resorts, ski mountains, and other tourist destinations – many of which are facing worker shortages due to tightened immigration policies — are great places to inquire about work opportunities.

One last thing to keep in mind? If you don’t feel like doing the legwork yourself and you aren’t choosy about the time of work you’ll be doing, signing on with a temp agency can yield surprisingly satisfying work — both of the short-term and contract variety. In addition to helping you pay your bills, temp work can also lead to the development of new, resume-friendly skills. In some cases, temping can even lead to a permanent position.

Which brings us to our next point: Even if a job is temporary, the impression you make is permanent. Your takeaway? Always put in your best effort. Aside from the fulfillment that comes from a job well done, you’ll be glad you did when you need a reference or if the perfect full-time position opens up.

Know More If Summer Internships Is Important

We know. It’s already summer. It’s never too early to think about opportunities for next summer—and maybe even a late-summer opportunity this year.

Why are they so important? It’s simple. Internships give you valuable experience that can help you secure a job you want.

Let’s look at six in-depth reasons why internships are critical for success—and how you can maximize your chances of finding the right one.

1. Discover the real world.

Working as an intern gives you hands-on professional experience. You’re not just there to do errands and make coffee—you’re there to work. Bigger companies, like Facebook and Microsoft, for example, have internship programs in place to ensure that interns earn real experience.

Interested in interning at a smaller company? No worries. You can do that, too. Just make sure you have someone to guide you through the process so that you can gain as much real world experience as possible.

2. Create your network.

While the internet is here to stay, there’s something to be said for face-to-face contact. By interning, you begin to create that professional network. How? You interact with people.

Not only is it critical to your professional success, it will make an impact on your personal choices too.

When you intern, you gain opportunities to develop professional connections that could be beneficial to your career.

Yes—you can attend a networking event without doing an internship. While that’s good, the internship gives you a more intimate understanding of companies and organizations—and the people in them.

3. Top up your resume.

A great resume is a key to unlocking your chance for that interview you want.. Think of your resume as an initial handshake with a company—it’s their initial impression of you. A solid internship will prevent your resume from ending up in the trash heap.

A summer internship or a longer one will show a prospective employer that you mean business. Be sure to add it to your experiences and ask your supervisors if you can list them as references.

4. Earn university credit.

Your internship experience counts not only toward your professional goals, but your academic ones, too. Many colleges and universities offer credit for internship experiences.

How do you find out? Ask. Talk to your advisor or your career-services office to find out how you can make that internship work for your academic life, too.

5. Test your career plan.

Remember when we said “no strings attached?” Well, there are none. This is an opportune time to try something. If you don’t like it, guess what? You’re not stuck with it.

The summer internship is a perfect time test drive your career plans.

Let’s say you’re a marketing major and you land a summer internship doing marketing research—and you don’t like it. Don’t fret. You’re not tied to it. Finish the internship, do a great job, and move on. Do something else next summer.

If you love it? Take more courses in it—and find another internship for the following year. Better yet? Go back to the same company if you loved it and see what you can do.

It’s all about opportunity. This is your time. Take it.

6. Gain confidence.

This might be the most important benefit of the summer internship. Build your confidence. Know you can do it—and you don’t know unless you try, right?

The summer internship gives you the chance to build your stores, so that when you’re ready to go on that job interview, you have the skills, the experience, the desire, and the confidence to make it happen.

Find the right opportunity and go for it. Love theater? Intern at one. Love marketing? Find a company that intrigues you. Love marketing and theater? Find an internship that combines both and work on a marketing project for a theater company.


Tips To Prepare For A Master’s Degree In Management

If you’re looking for a career push in the business world consider a Master in Management, or MIM. You’ll study at a top-notch program with an international focus—and you don’t need all the work experience typically required for admission to an MBA program. Looking for great degree experience that offers hands-on experience? With a MIM, you’ll get it. Many internationally-focused MIM programs partner with global businesses to give you hands-on, real-world experience right out of the gates. Ready to learn more? Let’s take a look at five must-do’s to prepare yourself to go get that MIM.

1. Assess Your Starting Position.

Figure out what you want from a MIM degree—is there a management specialty that interests you? Have you researched MIM programs? Does your undergraduate degree match the prerequisites for acceptance? Do you need to take a prep course or other short-term course to fill in any gaps for the entrance requirement? Do you need to take exams, like the GMAT before you can apply? Make sure you have the right qualifications for the program of your choice before starting the application process.

This is particularly important if you are considering overseas MIM programs. Apart from academic qualifications, you’ll need to assess your language skills. Is the course taught in your native language or another? If you need to brush up on language skills, now is the time.

Consider your academic starting point, too. Make sure you take a diagnostic and figure out where you are academically before you start. Knowing where your strengths—and your weaknesses—are will show you where you need to focus and where you need to improve.

This is the time to fill in those gaps. Need some help? Contact the admissions office for the various MIM programs you’ve selected. Someone there will steer you in the right direction. Or check out this handy tool that helps you compare and choose the right school.

Another strategy? If you’re currently an undergraduate, make an appointment with your academic advisor—you won’t regret it.

Once you’ve figured out where you are in relation to where you want to be, you’re well on your way to that MIM.

2. Gain Work Experience

Unlike the MBA, work experience is not critical to a MIM. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Between one and three years can increase your chances of getting into a program of your choice. Don’t underestimate the power of the internship, either. Strong internship experiences, obtained during or after your undergraduate studies, can be just as impressive as a year or two of work under your belt.

What are the benefits? You’ll have a taste of real-world experience—and with experience comes wisdom.

3. Top-Up Your Extracurricular Activities

This is your chance to shine, at least on paper—and to give an admissions committee real insight into your character. Perhaps just as critical, if not more so, your extracurricular activities count. Why? They reflect your interests and passions. What you do outside of work and school matters.

Are you interested in sports? Showcase your interests and abilities on your resume. If you were involved in academic or university associations, list them—and make sure to note whether you held leadership roles in those organizations. Volunteer work is also a fantastic extracurricular activity to showcase. Even hobbies, like stamp collecting, yoga or woodworking will make a positive impression on the admissions board. The key is to make sure your extracurricular activities give a sense of your interests and abilities, but leave an admissions counselor at your selected MIM program wanting to know more about you.

4. Prepare for the Interview

This is the time and place to show who you really are and what you care about—and what you can bring to a MIM program. What made you choose a MIM? Why did you select this school? How will the program help you reach your goals? What have you learned from your internship experiences? How about work? How do you handle difficult situations? How are you helpful to your classmates.

Here’s the most important one: do your homework and make sure you ask at least one thoughtful question of your interviewer about the program or the school. One caveat – in this case there are stupid questions. The answer to your question shouldn’t be obvious from the program’s website or marketing materials.

5. Take the GMAT

Ready to apply for a MIM? Take the GMAT, the world’s most widely used and highly respected exam for graduate business degrees.

The GMAT will give you the competitive edge you want—and a high score can ensure that you will have a variety of options when it comes to choosing a MIM program.

What does the GMAT test? Analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. There are over 600 test centers around the world, but remember that the GMAT is given only in English. Non-native speakers, take note: if you need to brush up on your English skills, do so before the exam (see #1), and study with some professional assistance.

So, why is the GMAT important? The Graduate Management Admission Council, or GMAC, completed in-depth curriculum research and surveys of business programs and highly respected professors from around the world. And their research identified a quantifiable set of skills and metrics. Skills that business schools deem most important for successful students. Scoring well on the GMAT can’t ensure that you will become a business big-shot, but it’s a good indicator as to whether you’re prepared for the rigors of a MIM program.

In fact, one of the ways the GMAT helps to identify strong MIM candidates is through the preparation process. Preparing for the GMAT requires study skills, self-motivation and the ability to seek out and utilize resources, like prep courses and software, tutors and study guides. Go for a combination of guided preparation by professional instructors, working on your own, and practice. If you work best on your own, consider individual tutoring sessions, which you can do in-person or online. If you enjoy group work, opt for a small, individualized course.

Finally, the GMAT is also a test of your ability to plan and manage your time. You may have spent your undergraduate doing late-night cram sessions for exams, but the GMAT requires a time investment and dedicated study plan. How much time should you set aside? Experts suggest putting aside 3-4 months of preparation time before taking the GMAT—and warn that a prep course by itself won’t prepare you enough.

All About Machine Learning

Machine learning is widely considered to be one of today’s hottest fields. But many of today’s students are unaware of what machine learning is and why it matters so much. Wondering whether you’ve got a future in machine learning? Here’s a closer look at this increasingly important area, along with why it matters so much.

What is Machine Learning?

SAS defines machine learning as “a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look.”

Princeton University lecturer Rob Schapire puts it in simpler terms: “Machine learning studies computer algorithms for learning to do stuff. We might, for instance, be interested in learning to complete a task, or to make accurate predictions, or to behave intelligently. The learning that is being done is always based on some sort of observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction. So in general, machine learning is about learning to do better in the future based on what was experienced in the past.”

Why Machine Learning Matters

With the power of machine learning, says SAS, “it’s possible to quickly and automatically produce models that can analyze bigger, more complex data and deliver faster, more accurate results – even on a very large scale. And by building precise models, an organization has a better chance of identifying profitable opportunities – or avoiding unknown risks.” This leads to improved decision-making capabilities independent of human intervention with applications in a broad range of industries, including financial services, government, healthcare, marketing and sales, oil and gas, and transportation.

Machine learning is so promising, in fact, that Business Insider recently declared it to be “a revolution as big as the internet or personal computers.” With a track record of world-changing developments including everything from Amazon product recommendations to Google’s self-driving car, machine learning has already changed the world and how we live in it.

But that’s all just the beginning, according to experts like computer scientist and author of “The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake our World” Pedro Domingos, who told BI, “There were two stages to the information age. One stage is where we had to program computers, and the second stage, which is now beginning, is where computers can program themselves by looking at data.”

Meanwhile, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt forecasts that machine learning “will be the basis and fundamentals of every successful huge IPO win in five years.”

Machine learning is also lauded for its potential to improve customer care by automating certain tasks. Machines don’t always outperform humans — especially in matters of high-touch decision making — but in improving both efficiency and efficacy where technology prevails, machine learning can free people up to focus on what they do best.

And while we often think of machine learning as future terrain, it’s also happening all around us, including in the higher education space as a means of improving teaching and learning. Moving forward, it will support unprecedented personalized learning for use by everyone from students to advisors. In other words, with a background in machine learning, you can not only change the world, you can also apply what you know much closer to home.

Is Machine Learning for You?

Of course, machine learning studies aren’t for everyone. But if you possess an interest in and aptitude for computer science fundamentals and programming; probability and statistics; data modeling and evaluation; and software engineering and system design, you may be suited for an in-demand career in this red-hot field.

The reality is, however, that if you want to “future-proof” your career, these subjects may be the key.

Concludes The Atlantic on career planning for today’s college students, “Students who are embarking upon their college studies should embrace one of two possible career strategies. The first is to look for jobs that are likely to favor human capabilities over artificial intelligence—jobs that depend less on having great swathes of technical knowledge than on having creativity and strong interpersonal skills, such as the ability to empathize. The second career strategy is to aim to be directly involved in the development and delivery of these increasingly capable systems, for example as a systems engineer, a data scientist, an AI specialist, or a knowledge engineer. In short, students can plan to compete with machines or to build the machines.”


Some Reasons You Should Study In Portugal

Olá! Welcome to Portugal—temperate climate, delicious cuisine, fine wines, stunning scenery and yes—excellent universities. Home to just over 10.3 million people on the Iberian Peninsula, this small nation boasts nearly instant access to beaches, cities, and everything in between.

Situated in southern Europe on the Atlantic Ocean, bordering Spain, Portugal’s culture stems from the ocean. With salt cod and grilled sardines as national dishes, the country boasts a rich culture. While many tourists flock to Algarve’s beaches, there are several smaller student-friendly towns—inland and coastal. Its architecture? Stunning. Most of it dates to the 15th and 16th centuries when Portugal was at the height of its maritime empire.

Let’s take a look at 6 reasons you should study in Portugal.

1. Cost of Living

Compared to the rest of Western Europe, Portugal is affordable. For under $1000, you can manage fairly well in smaller student cities. Tuition and fees are also reasonably priced, especially for English-taught degrees. Room sharing is also common practice at many universities, so it’s possible to make your study abroad experience in Portugal even more affordable. Another nice feature? Student rates. Students can save up to 50 percent off the costs of museums and historic sites with student IDs. Restaurant life? More than manageable.

2. Coastline

With over 700 miles of coastline, Portugal is a dream for those who love the ocean—and it’s never too far away. Dramatic beaches. Fairytale cliffs. Untouched Atlantic landscapes. It’s worth a visit to see just its sheer beauty. Into watersports? Try scuba diving, surging, body boarding and yachting. Not into water sports? Channel some inner peace and watch the waves.

3. Education

Portugal offers world-class education. Of note in world rankings? The University of Lisbon has a range of studies and locations for any student’s needs. The Universidade Nova de Lisboa has a focus on the humanities and social sciences. At the University of Minho, you can opt for any number of specialty areas including education, economics, arts and sciences, architecture, and engineering,

4. Portuguese

Learn it! Not only is it beautiful, its similarities to Spanish and Italian will give you the ability to at least understand the other two languages. Most bachelor’s degrees are taught in Portuguese—but most master’s programs are in English. Either way, learning Portuguese can only benefit you. Think of it as a gateway to northern Africa and South America. Learning the language will also help you adjust not just to studying in a new place, but to learning new the new culture and customs. Listen. Before long, you’ll roll that “r” with the best of them.

5. Weather

It’s perfect. Its Mediterranean climate provides long, hot summers and short, rainy winters. Think of it as spring and summer with a need for a raincoat and a sweater sometimes. If you want to feel like you’re studying in a temperate Shangri-La, then consider Portugal.

6. Food

Among some of the best in Europe and the world—and most off-the-beaten path—the food in Portugal is exquisite. Most dishes center around meat, fish, or eggs—and you can expect some heavy meals. Don’t worry though, “Portuguese tapas” are becoming very popular, so you’ll have a chance to try a variety of food without stuffing yourself.

Put Portugal on your list of places to study abroad if you want a great education, the opportunity to learn a language rich in history and culture, the chance to visit a beautiful place, great friends, great food, and a reasonable cost of living.

Know More About Plagiarism

Plagiarism. You know it’s bad. You know you should never do it. You know that if you do, you’ll get into trouble. Lots of it.

So, yeah, you know not to go online, find an essay someone else wrote, and submit it as your own. (Duh.) That’s obviously plagiarism, after all.

But there are a lot of other things that count as plagiarism too, things that aren’t quite as obvious—but can get you into just as much trouble.

And that’s why we’re here! To make sure you are 100000% clear on what counts as plagiarism so you can stay on the right side of the law in your high school work, your college applications, and the work you do once you get into college.

But first things first: what is plagiarism? The easy answer is that plagiarism is using someone else’s work and saying it’s your work. More importantly, plagiarism is cheating, and schools do not tolerate it. If you’re caught plagiarizing, you could fail a class, be put on academic probation, get suspended from school, or expelled entirely. (And if you’re caught plagiarizing on your college applications, well, you’ll just never get accepted to the school, simple as that.)

What counts as plagiarism?

There are lots of different kinds of plagiarism, but we’ll cover the worst and most common types.

The biggest and worst form of plagiarism is just straight-out lying about the work you turn in. If your English professor assigns an essay on The Great Gatsby and you find an essay online, copy it, and put your name on the top, that’s plagiarism. And it’s not only the worst form of plagiarism—it’s the dumbest form. First of all, teachers and even college TAs have a very good sense of your work, so when you turn in something that doesn’t sound like you, it’s going to raise suspicion. And as easy as it was for you to hop on Google and find that essay, it’s just as easy for your professor to do the same…and fail you. Second of all, many professors run every essay they receive through special plagiarism-detecting software—software that’s way better at finding plagiarism than you think. So it is not worth taking the risk. You will be caught. And fast.

A much more common and often unintentional form of plagiarism is not citing a quoted source. Let’s say you’re writing a paper about civil engineering and you look it up in the encyclopedia to get a definition. If you read the encyclopedia article and explain what you learned in your paper, that’s not plagiarism. Once you learn some general knowledge, like definitions and famous historical events and dates, you can just use that in your work. However! If you copy part of a sentence, a sentence, or a paragraph directly out of the article and put it in your paper—maybe because the original author just said it the simplest and best way possible—then you have to quote it and cite it. Even if you just paraphrase an idea without saying where it came from, that’s plagiarism. So any time you want to use someone else’s words or ideas, make sure you give credit to that person. Really, when in doubt, cite it out.

In terms of how to cite something, different schools and different departments have different citations styles (MLA, APA, and Chicago styles, just to name a few), but your professor should make clear how to cite your work at the beginning of the semester, so make sure you know what they expect from you.

Why you should never plagiarize

Okay, so now that you’re super clear on what plagiarism looks like, let’s dig a little bit deeper into why you should never, ever do it (no matter how tempting it can be).

Of course, the first and most obvious reason is because you don’t want to fail the class or get in trouble. That’s easy. (And if it’s not, just think for a moment about what happens when you have to explain it to your parents. Are you convinced yet?)

But even more, think about why you’re at school: you’re there to learn. And we don’t even mean this in a touchy-feely “learning is the best” way. We mean it in the most practical way possible. You need to learn so you can graduate, get a job that makes you happy, and be successful for the rest of your life. If you just find someone else’s work and say it’s your own, you’re not actually learning anything. Coasting never works in the long run. When you finish school, that’s knowledge that you missed out on, stuff you needed to know for the real world. Sure, you won’t use everything you learn in high school and college, and you might save some time on an assignment by plagiarizing, but is it worth risking all that time and money and your reputation?

No, it’s really not.

So be careful out there, folks. Plagiarism is a serious thing and you want to make sure to avoid it at all costs.

Listen to Classical or Pop Music When You Study

Anytime you walk into a school library, you’re sure to see countless students with their noses buried in textbooks, some intensely cramming for tests, some more relaxed. But practically all share one thing in common: earphones, because, of course, they are listening to music.

Now, you have to wonder, “Does listening to music actually help us study?” Are all those students aware of the effects of music on learning, or are they just secretly jamming out in a library? And what should they be listening to anyway?

Well, let’s find out.

Dive into classics: the Mozart Effect

The widely accepted belief that music helps students perform better academically is known as the “Mozart Effect.” This famous phrase was coined by a French researcher named Alfred A. Tomatis in 1991, in his book Pourquoi Mozart. After only seven years, it received considerable support in the United States with the publication of Don Campbell’s The Mozart Effect.

So how does music aid us in our studies? According to Dr. Campbell, music “raises performance levels and productivity by reducing stress and tension, masking irritating sounds, and contributing to a sense of privacy.” Listening to music puts your mind at ease and allows you to relax in your own private thought bubble. Pleasant tunes will mute out the background noises and create a serene, undisturbed learning environment—ah, so peaceful. You will want to study in an environment like that.

But why is such a wonderful phenomenon called “the Mozart Effect”? Why not Beethoven, Bach, or Chopin? The initial theory was that only certain Mozart sonatas can produce the desired effect, that Mozart’s compositions are somehow special. Further research, however, refuted the original claim. As a matter of fact, acclaimed Bulgarian psychologist Dr. Georgi Lozanov discovered that the Mozart Effect actually works particularly well with Baroque pieces. Even though Mozart lived during the Classical era, not Baroque. Oh, the irony!

The phenomenon may not be entirely true to its name, but its wondrous results remain much the same. After evaluating thousands of students over several years, the Center for New Discoveries in Learning concluded that slow-tempo Baroque pieces allow students to feel calmer, study longer, and retain more of their learning material.

But there is a catch! Make sure to stay away from dynamic orchestral pieces, as recommended by KUSC producer Alan Chapman. Those can become too engaging and, thus, distracting.

Pop your preference? Resist the urge

Maybe eight-minute-long, soporific orchestral pieces are not exactly your jam. (Give it up for music puns!) Like so many, you might be more a fan of modern lyrical music, such as rock, rap, reggae, country, or pop. Unfortunately, songs with lyrics are a risky choice when you are trying to concentrate and study. Surely there have been times when you turned up your favorite Hozier song, thinking that it will help you focus, but instead, you ended up having a sing-along concert by yourself. The urge is almost unstoppable.

“Music with lyrics is very likely to have a problematic effect when you’re writing or reading,” warned Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford University. Listening to songs while reading would be like trying to decipher two people talking at once. What you see differs from what you hear, so the thoughts in your mind get easily jumbled up.

Music itself can help boost your concentration, but the words can challenge multitasking abilities and frustrate your attempts to focus.

Choose your favorite

If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of abandoning popular music while doing your homework, don’t worry. For Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift fans out there, hope still exists.

In her article “Music Helps You Focus on Your Own Thoughts, but Only If You Like It,” Rachel Feltman points out that listening to preferred genre of music can increase concentration better than disliked classical selections can. Simply put, One Direction songs can produce the same Mozart Effect as Mozart compositions!

A study conducted by R.W. Wilkins and other experts shows the neurological process that takes place. The default mode network (DMN) provides connection among different regions of the brain that enables you to focus inward. When the DMN is active, your surroundings fade out, and you become completely submersed in your inner thoughts. Internal stimuli, such as memory and imagination, begin to take over. Now the argument is that the DMN lights up only when you listen to music that you actually like. Even classical music cannot elicit this reaction if you do not like the piece.

This claim is not yet fully corroborated, but it does give you an excuse to continue listening to The Weekend as you pore over your chemistry notes. So whatever music you prefer, go ahead and listen to it when you study. Classical or pop, who cares? As long as you enjoy it, all music is good music.

Special Study Tips for the Chronic Procrastinator

It’s the night before a huge test in your hardest class. You haven’t reviewed your notes, looked back through your textbook, or even thought about the test until just now. That familiar gut-sinking panic begins to set in. There is so much to do and so little time. But have no fear, CollegeXpress is here! The following five tips will help you to get through the night, ace your test, and establish better study habits in the future.

Related: Breaking Bad Habits From Vegetation to Procrastination

1. Don’t waste time with “what-ifs”

There is no use crying over spilled milk. You’ve procrastinated—accept it and move on to preparing for your test. Worrying about how much easier it would have been if you’d only started studying a week before like your teacher suggested is pointless. It will only waste valuable time and energy. The best thing you can possibly do now is calm down and focus all of your time and energy on your studies.

2. Don’t get distracted

Whether it’s Snapchat, texting, YouTube, or any other of the multitude of distractions plaguing teens today, I have one word of advice: resist. Your Instagram story can wait, Facebook will still be there tomorrow, and your friends will forgive you if you lose your streak. If the temptation is too strong, turn off your phone, tablet, etc. and put it in another room. Technology can often suck us in, and before you know it you’ve lost half an hour. So practice some self-discipline and resist the temptation to become distracted.

3. Prioritize your efforts

Focus your efforts on broad concepts first, then use this framework to add in relevant, specific details. This becomes easier with more experience, so don’t worry if you struggle with it now. Analyze previous tests this teacher has given before, and get a feel for what they think is necessary for you to know. The last thing you want to do is waste time memorizing the dates of all the battles of the Civil War if your teacher prefers essay-based tests. So hone in on what’s relevant, and spend most of your time studying those ideas and topics.

4. Go to bed

There comes a time when staying up late and studying becomes counter-productive and you’re better off just getting a good night’s rest. This line varies for everyone, depending on how much sleep you need. I personally need six to seven hours on average to feel refreshed and ready to go the next morning. This being said, many teens, particularly underclassmen, need more. So listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to hit the hay. At this point in the game it’s better to sleep well and remember everything  you did study (as well as being able to figure out other answers logically) than stay up late, cram, and forget everything.

5. Don’t do it again!

There’s nothing worse than knowing that you’ve done this before, remembering how horrible it was, and doing it again. So take a personal pledge now, while the feelings of remorse and despair are still fresh, to avoid procrastinating at all times. This is easier said than done. We’re not perfect, and we will all still put off an assignment from time to time. But by promising ourselves that we will work to avoid these negative situations, we can establish better study habits as a whole and help to directly address the problem (procrastination), not just the symptoms (panic before a test).