A schedule that goes something like lecture, library, lecture, library requires a LOT of brain power. It also means battling many an annoying peer, see: the girl who types exclusively with the tips of her acrylic nails, the guy who scrolls Facebook so many times you’ve memorized his newsfeed and anyone who doesn’t turn their phone sound off prior to class (this should honestly be illegal). Read up on our tips and tricks and you’ll stay focused on your road to a 4.0—or something pretty close, anyway.
1. Computer lenses Are your eyes sore after a screen-filled day of studying? That’s because human eyes aren’t equipped to deal with the artificial blue light that backlights your computer or phone. Computer lenses, offered by most optometrists, will either have an extra coating or an added tint for your glasses that will filter out reflection and blue light before it hits your eyes. This means less strain, less stress and more studying. Yay?
2. Smartpens Surely you’re familiar with the numerous studies—almost always included in your syllabi!—on the benefits of handwriting. *Cue terrified faces of twentysomething everywhere who grew up glued to a computer* Whatever it is you fear—not being able to keep up, messy printing or simply inconvenience—there’s the LiveScribe! It looks like a normal pen, but it also digitally transcribes your notes on your behalf.
3. SelfControl Library-online-shopping is a real concern—the internet is dangerous! Thank gawd artificial self-control is a thing! This computer app allows you to set sites that are then blacklisted (like the usual time-sucking suspects Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, etc.), and how long you want/need to be locked out. There’s no way to turn it off other than to wait for the timer to run out, so you have to time to put that credit card back in your wallet.
4. Next-level notebook Whitelines is a really cool Swedish brand that understands the importance of a notebook that will lie flat regardless of which side you’re using. Pair that with scan-able pages, and your efficiency skyrockets. Download the Whitelines Link app, hold it over the page and it will scan your notes just like that. Pro tip: order in advance, because it’s coming from across the pond!
5. Over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphones This is not the time for measly earbuds. Block out everything from sirens on the street to sniffling from your heartbroken next door neighbour with a pair of these bad boys. Pro tip: go to the store and try several to make sure you get ones that are comfortable for you, assuming you’ll be wearing them for long periods of time. Throw on some classical music and ahhhhh…
6. Audio recordings Are you an audio learner? This is the app for you. Designed specifically for recording lectures, this interface lets you organize your recordings by subject and date. It’s super-easy to make notes while you listen along, as well as email your recordings to others. Word to the wise: Make you sure you double-check with your prof that you’re allowed to record!
7. Digital flashcards Flashcards are the key to multiple choice exams, BUT it kinda sucks to both write that much and waste all that paper with only a few words on each. Enter, Flashcard Hero! They app helps you make digital flashcards that you can create on your computer, but take with you on your phone. You can also control the flashcards on your phone or tablet, so if you’re a study-pacer (i.e. everyone), you can flip through from across the room.
8. Essential oils Meditation for the time-crunched! Lightly spray a few pumps of the Saje Quick Study Mist over your face and inhale deeply to enhance mental alertness and sharpen your senses. The brain-boosting essential oil blend includes myrtle, lemon, orange, geranium and cedarwood.