Tips from a Private Orange County Tutor: 5 Ways to make the Best out of Online Study Materials
Whether you’re studying for the SAT or for a classroom course, online study materials are a major part of a student’s life. There are many advantages to online study, including the convenience and accessibility factor but there are also some disadvantages. There are pop up ads left and right and some online sources simply aren’t reputable. Look at these tips for a great online study experience.
1. Avoid distractions
Distractions are ever present when studying online. Pop up ads inviting students to check out a blog about their favorite celebrity and ad boxes that cover up part of the paragraph they are trying to read are a constant distraction. Also, don’t forget about the temptation to tab over to a social media site for ‘just a minute’. During crucial study periods, use an app such as Self Control to force away temptation and practice visually blocking out ads (easier said than done).
2. Ask your tutor for help determining which sites are reputable
Some online study tools are legitimate, up to date, and highly useful for students of all grade levels. Others, however, were written by a student from 2010 using a now out of date text edition. Additionally, do today’s students know if that 2010 student received all As or if they flunked out? No, they don’t. Avoid all student posts and focus on sites that are pre-approved by a tutor. Chances are the tutor transitioned to the Internet and learned over time how to search for legitimacy; newer tutors will have learned how to appropriately use online research methods in high school or college (READ: “Tips From an Irvine SAT Tutor: The Free SAT Study Guide”).
3. Determine your overall study needs
Before logging in, it’s important to determine your overall study needs. Are you doing in depth research for a 10 page paper? Are you using a website that helps you study for the SAT step by step? Are you using an online organizational tool to help you study for a quiz? Research is generally the most difficult situation but rest assured that once the skill is mastered, it will make future study much easier and faster. Student researchers are encouraged to sit down with their tutor and ask for help getting organized. A few hours with a tutor can save dozens of hours each term. Students using a site such as Study Blue or Quizlet are encouraged to keep a paper copy of important notes. Based on Murphy’s Law, if there was ever a time for the Internet to crash it would be the night before the exam.
4. Use online tools in collaboration with in-person study
Online study is fantastic and convenient but best conducted in conjunction with in-person study. Students who work with study groups get the advantage of multiple ideas and thoughts in this collaborative environment. Additionally, students who work within a group or with a tutor can make sure that everyone is on track and help each other avoid distractions. Don’t worry, if students can’t actually meet face to face, they can still get the benefits of collaboration through Skype or Google Hangouts study sessions (READ: “5 Signs You Need a Math Tutor”).
Wandering around the Internet without any particular goal or direction will usually take students way off their study path and lead to countless hours of wasted time. Students are encouraged to sit down for a few minutes and get organized before logging in. First, create an outline for study. Which topics need to be covered? Which ones are priorities? Which subjects require the most amount of time and which are most challenging? Next, students should think about their goals. For example, if studying for the SAT will today’s study cover the reading section or does math need to be completed first?
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