Ten Tips for Smart Studying

With the fall season nipping at summer’s heels, the coming weeks offer a good opportunity to prepare for the new school year. But back-to-school prep means more than getting a fresh set of school supplies and fashionable fall wardrobe. Try the following tips to shape up your
homework habits:

1. Location, location, location. Designate your own “spot” for studying,
such as a quiet nook at home or a corner of your bedroom. Scattered
books, disorganized computer files and piles of clutter provide an
unwelcome distraction from schoolwork. Set aside an afternoon to
recycle unnecessary papers, organize your library of books and clean
up your computer files. Search tools like the MSN Search Toolbar with
Windows(R) Desktop Search can help you organize your computer so that
you find the files you need faster.

2. Always have the time. When it comes to studying, set aside a regular
homework time during your most productive hours, and stick to that
schedule religiously.

3. Start early. Do not wait until the night before a test to start
studying. Preparing for tests and exams begins your first day of
class. Keep up with the readings your teacher assigns, and review
classroom notes regularly; this will help you absorb the material and
recall it during exam time.

4. Prioritize. Take control at the beginning of the school year. Make a
list of your homework assignments, and cross them off as you complete
them. Prioritize your projects; attack difficult tasks first while
you still feel fresh. Avoid getting overwhelmed by separating the
workload into manageable sections, and do one section at a time. And
last, reward yourself as you accomplish your goals to keep motivated.

5. Stay alert. When facing a challenging topic, make an effort to get
actively involved in the content. Ask yourself questions, take notes
or underline key concepts to force you to think about the material.
Make the effort to stay engaged, especially with topics that don’t
interest you, rather than reading passively and missing key points.

6. Four heads are better than one. Studies show that students who
regularly attend study groups get better grades. When assigned a
tough project, form a study group with your friends to share
information and feed off each other’s points of view. Collaboration
tools like MSN Instant Messenger and Shared Search offer a fun way to
research class projects and share information quickly and

7. Be a super sleuth. When working on a project, first get a broad grasp
of our subject from your class textbook. Narrow your search at the
public library by looking in recent books published on the topic,
current journal articles and specialized resources such as government
documents. Remember the Internet also offers a wealth of resources.
Try multiple search engines to help you further focus your research
by setting specific criteria to get better results.

8. Ask a question, get an answer. On average, people take 11 minutes to
find the information they need from search engines. Save time with
search engines like MSN Search that use tools like Encarta(R) online
encyclopedia to provide immediate answers to your questions. Type in
a question such as “What is the largest city in Canada?”, and Encarta
will give you the answer you need instead of a list of links.

9. Picture it. For essays and projects, illustrate your research with
sharp, quality images. Search engines such as MSN Search use an image
search that can help you easily find the best image to include in
your research paper. The engine lets you choose colour or black and
white images, and allows you to set criteria for specific sizes so
that the picture fits neatly in your essay.

10. Adopt healthy habits for a fit mind. During the school year, many
students slip into unhealthy habits. Late night cramming fueled by
caffeinated beverages and salty, fatty snacks can take a toll,
especially at exam time. Stick to your normal diet, and take care to
avoid foods that will upset your stomach. And be sure to counter
mental exhaustion by getting a good night’s sleep, no matter how
prepared you feel.

-MSN Canada