It's Finals Week. That means studying like hell. Paper writing. Note taking. Flashcard... flashing? Here are my favorite study tools for the most miserable time of the academic year.
1 - SelfControl. This free app for Mac blocks you from any sites you place on your blacklist for a set amount of time. You will not be able to access the sites even if you try restarting your computer or deleting the app! This is an awesome tool if you have to be on the computer and internet (say, to write a paper) but can't resist the temptation of social media.
2 - Colored Pens. Color helps me organize my notes better because it allows for visual indications of categories or differences. I currently use Papermate InkJoy pens and I really like them. I am also a big fan of Staedtler fine-liners. They're great for diagramming but also for creating categories and associations by writing different things in different colors.
3 - 5x8" Lined Post-Its. These are SUCH great post-its for studying. Typically I summarize each page or each pair of adjacent pages on these post-its, or I write key questions to quiz myself on the content of each page. If I need more detailed info, I remove the post-it
4 - Flashcards [+]. This is the best flashcard app out there. You want the capability, Flashcards [+] has it. Editing styles, colors, and fonts of the writing on the cards, adding pictures and drawings, using bullets, importing from quizlet, allowing you to share with friends, allowing you to quiz yourself with matching, spelling quizzes, true or false, and even measuring your accuracy. It's great since you always have your phone on you. No more fumbling with hundreds of index cards, killing trees, losing them, leaving them at home, etc. It's free, with a $5 upgrade to allow you to have more than 100 items in a deck. It's worth it since that's about the same cost as two packs of index cards!
5 - Planner. If you don't have an agenda / weekly planner of some sort, you need to get on that. I'm a fan of the greenroom weekly planners that you can find at Target for $8 (and the price drops significantly into late January and February). Using your planner to figure out your exam schedule and your study schedule can put you on track to using your time wisely.
6 - Highlighters. Highlighting is an important part of the process. Highlight assignments. Highlight notes. Highlight rubrics. Highlight study guides. Highlight textbooks. It's classic and essential. I like to highlight textbooks and assignments. It's also great if you're writing a paper and are highlighting specific quotes or passages. I like Sharpie Accent highlighters.
What are your favorite study tools?