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What You Need To Know About Various Apps For Students

What You Need To Know About Various Apps For Students

It probably would be wrong to say that today’s students have it easy, but they certainly have many more tools at their disposal than their predecessors from just ten years ago. There are all these cool apps for students and programs making difficult tasks clearer, entire websites dedicated to writing reviews of academic writing services, additional educational courses available for free. It is hard to imagine how we lived without them. So let’s take a look at five excellent apps for students that make the life of a modern young adults so much easier.

1. WolframAlpha (iOS, Android, Windows)

WolframAlpha feels as if it came straight out of future. Dubbed “Computational Knowledge Engine”, at a glance it looks like a normal search engine, but this impression is quickly dispelled when you start learning its capabilities. Holding over 10 trillion pieces of data and over 50,000 equations, it is capable of computing answers and producing reports on topics ranging from physics and mathematics to history and music, providing scientific data on a vague prompt, complete half-remembered aphorisms and much more. It doesn’t exactly function flawlessly yet, but even now its capabilities are more than impressive.

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2. EasyBib (iOS, Android)

One of the most annoying, time-consuming, boring, the least creative, and still an incredibly important part of any research paper is compiling its bibliography. With the help of EasyBib you may forget it as a bad dream – or at least greatly reduce the amount of time, effort and brain cells you will have to waste doing it. It easily formats your literature list in any of more than 7,000 citation styles – you simply have to write the title of the book, and the app will do the rest. Moreover, you may simply take a photo of the book’s barcode, or enter the ISBN, and EasyBib will generate the citation in the necessary style all by itself.

3. Scribd (iOS, Android, Windows)

Scribd may not be free, but $8.99 a month is more than reasonable a price for the access to the constantly growing library of a million+ books, documents and audiobooks. During your college years you will need many books that probably won’t be necessary afterwards, so it is more than a viable alternative to buying them all separately. In addition to textbooks, here you may find fiction and even graphic novels, store books offline, transfer them between your phone, tablet and desktop, and much, much more.

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4. Fast Scanner (iOS, Android)

Students probably have to deal with all kinds of papers, documents, copies and suchlike even more than secretaries; and Fast Scanner app can be a lifesaver when you have to quickly get a copy of a document or a page from a book. It uses your smartphone’s camera to scan a document and then converts then into PDFs you can easily use later or immediately e-mail to somebody who needs them.

5. Gojimo (iOS, Android)

Gojimo is an excellent way to prepare yourself to SAT, ACT, AP or IB tests and, unlike preparatory courses, it is completely free. It contains over 150,000 quiz questions accompanied with detailed answers dealing with all major subjects present in US and British educational systems. You don’t even need to be online all the time – download the app, and it will be available at any moment.

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With all the awesome tools that are at hand, student’s life doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it is certainly more convenient than it was even a little while ago. With these and other similar apps you may forget about trivial mechanical tasks and concentrate on what is really important!

Good luck in studying and making the best of your apps for students.

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Featured photo credit: hackNY Spring 2011 Student Hackathon/hackNY.orghackNY.org via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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