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20 Not-So-Popular Websites Students Should Visit to Make Studying Easier

20 Not-So-Popular Websites Students Should Visit to Make Studying Easier

It’s a wonderful time to be a student. There are thousands of awesome resources, tools, and websites that can make the studying process easier and more effective. Unfortunately, because there are so many, it can be hard to determine which sites are worth your time and which aren’t. These 20 websites aren’t very popular (yet), but they can offer you and your grades a lot of support.

To Improve Your Writing

1. AskPetersen Writing Blog

AskPetersen

    Ask Petersen offers a terrific collection of tools and advice to help improve your writing. The website is divided into sections like Essay Samples, Resources and a helpful Blog. The blog topics vary from writing a proper essay introduction to choosing the best time to study. Even if you just spend a few minutes on the website between classes, you’re likely to find useful information that can help you become a stronger writer. Besides, check essay writing services review section, where you will find helpful overviews (for example, EssayOnTime.com Review, Ultius.com Review, CustomWritings.com Review, etc.) of writing assistance services.

    2. Writer’s Digest University

    2

      Writer’s Digest University provides self-guided writing workshops. Topics include Advanced Novel Writing, 12 Weeks to a First Draft, Grammar and Mechanics, and How to Craft a Book that will sell, among others. Most classes are between $250-$400.

      3. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

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        If you want to become a better writer, you’ll want to bookmark Grammar Girl on your computer’s desktop. The site answers every grammar question you could possibly have. From comma usage to compound words, Grammar Girl has all the answers. You can browse through the selection of questions and answers, or you can pose a question of your own.

        4. Essays Capital

        EssayCapital

          Are you having a hard time writing your essay? Are you overwhelmed and considering hiring a writing service to help? Essay Capital provides well-researched, high quality essays that take your opinions into account, and convey what you want to say in the paper. They also get to know your writing style, so your paper sounds like you wrote it.

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          5. Thesaurus.com

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            A strong vocabulary makes you a better writer. When you find the exact word you want to use, your sentence will make more sense, and your writing will flow more smoothly. Thesaurus.com lets you find better words for your writing. Just type in the word you want to swap out and Thesaurus will give you a new selection of words to choose from.

            6. No Red Ink

            6

              No Red Ink is an innovative online interface that lets students improve their grammar and writing skills. Quizzes and questions are based on things students care about like pop culture, their friends, and sports. If a student gets a question wrong, they get immediate feedback instead of a bunch of confusing red ink that they’ll just ignore. Incredibly, No Red Ink learns as the student progresses, so the program can suggest topics that need additional practice.

              7. Grammar Book

              7

                Similar to Grammar Girl, Grammar Book provides a heap of grammar and punctuation help. But rather than formatting all the information in question and answer format, Grammar Book is easily divided by category.

                To Help Prepare for Tests

                8. College Confidential

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                  College Confidential helps you prepare for the SAT and the ACT, as well as generic preparation for AP tests. Through a series of forums, students get to communicate with one another and learn what they’ll need to study in order to be successful.

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                  9. 4 Tests

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                    4 Tests provides a big selection of practice exams for the SAT and the ACT. The best part? They’re free! You can also find helpful study information on the 4Tests Blog and various study guides.

                    10. Meet The New SAT

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                      This website prepares students for the SAT, PSAT10, and PSAT 8/9. The site includes the official SAT practice test from Khan Academy. Learn what to expect inside the new SAT and get to know the new scoring system.

                      11. Kaplan Test Prep

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                        From this website, you can create a registration with Kaplan University and gain access to the official Kaplan practice tests for the SAT and ACT.

                        12. Shmoop

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                          Shmoop connects 13 million students and teachers with study guides, practice tests, an essay lab, informational videos, and career advice. If you’re looking for a comprehensive learning and studying website, search no more.

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                          To Collaborate with Other Students and Teachers

                          13. Collaborize Classroom

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                            Collaborative Classroom provides a platform for students and teachers to communicate with one another. Students can get one-on-one assistance with assignments and helpful resources for improving your test prep strategy, studying habits, and reading skills.

                            14. Padlet

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                              Padlet gives you a blank template where you can create a design, upload a document, or collaborate with others. Use the space as a white board to help with your study plan. Or use it to build a presentation. In any case, you can work remotely with other students and teachers.

                              15. Edmodo

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                                One of the best-known collaborative websites for students and teachers, Edmodo provides a place for teachers, students, and parents to connect. Access homework assignments, email your teacher, and get feedback on your assignments all in one place.

                                16. Mind Meister

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                                  Mind Meister lets you create mind maps that you can then share with fellow students or your teachers. This tool makes brainstorming in a group a lot more effective.

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                                  Students’ and Educators’ Blogs

                                  17. Simply Charly

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                                    Simply Charly is a blog that discusses the most important and influential people throughout history. Depending on how you learn best, you can choose to watch videos, listen to podcasts, or read articles.

                                    18. Mostly Morgan

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                                      Mostly Morgan is a fashion and lifestyle blog. However, the author (Morgan Timm) is a junior in college and writes a lot about college admissions, studying, test preparation, and other academic topics.

                                      19. Explore.Dream.Discover

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                                        The subheader of Explore.Dream.Discover is “Reflections of a world wandering college kid.” It is written by Andrew Liu, a college student and aspiring entrepreneur at Harvard. The blog follows his academic career and the lessons he learns at school and while traveling.

                                        20. Dan Shipper

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                                          In his blog, Dan Tripper discusses entrepreneurship, startups, and the importance of hard work and ingenuity. It’s a great read for anyone looking for some inspiration and entertainment.

                                          There you have it! These 20 websites can help make it easier to study, write, and prepare for tests. School can be a challenge, but at least now you’ll get the support and resources you need to be as successful as possible.

                                          Featured photo credit: rhodesj via flickr.com

                                          More by this author

                                          Jessica Millis

                                          An experienced writer, editor and educator who shares about tips on effective learning.

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                                          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                                          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                                          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                                          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                                          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                                          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                                          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                                          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                                          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                                          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                                          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                                          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                                          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                                          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                                          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                                          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                                          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                                          The Neurology of Ownership

                                          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                                          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                                          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                                          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                                          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                                          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                                          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                                          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                                          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                                          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                                          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

                                          More About Goals Setting

                                          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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