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8 Jul 2021

7 Technology Hacks That Will Make College Easier

How many times have you caught yourself idling through the multiple open tabs on your browser and struggling to finish an assignment? Whether or not your classes are done online or in person, getting work done can be challenging, especially if you lack the time or are struggling with procrastination.

Don’t fall into despair just yet! A few tweaks to your study routine could help you spend less time compiling notes and get more work done. Here are some tried and tested techy hacks that will help you breeze through college easier and get your assignments done on time.

#1. Use voice typing to replace taking lecture notes

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If your lecturer is one who speaks too fast, voice typing can be your saviour.

Google Docs has a cool voice recognition feature that will turn voice into text. To do this, click on the ‘tool’ feature on your taskbar and then click ‘voice typing’. When the microphone box appears on your screen, click on it to activate the voice typing feature. The tool will pick up on your lecturer’s voice during your online lessons and automatically write down whatever they’re saying!

Keep in mind that this is not a cheat sheet for you to skip writing down your own notes. Note-taking itself is an effective study technique and you’ll recall information better that way! Your notes may look extensive and overwhelming after the lesson so reading them will be pointless anyway. This is where you’ll need to skim through your notes, highlight the necessary keypoints and jot them down in a separate digital note-taking app.

#2. Use YouTube Transcripts to get accurate keypoints  

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To increase interactivity, some of your classes will have you play Kahoot to test your thinking skills while others may have you sit through a 40-minute long YouTube video to understand key pieces of information. But let’s be real, no one can sit through a video that long unless it’s on Netflix.

Consider using YouTube Transcripts instead. This feature allows you to see the full script of the video you’re watching — verbatim. To do this, go to the YouTube video, click on the 3 dots next to “save” and then click “open transcript”. You’ll automatically get the full transcript as well as the timestamp so you can jump through important parts of the video without missing a beat.

However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to sit through the whole thing. Doing this can sometimes take the points out of context. Make sure to watch parts of the video surrounding the key points so that you understand the context behind it.

Pro Tip: Instead of scrolling through the transcript to find key points, use keyboard shortcut “CTRL + F” to bring up the “find” dialogue box. Type in the keyword you need and it’ll automatically take you to the points you need.

#3. Convert articles and assignment guides into a podcast

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If you’re the type of person who just can’t read without wanting to doze off, Podcastle AI is the one for you. This Google Chrome extension enables you to convert any text into a podcast with very natural human speech using machine learning.

All you need to do is add the Podcast AI extension to your Google Chrome browser. Once done, click on the Podcast AI logo under the extension tab and sign up using your Google or Facebook. Then, go on to any article you’d like to convert to a podcast and then click on the Podcast AI extension. The app will essentially save the article into its folder and you can click play to have it read the article for you. You can also switch the voice character from male to female or vice versa according to your liking.

The best part about this extension is that it’s free and unlimited!

#4. Use Google Scholar instead of Google search  

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Ever find yourself stuck on a research paper or assignment because you can’t find the right literature? Instead of using the standard Google search, try using Google Scholar instead.

Google Scholar is a search engine that strictly searches academic resources and scholarly literature. That way, you’ll be able to find more accurate and reliable articles from a wide range of subjects and publishing formats.

Unlike the standard Google search, you can’t simply type in keywords and hope that something useful will emerge. You’ll need to define what you’re looking for carefully or you’ll get repetitive search results.

The best part is that there are “cited” links under every article that can help you find more related literature that might meet your needs. You can even create your own library by saving your bookmarked search results according to topics or subjects. To do this, just click on the star symbol under an article link and save it under a relevant library.

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#5. Search for powerpoints to get more points for your research essay

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Another hack to produce a well-constructed research paper or essay is to search for powerpoint presentations that are related to your topic. That way, you are able to compile the key points on what you need to write.

To do this, put “PPT” at the end of your topic title and do a search. This will bring up powerpoint presentations that have important and concise information about your topic. You’ll essentially get an idea of what to include in your research paper and what to avoid. Take note of the information in the powerpoints to see if they tally with your research!

However, this doesn’t mean that you should copy everything that’s in the powerpoint. This trick is meant to help guide you on finding key information that can strengthen your research paper.

#6. Use AI to proofread your essay

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The second most painful thing next to writing an essay is proofreading it to make sure your essay makes sense. Chances are, you won’t be able to spot any mistakes when your brain is all mushed up from writing.

Consider using a text-to-speech reader and let AI read back your essay. To do this, upload or copy and paste your essay into a text-to-speech reader and let it read out your essay. You’ll be able to spot errors, inconsistencies and incomprehensible sentences better.

#7. Use a gamification app to help you get better at mathematics

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If you’re already struggling with mathematics, fret not — there’s a plethora of mathematics apps you can use to improve your math skills.

These math applications allow you to solve math problems within seconds while improving your math skills. They cover a spectrum of topics from basic math to complex disciplines and each subject is chunked into bite-sized lessons! For instance, Mathway acts as a private tutor by giving step-by-step solutions to your math problems while Khan Academy provides a beginners lesson to more advanced problems according to your pace.

The best part — these lessons come in a form of game to make your lesson more fun and interesting! Not only does it help you concentrate on problem solving but it’ll also improve your attention, reaction and velocity skills.

These study hacks may be a tried-and-true method that works for many students but be sure you know how it works before committing to a study shortcut. Be sure to test out several methods so that you can find the best one that works for you.

Now that you’ve got your assignments underway, check out these cool apps to help boost your productivity. 

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