Friday, December 15, 2006

Summary: Lifehacker Finals Prep Round-up

For students in finals' prep, Lifehacker has rounded-up several posts covering topics such as how to pull an all-nighter and how to escape writers block.

In attempt to save you yet more procrastinating, here's a breakdown of the information that's useful (in my biased opinion) in the articles and user comments.

(1) How to Pull an All-Nighter-

Tricks to stay awake: Set an egg-timer set for every 10 minutes, shock your system with cold (i.e. laps in cold pool), snacks and chewing gum, exercise breaks, coffee before midnight/tea after midnight, take a nap beforehand in mid-afternoon.

Self-medicating: Vitamin B formula with ginseng, ibuprophen and acetaminophen, Horny Goat Weed, Liquid X energy drink, peppermint (especially Starbucks tea)

(2) LitSum free, online Clif Notes-

Lifehacker readers seem to prefer Sparknotes to LitSum, especially compared to Cliffnotes which they claim include factual errors.

(3) How to make effective flash cards-

Make'em simple - one question, one answer. If you come across a topic in class or reading that you don't understand, make the card right away. Review your cards three times a day. If after a nights sleep you answer correctly on the first try you can throw out the car.

See the Stingy wiki studying section for make your own flashcard websites.

(4) Grow your brain 22 different ways-

Lots of obvious stuff here, but some things are interesting such as recognising cycles of consciousness (for every 90 minutes there are 30 minutes of lower concentation). A good writing suggestion is to write to be read, meaning to write with a reader in mind and to make people read your writing.

(5) Tips for off-screen reading-

Suggestions for comfortable reading positions: at the dinner table, lying face down on futon with book on floor over edge, while standing with lectern, the bookgem

(6) How to defeat writer's block-

A reader, Maztex, summarises all the other comments and trick very well:

"Too much information being said. The tricks I have found are as follows:

1) Find out what type of information is wanted by your audience.
2) Disassociate yourself. Write down short details that are relevant to the information desired.
3) Continue adding to the list over a week.
4) Turn your list into an outline.
5) Read the list, flush out the ideas into individual paragraphs or pages. Do not worry about having written down too much - it is easier to delete than to think of more.
6) Treat the ideas as a story of someone else's life. Find the most interesting items that make a single cohesive story.
7) Organize the story into an outline.
8) Fill in the blanks, add an introduction, add a conclusion."

(7) Best music for studying-

Holy sh%t, there are a ton of suggestion here. If you want to read them all, check the article for yourself.

WebRadio: ARTS3000 Classical radio, Musopen, Radio Paradise, Pandora, SomaFM, DI FM Trance/Ambient Stream, KCRW, 3rd Force Jazz, Whisperings online radio station. ()

Bands/Albums: St. Germain, Zero 7, Groove Armada, Lemony Jelly, Sigur Ros, The Cinematic Orchestra, Four Tet, Mum, William Basinski's Disintegration Loops, Music for Airports by Brian Eno, DJ Krush, DJ Shadow (the slower stuff), The Mighty Bop, Mark Farina - Mushroom Jazz, Cafe Del Mar, Hotel Costes, Brazilectro, Buddha Bar, Ministry, Einsturzende Neubauten, Air, Mixmaster Morris (AKA Irresistible Force), Supreme Beings of Leisure, Thievery Corporation,Fingerdance by Billy McLaughlin, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Astral Projection, Man With No Name, Cafe del Mars: Metamorphosis, Boards of Canada, Christopher O'Reilly and his two albums of Radiohead tunes on the piano, John Coltran, DJ Tiesto, miles davis, thelonius monk, tito puente, cesaria evora, mark mothersbaugh, Neroli by Brian Eno, Explosions in the Sky, Serge the Concierge

Classical: dvorak or haydn's piano pieces, Mozart Piano Concertos, Mozart Piano Sonatas, Glenn Gould playing French, English Suites, Schubert Symphonies, Handel - Judas Maccabeus -

Colored Noise: Blackhole Meida's "Noise" (free, Mac OS X only, can also do both pink and white noise), Pink noise

(8) Social note taking for students- is a great option. Some others discussed - Connotea, Omni Outliner (Mac), JotSpot, Curio, Notecentric, Note Mesh.

(9) Automatic bibliography generator-

Readers say that Citation Machine is the most straightforward option, but EasyBib has better formatting. People also like Endnote even though you pay. APA's StyleHelper is a good resource.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Why didn't you just post a link to the ORIGINAL lifehacker post? Why go through the trouble of ripping it off entirely?

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