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study tips

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10 Habits Every Successful Student Should Have

March 4, 2019

When you’re a college student, it’s hard to find balance. However, like every element of life, things get a lot easier when you start introducing them as habits. With this in mind, we’re going to explore the top 10 habits all high-performing students should have in order to perform their best.

#1 – Get Yourself Organized

Get yourself a planner and plan when you’re going to work and how long for. Plan what subjects you’re going to study and when, as well as planning your tests and deadlines, ensuring you have everything you need to get ahead.

#2 – Make Sure You’re Taking Notes (By Hand)

When you’re listening, get into the habit of taking bullet-pointed notes to keep track of key points of what you’re learning. What’s more, writing these points by hand is a great way to retain information which means less studying later!

#3 – Don’t Study in One Big Block

Break down your study sessions into shorter periods of time, perhaps only an hour long. This helps you stay focused and on task the entire time, rather than struggling to keep your eyes open while the information goes over your head.

#4 – Set a Study Goal

“Every time you sit down to study, make sure you’re setting a goal of what you what to achieve. Maybe it’s reaching an hour of study or reading a certain number of pages. Whatever you choose, give yourself purpose,” shares Lawrence Turner, an education manager for WriteMYX and Brit Student.

#5 – Ask Questions

Teachers exist to help you learn about a certain subject, so you need to make sure you’re using them for the best results. If there’s something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

#6 – Strictly Avoid Procrastination

“It’s so easy to fall into the habit of procrastinating, and once you’ve done it, it starts to become acceptable to do it over and over again, and you’ll fall into the habit of doing it all the time. Be strict and disciplined with yourself” explains Joseph Goody, a head of the internship department at 1Day2Write and Australia2Write.

#7 – Get Rid of Distractions

Going with the consideration above, it’s important to make sure you’re avoiding any distractions in your environment. Silence your phone, turn off the TV, and ideally have calm, ambient music if any at all.

#8 – Use Study Groups

Study groups are a great way to stay focused and absorb information because you’re all working as a team, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re using them effectively. If you’re not productive, it may be best to change the group or take a break.

#9 – Start with Hardest Task First

It’s so important to make sure you’re starting your study periods with the hardest subject first because this is when you’ll have the most energy and focus on tackling it. Once you have finished with that one, maybe take a study break and then come back to an easier topic.

#10 – Never EVER Multitask

If you work on one task at a time, and only focus on one thing, you can give 100% of your attention and get the best result, instead of dividing your attention.

Being a successful student takes a lot of work and different consideration. With these 10 tips from GradGuard, you’re sure to make your college experience a little easier!

BIO: Adelina Benson is a lifestyle blogger and writer at and Origin Writings. She develops study plans for students around the world and helps to bust procrastination at PHD Kingdom. In her free time, she loves to blog to help business people reach their full potential.

Health Other

5 Ways to Stay Mentally Healthy During Finals Week

December 12, 2018

Exam period is stressful for every student, regardless of how great your grades are. Some students stress out way too much and it eventually affects their mental health. If you do not want to get into the same situation – check out our advice on how to stay mentally healthy during your finals week below.

Stay organized

Most students, especially not the most successful ones, start panicking before their finals. This often is resulted in them nervously jumping from one subject to another, trying to learn the semester’s material in one week. Let’s be realistic here, that is not going to happen. There is something you could do though. Set yourself a strict schedule and follow it. It is better to learn half of the material but with the full effort put into it, than to know random facts that most likely will not save you during the exam.

Get enough sleep

It is crucial that you get plenty of sleep, especially during those stressful weeks of exams. A good night’s sleep reduces your stress level and makes you memorize things quicker. Make sure you include at least 8 hours of sleep into your daily schedule.

Positive attitude

How often do you hear teenagers say something like ‘if I fail this exam my life is over’? Well, the thing is that the more you think like this, the bigger is the chance that you actually might fail. Do not put unnecessary psychological tension on yourself, exams are not the end of the world. Do your study, be positive and relax during the examination process – you will remember things much easier this way. Remember when Ron Weasley won the match because he thought he drank the magical portion? That is the same trick here. Positive thinking.


Recent research shows that exercising does not only make wonders to your body, but to your mind as well. By including short workout breaks into your schedule, you will greatly reduce your stress level and anxiety. Therefore, you will study more productively. And that is the aim here, right?

Eat well

If you are on a diet – exam week is the perfect time to end it. This is the time that your body will most likely be in a lot of stress. In this case, you will need as much ‘body fuel’ as you can get. But that does not mean that you have to stuff yourself with soda and junk food. Eat healthily but do not limit yourself too much. You can even eat cake once in a while – your brain sure does need sugar.

So these are the basic 5 rules for you to follow during your exam week. If you do not neglect these, your success rate will go up during this stressful week. GradGuard is there for you during finals week and wishes you luck where you need it the most!

Daniela McVicker has been writing as a hobby for quite a while. Over the past couple of years, she has been a successful contributor to various websites. Now she is working as a writer and editor at Topwritersreview.

Career Other

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Grad School

October 15, 2018

When you graduate from college, you have options about how to make your next move. Some will try to jump into the workforce, some take time off, and others think about continuing their education by applying to graduate school. If you’re considering grad school, make sure to ask yourself these five questions first:

1. Am I sure of what I want to study?
Graduate school is obviously different than the undergraduate experience. You might have started out as a freshman with an undeclared major, and took your time deciding on what to major in. Grad school doesn’t really offer that luxury. You have to know what it is that you want to study and what degree you’d like to eventually obtain. This will make searching through grad programs easier. If you don’t have any specific goals in mind though, grad school might not be the best idea.

2. Will this advance my career prospects?
When you already know what it is you want to study in grad school, you need to ask yourself how it will affect your professional future. Grad school will take up a lot of your time and it can be pretty expensive. You might want to get an MFA in creative writing, but will that help you get a paying career before you can be a bestselling author? If you’re interested in something that won’t necessarily help your career prospects, consider putting off grad school until you have more stability and a steady income.

3. Can I afford it?
Most students graduate college with a huge pile of student loans. It’s important to think about how you’ll tackle those payments in addition to new bills for grad school. Try looking for scholarships and grants, and find out what schools and programs would be within your budget. Also consider the fact that some jobs will help pay for your graduate school classes! So if you’re ready to jump into the job market, find out what companies offer tuition reimbursement.

4. What schedule would be best?
Grad school accommodates for people’s busy schedules, so think about what time commitments would best suit your lifestyle. Full time, part time? Would you take night classes after work, or go during the day? Depending on what schedule you make for yourself, you can earn your degree in different amounts of time. Consider that too—do you want to devote three years to grad school, or do you want to set a sooner cutoff date and work from there?

5. Can I be fully committed?
Don’t forget that grad school is hard work. You’ll have to work more independently, and there will be higher expectations for you. You might get less guidance from professors than you did as an undergrad, and you’ll have to be self-motivated to stay on top of all your ongoing assignments. Make sure that you’ll be able to balance your grad school workload with any outside commitments you have.

If you’ve considered the above questions and are ready to start the graduate school search, excellent! Refer to this article to see what tests you’ll have to complete to be eligible.

Remember to look to GradGuard for all your college insurance needs!

Career Other

3 Must-Know Academic Writing Tips for International Students

September 25, 2018

Today, going to college is a necessary part of life. Yet, it takes a lot of hard work to earn a diploma. Every student, for instance, has to master the skill of academic writing. It’s usually a taxing activity even for native speakers. This can be more difficult and stressful for foreign and international students.

First, as an international student, you must grasp course concepts—where some may get very technical. Then, you have to communicate in a second language. If that’s not enough, you have to contend with a rigid, formal writing style. That’s why some may resort to seeking essay writing help from friends, essay ghostwriters or even top-rated paper services.

Some aspects of academic writing are easier to pick up than others. As a non-native speaker, formatting may not be as hard as, say, writing in the third person.

A limited vocabulary also presents a big problem for some foreign students. Most international students find it difficult to express their complicated thoughts. Additionally, the tenses’ approach in the English language seems baffling to many. Finding similarity between English tenses and their equivalent in other languages is rare.

Tip #1. Learn to Make Sentences Cohesive

Making sentences cohesive is a tricky affair. Yet, pronouns are useful. They reduce repetition and make text readable and clear.

Pronouns are words like he, her, it, and them. They take the place of proper nouns, which refer to the names of people, places, or companies. Everything that you’d spell out starting with a capital letter is most likely a proper noun.

Because it’s a type of formal writing, academic writing prefers third person pronouns. One way of identifying such a pronoun is to assume that a person or thing is not in the vicinity. For example, let’s say you met Jane at the mall yesterday wearing a cute dress. Try describing that scene to someone else later in a sitdown. You should say:  I met Jane. Her dress was lovely.

Also note: academic writing tends to generalize. Hence, in a case like the one above, it’s better to talk about meeting many women rather than Jane alone. You’d thus need to write something like: Several women were at the mall yesterday. Their dresses were lovely.

Tip #2. Expand Your Vocabulary: Read, Listen and Speak More

This second tip asks for nothing less than lots of practice. It’s one thing to have an idea and it’s another thing to explain that idea to a third party. A broad vocabulary is what helps other people understand what one means. Some ways of expanding vocabulary include reading diverse texts and multimedia. Thus, as a foreign student, you should make a habit out of reading English newspapers, magazines or books.

It’s also important to interact with people who are fluent in English; just by talking, joking, and listening to them, you will pick up on English nuances.

Tip #3. Practice Tenses

Tenses usually describe when an event occurred or suggests that something is ongoing. In most academic papers, the use of simple past tense is recommended. This means that you should describe what an entity did. For instance, you could say: The research showed that speeding is dangerous.

As with the two tips above, this one also requires you to practice, practice, practice. Reading lots of English texts, for example, is a great way of discovering how tenses work.

In short, these tips suggest that every foreign student is capable of writing academic papers with ease. And just like with other skills, it only takes a bit of discipline and persistence to reach perfection.

Your favorite renters insurance agency is working on a new social media platform! Be sure to follow GradGuard on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest for new weekly content!

Carol is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on education-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling. She takes immense pleasure of visiting new countries.

Other Student Life

5 Books Every College Student Should Read

September 10, 2018

As college students, we all have plenty of reading and schoolwork to do. But sometimes you need to relax with a good book that you don’t have to pick apart and write seven-page papers about. You might not have time to go browsing at a bookstore, so you should know about the essentials. Below is a list of five books that every college student should read at some point in their educational career.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This has been in the news a lot recently, as the film adaptation starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman was just released a couple months ago. But this book, written in 1999, is a great coming of age tale. It follows Charlie, a shy, troubled boy, as he attempts to make his way through his first year of high school. It’s a poignant book and a modern-day classic. If you missed reading it when you were younger, definitely take the time to read it now.

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Other Safety

What To Do If Your Laptop is Stolen at College

August 23, 2018
What to Do If Your Laptop is Stolen

So you were at the library and got up for a minute. Maybe you left your dorm room door open while running to the bathroom. Maybe you went to check on something while you were doing work in the lounge. Maybe your apartment was broken into. Whatever the reason, the laptop you once had is now gone. What do you do?

Having your laptop stolen is the worst. Though it may make you want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever, that’s likely not an option mid-semester when you’ve got papers to write and tests to study for. Instead, follow these tips to regain your sanity and replace your laptop.

File a Police Report

If you’re on-campus, contact campus police to file a report. If you’re off-campus, contact your city or town’s police department to file a report with them. This is important because if your laptop is found, it can be returned, and if you’re filing an insurance claim, you’ll need to have filed a police report first.

Change Your Passwords

If you know you have saved passwords on your laptop or are auto-logged into sensitive or personal accounts, like your email, Facebook, or bank accounts, get to a computer to change them right away.

Consider Identity Theft Protection

If you’ve stored sensitive information on your laptop, like your credit card numbers and passwords, you may want to consider purchasing Identity Theft Protection to help alert you if someone uses your information to commit fraud. Identity Theft Protection is often offered for a low monthly rate and can provide assistance in resolving any incidents and can also offer insurance for lost funds.

Check on Coverage

Do you have a renters insurance policy? If you do, consult your policy to look for a couple things. First, check if there is any limit on electronics coverage and make sure that your laptop doesn’t exceed that amount. Next, check to see what kind of replacement your policy provides. Then, check for your deductible. This will be the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket to replace your laptop, your insurance will cover the rest.

After you’ve got all this info, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company to replace the laptop. Check your policy docs for information on where to send your claims info. According to the Internet (, it’ll take about a week or two for the money to come through or your laptop to be replaced. If you purchase Renters Insurance from GradGuard, our underwriter, Markel, will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you don’t have Renters Insurance, talk to your parents about whether you might be covered under their Homeowners Insurance. If you are, and the deductible is lower than the cost to replace the laptop (homeowners’ deductibles tend to fall around $500-$1,000), it could make sense to file a claim under their Homeowners Insurance. Keep in mind that filing a claim on their insurance may raise their premium, so it may make sense to just replace it out of pocket, especially if they have a high deductible.

Hopefully, you have some coverage, if not, you’ll have to figure out how to replace your laptop on your own. In the meantime, look into your options around campus – there may be computer labs you can use until you are able to get a replacement. Otherwise, be sure you back up your documents and get a college renters insurance policy!

Health Other

Relax More, Study Better! Relaxation Tips for College Students

June 6, 2018

You can feel the pre-exam butterflies in your stomach and you respond by pouring over your notes one more time. But the anxiety is crippling, and the faster your heart beats, the fuzzier your brain becomes. When exam day arrives, you fumble your way through the fog and carry those nerves into the papers that follow.

Wouldn’t it be nice to occupy a calm headspace so you can study methodically, enjoy what you’re learning, and eventually write the best paper possible?

As counterintuitive as it might seem, the trick might be to do less.

Science suggests that real focus comes from being in a relaxed state, so we’ve got five tips on how to calm the mind and body, supported by insights from Dr. Mark Williamson. Dr. Williamson is the co-founder of Action for Happiness and contributor to a recent campaign exploring the ways people relax all over the world.


Anxiety is the result of our evolutionary reaction to life-threatening events. While your calculus exam may not be the same as fighting off a lion,  you can’t study effectively if you’re anxious because your body will be in a permanent fight or flight mode. The answer? Step up your exercise game. According to Dr. Williamson, “Physical activity can potentially be as effective as antidepressants for alleviating some forms of depression and anxiety.”

Plenty of universities and colleges nationwide have exercise-inviting opportunities!. During orientation, make sure to take a tour of the recreational facilities. Universities post their class schedules on their websites that are often taught by Exercise Science majors. Don’t forget about intramurals, hiking clubs, and outdoors clubs.  

Which brings us to our next point: 

Get Outside!

Often times as a college student, your daily routine involves a lot of sitting around staring at screens and sitting in lecture halls. That’s not good for your mental health and while it may seem productive, it can often cause us to end up in a bout of procrastination. 

Make an effort to tear yourself away from the laptop and soak up the outdoors. Science shows that being in nature can boost your memory, your mood, and particularly your vision. Make it a practice every 15 minutes to look up from your screen to the furthest place you can see for 30 seconds in order to exercise your eyeballs. 

Returning to studying after an extended walk around the campus courtyard will likely make you feel refreshed and energized. The additional sunshine will increase your absorption of Vitamin D, a significant factor in your ability to maintain your busy schedule. 

Eat Your Veggies!

When you’re in your residential hall’s dining room cafe, make sure not to reach for the chocolate-laden cereal but rather a meal low insurance and loaded with healthy fats. Studies show that this can make a measurable difference in the way we process information and deal with stress. When you first wake up, your body is in a fasting state and will grab on to the first thing it gets. Sugary items will immediately spike your blood sugar for a temporary energy burst and will soon be followed by a crash. Mental clarity will be hard to come by. 

Many universities have a plentiful array of nuts in their dining halls. Consuming cashews can be just as much as an anti-depressant as exercise can. Pay careful attention to your dietary habits your first time away from home.

Don’t Multi-Task 

When your laundry list is larger than your actual laundry pile itself, it’s hard not to multi-task.  The Pomodoro Technique developed by Francesco Cirillo can help you focus on one important task and not be distracted by the impending others. Start up the stopwatch on your phone and dedicate 25 minutes to uninterrupted study followed by a 5-minute break. Repeat this three times, and after repetition number four, take a longer 30-minute break.

Focus can be hard to achieve at the best of times, but the more you practice, the more accomplished you’ll get at it. So when the exam nerves take over, get up and take a break from your books. It could be the best move you make all semester. Another great move is making sure that you are covered with both renters and tuition insurance through GradGuard. Take an additional moment to relax and unwind knowing that your personal belongings are protected and your education investment insured. Check out GradGuard’s offers regarding renters and tuition insurance on our website.

About the Author: Robert Craig is a journalist and advertising copywriter who spent three productive years in college, and graduated with a degree in English and film. With the benefit of hindsight, he would have channeled more of the study techniques outlined above.

Adulting Other

Fresh Ideas to Help Students Get Organized

May 1, 2018

While it is true that students have different habits in place to stay productive, these habits are learned behavior. Often times students have trouble organizing their lives with the whirlwind of changes that accompany college. With practice, organization and productivity will become a second nature. 

Creating a solid foundation of skills in college is the stepping stone to a successful career post-graduation. We’ve outlined some core principles below to help you get started, however, there is so much more to learn. We urge you to visit this website for more information. The tools you’ll learn will change your life.

Motivated by Mobile

We love our mobile phones. We use them to keep in touch with everyone we know. We take selfies and record funny moments to share. Keep in mind that your cell phone, not only a toy, it is a tool. It is one of the most advanced tools of the century.  Time to nail your newfound productiveness with the help of these apps:

  •   Wunderlist
    •    Wunderlist lets you effortlessly enter reminders, dates, projects, study time, work, and more.
  •   Trello
    •  This is another free app that is very useful for any project. The layout allows you to see the entire project. Place photos of things you will need and drag them around the screen to give you a step-by-step visual board.
  •  Be Focused
    • This free app is your time management partner. Set up blocks of time to do particular duties. This app will keep you focused and will track the time according to how you customized it.
  •  Apple’s iTunes University
    • This is home to a library of curriculum course material from many top universities and colleges.
  • Exam Vocabulary Builder
    • This is an app to improve English vocabulary. More than 6-million people use this for advancement or for language proficiency.

There are many more. Click here for the top 15.

Create a Dedicated Workstation

As simple as it may sound, dedicating a specific place to a workstation is an important feature for productivity. It does not have to be elaborate; a small desk with drawers for your files and a shelf for books will do just fine. This space should be solely used for work in order to create a habitual mental environment. Eventually, you will be mentally trained to focus on your work when you are seated at your workstation. 

Unclutter and Coordinate

Your backpack rides along with you to each class, each study session, and often even to after-class activities. By the end of the week, your backpack is bursting at the seams with notes, assignments, and that granola bar you thought you were going to have for a snack on Monday. Dump it! Every Saturday, empty your backpack and get rid of what you don’t need. Check supplies that you will need for the upcoming week and be ready.

An unnecessary stressor for many is often the amount of energy spent getting ready to study. Be smart. Purchase colored folders and categorize them by class. If you have projects, use a colored, plastic crate to keep them together.

As you grow in your organization skills, you will find which of your study habits are simply the way you have always behaved, which serve you and make you a better student. By cutting away at the useless habits and incorporating new ways of thinking, you will become more effective, less stressed, and increasingly more focused. Once you remove the cluttered mentality, you will find more time to do what needs to be done.

Remember: your world must be customized for you. What works for you may not work for others. Some people can stand the sound of coffee machines and distant chatter while others can listen to music and retain the information they are learning. Or maybe you just need the quiet calm of a library. You will discover what works for you by trial and error.

As you enter the midterm season, have the tools at hand that work for you. Make this a banner semester filled with flourishing productivity and a less stress. Speaking of less stress, did you know that GradGuard is always dedicated to helping students make their lives easier? Upon uncluttering your life and getting yourself organized, be sure that all of your valuable assets are protected with renter’s insurance.  Learn more about what they offer and why you should have renter’s insurance by visiting our website today.

Career Other

5 Tips to Ace Your College Midterms

October 5, 2017

Clean Study Bag
Once again, it’s nearly time for midterm examinations. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking “How is it already halfway through the semester?” closely followed by “Midterms? Seriously?!” Fret not, however! Use these tips to effectively tackle midterms (and then enjoy your subsequent spring break).

1. Start early. As unpleasant as it may sound, beginning to study early and go over your exam materials a couple weeks before your midterms will really pay off in the long run. While it certainly won’t be the most fun thing you’ll do all semester, you’ll be happy when it comes down to crunch time and you have 6 exams in one week but you don’t have to feverishly cram as much as possible and miss out on sleep. Plus, starting early gives you more time to really absorb all the information so that you’ll do better on your exams as a whole.

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Other Student Life

A College Guide to Cramming for Fall Midterms

November 8, 2016


Fall Midterms are a mid-semester source of stress.  Many are complete and for some students, they will happen during the first weeks of November.    Take note – millions of college students have been through this moment in time. You are not alone.

For most college students, midterms are looming closer and closer, that one last roadblock before the relief that is Thanksgiving.  And while some of your peers may have gotten the jump on studying for exams, there are plenty others that let things get the better of them.

Fear not, procrastinators, for we have the ultimate guide for cramming for your midterm exams!

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