Midterms: Get Your Distractions to Work for You

It’s that time of the school year, midterms! If you’re like any of the students that Char (our RU Student Life video blogger) and I spoke with for her latest video- you need a little breath of fresh air. I don’t mean a stroll through the quad… except for those of you who live on the fourth floor of the library; ya’ll need some sun!
What I’m talking about is a new perspective. When Char asked about your studying tricks, a lot of you gave the same generic: “Do you readings, don’t procrastinate, re-write your notes” answers. Awww shut up!
We’re in university, the same high school tactics for making the grade won’t necessarily work each time anymore. I don’t know about the rest of you but Facebook and smartphones are seducing me now, during midterms, more than ever. So here’s my advice; stop fighting it. Use your distractions to your studying advantage.
Here are the top studying apps to help you make the grade:

It’s pretty unanimous, the latest updates to Facebook have taken the term ‘Facebook creeping’ to the next level. You can use to your advantage; the new Facebook app Hoot.Me allows you to creep the studying activity of your classmates on Facebook.”Hoot.Me is a Facebook application that allows you see what your friends are working on and collaborate with them inside of Facebook”, so say it’s 3am and you just don’t have the patience to figure out what Shakespeare is trying to say, you can search up all of the Ryerson students who are currently studying English, more specifically Shakespeare on Facebook. If no one is doing so at the moment you can look through other school group sessions to see if anyone at York, Humber or those bastards at U of T are indulging in some Macbeth as well. Once you do find a study group you can or video conferences or smart chats.


If you know that you’re the type who cannot and will not use social media as a means to accomplish school work try SelfControl. This free app is available for Mac OSX users and “allows you to block access to websites and email servers”. Meaning, if you’re too damn weak and feeble to simply hold yourself back from accessing dancing cat videos on YoutTube, you can set the SelfControl app to block Youtube for as long as you need. Created by artist Steve Lambert, he explains that “the time you can block out to get focused work done is invaluable. Hopefully this will help you focus on whatever you need to do, from creating that project, writing your novel, studying for your exams, or whatever you want to do”. One of the bonus features on this app are 24 hour blocking options just incase you feel like reblogging Bieber gifs at 6am.


The morning of an important quiz you may want to review all of your notes during your commute to class. Pulling out your laptop or textbook during 8am rush hour on the TTC may not be the most convenient approach. With Evernote you can store your notes from class right onto the application on your laptop and sync them onto your phone with a wifi connection. Instead of having to pull out your notebooks you can access all of your notes right on your phone. This app helps you beyond midterms as well, allowing you to share documents with friends for group assignments, recording audio notes and images for quick reminders.
I’ve had a few profs who insits on explaining themselves through graphs and charts, what they don’t understand is that graphics are exactly straight forward when taking notes on a laptop. I simply grab my phone, take a snapshot of the graph and it automatically syncs up to the notes on my computer with a wifi connection.


Good luck with your midterm exams Ryerson! Regardless of what you’re studying weaknesses may or may not be, beyond technological assistance good old fashion keeping on top of readings, group study sessions, paying attention to the emphasized points during lectures and going over your notes well ahead of time are always a sure bet.

What apps do you use when studying?