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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Tag: Study

Study Hacks to Avoid NCEA Panic Attacks

It’s almost time for summer holidays, but first the dreaded NCEA season is approaching. Have you barricaded yourself in your room with an ungodly amount of snacks yet? Have you spent the required 2.5 hours debating aesthetic highlighter choices for your study notes? Do you know when your exams are? These, and the list below, are all equally important things to consider when preparing for your exams.

Image of a collection of NCEA study books at He Matapihi Library

Controversial librarian take: I wish we could shelve these study guides by colour instead of by call number. [Editor’s note: HOW VERY DARE YOU! (also, yes). -SC]


1: Use the official study guides.

No shade to the NCEA system, but when I was a teen you would literally see questions in the study books that would then turn up, ALMOST VERBATIM, in the exam. This is because, though it can be hard to believe, the people that write your tests want you to succeed.  Making your way through these guides is therefore something you do not want to miss out on. If you don’t have a copy of the study guides, no worries, we have copies at most of our libraries. Click here to find ’em all.


2: Practice with past exams.

Following the previous tip, you can go to the official NCEA website and take past exams. You can them come print them off at the library if you like!

Extra for experts: Practice completing your exams within the time limit that you will have on the day, with no looking things up! The closer you can get to practicing in actual test conditions, the less stressed you’ll hopefully get on the day.


3: Don’t leave it to the last minute.

Trying to revise a whole year of work in a day is impossible. Saying “today I will study for 4 hours” is vague. Try setting specific and manageable goals. Make a plan that breaks down exactly what you intend to revise, and what day you will do it on. This means that, when you sit down to study, you won’t have to waste brain energy figuring out where you should start. You could pair this with a cute to-do list or calendar to track your progress. You could even incorporate cute stamps or stickers. You are never too old or cool for stickers. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you can find an excuse to go get some cute stationery, you should do it. I am not sponsored by Big Stationery, but gosh I wish I was. Anyway, back to studying, this leads me to my next tip…


4: Take breaks!

The fact is that, although it sounds very impressive to say “I’m going to study for 5 hours today”, most people need to take breaks. Exactly how long/how many will depend on your brain! I have looked briefly around at various resources and a common suggestion is 45 mins of work, then 15 mins of downtime to recharge, so maybe try that and then change it up to find what works best for you.

On this note, although it may be tempting to use that break time to zone out with your phone, I challenge you to give yourself a proper rest from your screen. Try going for a walk outside, making yourself a hot drink, eating a snack or lying in the sun listening to music. Find an activity that you enjoy that lets your mind wander, but that isn’t a procrastination trap.


5: Have a study group/buddy.

This could take many different forms! Are you more likely to study if you sit with a group of friends who are hard at work? Do you prefer learning facts if there’s a chance to get competitive about it? Do you find it easier to understand concepts if you talk them out with someone? There’s heaps of reasons to add a social aspect to your studying! Sidenote: you could also incorporate some mild hijinks into your study day. For example, me and my friends once all met for a library study session in Where’s Wally outfits. We then took breaks to play real life Where’s Wally in the library. Yes, we were studying for a theatre class. Yes, we were fully grown adults at university. Yes, I am still extremely cool.


6: Make it a e s t h e t i c .

Here’s where you get to use those fancy new highlighters. After revising a concept, condense what you have learned into a mind map/flow chart/summary page. This will then be a helpful tool for when you want to briefly look over a topic. It’s also a nice safety blanket for exam day.


7: GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS.

Put your phone on silent, in a shoe box, and throw it into the ocean. Maybe not in the ocean, but keep that thing as far out of your study zone as possible.

Headphones can be really helpful if your study space isn’t very peaceful, os if you have annoying siblings you need help ignoring. I suggest playing ambient music or lo-fi hiphop beats, whatever helps you separate yourself from any distracting sounds. Related to this, the teen blog team here at WCL might be cooking up something very interesting for you. 

Extra for expert: Turn your Wi-Fi off. Don’t be online at all until you are finished studying. As an ancient person who sat my NCEA exams before it was common to have wi-fi at home, I can assure you it’s possible to study without constantly being online.


8: …it’s like a reward.

End your study session with a treat. Have some Tiktok or video game time to reward yourself for a hard day of studying. You could also plan a fun hang-out with your friends later in the day, that way you have a set time where you have to be done studying by. Deadlines can be very helpful!

~Extra hard mode~: You can only text your crush back once you finish studying. Honestly, I would not be surprised if this helps a person learn a concept faster.


Helpful books!

Learning how to learn : how to succeed in school without spending all your time studying / Oakley, Barbara A.
“A surprisingly simple way for students to master any subject… “Learning How to Learn” have empowered more than two million learners of all ages from around the world to master subjects that they once struggled with. Now in this new book for kids and teens, the authors reveal how to make the most of time spent studying. — Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be a knowledge ninja : study smarter, focus better, achieve more / Allcott, Graham
“Paralysed by procrastination? Harness some Ninja Focus to get things started. Overwhelmed by exam nerves? You need some Zen-like Calm to turn those butterflies into steely focus. Surrounded by too many scrappy notes and unfinished to-do lists? Get Weapon-savvy with the latest organizational technology.” (Catalogue)

The study skills handbook / Cottrell, Stella
“Your essential companion for succeeding with your studies. Bestselling author Stella Cottrell equips you with the skills you need to improve your grades, build your confidence and plan for the future you want. Recognising that we each have a unique formula for success, her tried and trusted approach helps you find the key to unlock your potential.” (Catalogue)

How to study / Fry, Ronald W
“Best-selling HOW TO STUDY, SEVENTH EDITION reveals the study skills that all students need to know in order to be successful, whether the goal is landing a top scholarship or excelling in school. This edition includes information on how to create an effective work environment, stand out in class, use the library, conduct research online, and much more. Plus, author Ron Fry covers all the traditional elements of a winning study strategy, such as reading, writing, time-management, memory, and test-taking skills. HOW TO STUDY, SEVENTH EDITION introduces a revolutionary study system, along with examples, that gives students the edge in any learning environment.” (Catalogue)

Information Literacy and You: Part 3

Using trusted sites and books

The trick for information literacy skills from Gandalf is to keep reading, reading and reading.

And the follow-up skill for reading, is searching, searching and searching. Knowing how to do an information search is critical for accessing and disseminating the appropriate information. Having information needs, i.e. finding out who is in that music video you’re covering for a Music studies report or finding that one massive reference to use in your History essay can make the difference in your exams and assessments. It also helps you discover awesome things when you’re surfing the net or getting books out of the library. There are various reference collections for important areas of knowledge such as the Māori reference and loan collection, or the standard hard-copy dictionary or thesaurus, maps and atlases collection. Not all library’s have extensive access. but they are spread out over the branch’s for you to use.

the follow-up skill for reading, is searching, searching and searching

Doing Google searches for instance in a reference-style, is a great starting way of looking for sources and information. Using the Library catalogue is another search engine function where you can group together keywords, such as relevant subjects or authors you want to explore about. These searches will bring up a list of results, and then with the short blurbs displayed will give you an idea as to the relevancy of the material being resulted. The same principle is used to sort out Google search results and other search engines, such as those within the history archive Recollect from the library website.

The library has several services that you can use to gain reliable information, all with your library card! Just log into the eLibrary section of the Wellington City Library website and scroll down to More Resources, where you will find the section entitled Rauemi ā-ipurangi (the My Gateway online resources https://wcl.govt.nz/mygateway/).

Image of the database frontpage, showcasing the various subjects that databases are to be found within.

The library’s many databases collection. Find the subjects you are interested in today!

There is also available the WCL Recollect platform (https://wellington.recollect.co.nz/), which helps you history buffs access a treasure trove of information, curated by the Library’s resident historian Gábor Tóth. Remember to apply your Info Literacy skills to the search results to further expand your knowledge, also remember if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. If it’s not relevant, then there’s no need to read it.

Image of the library's historical research database, Recollect.

Screenshot of the Recollect service offered by the library. Use this for historical research.

if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t

Government-listed websites are also important sources of information, and can contain really useful information, such as on te taiao – the environment. Using places like DOC to find your information, it can make a difference to your understanding and the reports that you write. It also helps you to be a better Aotearoan.

Image of the Department of Conservation website, front page

Screenshot of the official Department of Conservation website.

So, now you have the skills to analyse greater amounts of knowledge specifically, and to withstand misinformation in its many guises. Don’t be fooled by the media and unlimited access to ‘information’, always read beyond the page and think critically about what is being said.

Check Your History with Bridget Williams Books

You know those little white books with coloured spines you see by the counter at bookshops?  -back in the day when you were allowed to leave your house to go to bookshops and libraries, two weeks and a different world ago- Well, those little books are some of the amazing books published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB).

I think that lots of people never really think about the people who are involved in editing and publication.  They slip under the radar a lot. We think about the person or people who wrote the book and who end up reading it but the truth is that a LOT happens to the book between someone writing it and you reading it! If you’re a creative writer or do much writing for school you’ll probably know that it is an entirely different headspace and process between writing and editing. I wrote a very rough draft of this blog post in a scrappy old paper book before I ever touched the keys.

Bridget Williams has been publishing in Aotearoa/New Zealand since 1976. If you’ve ever read or seen The Oxford History of New Zealand, Tangata Whenua:  An Illustrated History or A History of New Zealand Women, she has been involved in all of these. These days she is the director and publisher of BWB and continues to be part of the creation of some of the most important local writing that’s being made.

BWB has a focus on telling stories from this country and puts emphasis on publishing with and for Māori. They are interested in exploring the experience of people who live on these islands and being a platform for voices that have historically not had a platform to speak from.

(Side note: Try looking at all the books on your/anyone’s bookshelf and count how many of them are: written by someone from Aotearoa/New Zealand, written by women or genderqueer people, written by indigenous people, published in New Zealand, have an LGBTQ+ author or content … Also how many different languages are on your bookshelf?)

As you can’t run down to the library right now (even though I know you really really want to) and check out these books in person, what you do have access to is their  amazing online resources. If you’ve got a research project for school, or are just looking for some words to fill the extra time you’ve got at home, these are awesome resources to explore: just plug in your library card number and your PIN and you’re good to go!

Bridget Williams Books – Text Collection: for all your bookish needs — we all know you have them!

Bridget Williams Books – The NZ History Collection: for all your historical needs.

Bridget Williams Books – Treaty of Waitangi Collection: for all your Te Tiriti needs.

NCEA Time!

Good luck to all senior secondary students currently sitting NCEA exams.

Here are a few links to help you out:

 

Study Stop

The all important exam timetable and info about the exam rules and etiquette

Past exam papers and exemplars from NZQA (click on a subject to find the papers and what’s required to pass). Study Time also has these.

Study tips and advice can be found on Study It, NZQA, Study Time (filmed in the Central Library!).

Subject help can be found on Study It.

Cliffs Notes is where you’ll find literature guides for those novels you’ve read this year.

Find lots of subject info in our selection of databases. Encyclopaedia Britannica is a good place to start.

Need a break? Procrastinate here with these awesome links.

 

You are welcome to study in our libraries. They are warm, dry, have wifi, and you can bring in your coffee and a nibble. The librarians will help you find any info you need.

Good luck!

 

Need money for study?

BreakOut – Scholarships and Grants FREE SEMINAR

Do you need money to study, research, or for your personal and professional development?

The Funding Information Service is holding a free BreakOut presentation in Wellington Central Library (ground floor, in the teen area). The seminar will show you how to find the best scholarships and grants for you.

BreakOut lists information on over 3800 scholarships and grants for students, professionals, researchers, sports people, and artists and Wellington City Libraries provides free public access to BreakOut.

The details:

Wednesday 10 April 2013

4-5pm, Wellington Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

No RSVP required. Just show up! (Can’t make it? Visit the Funding Information Service for info about BreakOut)

School’s back, oh well

The library is here to help! We’ve got information, and trained professionals who know how to use it: libraries are useful places when you’re studying. Here are some helpful things:

  • The teen blog study stop pages – full of useful links and tips.
  • Mygateway.info – if you’ve never visited then you really should, it’s like a virtual reference collection with a huge amount of online databases (many that you can only access with your library card – google won’t help you find these treasures). They’re sorted by subject, a helpful jumping-off point.
  • Anyquestions.co.nz – librarians online to help discover the answers to tricky reference questions, Monday to Friday, 1 to 6pm during school time. If you’re looking out of hours, there’s the manyanswers database which is a good starting point.
  • The teen blog book lists page – for if you’re looking for some fiction to read.

All the best for the school year.

Exams: don’t panic!

It’s exam time again, but never fear! Come to the library to study. Also, here’s some useful stuff:

Past Exam Papers. You can download these off the NZQA website here (you can print exam papers out at the library – printing costs 20c for an A4 black and white page).

The 2012 Exam Timetable. Here’s a link to the timetable (PDF).

NCEA Study Guides. You can borrow these from the library (for one week). If someone’s got the one you want, there are reference copies at the central library. Just bring your library card to the children’s enquiries desk.

Forum for students. Ask advice and talk to teachers and other students at studyit.

Revision tools for NCEA Science. At No Brain Too Small.

Exam tips from the good people at NZQA here.

Online Databases. The library’s got a wealth of information available through MyGateway. The Study and Homework page has got a collection of all-round useful websites and databases, but also have a look at Science, History, or Books & Reading, for example.

Exam Info Alerts. Find out the latest information from NZQA via Twitter.

Studystop Pages. Useful links and hints are here.

WCL Teens at Facebook. While you’re on a study break, like us on Facebook to waste some time.

The teen blog wishes you all the best for your exams!

Exams: the final hurdle

Tis the season. If you’ve got exams coming up, don’t worry! Come to the library to study. Also, here’s some useful stuff:

Past Exam Papers. You can download these off the NZQA website here (you can print exam papers out at the library – printing costs 20c for an A4 black and white page).

NCEA Study Guides. You can borrow these from the library (for one week). If someone’s got the one you want, there are reference copies at the central library. Just bring your library card to the children’s enquiries desk.

Forum for students. Ask advice and talk to teachers and other students at studyit.

Online Databases. The library’s got a wealth of information available through MyGateway. The Study and Homework page has got a collection of all-round useful websites and databases, but also have a look at Science, History, or Books & Reading, for example.

Exam Info Alerts. Find out the latest information from NZQA via Twitter.

Studystop Pages. Useful links and hints are here.

WCL Teens at Facebook. While you’re on a study break, like us on Facebook (we have a timewasting tab).

Spiderrzz. Because it’s almost exam time, and Halloween in fact, it’s time once again to point you towards a horribly realistic virtual spider.

NCEA results online today

Yes, it’s true, you can find out your NCEA results right now. Teen Blog wishes everyone the best of luck.

For those of you who are now finished with your secondary education, congratulations! Everyone else going back to school later on this year should note that the YA section of your local library has all the relevant study guides and that the Central Library has past exam papers. Note that down in your diaries for the next study period, or get a ridiculously large jump start on it now.

The Oh Yay It’s Almost Exam Time Blog Post

KitKatNearly time to study for exams? Never fear, here are some links and stuff that will help you:

Rather than shutting yourself in your room to study, you could also consider the library as a venue: we’ve got copies of NCEA study guides, and some past exam papers (or you could download from the NZQA site at the library), tables, chairs, and ambience.

If you’re needing to procrastinate take a small micropause, here are some non-study related links that may interest you:

n3w b00k5

The Poison Eaters And Other Stories, by Holly Black (212 pages) – A collection of stories, all ‘gritty, grim, and fabulous’, by the author of the Modern Faerie Tales (some of the stories in this collection are in the same setting) and the Spiderwick Chronicles. To sweeten the deal! there are illustrations.

The Emerald Casket : The Billionaire Trilogy Book II, by Richard Newsome (378 pages) – This continues this detective/mystery series about a billionaire (lucky!) who recovers stolen jewels, solves murders, and has some pretty sweet adventures. (The author, Richard Newsom, was born in New Zealand. We shall claim him as our own.)

First lines: ‘A meaty hand slapped down on top of the alarm clock. Of all the sounds that Constable Lethbridge of the London Metropolitan Police might want to hear on a Sunday, a buzzer at six o’clock in the morning was not high on the list.

Infinity : Chronicles of Nick, by Sherrilin Kenyon (464 pages) – This is the first in a series, I guess? About Nick Gautier, who is sarcastic and wise to the ways of the streets. He is accidently drawn into the world of the Dark-Hunters*, and there are vampires, werewolves, and zombies, everywhere.

*These are a related series for adults. This is her first YA book

First lines: ‘Free will. Some have called it the greatest gift bestowed on humanity.

The Boneshaker, by Kate Milford (372 pages) – Natalie’s love of machinery means only she is able to save her small Missouri town from the threat posed by Doctor Jake Limberleg’s Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show. Historical fantasy (it is 1913!) meets steampunk and magic. This book has great illustrations and – this might just be me! – a wicked cool typeface*

*11-point Letterpress

First line: ‘Strange things  can happen at a crossroads.’

Epitaph Road, by David Patneaude (266 pages) – It is 2097, and a virus has wiped out 97% of all men. Now women rule the world and there is no war, crime, hunger, and poverty. Fourteen-year-old Kellen tries to find his outcast father (the surviving males lead a restricted life) and ‘uncovers a secret so frightening that his life and the future of the world will never be the same again.’

First line: ‘Charlie frowned as muted sunlight leaked through the ragged umbella of evergreen boughs overhead.

The Exile of Gigi Lane, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos (340 pages) – The catalogue says, ‘Heathers meets Bring It On in this story of a high school queen bee’s fall from glory,’ which is, if you’ve never seen Heathers, a pretty favourable comparison. Gigi – the high school queen bee – does fall from grace, but she won’t stand for it.

First line: ‘I’m Gigi Lane and you wish you were me. Oh my God, that has to be the most powerful affirmation in the history of the world.

Empire of the Undead : Chronicles of Blood, by Gary Cross (298 pages) – This is the second book in a series. As the title might suggest! the series is about vampires. LOADS of them in fact. It is also 1666. (Gary Cross is a NZ writer, so if there’s still an NCEA requirement that you read a NZ author, here’s a good one.)

First line: ‘Fifteen-year-old Mary Shire hated being undead.

Here are some non-fiction books! The titles tell you all you need to know, I’m thinking.

Max Your Marks : Tip From Top Students on How to Conquer Year 13, by Rowena Austin, Annie Hastwell, & Dorothy Vinicombe (273 pages)
Living With a Willy : The Inside Story, by Nick Fisher (151 pages)
The Twilight Saga : Eclipse – The Official Illustrated Movie Companion, by Mark Cotta Vaz (140 pages)

Get smart AND please your parents. Win, win!

The good people at the Ministry of Education have put an awesome website together for NCEA students of English, Maths and Sciences, called StudyIt.  Bookmark it!

As well as online help and past exam papers, the site includes:

* online forums
* achievement standards written in student friendly language
* study tips
* other subjects – ie forums where other things are being discussed, for example “how to be dux”, “career paths” and other subject areas.

While you’re in the zone, make sure you view our very own study advice webpage Study Stop, which is laden with links to resources both in the library and outside the library.

Shmoop

Shmoop has been developed by students and teachers in some of the U.S’s top universities, and is laden with resources – summaries, multimedia content, and links – for students and teachers. It’s still in beta but it looks very good! Try it out. Try eeet.

All your database are belong to us

There are a number of online databases that members of the Wellington Library can use for free. All of them can be accessed via this page here. The Gale PowerSearch database has several useful ‘products’ that students at a high school level will find useful; the Student Resource Centre has loads of info about all kinds of stuff, including video, audio, articles, statistics, news, viewpoints, and creative works. Which is pretty sweet. Another product is the Opposing Viewpoints Centre, which offers similar information about today’s hottest social issues.

Other useful databases include Oxford Art Online, Press Display (up-to-date online scans of hundreds of newspapers from around the world), and Break Out (a database of scholarships, awards, and grants available in New Zealand).

A wealth of resources! And all free so long as you have a valid Wellington library card.

“You’ll be amazed at what you can learn in an evening”

says Victoria University…

VU are referring to their Information Evening being held on the 8th of May. Prospective students, this is your chance to find out about the university’s full range of courses, degrees and student services.

VU’s Information Evening is on Thursday 8 May 2008 from 6pm at the Maclaurin Foyer (Kelburn Campus, Gate 5, Kelburn Parade, Wellington).

RSVP to 0800 VIC UNI or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.  Visit their site to find out more.