5 Tips to Form a Successful Study Group

Forming a study group is an excellent way to challenge yourself to learn new material. Have you ever heard that in order to teach about a subject, that you have to know it really well yourself? The same premise applies with study groups. Study groups are all about students teaching what they know to their peers.

1) Choose Carefully: Decide who would be a good fit for your study group before approaching them to join. You want a dedicated student who will pull their own weight within the group; don’t choose someone who is popular, but is a slacker about their work habits. Small groups work best, usually no more than six to eight members total.

2) Divide to Conquer: Decide on what material the group will cover in the next study session, and assign individual members to cover a section of the material. In this way, you just need to study an overview of the material, rather than study it all in depth, as it each section will be covered more in depth within the group. Have the person assigned to each section make notes for the other members of the group.

3) Challenge Each Other: Start each study session with a short review of the material covered in the last session. Have the student who covered the material in depth in the previous session make up a number of questions about the material for the others to answer. Use these questions to help you prepare for exams.

4) Stay on Topic: Try to stay on topic, and not let the study session deteriorate into critiquing your instructor’s gravy-stained tie, or the too-short skirt the most overweight female in the class was wearing yesterday. It might even help to designate a group member to keep everyone on task.

5) Meet Regularly: For the best results, meet with your group two or three times a week. Keep the sessions to 60 to 90 minutes time. Too long study sessions result in exhaustion for everyone involved, and reduces retention of material.

Good luck in forming your own study group. You’ll enjoy studying more when you can share the trials and tribulations of learning new material with others.

USMLE Step 1 Exam Prep – 4 High-Yield Brachial Plexus Tips For The Step 1 Exam

While many people preparing for their USMLE Step 1 exams tend to focus on the tougher subjects like Pathology and Pharmacology, it is imperative that you do a good review of your Anatomy material because you are guaranteed to get a few really easy questions. If you take just a little bit of time to go through the high-yield anatomy notes from your review books or course, you are going to get an easy 5-7 points on your exam, which as you may know can be the difference between a sub-200 score and an above-200 score.

In order to make this process as easy for you as possible, I am going to outline five common injuries that are related to the brachial plexus, which is a very high-yield USMLE topic.

Here we go:

Median Nerve Injury – this commonly results from an injury to the supracondyle of the humerus, and results in a loss of the following:

– forearm pronation

– wrist flexion

– finger flexion

– thumb movement

And it also results in a loss of sensation to the thumb, lateral aspect of the palm, and the first 2.5 fingers.

Radial Nerve Injury – this occurs commonly when there is an injury to the shaft of the humerus, and results in the following:

– loss of triceps reflex

– loss of brachioradialis reflex

– loss of carpi radialis longus

These symptoms lead to the commonly known “wrist drop”, as well as a loss of sensation to the posterior antebrachial cutaneous and the posterior brachial cutaneous nerves.

Ulnar Nerve Injury – this occurs with injury to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, and causes the following problems:

– impaired flexion and adduction of the wrist

– impaired adduction of the ulnar two fingers and the thumb

There is also a loss of sensation to the medial aspect of the palm, as well as loss of sensation to the medial half of the ring finger and the pinky.

Axillary Nerve Injury – occurs as a result of injury to the surgical neck of the humerus and/or an anterior dislocation of the shoulder, resulting in the following:

– complete loss of deltoid movement

– loss of sensation over the deltoid muscle as well as the skin covering the inferior aspect of the deltoid

These are four common brachial plexus related injuries, and are very likely to present themselves on your USMLE Step 1 and/or Step 2 CK exams. Be aware that they will be disguised as clinical vignettes, but also refer back to your basic knowledge in order to choose the most accurate answer.

LSAT – 5 Great Tips For LSAT Success

1. It’s All In the Timing

As you flip through a practice LSAT test book, you read the questions and think to yourself, “Yeah, I could answer that question”. But can you answer 20+ of them within 20 minutes? And can you count on yourself not to panic when you hear the proctor shout, “5 minutes left!” Reviewing test-taking strategies and doing practice problems are undoubtedly helpful, but be sure to take full, timed LSAT tests for practice as well. Not only will timing yourself reveal which sections need the most and least work, but it’ll also help you inoculate yourself against the pressures of taking a timed test. The more like the real deal your practice sessions are, the better prepared you will be on your actual test day.

2. Learn From Your Mistakes

Taking practice tests and doing practice problems is a great way to prepare for the LSAT. But in order to get the most out of your practice, it’s important to know not only which questions you missed, but also why you missed them. After all, if you don’t know what mistakes you made, how can you learn from them?

3. One and Done

The LSAT sends a complete record of your LSAT scores to law schools to which you apply. If you’ve taken the test more than once, these law schools will average your scores together and use that score in considering your admission. Don’t try to take the edge off by telling yourself that you can always retake the test — do your best the first time around! Even if you take the test again and get an amazing score, any past, lower scores are going to dull its luster. No pressure or anything.

4. Always Be Prepared

You may have left the Boy Scouts of America behind long ago, but you will most likely never outgrow their universally applicable mantra. Don’t forget to bring everything that you need to bring with you to the testing center. Print out your admissions ticket the night before the exam, and make sure that all the information on the ticket matches what you think — sometimes testing rooms will change with little or no notice. Research and know the route to the testing center so you don’t let test-day jitters throw you off track. Mechanical pencils are not allowed on the LSAT, so bring several fresh No. 2 pencils and a pencil sharpener, as well as several good erasers. It may be helpful to bring a highlighter for close reading and an analog (non-digital) watch for keeping track of time. You can bring a ziplock bag (up to one gallon in size) with you, so cram all that stuff in there and be prepared for anything and everything!

5. Leave No Bubble Behind

There is no penalty for guessing on the LSAT. Obviously, you want to get the answer right, and an educated guess is always better than a shot in the dark, but if you find yourself out of time and with empty bubbles, just fill them in. Your LSAT score is calculated based on the number of correct answers you have, and there are no point deductions for incorrect answers, so leave no bubble behind!

Five Tips for Improving Your Reading Comprehension

I spent the better part of 17 years in and out of higher education. Eleven of those years were invested in taking classes and pursuing degrees. In the process of having to read a lot of books and articles that I didn’t really have time to read, I began asking myself, “Isn’t there a more effective way to do this?” Like many of you, I had a life outside of the academic world. I had a family, jobs, responsibilities, and the desire to enjoy some portion of each week. Reading was necessary, but it wasn’t something I always enjoyed.

That’s the way it is with academic reading… most of the things we have to read are not things we would normally select. We find ourselves falling asleep believing that the words from the book or article will ooze into our brains while our eyes are closed. There has to be a better way to stay alert and actually remember what we read! Try the following ideas:

1. Have a reading place. Create a place that is designated for reading. Don’t select a spot too comfortable or you will fall asleep. Don’t select a spot that is too uncomfortable or you will spend more time thinking about your discomfort than the reading.

2. Pick your time. If you are a morning person, your best time for reading is early morning; night people do better mid-morning to early afternoon. You have pockets of time when you are more alert, so use those times for reading. If you find yourself at work during those times, use your break times or weekends to maximize your effectiveness.

3. Focus on new information. We learn things best when we can connect new information to something we already know. Rather than simply highlighting information, write down questions such as, “How does this concept related to what I read in other publications?” For many people, highlighting sentences is counter-productive because they spend more time trying to make sure the lines are straight than they do paying attention to what the text actually says.

4. Speed up. Many people read at the speed they talk, yet research tells us that our brains process information much faster than we realize. Get in the habit of moving your eyes faster and see if you catch things you didn’t actually verbalize in your mind. You’ll be surprised at how much you actually comprehend when you speed up your reading.

5. Take good notes. In business and academics some texts are permanent fixtures. If you take good notes the first time you read a text, you will be better prepared to locate and use that information later. It is a poor use of your time to reread books and articles you have read before. File your notes so that you can locate them later. You might even stick a note inside the book telling you the location of your note.

Reading is an unpleasant part of our academic endeavors, so do all you can to maximize your efficiency. Time is too valuable to waste! Think about it!

17 Self Defense Tips for Dorm and Campus Safety

These 17 safety tips are on target to protect yourself and your property away at school…while still having college fun.

Not to mention, just think how at ease your parents will feel when you tell them about your safety plan.

1. Find out the best route between your residence hall, classes and activities. Take the safest route, not the fastest.

2. Don’t become distracted when walking alone. Keep the cell, i-pod, or other devices in your bag until you reach your destination. Contrary to popular believe, talking on the cell does not prevent an attacker from picking you. You become a prime target because you’re being distracted and your guard is down.

3. Travel in groups of two or more at night and always walk in well-lit, heavily traveled areas. Walk facing traffic so you’re never pulled-up upon unexpectedly.

4. Stay on sidewalks and away from shrubs, dark alleys, and doorways.

5. Make sure to share your class and activity schedule with friends and family.

6. When you go out, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to come back.

7. Know where the emergency telephones are located. Program your cell phone’s speed dial with emergency numbers that include family and friends and keep it with you.

8. Use shuttle buses after dark. If buses have stopped running, call the Escort Service or a taxi for a ride. Your life is worth the cab fare.

9. Wherever you are, stay alert to your surroundings and the actions of people around you…even at a party. Do not wander off alone with anyone. Keep around groups of friends. Remember, alcohol and/or drugs are involved in 90 percent of campus crimes.

10. Don’t flash large amounts of cash or other items like jewelry or expensive clothing. This makes you a prime target for those willing to mug or rob you at a later time.

11. Room doors should be equipped with peep holes and deadbolts. Always lock them when you are absent. Do not loan out your key. Have locks changed immediately when a key is lost or stolen. It’s bothersome, but very worth the time.

12. Always lock your doors on the 1st AND 2nd floor windows at night. Never leave a door unlocked for your roommate. Value yourself. Your life and safety are more important than their convenience.

13. Do not open your door to anyone unless you’re positive who is on the other side.

14. Do not enter elevators with someone who looks suspicious. If you get a bad feeling about them, TRUST IT. Don’t get on or get off at the next floor and take the next elevator. Report the person to security or the police right away.

15. Make it a rule. Do not use stairways alone.

16. Mark your property; personal computers, laptops, audio and video equipment with property tags and locks. Most are available online.

17. Visit your college or university’s security office. Ask questions. Laws require colleges and universities to automatically provide current students and staff with basic campus crime statistics and security policies. Prospective students and staff are to be notified of the availability of this information and to be given it upon request.

Statistics for certain off-campus areas have to be disclosed and schools with a security department must maintain a daily crime log.

Also, colleges and universities must provide the collection and disclosure of information about convicted, registered sex offenders either enrolled in or employed at the institution of higher education.

Pharmcas Pharmacy Schools That Do Require the PCAT & 3 Tips to Increasing Your Average PCAT Score

Imagine this! You are entering your final pre-pharmacy year and you are about to apply however, you bypass one minor (or big) fact. Some pharmacy schools in the US require the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test). Not knowing what school requires or doesn’t require the PCAT can delay your application and make things worst for you therefore denying your acceptance to pharmacy school. So below are the Pharmcas pharmacy schools in the USA that requires the PCAT.

1) University of Appalachia

2) University of Auburn

3) University of Buffalo

4) Butler University

5) Campbell University

6) University of Charleston

7) University of Cincinnati

8) University of Colorado

9) Creighton University

10) Drake University

11) East Tennessee State University

12) University of Florida

13) University of Harding

14) University of Hawaii at Hilo

15) Howard University

16) University of Chicago at Illinois

17) University of Iowa

18) University of Kentucky

19) LECOM Bradenton School of Pharmacy

20) LECOM Erie School of Pharmacy

21) Long Island University

22) University of Louisiana at Monroe

23) University of Maryland

24) Mercer University

25) Midwestern University at Downers Grove

26) Midwestern University at Glendale

27) University of Minnesota

28) Northeastern Ohio Universities – College of Pharmacy NEOUCOP

29) University of New Mexico

30) North Carolina at Chapel Hill

31) Nova Southeastern University

32) Ohio State University

33) University of Oklahoma

34) Palm Beach Atlantic University

35) University of Pittsburgh

36) Samford University

37) Shenandoah University

38) South University

39) St. John Fisher College

40) St. Louis College of Pharmacy

41) Temple University

42) University of Tennessee

43) Thomas Jefferson University

44) Virginia Commonwealth University

45) University of Washington

46) Wayne State University

47) West Virginia University

48) Wingate University

49) University of Wyoming

The 3 Big Tips In Increasing your Average PCAT score are:

1) Study from study guides, not from textbooks.

2) Take as many PCAT tests as possible UNDER testing conditions.

3) Prepare early. Do not wait until 1 week before the PCAT to start studying for it.

For more advice, tips and insiders secrets and a FREE PCAT Study Guide please visit http://www.GetIntoPharmacySchool.com

5 Great SAT Tips – What to Expect on Test Day

1. Start Preparing Early

To get the most out of SAT prep, you should start early. In fact, many National Merit Scholars-who usually score above 2100 on the SAT-begin preparing for the PSAT and SAT the summer before they become sophomores so they can make the most of the PSAT they have the option to take that year. Don’t start wondering whether or not third-order polynomials will be included in the math section the week before. Create a plan! If you need more structure or guidance, consider SAT prep classes, private tutoring, or an online course.

2. Dress Well

Think about this: the thermostat at the testing center on the morning of the test is likely to be set by someone just as groggy as you. You don’t want to trust them with your comfort-and shivering while you bubble is a sure way to “make a stray mark.” Avoid this by dressing in layers of comfortable clothing so you can adjust to your surroundings easily.

3. Be On Time

The College Board is not happy when you’re late to an SAT. To them, late is showing up after they’ve closed the doors to the testing rooms-between 8:30 and 9:00 am. In fact, their official policy states that late students will not be admitted to the testing center and will have to reschedule to take the test. Of course, there is a $24 fee for that. It’s fine if you don’t want to reschedule, but the fee you paid to take the test is nonrefundable. That’s $47 gone to waste. How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Show up before 7:45 am, as the College Board recommends. A few days before the test, map out a route to your testing center and make sure you’re familiar with it. If you’re particularly bad with directions, you might want to practice getting there-just think of it as another thing to study.

4. You Are Getting Very Sleepy…

Falling asleep during the SAT: fail. You could nap during one of the five-minute breaks you get, but we doubt it would do you any good. Instead, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before the SAT. Caffeine in the morning-be it coffee or an energy drink-might be a good idea, but if you should avoid it if you aren’t accustomed to it. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and, ironically enough, difficulty concentrating.

5. Oops! I Did It Again…

If you mess up, don’t worry: In 2009, the College Board introduced Score Choice, which allows you to select which test scores you want to send to a college on your score report. It is an optional service; if you do not elect to use it, all of your scores will be included on your score reports. Though it allows you to not disclose poor scores to the schools when applying, you should check your institution’s policy on SAT score reporting-often it is helpful to report all of your scores.

5 Tips to Wow the Admission Officer With Your College Application Essay

It’s time in your life that you search the internet for essay help to use for that dreaded college application, right? Now calm down, pay attention, and read along to find out just how you can impress whoever will be reading your college application essay.

First, Get to Know Yourself

Before you can start drafting your essay, it would greatly help to list down your strengths and anything that comes up to mind when you hear the words “What makes you, you?” When it comes to college application, the best essay help to remember would be this one. Why? College application essays exist mainly for one thing; to let the admission officers get to know you like no numbers on your test scores or bulleted facts on your resume could.

Honesty Catches the Eye

Fact is that you would like to impress those admission officers in all ways possible. With this in mind, you might be tempted to answer the essay thinking about what are the likely answers that would make such effect. But another fact is this; those college admission officers already know what you’re thinking. They can already spot the formulaic, insincere answers that usually come up from applicants who think first on how to impress instead of what I believe or what matters to me. If there’s another essay help, you should remember it’s this; honesty first.

Specificity Over Generalizations, Please

Some colleges have prompts or essay questions while others give you the freedom to pick whatever you want to write about. In both cases, choose a specific topic – it could be an ultra-unique experience or perhaps a quirky quality/interest you possess – and expand on it, use it to relate to the question (if ever there is) and stick to that viewpoint. Nobody wants to hear about your beliefs on, say, religion; what people would want to know is why, what are the specific events that happened in your life that led you to form those beliefs.

Know the Basics

When students ask for essay help they usually get the technical stuff. Knowing the basics of these technicalities does help. Thus, you should outline your ideas; have a compelling introduction that introduces your main viewpoint in one paragraph; build using specific examples to support your main viewpoint in two or three paragraphs, then in one paragraph, form a strong conclusion.

“Does It Sound Like Me?”

That is what you should ask yourself once you read aloud your entire essay after lots of revisions and proofreading. If you answer yes, then you’re all set. If not, then no problem, just rewrite it again and this time, write like how you would talk to a close friend – minus the slang, of course!

Do not hesitate to ask your parents, teachers and friends (and if you can find an adult stranger who could provide you impartial feedback, the better) for essay help. Remember, this is college; your essay might be one of the factors that could set the direction for the rest of your life.

Top 10 Tips For Buying Cheap Textbooks Online

Short of money? (Dumb question, I know). Trying to figure out how are you going to afford all the textbooks for your next term? Are you creating new economic theories to balance your scarce budget?

Then you are probably not taking advantage of the very best, more efficient way to get your textbooks cheap, and I mean really cheap.

Search and buy online. That’s it. That’s the secret. And to make sure you get the best value out of it, I’m giving you below the Top 10 Tips for buying textbooks online.

1. Buy early. Don’t wait for the first day of classes to go and find the books you need. That’s the moment when demand increases and, inevitably, prices increase with it. Textbooks sell fast and furiously over that short period of time and the effort required to get the best offers then is far greater than the effort necessary just a couple of weeks before.

If your college or university doesn’t supply the textbook lists in advance, don’t despair, contact former students from the course you want to take, or even the professors themselves, and ask them for the books you should buy. That little extra effort will certainly be worth your while.

2. Buy used. Secondhand textbooks are cheaper. That’s an undeniable fact. It is not unusual to find savings in excess of $50 against list prices.

3. Consider older editions. Often times, books on classical physics, chemistry or biology remain virtually the same for years. If you are willing to use older editions you could find books for as little as $1. Not sure if the International Edition will cut it? Contact your course tutor and ask. Chances are he’ll even recommend an older book.

4. International Editions. An International Edition is a textbook that has been published outside the US and Canada and is meant to be purchased and used outside the US and Canada. International Editions are generally drastically cheaper than their American/Canadian counterparts. Here’s the catch, the publishers of International Editions generally do not authorize the sale and distribution of International Editions in the United States and Canada and such sale or distribution may violate copyrights and trademarks of the publishers of such works.

5. Use the ISBN number to boost the effectiveness of your searches. Every book published since 1970 has a unique ISBN, using it instead of the author and/or title will make your searches faster and 100% accurate.

6. Free shipping. Look for free shipping sellers when you are shopping around. Even though shipping within the US is generally under $4, or perhaps because of it, more and more sellers are keen to offer free shipping to potential customers in order to convert them into customers. This translates approximately as an additional 10% discount off a $40 book or 5% discount off an $80 one.

7. Shop around. I know you know that already, anyway, let me say it again, just in case you just landed on Earth from another planet 10 minutes ago. Compare prices from, at least, three different sellers before you make up your mind. If you want to compare online booksellers, you can go to Bookfinder.com. In order to compare thousands of booksellers around the world you can go to Abebooks.com the world’s largest marketplace for books.

8. Buy local. Check where the bookseller you are buying from is located before closing the deal. The nearer the better as shipping cost goes down, the planet is happier and greener and your community will certainly appreciate the extra business.

9. Sell back your old textbooks after you are finished with them. Chances are the same online bookseller that you bought your books from is willing to buy them back, just go to their site and look for their buyback program. Generally, shipping the books is free and payment is immediate upon reception. This one sells itself, doesn’t it?

10. Treat your textbooks well. Don’t use them as umbrellas or to kill that gigantic spider that appeared from nowhere inside the bathtub. Don’t write the name of your love interest all over it alongside little hearts and don’t use it as a canvas when you feel that artistic urge. Remember, you might want to sell them later and the better the condition of the book the more money you receive for it.

Follow these tips and I guarantee you will find more money in your pockets, more time in your hands and, of course, the satisfaction of having joined the 21st century, at last.

Buy online, you’ll never go back.

College Students and Stress – Stress Management Tips for College Kids

Stress is one of those ever-present concepts among college students, a feeling of unease and discomfort that many students accept as a given and don’t even try to manage or eliminate. Most of the stress college students feel does nothing to improve the quality, quantity or timeliness of their work and as such is nothing more than a drain which makes their already difficult jobs all the more impossible. Read on and learn a good primer for getting started managing the stress in your life.

Is All Stress Bad?

The first thing you need to understand is the fact not all stress is bad for you. We tend to think of stress as a unidirectional thing, as a concept with no possible positive connotations or effects and this just isn’t the case. The truth is there are two different forms of stress out there. While you certainly want to avoid and minimize one of these types of stress it’s a good idea to maximize the other. The two types of stress are:

1. Distress. This is the kind of stress you want to avoid. This is the stress that comes from damaging mental and environmental states and which drains your time and energy and causes you to feel bad about yourself, your work and your life in general. This is the form of stress most college students are accustomed to and it can be caused by everything from negative friends and relationships, overloads of unnecessary work, malicious professors, unsupportive family members or constant work performed which is neither important nor meaningful (to name a few). This form of stress needs to be avoided, minimized and hopefully eliminated from your life at all costs.

2. Eustress. This is a form of stress that is talked about so rarely that few college students are even aware it exists. Eustress is the kind of stress which propels you to work hard on projects and assignments you consider to be important and worthwhile. Eustress doesn’t drain energy, it energizes you and makes you feel better about yourself and your life. Projects which cause eustress may be tiring because they require a lot of work but they never feel draining in the same way as stressful projects. Positive people (friends, family, faculty) and large, ambitious projects which are meaningful to you are common sources of Eustress.

What Stress Management is Really About

Now that you better understand exactly what stress is all about and the fact there are two different forms of stress out there the whole idea of stress management should take on a whole new light. The point of stress management is two fold

1. To eliminate Distress from your life.

2. To maximize Eustress in your life.

Why Most Stress Management Doesn’t Work

The reason most stress management systems or techniques is simple- they simply aim at eliminating distress without attempting to maximize eustress. Eliminating distress is good, it’s great, it’s necessary even. But if you remove distress from your life you’re just going to create a vacuum in your life which you will unconsciously fill with either the same distress you previously pushed aside or from some other negative source of pressure. By actively working to produce eustress, by clearly defining what you’re going to focus on after you get rid of the distress in your life you won’t have to worry about defaulting to negative feelings and drained energy when you find yourself with some free time.

Eliminating distress from your life by cutting out the problem at its source while simultaneously increasing eustress in your life by maximizing its sources isn’t something we’re taught in school so it might take a little practice. Thankfully all you need to do is sit down and write down what and who make you feel distress and then write down what and who makes you feel excited.

When you have your list it’s a simple matter of cutting the one list from your life while focusing on the other. It’s a little easier to say than to actually do, it may be simple but it’s not easy, but above all it is necessary work and the only effective form of stress management out there.