Monthly Archives: October 2013

6 Tips for Writing A Scholarship Essays

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scholarsip essayThere is a familiar notion in the professional world that students today aren’t able to write as effectively as they should.  With a technology driven environment, the writing skills of students have taken a back seat due to the efficiency in smsing. Apart from these reasons, essays if written effectively allow the interviewers to learn more about the applicant apart from the numbers behind their transcripts and are able to make a decision that is not based upon academic performance alone.  These are some of the reasons why the education board gives preference to essay writing as a determining factor for attaining admissions or scholarships. In view of this most admission boards and scholarship committees are now in search of applicants with the ability to communicate effectively through written words. Therefore, here are some useful tips for writing a scholarship essays that will increase your chances of acquiring a scholarship.

Tip 1: Topic Selection

The topics of an essay vary from college to college.  Some institutes have pre–selected topics that they wish all their applicants to write about while some others prefer to allow applicants to choose their own specific topic but within a specified and a broader range. When picking topics it is important to know the aim of the scholarship program and the admission board.

Tip 2:  Aim of Admission Boards and Scholarship programs

Regardless of their differences most institutes and universities generally prefer if the applicant; “writes an essay that will illustrate his or her own unique qualities and talents, that will allow the board to understand why they should be awarded a scholarship.” Nevertheless, many applicants find it difficult to put into words why they are special and why should they be awarded the scholarship.

Tip 3: Choose Diligently

If you are given a choice of choosing your own topic to illustrate your unique qualities, talents and achievements then you need to pick topics diligently. You can use the following topics as a frame of reference to help you to decide on a topic.

Consider the extracurricular activities

If you are seeking a scholarship for medical school, discussing your volunteer work at a nursing home and explaining how much it affected you personally would be a good angle to go with.  If you are looking for a scholarship to enter into music school, it would be preferable if you discuss your experiences in a church choir or your interest in music. This will allow the examiner to realise what is important to you and will give them an insight into yourself.

Highlight your major Accomplishments

If you haven’t participated in extracurricular activities don’t fret. You can always highlight your major accomplishments that set you apart from your competitors. So long as you illustrate how you are a talented and hardworking individual that deserve a scholarship; that is all you need to do.

Discuss a Particular Difficult Adversity you Overcame

If you pick this type of a topic, it is advisable to stay clear of the “woe is me” phrase and focus on being positive instead.        


Tip 4: Take Time to Plan

When writing an essay it is important to stare 2 weeks in advance to prepare your essay. It is important to give thought to what you wish to portray through your essay in a way that will appeal to the readers. As this will be the first step to being selected for the desired scholarship and a deciding factor.

Tip 5: Editing your work

It is important for the essay to have a smooth flow because there is a notion that students aren’t able to write effectively. If this is the case you ought to ensure the reader that you aren’t just another applicant finding it difficult to express yourself effectively in your essay.

Tip 6: Read and Reread your work

You need to go over your work and ensure that there aren’t repeated words. You need to check for spelling mistakes and punctuations errors so that there is a clarity of thought in your work. Try not to beat around the bush too much and make sure you understand the words uses correctly. When in doubt you would do well to look through a dictionary and a thesaurus to clarify meanings and to find other alternative words to highlight different ideas in different ways.  

These are but some of the tips that will help you to write a winning scholarship essay and to ‘Get Noticed’ by the ‘Individuality you display through your essay’. But most importantly you need to ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘know in your heart that you deserve a scholarship to help you achieve your dreams’.

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11 Myths Surrounding Scholarships

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Did you know that you don’t have to be a great essay writer to win a scholarship? Similarly there are many other such myths surrounding scholarships that prevent quite a few deserving students like you from acquiring a scholarship or worse applying for one. If this has stopped you from applying for one then it is probably time to clarify the other myths that you like so many others before you have fallen prey to.  It’s because of myths like this and the ones that we will be discussing shortly that have left many scholarships till date unclaimed.

Myths surrounding scholarshipThese myths cover almost all aspects surrounding scholarships, right from the eligibility criteria to their availability. In fact, most of these myths condition aspirant’s  into thinking that there aren’t many opportunities to acquire scholarships and the ones that are available have a tough competitions; moreover it is not worth the effort to look for one let alone apply for one either. So let’s find out which are the other myths that have prevented most of us from winning a scholarship or for that matter even applying for one.

Myth 1: Only ‘A’ Grade students win scholarships

This is a common myth that most students have. While academic performance does play a role in acquiring one it is not the only determining factor.  Besides even Grade ‘B’ and ‘C’ students are eligible for scholarships. Apart from these scholarships there are others that consider the individual talents of its applicants as a frame of reference to award a scholarship. In fact, there are many scholarships that cater to students with different talents, such as writing skills, music, painting, knowledge of many languages, commitment to social work and many many more. These types of scholarships give more preference to individual talents over academic performance to determine if the candidate deserves a scholarship. These scholarships are usually given by private institutes.

Myth 2: Only Minority students win scholarships

Students have the assumption that only minority students get scholarships which gets them to think that their chances are slim. While there are scholarships that cater to these individuals not all of them are meant for minorities alone.

Myth 3: Scholarships are meant only for Athletes

As highlighted earlier, there are different types of scholarships that are designed to cater to individuals that are talented in sports for instance. One such type of scholarship caters to an athlete which only makes up a small amount of the scholarships that are available. Additionally the amount given is usually one third of the college cost.

Myth 4: Only students from Low Income Families win scholarships

People have the belief that only students from low income families are eligible for scholarships. Most government aided scholarships tend to cater to students from low income families. But several scholarships from private institutes cater to students from middle income families. So the chances for middle income candidates acquiring scholarships are high.

Myth 5: One has to be a High School Graduate to apply for scholarships

Students have a predefined notion that for one to apply for a scholarship, one needs to be a high school graduate. Although a majority of scholarships are meant for high school graduates there are also ones that are meant for elementary and middle school applicants. This notion of people usually stems from the ignorance about scholarships.

Myth 6: Billions of Dollars of Scholarship money goes unclaimed

This one has been around since the word “scholarship” was invented. It cannot get any clear than that. The common notion is that scholarship programs are created to only hideaway the money. Well this is so not true because the whole idea behind awarding scholarships is to give it away to deserving candidate. The fact is that very few scholarships go unclaimed, the reason being that the candidate doesn’t meet the desired criteria which is usually specific.

Myth 7: I Don’t Stand a Chance to get a scholarship, because the Competition is Too Tough

This is partially true because winning a scholarship is no cake walk. Although the idea behind scholarship programs is to fund some of the college expenses of deserving candidates, the aim is to help exceptional students who will benefit from these services. But that does not mean that you don’t stand a chance. When picking a scholarship you first need to find out where your strengths lie and then decide on a scholarship.

Myth 8:  Scholarships require a Long List of Participation in Extracurricular Activities

Although, participation in extracurricular activities is an added advantage it isn’t the only bases for acquiring a scholarship. Besides winning a scholarship is about quality and not quantity. Scholarship programs pay attention to the devotion you demonstrate to a particular activity or activities, rather than by the sheer quantity of your involvement. Therefore it is not advisable to spend all the time on extracurricular activities. You are better off picking an activity or activities that you are passionate about and involving yourself in them. Most Scholarship programs distinguish between their candidates on the bases of the individuality that the candidate brings to the fore.

Myth 9: Applying for a Loan will Affect my chances of Acquiring One

Parents and students alike are of the belief that if they apply for a student loan, it will reduce the chances of obtaining a scholarship. On a similar note even if they get the loan; this too will affect any chance they have of acquiring a scholarship. But this is not true because the amount received through a scholarship is sufficient to cover up only part of the college costs. The rest has to be obtained through education loans etc. Therefore, is essential to have other sources to help you pay for college. Nevertheless, applying for loans doesn’t affect your chances of acquiring one.

Myth 10: A Scholarship will cover all the college costs

Even though scholarships are designed to fund college fees, the amount is usually enough to cover only some of the costs. There are very few scholarships that will give students a complete free ride. So you still need to work for it rather than expecting everything to be given to you on a platter.

Myth 11: Most Scholarships offer a Small Amount and hence, it is not Worth the Effort  

While there are individuals who think of scholarships as a free ride, the ones that think otherwise generally think that going through the entire procedure of winning a scholarship is not worth the effort due to the minuscule sums offered by scholarship programs. However, the rewards are hardly of consequence because one can apply for more than one scholarship and are likely to win more than one scholarship, which together can amount to a decent sum enough to cover up some of the college fees if not everything.

Now that we have highlighted and cleared the various myths surrounding scholarships, it is probably a good idea to begin the process and avail the benefits of scholarships that will help pay for some of the college fees and in turn pave the way to achieving your dreams with little effort.

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Pros and Cons of Having Uniforms

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Pros and Cons of Having Uniforms : School UniformThe debate on whether uniforms should be made compulsory has been around for years. Yet we find conflicting opinions surrounding the pros and cons of having uniforms. Nevertheless, differing perceptions are always welcomed.

So let’s see the various arguments made against uniforms and whether they should be made compulsory, by looking into the pros and cons of having uniforms.

Pros of Having Uniforms 

  • Uniforms create a sense of identity and belongingness amongst the pupils. When students see themselves they feel like they are all a part of the school in their individual way
  • Students learn to appreciate each other along with their individuality. Uniforms ensure that children accept each other as they are with their own individual talents
  • They are judged not by the clothes they wear but by their personality. Although this may seem unimportant, that is not the case because the judgments made about an individual determines whether the child will interact with the schoolmate or not. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”
  • It makes mixing around easier as the differences in the economic status are hidden away. This is vital to the all round development of all students alike
  • It gives room for developing friendships that are long lasting. Friendships made while we are still young have a way of creating a bond that will not be broken easily as we grow and mature
  • Uniforms promote equality and prevent fights or bullying incidents that are centered around the attire worn by students.  Uniforms prevent students who aren’t dressed fashionably or according to the latest trends, from getting picked on for their choice of clothes
  • When picnics or field trips are arranged by the school, keeping track of their students and to account for them becomes easier for teachers alike and the safety of their pupils are not compromised either
  • Along similar lines when inter school competitions are held, monitoring students is easier and parents can easily identify their child if they are lost in the crowd
  • Uniforms promote discipline and encourage appropriate behaviour on the part of the students as s/he has a sense of responsibility. Because they are a part of a school and realize that misbehaviour will not be tolerated at school or outside the premises whilst in uniform
  • Uniforms do away with unnecessary monitoring by school authorities on the attire worn by its students. Not having to keep tabs on attire that is inappropriate reserves more energy that can be diverted to the main cause of the school that is education


Cons of Having Uniforms   

  • Individuality is highlighted because students are more likely to perform well in clothes that they are comfortable in
  • Without uniforms mixing around with different types of individuals becomes a challenge. Due to economic differences students generally tend to stick to their own kind. Thus restricting them from having experiences that may teach them valuable lessons from different kinds of individuals
  • Casual wear if promoted can make students stand out in inter school competitions. And also create a divide amongst its students
  • If casual wear is promoted it means more focus is devoted to monitoring the attire of the students rather than the main focus being education in the first place
  • The safety of students is compromised when picnics and field trips are organised. Making the job of the on call teacher even more difficult than it already is. They have monitor the pupils round the clock, just to ensure that they are behaving properly and to ensure of their safety
  • Casual wear if promoted it may increase the violence on school premises as well as outside. Giving rise to more opportunities for bullying incidents to crop up when you least expect it
  • Casual attire prevents students from displaying a sense of responsibility that is derived while in uniform. They usually tend not to monitor their behaviour and often engage in inappropriate behaviour. Thus discipline is taken a back seat and only comes to the fore in the presence of a teacher
  • Without a uniform the feeling of togetherness takes a back seat if casual wear is promoted. The focus of students goes into irrelevant things instead of the main focus being studies
  • Casual wear acts as a distraction as students then focus on fashion and make unreasonable demands on their parents in an attempt to be up to date in the latest trends

Given the various arguments and the reasons that support them can help students as well as parents to see reason. Nevertheless, due to differing perspectives the debate on whether uniforms should be made compulsory will continue, as an argument can be made from both sides. But I leave the decision about whether uniforms should be made compulsory to you. I am only here to put forth my perspective about the same. The rest is up to you!

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11 Benefits of Reading

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benefits-of-readingI’m sure we all remember reading our favorite Fairy Tales or waited to watch them on Cartoon Network as ‘Timeless tales’ or watched ‘Noddy’ and was so fascinated by his amazing adventures that we decided to read more about them in books. And how about reading the adventures of our Super Hero’s that we all imagined; to be, at one point in time or have heard a talk of Bedtime stories and its effectiveness. Let’s not forget the famous Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the all time favorite. How about the power of imagination and the role reading plays in imagination.  These are some of the aspects that can help us remember how we felt while reading and also help us figure out why we stopped in the first place especially when we found ourselves hooked. Well enough of this!

Most individuals who are against reading usually have misconception such as reading is boring. Moreover developing a habit of reading is a task for ‘book worms’ alone. Based on this notion, most of us stayed clear of the label ‘Book worm’ in our younger days, so much so to be but a part of the crowd! Well if you too think like this, and still do, now is probably a good time to rectify your misconceptions about reading. Apart from assisting ones development, it also provides guidelines to tackle life’s challenges. Shocker isn’t it?  Of the various benefits of reading here are some:

1. Mental Stimulation

Several studies have shown that keeping the mind active in our retirement days can slow the process of or prevent us from being victims to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Diseases. Most effective ways are solving puzzles, playing games, Sudoku or Cross words.

2. Stress Reduction

With work taking up most of our time, between managing families and household tasks to do, balancing a social life and making time for ourselves isn’t easy. Thus, the stress levels are bound to increase. As if managing families is not stressful enough! The pressure of our jobs to meet deadlines of never ending tasks nonetheless increases stress. Studies suggest that reading books is one of the many effective ways to relieve stress.

3. Knowledge

Reading books introduces you to all kinds of information. And let’s face it you can’t deny that gathering information does not hurt. The information that you get helps you to decide the best possible alternative based on all the information you have. It helps you to wait out the pros and cons of a decision thus enabling you come to a decision that is the best possible one.  The other aspect that we tend to overlook from time to time is that, when we are faced with dire circumstances, resulting in us losing everything – our job, our possessions, be it money or our health even, knowledge can never be taken from you. It is knowledge that can help you turn things around in your life when things seem be at its worst.

4. Imagination

Who knew that reading books, any kind can take you into the world of imagination where everything seems possible. It helps you be creative when you see things differently in comparison to others.  Being able to visualize the descriptions to their minute details, gives you room to explore other possibilities – thus ‘creativity’ is formed. When you read you tend to drift off into the series of events that are highlighted making you feel as if you are a part of the happenings. When life puts you in dire circumstances escaping to the world of imagination gives you the strength you sometimes need to carry on.

5. Improves your Memory

Reading novel, forces you to remember a series of events surrounding the various characters. You also have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history and nuances as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair amount to remember, but brains are marvelous things that can remember all these aspects with ease. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?

6. Builds Analytical Skills

Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before even finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “who’d done it?”.

This same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. these skills come in handy if your are fortunate enough to discuss the novel with a friend as you will be able to put forth your views clearly to the person. If you wish to become an editor of novels these skills will play an important role in determining whether a piece is a good one and will help you to narrow down the reasons for not to publish it.  

7. Academic Benefits

Right from the time we are born we are introduced to speech and language. Those of us who waited for a bedtime story were exposed to language. This only goes to show that right from our toddler years we begin to learn how to read and later move on to reading to learn while in college. It makes you stand out in a class.

8. Vocabulary Improves

Reading books or novels forces us to look up words that we are unfamiliar with. Those of us who are ambitious ,even go to the extent to find out the different forms of the word namely the noun, verb, adjective and adverb forms. Some of us go further to identify the prefixes and suffixes of the word as well. Others look for the various synonyms and the possible antonyms. In the process these words make their way into our everyday vocabulary to serve us when we really need it.

9. Professional Benefits

If you thought that having an inadequate vocabulary will get you where you want to be, think again. Although it will help you get by it won’t get you to where you want to be. Because in today’s technology savvy environment having a good vocabulary at your disposal is an advantage with its varying opportunities. Such individuals are usually sought after by most companies due to their skills and usefulness.

10. Develop Writing skills

With a good vocabulary at your disposal, you can show your maturity in your writing. Writing skills go hand-in-hand with the expansion of vocabulary. Exposure to published, well-written work has an effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will influence your own work. In the same way that musicians influence one another and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

11. Defines Goals

Many a times we may think that we know what we want for ourselves, but we come to realise that there were other things that were to our interest. As you read you tend to drift off and realise things that you weren’t aware of. This helps you to stream line your goals and work towards achieving your goals. For instance if you’ve been playing music on a consistent basis, but have always wanted to compose your own music. Reading tends to give you song ideas or lyrics to from. Due to the frequency of these thoughts its sometimes helps you to really push yourself into giving music a serious go. 

So what are you waiting for go ahead, pick up a book and start reading. Find out how true these benefits of reading are. See if they make a difference in your life or if they improve the quality of life as some studies claim. Who knew reading could be such an amazing experience or help you to figure out what you truly wanted to do with your life. Could reading actually improve your creativity? well the only way to find out is to start reading, today!

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Benefits of taking breaks while studying

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Most students are constantly trying to get good grades which are a race against time. Between school, tuitions, extracurricular activities and tests; the time left for revision is barely enough. Hence, students tend to study continuously for long periods of time with the exams round the corner; assuming that more portion will be covered, within a short span of time. Although this may seem true it is not an effective way to study. Here’s why?

study breaksBy the time students are done with their tests, extra classes and preliminary exams they are left with barely enough time to revise for the main exams or board exams. At such times they resort to inappropriate methods to prepare for the exam and find themselves spending hours together studying without breaks. And then their memory disappoints them all because of the lack of taking breaks while studying. You are probably wondering why taking breaks while studying is so important. So let’s look at the benefits of taking breaks while studying to get a clear idea.

Improves Learning

Several studies suggest that the brain has a limited capacity to register information over a long period of time. Just like the body even the brain has limits. When it reaches its limits, your mind concludes that the information studied is unimportant and although you think you are studying your mind is actually just reading the material instead of learning it. At such times it is probably best to take a break and then resume your studies.

Relaxes the Mind

Studying for long hours at a stretch creates information overload, therefore taking a break is a must. While taking a break your mind relaxes. During the process of relaxation your mind refreshes and is ready to store more information and functions at its optimum level.

Improves Concentrations

After continuously bombarding your mind with information over a long duration of time, it is important for you to take a break. Because no matter what age you are nobody can study for hours at a stretch without breaks and it is a proven fact. Besides your concentration deteriorates over continuous study. Hence to improve concentration it is important to take a break. With a refreshed mind you become more focused and are most likely to study well and remember the matter discussed.

Speeds up Learning

With a refreshed mind, your attention span is increased thus enabling you to learn the matter fast. Retaining information becomes easy and fast with a refreshed and rested mind. Once the mind is relaxed it is able to function at its optimum level and memorizing information is relatively easier. 

Yields better Results

The pace at which a refreshed mind functions in comparison to an exhausted one are poles apart. Because just as the body needs rest so also the mind requires rest in order to function at its optimum level. When the mind is functioning at its optimum level the amount of time spent in understanding the matter, memorizing the points discussed, retaining or storing the information speeds up and the chances of recalling it when required is higher due to the refreshed state of the mind.

For all these reasons it is important for students to take a study break after 30 or 60 minutes depending upon their attention span. This will not only refresh your mind but will also improve your concentration. Thus you will be able to cover more portion within a short period of time. Besides taking breaks within these time frames will assist you in memorizing material well and it will improve your grades nonetheless. So take breaks and yield the fruits of your hard work.

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What you didn’t know about Study Breaks?

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We all take breaks while studying, but how many of us can truly say that we didn’t use study breaks as a way to procrastinate our studies. Whether you are a child or an adult, at some point during our academic years we have all used this excuse to stay away from our studies. Nevertheless, it is important to know that there is a fine line that distinguishes a study break from not wanting to study at all!

Know about study breaksOver the years ‘study breaks’ have come to mean many things serving more as distractions rather than what a study break really means. It could mean spending a good hour watching our favorite program or spending time on Facebook, Twitter, celebrity chat etc. However, let’s not forget playing with our cell phones, attending unreasonable calls from friends so on and so forth. So let’s find out what a ‘study break’ really means and let’s explore what we didn’t know about study breaks?

Study breaks are taken to refresh our minds so that we can focus on the task at hand, whatever it may be. A good study break consists of an activity that allows you to take your mind off studying for a brief time period. This time is spent in refreshing our mind to prepare it for the next task and use our mind to its full potential with renewed energy!

Apart from this there are 2 aspects that we all tend to overlook when we take ‘study breaks’. Most of us fail to realise when is the appropriate time to indulge in a study break and what should we do in our study breaks? So let’s discuss these aspects by answering these simple questions.

When should you take a Study Break?

Ideally a study break should be taken after every hour for the duration of 10 to 15 minutes. If your concentration span differs or if you are unable to figure out when is the right time to take a break? Then here are some tips to help you in identifying when it is probably time for a break:

  • if you start feeling restless
  • if you feel your concentration has gone for a toss
  • if you are no longer registering or absorbing what you are reading
  • if you feel that you should take a break

Are sign that you need to take a break. But ensure that you know the difference between a study break and procrastinating your study sessions. In order to do this you need to take study breaks for short intervals and not let it be an hour long break. With that settled let’s discuss the next question.

What should you do during your Study Break?

During your study break you should engage in activities that don’t involve studies, a change in environment, refrain from watching the idiot box! keep the activities short and shuffle the activities.

Activities that Don’t Involve the Subject

If you choose to read a paper after you have recently done accounts or finance, stay away for articles that involve accounts or finance.

A change in environment

It is preferable if you walk to the drawing room or take a stroll in the garden, if you have been in the study room. A change in the environment will definitely lift your spirits.

Don’t Watch the Idiot Box

Trust me when I say watching the television is a bad idea. Instead of refreshing you it makes your mind go dead and tires you further. The idea of having a break is to engage in activities that excite you, make you happy, clears your mind and that will enable you to focus better in the next round. There are plenty of things that you can do apart from watching the television, as you will soon see.

Keep the Activities Short

Since a break is supposed to be not more than 10 to 15 minutes you need to engage in activities within the specified time limit. Apart from this the activity should will allow you to get back into the groove of studying.

Shuffle the Activities

It is preferable to engage in a variety of activities in different study breaks as this will boost you concentration. For instance if you have taken a power nap earlier, go for a stroll in a garden nearby instead, prepare a cup of hot chocolate in the next one, listen to your favorite music in the one after that.

Some other things that you can do are:

  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Read a newspaper or a book
  • Leaf through a magazine
  • Take a walk
  • Go for a cycle ride
  • Talk to someone
  • Meditate
  • Engage your mind with a mental exercise
  • Indulge in a light snack or drink a fruit juice
  • Take a nap
  • Play your favorite instrument
  • Go on a short drive

Now that you know what a study break really is, are familiar with the signs that tell you that it is time for a break, are aware of the various alternatives available to you apart from watching television and are clear about the difference between a study break and simply not wanting to study, it’s time you get back to studying. Besides you are now aware of what it takes to do well and how taking study breaks can help you to be a topper in your class. Well what are you waiting for, go ahead and try these alternatives to help you to perform well.

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Parents and Peer Relations – What Parents Should Do but Don’t?

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parents and peer relationshipMost parents these days are on the lookout for their kids’ well being right from the pre-school years to high school days. At times we parents make judgements based on appearances, with the rise in the offences committed against children in today’s day and age it has become all the more important to keep tabs on our children and sometimes we tend to go overboard out of concern. As you struggle with your kids to get information to your W/H questions namely With, Where, When, Why, Whom and How, to ensure that they inform you about their where about it is probable wise to get to know the crowd that your kids are interacting with on a regular bases just to make sure that they are safe and alright. So here are a few ways that can reduce your apprehension for your kids’ safety.

1. Spend More Quality Time:  it is essential that apart from engaging your child in extracurricular activities, you ensure that you spend time with them not just time but quality time. By helping them with their homework, projects, engaging in casual conversations at the dining table, letting them assist you in the household chores that you have to do from time to time, if cooking the meal for the day takes assistance.

2. Be Involved: ensure that you are involved in their life by questioning them on their day has been, experienced any surprises, find out about how their schoolwork has been or any tests round the corner, find out when their play or game is etc. In short get to know how they are doing at school, in sports or the extracurricular activities that they participate in so on and so forth.

3. Get to know your Child’s Friend Circle: the best way to do this is by not making judgements based on the appearance of their friends but by getting to know them. Some possible alternatives to get to know their friends are listed below:            

    • Participation: if your child is participating in a sport, be present to encourage him / her on while paying attention to the team-mates and their behaviour 
    • Practice Sessions:  during practices if possible, spend time on the side lines and pay attention to their team – mates 
    • Engage in Casual Conversations: while at a game or practice speak to the other parents and find out about them and their kids and get their contact no.s, they will come in handy in times of need 
    • Offer Assistance to the Coach: lend a helping hand while at the play-ground and lookout for any signs of things going wrong and speak to people present with and around you 
    • Speak to the Classmates or Teammates Present on the Playground: find out how they are doing and ask them about your child and his / her friend circle

4. Pay a Visit to the School or College Premises: whenever you visit the school or college be sure to be alert at all times while paying attention to the crowd of students present, speak to students about your child and find out about them as well.

5. Get Contact Numbers: when visiting the school and college or at the playground get the contact numbers of the people you are present often like the coach, a professor, assistances, your child’s friend’ phone numbers. So that if you can’t get through your child you can contact these people.

6. Speak to Professors and the School Counselor: it is essential that you keep in touch with these individuals because they will be able to give you insights into your child’s behaviour, well being and performance.

7. Ensure that you have Some Way of Contact with your Child:  it is essential that you are able to contact your child at all times.

8. Make Use of Technology: since we are surrounding by technology, it is wise to ensure that your child has a cell phone or make note of a friend’s phone number that your child usually interacts with on a daily basis. So that you can contact him / her directly. If you are unable to personally meet with the professors, coach or the school counselor then take down their email address so that you can contact them via mail. It is preferable if you have a contact number though!

9. Equip them with Safety Skills or Self Defence Strategies: give them tips on how to protect themselves if they find themselves alone. For instance if they find themselves in a dangerous situation  tell them to call if they have a cell phone, if unable to give missed calls. Give them a set of numbers that they can easily reach you no matter where you are. Highlight to them that these numbers are meant for urgencies and not small talk. Give them a pepper spray if possible or a weapon to protect themselves with but ensure that they understand that it is only a preventive measure and not to harm someone with it.

10. Enroll them for self defence Classes if possible:  this will help them to protect themselves and to give them enough time to contact you or to get help if necessary.

Following these simple tips will ease your apprehension for your kids. Make sure that you explain to them the importance of informing you at all times about their whereabouts. If you do these things, your children are more likely to inform you about where they are and you won’t have to pester them for information. They usually tend to not attend to your calls. For more information you can visit

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Pros and Cons of Competitions

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For most of us School is our second home as we spend a good number of our early years in school. The stepping stones towards our all round development begin at school through competitions. Its here we master our socializing skills to develop our bonds of friendship and where life’s important lessons are learnt. It’s where we are given a platform to explore ourselves, get to know our talents, improve and enhance them, learn how to take both winning and losing in a positive way, it’s here that we are taught and prepared for what is to come, right before we step out into the real world; that is life, as we know it!

Pros and Cons of Competitions in SchoolsA lot of this stems from the experience of competition we face when we participate. We develop bonds of friendship, values such as leadership, learn how to be a team player, experience enjoyment when we win, disappointment when we lose. Nevertheless, there is a constant debate surrounding competitions as a whole. Some individuals are for it while others are against it. So let’s look at some of the pros and cons of competition!

Pros of Competition

Competitions bring about the equation that games = fun into a school work environment. Children like to have fun and participating in a competition highlights this aspect of fun.

Being a part of a team introduces the aspect of a common goal when playing a game. They tend to appreciate teamwork as they are all on the same team trying together to achieve a common purpose.

With a common purpose backing them up you notice how each of them finds their place, some pick up the leadership role, while others become team players. 

Through games children begin to wonder about what success is, if they win they come to realize what success is about and view it as receiving trophies, some others think of success as the amount of effort put into it and levels of participation.

Through play they come to realize the importance of corporation, support and the roles they play in achieving success. Apart from this they also learn coordination and team building skills, simply by participating.

Eventually they learn to appreciate each individual in the team and accept each other as individuals with talents of their own and develop dependable friendships.

Participation helps them to realize what their talents are, their likes and dislikes. Apart from this they get to know who they are as individuals, their strengths along with their weakness and finally learn how to overcome their shortcomings.

Through competitions they learn about performance, they teach them to overcome their fears and insecurities. It helps children to build their confidence and convictions.

If competitions help students then it also helps teachers as it gives them an opportunity to find new ways to teach in a fun way thus developing their own skill sets.

Apart from this it also teaches children that just winning or losing is not what matters, but what matters is that you gave it your best short.

Besides these aspects competitions even help students to compete with themselves and make them better prepared and equipped for the next time they enter into a competition. But enough of this!

Although participating in competitions has its advantages we cannot rule out its disadvantages as we will shortly see.

Cons of Competition

It is important to remember that not all children are the same. For passive children a competition may affect them in a negative way.

In cases where success means winning, a loss may mean a failure which isn’t good either. This affects children below the age of 7 negatively hence competing is better left to students above this age limit.

A failure may demotivate a child and scar them for life. These children in turn may never participate in competitions again or tend to run away from participation entirely.

It may lead them to believe that they are not good at all thus they prefer to remain as they are and stop trying to improve their skills, if that is what they lack.

Participation leads to pressure which may negatively affect their performance on the whole. The thought of added pressure sometimes gets the better of the child or for that matter even fear of failure may keep the child away from competitions.

Individuals who stay away from competitions usually remain unaware of their talents and weaknesses and find it difficult to identify where their interests lie or which areas need improvement.

Nevertheless, children who have participated in competitions usually develop skills that no amount of hiding behind a book can help these children to develop these skills.

Even though the reasons for different choices are several; if some children take competitions as a way of achieving something, it is probably nurtured by their families. While the other may not get the desired support therefore they choose not to participate. That is why support is so important in the child’s development. Nonetheless, the pros and cons of competitions will remain a debatable topic due to a difference in opinion and perspective. All in all, it is safe to say that competitions assist in the all round development of the child, all the while developing their skills and improving their soft skills thus making them better equipped for what lies ahead.

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How to Overcome Maths Anxiety in 6 Simple Steps?

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Do you dread maths? Are you doing everything you can to avoid Maths altogether because you harbor a dislike for maths? Do you freeze when asked to figure out the quantity of paint required to redo the interiors of your house or to measure out the exact quantity of the ingredients for a recipe? If yes, then you might have an anxiety towards maths.

how to overcome maths anxietyThen you are not alone, you are like most people who share the same fear of maths. Nevertheless, maths anxiety affects people of all ages be it a primary student or even an adult. But everyone has the ability to understand maths and you can do this by yourself also. Evidently there exist 6 simple steps to tackle this anxiety; first and foremost you need to accept that you fear maths, next you need to understand the reasons for the fear, then you need to get your basics right, learn differently, be patient and finally you need to practice, practice and then practice some more.

Step 1. Accept your Fear: it is of importance because without accepting your fear of the subject, it will make the task that much more difficult to overcome. Once you come to realise your fear, you can then begin to move forward.

Step 2. Understand the Reasons for the Fear: fear of a subject is usually due to the negative experience that one must have had with the subject while they were growing up. It could be a bad experience in school or college or failure as the case may be.

Step 3. Start with Basics: many a times the anxiety of students is due to the lack of clarity in the fundamental principles and concepts. Therefore it is preferable for students to start with their basics i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Starting with simple calculations that you can manage will help to build your confidence in maths. It is preferable to practice on your own to prevent unnecessary pressure and to be able to fail without consequence. As Benjamin Franklin says, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Step 4. Learn Differently: not all individuals learn efficiently in a school environment since, teachers have to cater to about 50 to 100 students at a time; giving personal attention is almost impossible. Therefore students tend to learn arithmetic via rote learning which is a horrible way to learn mathematics. Formulas fall out of your head after the examination. No wonder it is so important to actually understand what the formula is doing. Talk your way through it. Relate to what is said, understand why you use one formula over another. Try drawing what the question is asking you. If you get stuck then you can just do a Google search and go from there.

Step 5. Be Patient: patience is the key to mastering mathematical principles. If it weren’t true you wouldn’t be able to succeed. The best way to succeed is to not give up and to keep trying until you succeed or else try something else. It is said that “It makes no sense trying to break a wall that will not break, you might as well look for another  alternative that gets you around the wall instead.” to put it simply ‘you need to look for another alternative that will help you to succeed’.  So Practice Patience and you are sure to succeed!  

Step 6. Practice, Practice and then Practice Some More: most students and adults alike tend to give up only; to easily, thus hampering their progress. In the end they choose not to. Well I can’t say this enough, in order to rid yourself of the fear you have to practice, practice and then practice some more. Because you might not like it but to gain that confidence repetition and practice is what helps you to overcome you maths anxiety. To quote Jaspher Kantuna, “Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.”

Following these simple tips will help you to over you anxiety and to improve your maths.

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Tips and Tricks to Crack the SCRA Exam

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There are several Competitive examinations such as Bank PO/ MT/Clerical, Insurance (LIC), Civil Services: CSAT, UGC, B.Ed/M.Ed, NDA, CDS, AFCAT, TET, Railways, PSU, SSC, and Police Department so on and so forth. The Special Class Railway Apprentice (SCRA) Examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The UPSC conducts the SCRA for the selection of candidates for the Mechanical Department of the Indian Railways.

Tips to Crack the SCRA Exam | UPSC SCRA ExaminationThe SCRA Examination is conducted in 2 Parts, namely Part 1 comprises of a written exam that assess the applicant on  3 parameters General Ability (English, General Knowledge and Psychological Test), Physical Sciences (Physics and Chemistry) and Mathematics. The marks allotted to the 3 papers is 200 each which brings the total to 600 marks in all. And Part 2 comprises of a Personality Test also of 200 marks. Most students usually look for tips that can aid  and speed up the process of preparation when the examination is round the corner. Therefore, here are some tips that can assist aspirants in their exam preparation. This article will cover  tips that are based on the different parameters assessed with useful tips for the same, importance of practice and maintaining your health.

Tip 1. General Ability: this section assess the candidates command over the english language, their general awarenes about the current affairs of the Government, their basic intelligence and their mechanical aptitude.

Tip 2. English Language and Comprehension: this section will be assessing the applicant’s proficiency in the English Language and grammar. The questions are designed  to test the candidate’s understanding and knowledge of the English Language and will be based on error recognition, fill in the blanks (using verbs, preposition, articles etc), Vocabulary, Spellings, Grammar, Sentence Structure, Synonyms, Antonyms, Sentence Completion, Phrases and Idiomatic use of Words, etc. apart from these topics the question will include passages and comprehension of passages also. (The standard of the questions will be of 10+2 level).

  • Grammar: A useful tool to improve your language skills is by referring to Wren & Martin. This book is a perfect guide for improving your grammar as well as your comprehension skills because it has explanations, exercises and examples for each topic. It also comes with a Key that you can refer; to verify if your answers are correct.
  • Reading and Comprehension: ensure that you have a copy of the Wren & Martin whether in print or in pdf forms because it has very good examples for improving your comprehension skills. It has sample passages that contain questions on most of the aspects covered in the English section. 
  • Keep both a Dictionary and a Thesaurus with you: to improve your vocabulary it is preferable that you maintain a diary or a book to jot down words that you are unfamiliar with when you come across them as you read. Ensure that you have a dictionary and a thesaurus beside you at all times in any form you are comfortable with; either in print, on line, software.  Look up words that you don’t  understand and explore them by following the points listed below:
Note Down the Words or Phrases used
Try to use it in a sentence the same day
Look for the Prefixes (un, in) and Suffixes (al, ion, ness)
Explore the verb, noun, adjective and adverb forms
Find Antonyms and Synonyms
Pay attention to the pronunciations of words given beside the  word
Access an on line dictionary and hear the pronunciation of the word  through the speakers or learn the pronunciation from a dictionary

You can visit for more information and tips on the Ways to Improve English Vocabulary and Tips to Improve English for further assistance.

Tip 3. General Knowledge: to be able to crack this section, your knowledge about the recent happenings in India and its surrounding Countries is important. Apart from these aspects even the awareness of the environment, the Solar system and the earth, Seasons, Climate, Weather, Soil — its formation, erosion, Forests and their uses, Natural calamities cyclones, floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, Mountains and rivers and their role in irrigation in India, Distribution of natural resources and industries in India. Exploration of under—ground minerals including Oil, Conservation of natural resources with particular reference to the flora and fauna of India will also be tested.

  • Information pertaining to sports, History, Culture, Geography, Economic Scene, General Polity, Indian Constitution, Scientific Research etc.
  • Information about awards and honors (Literature, Sports, Service and Films) and current affairs (December 2012 – October 2013)
  • Read newspapers, magazines (past issues from January 2012), journals, business and real estate supplements in newspapers
  • Watch Educational channels that will boost your general knowledge
  • to improve your knowledge of India visit as it has information about the latest happenings in the country
  • Pay attention to the main events in the corporate world
  • Information about organizations / associations like the UN and its associate agencies such as ASEAN , SAARC, NATO , BRICS etc.
    • knowledge about the stocks and GK questions like Important National and International celebrations and dates, countries, capitals, currencies, inventions and discoveries in science.

Tip 4. Psychological Test: this section tests the applicants basic intelligence and their mechanical apptitude. The question on mechanical aptitude will be more application based; covering a whole range of topics such as sounds and heat conduction, velocity, gravity and force. The question on basic intelligence will comprise of verbal and non – verbal questions on analogies, similarities and differences, spatial visualization, spatial orientation, problem solving, analysis, judgment, decision making, visual memory, discrimination, observation, relationship concepts, arithmetical reasoning and figural classification, arithmetic number series, non-verbal series, coding and decoding, statement conclusion, syllogistic reasoning etc. In order to solve this section students should:

  • Ask W / H  questions (What, Why, When, Where, How) while reading a passage
  • Practice difficult reasoning puzzles from mock papers and books on reasoning
  • Solve puzzles from popular puzzle books available in bookstores
  • Focus on lengthy puzzles on distribution involving lots of variables
  • Practice problem figures and mirror images.
  • The best way to crack this section is to practice mock papers of SCRA.

Tip 5. Physical Sciences: this section will cover questions on Physics and Chemistry (the standard of the questions will be of 10+2 level). But it is preferable that you focus more on the 12th syllabus. In Chemistry the question will be based on Physical, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry.

Tip 6. Mathematics: these questions are designed to test the candidates numerical ability therefore the questions are based on a wide range of topics such as Algebra, Analytical Geometry (two Dimensions), Trigonometry, Differential Calculus, Integral Calculus and Differential equations, Vectors and its applications, Statistics and Probability (the standard of the questions will be of 10+2 level). Therefore it is essential to practice as many problems as you can to get acquainted with the types, formulas and form shortcuts for the same.

Tip 7. Personality Test: each candidate will be interviewed by a Board who will have before them a record of his career both academic, his awareness about current happenings, self awareness levels and their goals… They will be asked questions on matters of general interest. Special attention will be given to assess their potential qualities of leadership, initiative and intellectual curiosity, tact and other social qualities, mental and physical energy, power of practical application and integrity of character.  So make sure you have your answers ready for such type of questions.

Tip 8. Practice: it is essential that students refer to previous years question papers and rely on mock tests, as this will make them familiar with the paper pattern and will give them an idea about the type of questions asked. Thus, students are better prepared for the examination. Also you can create a chart of all the formulas and the various chemical compositions so that it speeds up you revision on these topics.

Tip 9. Get your Basics Right: since this examination is designed to test both you mathematical abilities as well as physics and chemistry or for that matter even grammar principles it is absolutely essential for students to get their basics right because without a thorough understanding of the concepts and principle discussed practicing complicated problems will be tough.

Tip 10. Join Coaching classes: this will ensure that students practice regularly and are better prepared because they can resolve the queries that they might have about a particular topic.

Tip 11. Health Matters: it is important to ensure that you get enough rest, eat a balanced diet and most importantly exercise. It is important that you sleep in time, eat properly and exercise, if you wish to perform well in the examinations because both the body and the mind need to rest to function to its maximum potential.

If students focus on these tips and practice as much as they can, it will automatically help them to do well and their effort will yield good results. Thus students are more likely to perform well and get selected.

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