The blissful student life of going to the movies, going on small vacations, and partying will all come to a stand still as the examinations draw near. Just when they think, “okay, time to hit those books !”, they open their thousand page book with great zeal and determination. “Page 1” – they read the heading. And, about five minutes later, they are still stuck on the first page, half dazed and already dozing off ! I’m pretty sure this describes most of us in our student days, whether we are in them or have gone passed that stage. Never the less, for students, one fact remains – “Textbooks are boring”. If this notion is true, we need to change this system of textbook exam preparation. Are there any alternatives to this ?
Everybody who is anybody is a YouTube user. Different YouTube channels support different needs. For example, If you are an elementary School student having trouble in say, Basic Math, you could look up “The Video Math Tutor”, “mathantics” or any other related YouTube channels. If you are a college student, you can look for Calculus tutorials on “Learn Math Tutorials”, “mathspays” or any other related channel.
You can also work the other way and create your own YouTube channel. Creating your own channel helps sharing what you know with the world. You don’t necessarily have to be an instructor to upload a tutorial video. As long as you know what you are doing, your channel can only help others around the world who wish to learn.
For some students, self study just doesn’t cut it. They feel the urge to study only when in a group. Using Skype, students can hold a ‘student conference’online from home.
3. E-COMMERCE BUSINESS
For a student, the worst thing that can happen a few days before the exam is that they realize that they don’t have the required study materials. They may require an E – Book or other utensils for the Exams. What faster way is there to get this than Business to Consumer (B2C) E – commerce ( or online shopping ) . Amazon and eBay are examples of E – Commerce companies that provide this facility.
4. FLASHCARDS ONLINE
Flashcards are an effective study tool, which can be used in two ways. For those who have actually studied for the exams, flashcard can be used to revise important concepts. Since there are people who have studied everything, we can also expect others who haven’t even started to brush the dust off of their books until the day before the exams! (I wonder how many of us would fall into this category ?) In any case, flashcard study sites like cram.com contains flashcards on wide ranging topics – from elementary school to college prep exams. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can even create and import your own flashcard for a subject to the online flashcard database, which can be used as a tool for other students preparing for the same exam.
5. Q & A SITES
While, preparing for the exams, students may come across doubts for which their peers, nor teacher, can give a satisfactory response. Sites, like 3form, Answerbag and ask.com, allow you to post a Question on any subject or look up answers for already existing questions. There also exist subject specific sites, which allow you to ask and answer questions on a particular subject. For example, StackOverflow is a site reserved for asking doubts on computers and programming specifically. In this way, examination doubts can be cleared instantly.
6. ONLINE TUTORING PLATFORMS
Need some help in a subject? Online tutoring platforms, like tutorsclass and Buddyschool, provide an online classroom environment for students and teachers to carry out lessons and interact. Tutorials exist for all topics from the basics of math and science to business and marketing. Anyone with knowledge in the subject can sign up as a tutor. Here, students have the option of choosing a tutor of their liking. Once both student and tutor have accepted each other, lessons are carried out in an online classroom. They carry on with their lesson until their time is up.
7. USING A PLATFORM TO PUBLISH AND SELL ONLINE COURSES
Instead of the realtime student – teacher interaction discussed above, some students may only need to clear a few doubts and hence, need not go overboard by opting for an online tutoring platform. In this case, a set of hands-on ( but un-interactive ) video tutorials would suffice. Platforms like WizIq, OpenSesame,MindFlash,Udemy and Learning Cart, allow easy access to most course material for free.
8. EDUCATION FORUMS
Rather than “Exam Prep”, education forums are a useful resource much before exams or just after exams. They consists of millions of ‘threads’. Each thread talks about an item of interest, and other people can share their view points. They can be used for enrolling into an institution. For example, someone who is interested in enrolling their child to a school may post , “The XYZ school offers the best classroom environment necessary for todays students. How valid is this claim?” . Others, who may be education consultants or students of the XYZ school, will post their view points. Hence, a thread is created. The person who originally started this thread can read all the suggestions posted and get a general idea of whether the school has a good classroom environment, or not.
The other way to use Education forums can be to discuss, say, National test results for college entrance exams. For Example, “I got a 150 on the revised GRE. What are the best colleges i can hope to get into?” Based on the posts of Education consultants, you will get the answer you are looking for.
9. CONTENT SUMMARISATION SOFTWARE
Although this is not a full fledged exam prep method, it is worth talking about content summarization for education. This involves taking paragraphs of text and summarizing it into just a few lines. The paragraphs of text is input to a complex algorithm, programmed to understand nouns, verbs and adjectives, and the output is the few lines of equivalent summarized text. A notable content summarization for education startup was by a fifteen year old entrepreneur – Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summly. His algorithm of content summarization, which could summarize Stories of information to four hundred words, came to him while he was studying for a history exam (Quite the coincidence, don’t you think!). This algorithm was nothing short of astounding. So it’s no surprise that Summly was later sold to Yahoo! for thirty million dollars.
10. CLOUD BASED EDUCATION SYSTEMS
They provide facilities that help students to easily prepare for exams. Classe365, for example, has a Library Module which students can use to check in/out books, without having to wait in long lines in the library, hence saving time for studying. Furthermore, Classe365 will integrate Skype, which will allow students to enjoy the benefits of Skype learning for preparing for their examinations. In addition to this, Classe365’s app will allow students to prepare for exams wherever, whenever.