Tag Archives: apps

Working through Test Anxiety

Tests have a way of working people up into a serious frenzy. The stakes are much higher around exam time and the pressure becomes almost palpable without the right preparation. There are a number of strategies to help you prepare yourself mentally and physically for an upcoming exam and lower the anxiety around test-taking. Here are some quick tips that may be useful for you in the future:

Change how you view the test. Often our performance is impacted by our perception of the task at hand; if you look at the test as an impending doom, you will respond to it that way. You can conquer anything and you will not be defeated by a little test J. First things first, think of it as an “assignment” (because that’s essentially what it is, it just covers more course material) to take away some of its fear factor.

Create a simulated testing experience for studying. Try to create a studying environment that is as close to the actual testing environment as possible to get used to what taking the exam will really be like on exam day. How can you do this? Try these simple strategies:

If taking the exam in a testing center

Visit the center ahead of time to observe the atmosphere. Is there a lot of people, will you be sitting next to someone, is it cold in the room, etc.? Making note of these things will help you recreate the setting at home when studying.

Try doing practice tests with a timer in front of you to make it easier to perform with a timer when you take the exam. Exams in the testing center are often timed and the timer appears as a countdown on the computer screen during the exam.

If using ProctorU

Do all studying in the spot where you will be taking the test on exam day. This can help your memory because the environment will serve as a cue to help you recall information.

Create practice tests. Look at the textbook publisher’s website to create practice tests. You can also check out Flashcards+ and Quizlet to make flashcards to help you study.

Practice relaxation techniques before and during the exam. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to recall the information you’ve studied. On the day of the exam, check out the Omvana app for quick meditation exercises, listen to your favorite song and dance to it to release any physical discomfort (really get into it!), or anything else that calms you. Here is a strategy you can try when taking the “assignment”:

Take relaxation breaks when you hit benchmarks on the exam. For instance, once you have completed three questions/problems/ scenarios, pause, sit up straight with a soft smile on your face, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly rotate your head in complete circles in both directions. Rotate your shoulders to the front in slow circles and again in the opposite direction. Do as many rotations as necessary. Return to the “assignment” when you feel calmer. You can do this exercise after any number of questions you choose and as often as you need.

Do not worry about those around you; do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. If at any time during the test you feel tense, return to the relaxation exercise. Pace yourself and take problems one at a time; do not jump or look ahead. And remember, you always know more than you think you do! You will do great! Namaste.

Written by ELI Success Coach, Jennifer. If you have questions or would benefit from additional strategies, reach out to an ELI Success Coach today by calling 703.323.3347 or elisuccess@nvcc.edu. From test taking strategies to time management, we are here to answer your questions and help you access resources that will empower you to navigate the semester and pave your way to a successful academic journey.

This Week at ELI!

Work life balance choicesJoin our Virtual Student Union – Our VSU has a new look! Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the spring semester. Join now!

How to Prepare for Finals – Finals are quickly approaching, so start preparing now! Our 30 min video will focus on an overview of topics and strategies to help ease anxiety and help you study smart such as: early preparation, planning your approach and taking the exam. Request access to the video here.

Cash Course Financial Literacy Contest – Twenty $100 NOVA bookstore gift cards towards educational costs at NOVA will be raffled off throughout the 2015‐2016 academic year to randomly selected students ELI who successfully complete CashCourse web‐based financial literacy modules! Official contest rules and registration to participate can be found here: Cash Course Contest Registration.

Engage in your Community! Did you miss our Community Involvement Fair this fall? Check out our community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available: Community Volunteer Booklet. Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!

Do you have the campus safety app ‘LiveSafe’ installed on your phone yet? In our continuing commitment to the highest level of campus safety, NOVA has launched a new mobile safety app called LiveSafe. The LiveSafe app will improve communication between students, faculty, staff and NOVA Police, and will facilitate emergency response in critical situations. Our goal is to work with you to help build a safer campus. The LiveSafe app allows you to: Report tips to or request emergency services anonymously from NOVA Police; Send your location to NOVA Police; Let friends or family monitor your movements, so you never have to walk alone; Share your concerns and suggestions with NOVA Police; Have critical safety information at your fingertips. Members of the college community, including students, staff, faculty, and parents are encouraged to download the free app through the iTunes or Google Play stores for their iPhone and Android devices. Type in “LiveSafe” and download the app with the blue shield today!

Stay connected with NOVA on all your favorite social networking websites.
  You can now interact with NOVA on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, iTunes U and YouTube. Become a fan. You will find us under the name NOVAaccess. You will discover and learn a lot about NOVA through our new social networking sites. Updates are made on a daily basis.  As our fan on any of these sites, you will have access to the latest events and programs taking place at each NOVA campus. It is also a great way to connect with NOVA students, alumni and other faculty and staff.

Don’t forget to sign-up for NOVA Alert.  NOVA Alert is a free alert system that allows NOVA to contact you during an emergency by sending messages to your cell phone and email.

STUDENT LIFE OFFICES:
For more information on any of these activities, please visit your student life office.  We are here to help you make the most of your experience at NOVA!

Motivational Minute: Maintaining Peace Amongst Chaos

inner peace comic

We all have had those times when we go into an interaction with someone feeling positive but walk away from it feeling disturbed, bothered, frustrated, angry, drained (and many more unpleasant adjectives). Sometimes we need to remind ourselves not to let other people’s negativity rub off on us. Think about the ocean and its properties for a moment (stay with me here). The ocean maintains calm and stillness below the surface even if there is a hurricane above. The deeper within the ocean you go, the calmer the waters. We should try to embody those same properties within ourselves and exercise the ability to maintain inner peace regardless of external circumstance. Whenever there is dis-ease (that’s probably not really a word but you catch my drift) around you, connect with the stillness within and find it by retreating and exploring the depths inside yourself.  The peace you need to weather the storms of relentless instructors (whyyy), classmates that don’t pull their weight in group assignments (ggrrrr), and Blackboard malfunctions (aahhh) is just below your surface, just dive deeper and tap into it! Namaste!

Download the Omvana meditation app (it’s free for iPhones and iPads) and try Being the Ocean (it’s only .99!)

–Jennifer, ELI Student Success Coach

This week at ELI!

ThinkstockPhotos-77739879Summer Registration opens for all students on Tuesday, March 31. Check the schedule of classes in NOVA Connect and follow this tutorial to help you search for online classes through ELI. If you register before April 26 payment is due by 5pm on Monday, April 27, or your classes may be dropped. If you register after April 27, your tuition will be due by 5pm the next business day. Don’t wait to register!

All Week- Pedometer Challenge. Participate in the ELI Pedometer Challenge through our Health and Wellness Group! Compete and share experiences with other students by tracking your average daily steps for a month as well as create personal health and wellness goals. First 50 students who sign up get a FREE ELI Pedometer. Challenge starts begins April 6th! Register here.

All Week- ELI Book Club. Join ELI’s Book Club! This semester we will read “How I Live Now” by Meg Rosoff. After you sign up, you will gain access to the book club’s discussion board. We will end the book club with a live viewing of the movie adaptation! So, don’t wait and sign up today! Register here.

Wednesday – ELI Birthday Celebration. 1-3pm. The Extended Learning Institute is turning 40! ELI will be visiting all six campuses and invite students to join us in celebrating 40 years of online learning at NOVA! This week we will be at Annandale! Festivities will include birthday treats, party games, and learn more about options with online learning at NOVA!

Resource of the Week – Do you have upcoming final exams and  papers due? Need to organize your ideas? Check out Idea Sketch. This app will help you brainstorm and organize your thoughts to help you prepare outlines for final papers, and help you study for exams. Available in the apple store and Google play.

Apps for College Students

image of a person using a tablet

Each month at ELIfe, we will recommend smart phone/tablet apps that are helpful for your studies at ELI (and beyond). NOVA has already compiled a list of useful apps by platform. Here are some of the library’s favorites:

image of blackboard mobile app icon Easily access your NOVA blackboard account on the go.
image of the myHomework app icon Keep track of homework, projects, schedules, and sync to all devices.
image of studyblue app icon Mobile and online flashcards

Check ELIfe regularly so you don’t miss the next post on recommended apps. Don’t be left out of the loop!

Time Management Tips

ScheduleNow that you have a clear understanding about why you are taking classes, it is time to plot out when you will be working on them this semester. Taking a college course is a definite time commitment. While online classes give you flexibility, they frequently require more time than classroom based courses, not less. In an online course, it is essential that you check in several times throughout the week to make sure you are staying on track and not missing any announcements from your instructor. You will need to make sure you do the reading assigned for the course in addition to the practice exercises and the graded assignments. To budget your time appropriately, allow 2-3 hours each week for every credit you are taking. So, if you are completing six credits of classes, make sure you budget 12-18 hours in your schedule for doing your reading and coursework. Furthermore, when scheduling your classes, allow 15 minute breaks for every hour of uninterrupted study to allow yourself to retain what you are trying to learn.

Figure out the calendar/planning system that works best for you early on in the semester. If a paper calendar works best, use it! If you prefer to set alerts and updates on your phone calendar, use it! Mark in the times that are already committed to things like work, meetings, or other necessities. Also mark in the time you need for meals, commuting, and sleep. After that, schedule in the hours you intend to spend studying. View these in your mind as your class time and try to keep them as consistent as you can every week, so you create a habit. Establishing a routine is key to staying on track!

Then, on the first week of classes, attend your class by logging into blackboard during the first scheduled window and complete as much of your first week’s assignments as you can. Most classroom based courses encourage you to miss no more than two class periods a semester. Try to be at least this faithful to attend your self-scheduled online study periods. When it comes to taking online classes, building strong habits is critical to success!

Do you have any questions about managing your time or staying on task throughout the semester? Join an ELI Counselor for the Tips for Success in Online Classes today at 12:15 pm (EST). If you can’t attend live, request a recording to get the information and get started strong. Register or request a recording here.

Want to work with your ELI Success Coach? Contact your coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076 for tips for success and resources to help you have a successful semester.

Studying for Finals? Consider this 4-day study plan!

The fall semester is winding down and final exams and projects are quickly approaching. Follow us on the ELIfe Social Media channels for tips for successful finals prep. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The ELI Success Coaching Team is here to help support you and provide study tips. You can contact them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

About.com features useful articles that will help you prepare for your final exams. To achieve the grade you are hoping for, the Four Day Study Plan, which we have slightly tweaked, will help you prepare.

Studying for an Exam Day 1: Communicate with Your Instructor, Find a Study Partner and Organize

1.    Ask your instructor what type of test it will be. Multiple choice? Essay? That will make a difference in how you prepare.

2.    Ask your instructor for a review sheet/study guide if he/she has not already given you one.

3.    Find a study partner — set up dates to meet to include the night before the test if possible – even via phone/Facebook/Skype.

4.    Print and organize your notes, old quizzes, textbook, assignments and handouts from the units being tested.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions (for example: cell phone, TV, instant messenger, etc.)

2.    Organize handouts, past tests, and other information according to dates. Make note of anything you are missing. (Where’s the vocab quiz from chapter 2?) Pay special attention to the questions that you missed and spend extra time studying those questions.

3.    Rewrite or type your notes. Creating an outline of the information you need to know will help you understand how the material covered in the class is related.

4.    Review the material you have. Go through the review sheet to determine what material will be covered. Read through your quizzes/handouts/notes and study questions from your book’s chapters.

Studying for a Test Day 2: Course Review, Review and Apply the Material to Better Understand 

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Communicate with your instructor to clarify areas you didn’t understand and request any missing items.

3.    Ask if there will be a review before the test and continue to review on your own and review with your Study Partner (if time permits). If there will not be a course review, consider organizing one – you can reserve a study room and meet in a campus or local library.

When Studying:

1.    Create flashcards with a question/term/vocab word on the front of the card, and the answer on the back. Quizlet is a free website/app that will help you design flashcards, practice tests and quizzes. The website/app also has pre-made flash cards (a favorite app by many students).

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes, and review everything on the review sheet that you don’t already know using mnemonic devices like acronyms or singing a song. Also, apply the material to your life in ways that you can remember and understand. When the timer goes off, take a 15 min. break and revisit your review sheet. Study again, setting the timer if it works well for you.

3.    If you are not using the Quizlet App, put your flashcards in your purse, backpack, or car so that you can review them when you are not busy.

Studying for a Test Day 3: Review and Apply the Material, Create Practice Tests

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions

2.    When you have any free time, review your flashcards and ask yourself questions (when you’re waiting for class to start, at lunch, during study hall, etc.)

3.    Confirm a study date for tomorrow night.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes again. Go back through your flashcards and review sheet, learning/applying material (especially reviewing areas that are causing you some struggles). Take a 5-minute break. If necessary, set a timer for 45 minutes again and continue if you’re still unsure of any material!

3.    Create a few “practice tests” for yourself and your study partner (you can create your own, use study guides or visit your textbook website for practice tests).  A practice test should include questions about key terminology, facts, and concepts that are likely to be on the test.

4.    Be sure to have your flashcards (Quizlet App) ready for review again tomorrow.

Studying for a Test Day 4: Review, Study/Quiz Self, Confirm Meeting Time with Study Partner

1.    Throughout the day, pull your flashcards out and review.

2.    Confirm your study date with a friend or classmate.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Again, review your flashcards paying special attention to the remaining material that was giving you some struggles.

3.    Quiz. With your study partner, take turns asking possible exam questions to each other. You will learn the material better by alternating asking the questions. Stop once you’ve been through the questions a few times and get a good night’s sleep.

Be sure to check out other similar articles on About.com, How To Study.org or by visiting our free online workshops by Student Lingo. If you need additional review, you can use ELI’s free online tutoring service through Smarthinking. If you are using a campus testing center, if possible, do not wait until the last day – emergencies can come up and in many classes, you will not be able to take the test late.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Safety Tips

Many of ELI’s 23,000 online students take courses on campus too.  Please watch this informative video on how you can stay safe while taking classes or proctored exams.

Safety Tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • It’s always better to walk in pairs and trust your instincts.
  • Students, faculty and staff are asked to stay alert and report suspicious activity to NOVA Police.
  • Police escorts are available at any time by calling (703) 764-5000.
  • Report any information about this case by contacting NOVA Police or by enrolling in NOVA’s LiveSafe App. Learn more about LiveSafe at www.livesafemobile.com.

Managing the Demands of School through Meditation

College students have a lot on their plates. Students’ have to maintain their jobs outside of school, fulfill the obligations of their personal relationships, and stay on top of the workload of each course! With these demands often conflicting with one another, the need for finding the balance between them is pressing. But how can it be done?

So often people fervently search for peace of mind as if it is the medal you win after making it through the maze of life. But what if the answer to finding balance is already within you and all it takes is for you to retreat within yourself to find it?

Now, the golden question, why should I even try it? I’m so glad you asked! Tons of research has been done on the efficacy of meditation and the benefits are numerous, in particular for the unique population of college students. Studies show that:

  • 30 minutes of meditation 7 days a week increases creativity and elevates mood (you can do this on your lunch break!)
  • Meditation reduced distractive and ruminating thoughts in distressed college students
  • Incorporating meditation into everyday life has shown to increase positive emotions in students
  • Meditation improved academic performance and school behavior, reduced anxiety, heightened self-compassion, and decreased notions of perfectionism and self-criticism in college students (Simply by sitting quietly for 15-20 minutes a day!)

Meditation doesn’t have to be this elaborate process that can only be done when you’re looking out of your third eye while standing on your head on top of a mountain. There are many activities that elicit a meditative, mindful, and relaxed state that you can do every day. Below are some suggestions; just find a quiet spot and try them.

  • Transcendental Meditation: Sit comfortably, breathe deeply, repeat a mantra internally to focus your energy, observe your thoughts and emotions rather than react to them
  • Guided Imagery Meditation: Picture a soothing scene, engage all your senses to make the image as real as possible (do you smell flowers? is there are breeze on your face?), let your mind get lost in the scene
  • Movement Meditation, i.e. walking, yoga, tai chi (and it’s great exercise)
  • Reading/quiet time: creates a great break from the mundane.

***Omvana is a great iPhone/iPad mediation app and it’s FREE!***

Starting your mornings off with a meditation exercise will ready you for the demands that lay ahead throughout your day by giving you a clear head and a more positive disposition. Taking a moment to recharge at work when you feel overwhelmed, doing a focused meditation on a specific topic, i.e. eliminating self-doubt, etc. can make all the difference in increasing productivity in all areas of your life. Remember that peace already resides in you and it is refocusing on that internal happiness that will better equip you to deal with whatever obstacle that comes your way. Namaste!

–Jennifer Reed, Student Success Coach, ELI

Contact me for the list of research articles used to write this post or for more meditation suggestions.

See other related blogs:

A Little Meditation Exercise to Refresh Your Brain

Getting a Good Start to Your Morning

Fun and Free Apps to Explore

With thousands of apps available, it can be challenging to uncover an app that fits your needs. If you are searching for that perfect study app or an app to help you develop your career, the following apps may provide the inspiration that you have been searching for:

picture of mobile apps

Blackboard (Bb) Mobile Learn: Provides organized, on-the-go access to the latest course announcements, quick access to the discussion board and instant access to your journal posts, upcoming assignments and more.

Flipboard: Stay on top of information in your field with Flipboard! Flipboard is your personal magazine. Users can catch up on the news that they enjoy, explore information and articles from around the world, and stay connected to the people closest to them. Save and collect information into your own personal magazines such as articles focused on coursework, personal interests and more.

Flowboard: Storytelling and presentation app that en
ables the user to create side-scrolling publications with images, text, videos, links, and photo galleries. Flowboard allows you to create & present from your iPad, or share to any device. This app could also be used to maintain accomplishments and share in an interview or incorporate into an online resume.

Quizlet: Excel during your study time creating practice tests and quizzes, flashcards or take advantage of  pre-made flashcards.

Screenchomp: Share course concepts and thoughts with friends or classmates. To begin, tap the record button; draw on the whiteboard with the app pen or markers and record a running narrative.  ScreenChomp will record the user’s voice and drawings and uploads the creation to ScreenChomp. The user will be provided with a link which can be shared via e-mail, Twitter, or on the clipboard.

What are  your favorite apps? Let us know in the comments below!