13 Exam Study Tips Every Student Should Know

Table with books and a computer

“Study Area” by yum9me is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Preparing for final exams is never easy. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to boost your performance and improve your retention of facts during cram time.

Check out our top 13 exam study tips that every student should know! These tips will help you ace your tests.

1. Map out your notes in a new way

Mind Map

“Subway Style Mind Map” by Sharon Brogan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Instead of mindlessly skimming pages and pages of written notes, consider making mind maps, Venn diagrams, and other visual presentations that incorporate the information found in your notes. By making connections between various topics and comparing different pieces of information, you’ll be able to understand your course information on a deeper level. Visually re-framing notes is particularly useful for students taking written exams.

2. Keep the beverages flowing

Beer glasses

“Beer sampler” by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Okay, so maybe beer isn’t the best choice for staying hydrated, focused, and awake while you’re studying. Maybe save the beer to celebrate when the exams are over.

Staying hydrated and comfortable will make it far easier to endure hours of studying.

Drinking water is great for the body and mind. Be sure to drink water along with other beverage(s) of choice while prepping for your finals. Whether you’re a fan of hot tea, ice-cold Coca Cola or Starbucks lattes, keep a drink by your side while you’re studying. Continue reading

Top Selling College Textbooks For 2015

Based on 10 million price quote requests aggregated over a two month period, and the fact that these textbooks are holding their value, we have evidence that the following list of college textbooks will be the top ten sellers for 2015.  The data is based off of quotes to Cash4Books.net and aggregated by unique IP address.

  1. 9780321743268
    Human Anatomy & Physiology by Elaine N. Marieb, Katja N. Hoehn
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    Campbell Biology by Jane B. Reece, Lisa A. Urry, Michael L. Cain, Steven A. Wasserman, Peter V. Minorsky, Robert B. Jack
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    Chemistry by Tro Nivaldo J.
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    Chemistry: The Central Science (13th Edition) by Theodore E. Brown, H. Eugene H LeMay, Bruce E. Bursten, Catherine Murphy, Patrick Woodward, Matthew
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    Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw
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    Calculus: Early Transcendentals by James Stewart
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    Principles of Microeconomics by N. Gregory Mankiw
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    Fundamentals of Nursing by Patricia A. Potter RN MSN PhD FAAN, Anne Griffin Perry RN EdD FAAN, Patricia Stockert RN BSN
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Top 11 Spring Break Deals For College Students

Spring break travel deals

You’re almost penniless. Exhausted. You despise your dorm room, the lousy food and campus life. Even your roomies annoy you.

Time for a spring break and Spring Break Deals!

You’ve got to go! Even if it means asking the parentals for a loan—which should be no sweat when you show them how responsible you are by undertaking research on cheap destinations.

Quick Tips

Crash at hostels to save a bundle. Or, investigate AirBnB.com and CouchSurfing.com to bunk at private homes and enjoy homemade meals. If you go this route, remember: It’s not your home, so no wet towels on beds, please.

1. Gadsden, Alabama

Spend your spring break getting up close and personal with your camera or smart phone by grabbing a bus ticket that takes you to Chattanooga, TN or Gadsden, AL. These two cities bracket the 93-mile long Lookout Mountain Parkway.

Hike or bike the distance for an active vacation and if you can get your hands on a tent, this area of the country is beloved by campers. Snack on nuts, fruit and pack peanut butter for sandwiches so you only need eat out once a day.

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This destination has been called a beach house Mecca because so many are available for rental and some can sleep a gaggle of spring breakers. Contribute to a communal pot to underwrite the house rental and food, then split the meal prep duties.

You can parasail, surf, sail, kayak or just stroll the beach and pick up shells. Avoid luxe neighborhoods, home to fancy golf clubs, and you could come back with a few bucks left over.

3. New York’s Adirondack Mountains

These mountains make a great spring break get-away for college students in the Northeast. Stop at little towns in this Alpine region to ski, hike or bike. Schlep a kayak and you can explore the St. Regis Canoe Area with pals, but prepare for critters and cold, so no tents.

Use your backpack to store energy bars and save your food budget for one big meal a day. Oh, and taking a selfie at Lake Placid, the former Winter Olympics Game area, is mandatory.

4. South Padre Island, Texas

A list of spring break destinations wouldn’t be complete without this traditional spring break Valhalla. Things usually morph into a gigantic free-for-all, so if you don’t mind being a lemming, join the fray.

Here’s the rub: Texas commerce loves student visitors but prices aren’t always cheap if you’re watching your pennies. Instead, save Benjamins by headquartering as far from the epicenter as possible. Go in for the parties and return “home” for the night.

5. Mt. Hood, Oregon

Nobody can promise you that Mt. Hood won’t erupt during your spring break, but the odds are so slim, don’t use this as an excuse for not traveling to this part of Oregon. Temperatures get chilly the higher up you climb, but that’s countered by constant sunshine.

Known as “First Timers Heaven,” Mt. Hood has lots of ski and snowboard schools, but if you want to sip coffee at a cozy lodge, you’ll have no trouble finding a fire. Snag an accommodation with a homeowner via AirBnB and you won’t have to worry about starving.

6. Vail, Colorado

Hop in the car and drive with a couple of buddies to experience spring in the Rockies. There are affordable outdoor experiences throughout the region; hike or bike the Continental Divide to work out your angst over that C in statistics.

Drop by outlet shopping mall Silverthorne to check out bargains. If Easter is lurking, it’s Vail’s annual closing weekend featuring live concerts and plenty of partying. If you run out of cash, rely upon the quintessential Ramen noodle selection to tide you over.

7. Winslow, Arizona

Hate crowds? Come here.

It’s off the beaten track unless you buy an AMTRAK ticket, so train here for some down time in the quirky place the Eagles memorialized in their song. Visit historic sites and B&Bs that welcome students, but if you really want to show your frugal side, bring camping gear and a tent.

Play trivia on the train and under the stars for cost-free fun. If you love campfires, roast wieners on a tree branch followed by toasted marshmallows at least once.

8. Daytona Beach, Florida

Frequently called the “alternative” spring break headquarters by those who wouldn’t dream of going to Texas, Daytona Beach is in close proximity to lots of big attractions like the ubiquitous Disney World in Orlando.

If you’ve been there and done that, 80-degree spring temperatures mean you never have to move your bum off the beach. Bring sunglasses, a steamy book that has no relevance to learning and a bag of local fruit to get you through the day. Dine al fresco at little joints located far from the big hotels.

9. Washington D.C.

Missed your senior high school trip to the nation’s capital? Time to rectify that. You really, really must see this city before you find yourself admonishing your kids because they aren’t interested in seeing cherry blossoms, either.

There are lots of attractions that can cost you big time, but why not contact your home senator or representative and ask for a personal tour? Staffers do it all the time.

Food? The thriving food truck circuit in DC has got to be tasted to be believed.

10. The Pacific Highway, California

The West Coast is a veritable paradise of hostels, so if you stick to a walking or driving trip up California 101, you’ll discover plenty of places around Santa Cruz, San Diego and San Francisco to hang out and relax. Some are located steps from sand and surf.

Whether you’ve never before seen the Pacific Ocean or just want to bum around and feel the West Coast vibe, you can exist on fish taco stand fare indefinitely if you’re sick of peanut butter sandwiches.

11. Vegas, Baby!

Put this neon paradise atop your spring break destination list! The city is no stranger to folks who rent a room for two and wind up sleeping a small crowd, so use a hotel aggregator to book a cheap room and invite the world to crash.

The buffet is your lifesaver in Vegas. Look for Elvis wannabes handing out discount coupons on the strip for additional buffet savings. You might not win big, but playing penny slots can satisfy your gambling craving while making sure you don’t have to get a wire transfer to return to campus.

Have more recommendations on great Spring Break deals? Please post a comment!

If you have textbooks to sell, please visit our homepage, www.Cash4Books.net.

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How To Get Your College Budget On Track


Tips to get your college budget on track.

Many of us are coming out of the post-holiday haze and realizing that we’ve spent more money over the past few months than we anticipated.

We weren’t thinking about the textbooks we would need in January when we were buying all of those Moguards as Christmas gifts in December (yes, even Grandma got one).

What are we poor college students to do when our wallets, bank accounts, and bellies are empty in the New Year? Never fear! There are some simple strategies we can implement to get our income moving in the right direction.

New Year, New College Budget

It’s a new year, which means it’s a great time to get your finances in check. This could include anything from cancelling a credit card you use too much to transferring 10% of your monthly paycheck into a savings account.

Save money in college - Avoid using plastic

Leave the plastic at home and save money in college

And it’s time to make a budget. I know I know, it doesn’t sound like fun. But by devising a detailed college budget over the course of a few hours, you can wind up saving hundreds of dollars each month to put towards textbooks, living expenses, and fun.

The first steps to creating a budget are:

  • Know your income. Track your weekly and/or monthly salary so you know exactly what you’re working with.
  • Figure out your expenses. What do you pay in rent? Do you need to eat? Do you plan on buying textbooks this semester?

If you’re ready to dive deeper into making a budget, please read 12 Steps for How to Make a Budget – Personal Budgeting Tips for First Timers.”

Create SMART Goals

As good as your money-saving spectacular college budget extravaganza plans may be, you want to be realistic and make goals and decisions you can stick with. Be SMART about your goals by:

  • Writing them down. Studies show that individuals who write down their goals are much more likely to accomplish them than people who don’t.
  • Being specific. It’s a good idea for you to create tangible, detailed goals that clearly outline what your financial plans are as well as how you will implement them. 

An example of a SMART budgeting goal would be to take $20 from each of your weekly paychecks and deposit it into your savings account in order to prepare for an emergency (aka, one of these).

Okay, so maybe a Tesla doesn’t realistically fit into the your new college budget. But we can still dream, can’t we?

Get A Bank/Checking Account

If you’re serious about getting your money on track for the New Year, open a checking account. Setting up a checking account in college has advantages. Banks tend to cater to students by offering them the opportunity to open free checking accounts. With a free account, you oftentimes won’t have to worry about accumulating fees on fund transfers or withdrawals.

When deciding on which bank to use, think about if they have ATMs near campus. You don’t want to have to be worrying about out-of-network withdrawal fees when you’re trying to get your grub on at 3am. You know you’ll pay that $2 service fee to take out $20 to be able to buy your pizza. Speaking of pizza…

Make Your Own Food

Those 3am pizza runs can get a little pricey.  So what to do when your tummy is as empty as your wallet?

Learn how to cook! Hey, it’s an essential life skill to have. You can easily make some seriously tasty grub and take all of that money you save to the bank.

Sell Old Stuff Online

You likely have items in your dorm or apartment that you’re not using. For example, do you really need that cupcake pillow? Well, yes…yes you do.

But you can sell your less important stuff using sites like eBay, or other online buyback companies, to generate quick cash. To get started, set aside a time to take stock of what you have. What is essential? What can you live without?

Items that yield the most cash include:

By selling your unwanted stuff, not only will your wallet be fatter, but your dorm will be clean (well, cleaner).

Sell Your Textbooks Online

Another way to get your income moving in the right direction is selling your textbooks online.

You’ve got tons of textbooks laying around that you convince yourself that you’re going to need in 10 years. It’s not going to happen. And your textbooks are worth the most money now, so strike while that buyback iron is hot!

While selling textbooks on campus is convenient, you often get more money selling textbooks to online companies instead. The process is simple and easy with many companies offering to pay the shipping for you.

One excellent, expedient online textbook seller that you should sell your textbooks to is www.cash4books.net.

Share Your Tips

We’d love to hear from you! What are some ways you got out of your financial pickle? Please share any helpful budgeting advice for college students by leaving a reply.


College Advice From Our Customers – Help A College Student Contest Winners

Help a College Student Writing Contest

Our customers shared their best college advice. Read their advice below.

Last month, we held a contest asking our customers a simple question:

“What advice would you give to a college student and why?”

They blew us away with the great advice they shared. Our customers come from varying degrees of college experience. And it’s safe to say based on their advice, we’d call them all college experts. While it was no easy task to pick five winners out of the bunch, we hope these winning entries help current and future college students.

Schedule Homework Time Backwards

“Do internships, because they give you job experience. Pay attention to what professors are looking for – because then you’ll get good grades. Finish what you start. Oh, and the best advice I ever got for college? Schedule backwards from when assignments are due, schedule time to do the assignments and then stick to your schedule. I had a friend in college who had all the same classes as I did for two quarters, and at the beginning of every week we’d sit down and schedule when we would do each assignment. I got everything done, on time! In the world of entrepreneurship and jobs, being able to set goals and meet your own deadlines is gold.”

- By Amanda M.

Visit Counselors and Create an Academic Map

“Classes are easy it’s the administrative hurdles that can interfere with your education! Be sure to visit academic counselors and create your own academic map with key dates and goals. Get a jump on planning and preparing by familiarizing yourself with the schools website. Many online systems will offer link to required texts when you sign up for classes. Ask lots of questions of different people around campus, this is a great way to great meet people and learn about campus resources! Make college work for you!”

- By Lorraine K.

Don’t Forget About Your Health

“My husband is an English prof and has worked with college students for 25+years. He always has two pieces of advice for incoming Freshmen. First, get some sleep. Yep, get in the bed at a semi-reasonable hour. Those late, late night talks with your roommate costs you down the road. By November, you have piled up a sleep debt and your body screams “Enough!” Usually, this rebellion expresses itself through a sinus infection, flu virus, or, at times, depression. By then your semester is in the throes of due dates and mid-terms. Not a time to miss a week of class.

Second, do what your momma has always told you–eat your veggies and drink your orange juice!! All these students coming in from all points of the world and living in close quarters exposes you to all sorts of new germs. So, load up on that vitamin C and save the pizza for the weekend.

By staying reasonably healthy, you can actually make it to class and stay awake–two KEYS to passing a college level class.”

- By Whit J.

Take It From a Runner – It’s Important to Pace Yourself

“Running cross-country for a major university taught me lessons that are applicable to anyone’s academic career.

Working toward a college degree is like trying to complete a marathon. While marathon finishers show that they have the physical stamina to grind their way to their goal, college graduates demonstrate to a potential employer or recruiter that they have the mental grit to persist in an academic or work environment.

Just as a long-distance runner learns not to start a race too fast, those embarking on a college career should learn to pace themselves. Don’t waste energy by striving for academic perfection – that’s the quickest road to intellectual burnout. Instead, the most useful bit of advice I have is to attend each and every lecture. Doing so is like the runner who maintains a steady pace throughout a race. Just as the crowd cheers even the slowest marathoner, so too does a professor mentally applaud those who show up day after day no matter where they fall on the academic scale. It is a college secret that professors will find a way to give at least a “C” to those who attend class everyday. So, to those just starting on their way to a college degree – remember that the steady students are the ones who win the college marathon.”

- By Mark M.

Your Schedule May Be Crazy Busy – But Don’t Forget To Enjoy the Little Things

“College is a completely different world than high school. I am a junior in college now, with a double major in Business Administration and Accounting. I have the ambitious goal of graduating in 4 years with 150 credits (which is equal to having a master’s degree). I also work and volunteer on the side. This story is typical of my other college friends as well. Life is beyond busy…it is hectic and crazy. But I have learned is that I need to live day by day. It is easy to become stressed and overwhelmed with my schedule. I can look at my week in my planner and feel like I can’t keep going. But it is possible to block out the other days and focus on today. Take joy out of the little moments in life, like grabbing a Starbucks with friends or just looking out the window at the gorgeous morning in your 8am class.

Life and college aren’t easy, but make sure you always take the time to smile and be grateful for the good moments, and even the bad ones that make you grow. Don’t let your schedules overtake you…don’t lose yourself. Instead, answer this question: “Why did I enter college?” Keep your answer in your mind as you live day-by-day and moment-to-moment.”

-By Katie M.

Thank you to everyone that submitted their college advice to the Cash4Books Help A College Student Contest. If you’d like to learn more about selling textbooks online for cash, a great place to start is our website, Cash4Books.net. Want to never miss another Cash4Books contest? Join our monthly newsletter! You’ll be first to know about any contest. Plus, you’ll get exclusive bonus codes to add more cash to your buyback total. Sign up here.