A literary journey through 196 countries

How many books do you read every year? Have you ever paid attention to what’s on your bookshelves? Watch this so inspirational and interesting TED Talk to find how Ann Morgan achieved her ambitious goal: read one book from every country on earth in one year!

Now, if you want to discover more about this inspiring project and chart your OWN journeys with the help of the interactive maps provided by Ann Morgan, you could read

Learn to Manage Your Time Effectively!

University life is hectic and comes with plenty of conflicting commitments – assignments all due in the same week, hall activities sprung on you, reserving time to chill with friends and family, etc. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by everything and panic when the days and hours are dwindling so it’s important to know how to manage your time.

By NasimAhmed96$ (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some tips we’ve gathered from other university websites to help you effectively manage your time.

The University of British Columbia came up with a Big Five list to help you manage your time better –

  1. Plan: set personal goals (both short term and long term) that are realistic and achievable and reevaluate them as needed
  2. Assess: keep a log of how you currently spend your time so that you can identify time wasters and patterns you never consciously noticed
  3. Organise: create to-do lists for the day
  4. Prioritise: prioritise your list and keep track of commitments
  5. Schedule: keep a notebook or use a mobile app to send you reminders and keep your checklist of things to do

In addition to this, the University of New South Wales recommends figuring out your optimum study conditions early on to be more effective in your studying as well as completing simple tasks as soon as possible so that you have more time allocated to more difficult tasks.

Time management skills are useful not just for your university career but also in your personal life as well as professionally. Pick up the habit early and use it to keep sane when you’re bombarded by commitments you can’t get out of!

How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills







Public speaking is a very important skill that everyone, university students included, should strive to master. Research has also shown that an audience will perceive a speaker’s intelligence based more on the way he or she speaks rather than on the contents of the speech. Hence it is crucial to learn to speak properly so that you can capture your audience’s attention and get your points across to them effectively.

Below are some tips from WriteMyEssays for improving your public speaking skills.

  1. Work on your posture – Stand straight with a relaxed spine to project a self-assured outward image
  2. Avoid mindless language – Do not speak in clichés or use buzzwords as it conveys a lack of original thought
  3. Speak loudly, not forcefully – Learn to project your voice but do not shout
  4. Pay close attention to your voice – Listen carefully to your own voice so as to refine it
  5. Avoid ‘vocal fry’ or other vocal irritants – Do not use rising intonation and end words with a raspy growl
  6. Don’t be afraid of silence – Pausing emphasizes and adds thoughtfulness to your speech
  7. Don’t weigh in unless you have something to add – Steer conversation towards familiar ground

For more information, please go to http://writemyessays.net/blog/7-speaking-habits-that-will-make-you-sound-smarter/

Image: Designed by Freepik

PhD, pursue a doctorate degree?

How long does it take to get a doctorate degree? How do you get into grad school? Are you qualified to do a PhD?. Why should you do a PhD? For many people, pusuing a doctorate degree is the absolute achievment of academic pursuit. Years of commitment to higher education, gives the path to call themselves “doctor”. Pursuing a PhD can be a complex, frustrating, expensive and time-consuming exercise. But with the right PhD preparation, some sound advice, and a thorough understanding of the task at hand, the years as a doctoral student can be the the most rewarding.

Watch the below video from UC Berkeley on ‘How to Apply to Graduate School.’

Refer to the below link for more on Doctorate program tips:

Prepare for Doctoral Programs:Doctoral Programs from MIT

Essential PhD tips: 10 articles all doctoral students should read

Improve your memory

Do you think you have a good memory? How excellent is it? Well then, try this memory self-test for informational and fun.

source: http://www.cdl.org/articles/what-strategies-can-be-used-to-increase-memory/

A good memory is truly important for everyone, especially for students. it will help them to retain important information which they have obtained from class and help them to learn effectively. Watch these two interesting Ted Talk below to learn more about memory and how to remember more effectively.

The following tips will help you improve your memory as well:

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How to Read Critically

We’ve posted before on critical thinking skills; this time let’s consider critical reading.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekelly89/7030239035

In an age where we are bombarded with new information through innumerable sources with varying credibility, we have to be critical of all information we consume. Information is hardly ever truly objective and has to be carefully examined to discern an author’s opinion and possible biases from underlying facts. Learn more about critical reading in the video below by Townsend Press.

Critical reading is not finding fault in the literature or information but rather to evaluate the validity and weight of the argument. The University of Leicester has come up with a study guide to provide guidelines in helping you take a more critical approach to reading, whether you are analyzing a more technical paper or a study in the humanities fields. Their guide provides a template from which you can more critically evaluate your sources and questions you should ask yourself when gauging the validity of the information.

Tips for Disertation Defense


Thesis writing is an important and a challenging task you will encounter as a graduate student. The thesis defense is the culmination of that process.

The thesis defense procedure may vary across institutions. By the time you are ready to present your defense, your thesis paper should be nearly complete, and some schools may require that your thesis paper be completely finished. During your thesis defense, you will be expected to present and defend your thesis in front of your advisor, faculty thesis committee, and other audience members – and to do so in a cohesive manner. You can expect to be asked a number of questions after your presentation, and you need to be prepared with the knowledge and skill necessary to answer the questions confidently.

Refer to the below URLs for tips:



A short video from Texas A&M University :


14 Bucket List Books to read in a Lifetime









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As the saying goes, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” There are many benefits associated with reading such as mental stimulation, stress reduction, knowledge, improved focus and concentration, etc. Below is a bucket list of books to read which is curated by some of the most iconic influencers, movers and shakers of our time.

  1. The fire next time (James Baldwin)  :: as suggested by KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR
  2. Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) :: as suggested by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
  3. Find a way (Diana Nyad) :: as suggested by CINDY WHITEHEAD
  4. I’ve got the light of freedom (Charles Payne) :: as suggested by NICOLE ROCKLIN
  5. When the emperor was divine (Julie Otsuka) :: as suggested by PRINCE JACKSON
  6. The godfather (Mario Puzo) :: as suggested by MAZ JOBRANI
  7. Mindset (Carol Dweck, Ph.D.) :: as suggested by DAVID BARAM
  8. The year of magical thinking (Joan Didion) :: as suggested by SARA GILBERT
  9. A thousand splendid suns (Khaled Hosseini) :: as suggested by BONNIE BRUCKHEIMER
  10. The Federalist papers (Hamilton / Madison / Jay) :: as suggested by AMY TRASK
  11. A city of thieves (David Benioff) :: as suggested by SEAN CONLON
  12. How to become a rainmaker (Jeffrey J. Fox) :: as suggested by TAMI HALTON PARDEE
  13. Thank you for being late (Thomas Friedman) :: as suggested by SHERYL O’LOUGHLIN
  14. Man’s search for meaning (Viktor E. Frankl) :: as suggested by TONY ROBBINS

For more information, please visit https://elainesir.com/bucket-list-books-to-read-in-a-lifetime/

Time Management Tips for Students

Managing your time when you’re preparing for exams is very important. Serious consequences may happen when you are unable to manage your time properly. So how can you take control of your time management? Take a look at these time management tips so that you can plan your time effectively during the exam period, which in turn can reduce your stress and make your exam successful.

“To-Do” list / Daily Planner: make a to-do list or daily planner for your next day the night before. Write down things you have to do and put most important or urgent tasks on top. Be sure to set deadlines for these tasks. There are dozens of apps available to help you manage your time in various ways, you may consider the use of them to schedule and manage your tasks.

Find your right time to study: choose your best time to study according to your habits. For example, if you are a ‘morning person’, don’t try to study late at night. Try to study the same subject at the same time so that it becomes a regular study habit.

Set aside chunks of study time: break up your tasks into chunks (about 45minutes – 1 hour) and have a rest between chunks. You may study another course after the break to help keep yourself freshest.

Avoid distractions: distractions are everywhere today, but we can still find ways to stay focused and minimize the distractions. Here are some tips easy to follow and will help you stay focused:

  • think about and choose the place where you are the most focused, it could be the library, the study room and even a coffee shop.
  • nowaday, the biggest sources of distraction probably come from social media, the internet and mobile phones, so take yourself “offline” until you’ve accomplished your tasks.

Leave enough time for sleep, relaxation and exercise: don’t forget your personal essentials. Remember that all of them are important for your state of mind and will help you clear your head.

Image source: Business vector created by Makyzz – Freepik.com

Brush Up on Your Presentation Skills!

Presentations are a constant in life, whether it counts to your final grade for a module, completing your final year project, speaking at a conference or giving sales pitches in the future. Consequently, having good presentation skills will not only give you that extra advantage over your classmates but also will benefit you beyond your university years.

Here are some tips prepared by the University of British Columbia Student Services on what constitutes a good presenter.


  • Have a focused message to deliver, and tailor it to your audience
  • Give examples where possible
  • Have visual aids which do not detract from what you are trying to say
  • Have cue cards to prompt you but do not read off the script
  • Be prepared for questions
  • Record yourself when practicing

For the full list of tips, refer to this link.

This image is published under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 US license.

If you require more resources to improve your presentation skills, check out these links.

  1. The University of Leicester has a list of study guides and tutorials to help you prep for different kinds of presentations.
  2. The University of Queensland breaks the presentation skillset into 4 aspects (presence, visuals, task and timing) and looks at them individually.
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