Editorial
04 June 2020

College Life Hacks: Shortcuts to Breeze Through College Assignments

College life as we know it, can be tough. But when we’re living and breathing the air of the 21st century, it’s only natural that you familiarise yourself with the useful tools available online to speed up and smoothen your work process. 

So, we’re here to make your college life easier with this fundamental guide to help you with your assignments!

 

Searching on Google

It’s true when they say “Google is your best friend!” While you may have been using Google search all your life, you probably don’t have a clue about these hacks that maximise the efficiency of your searches! 

Here are some Google shortcuts you must know:

 

 

a) Get an exact match

    Use a “...” (quotation marks) when searching for an exact word or phrase

b) Exclude a word

    Use a dash (-) in front of a word you want to exclude in your search

c) Merge searches

    Use ‘OR’ to merge two different terms in one search

d) Look for synonyms

    Use a tilde (~) to look for a keyword and its synonym

e) Search something within a site

    Use ‘site: {website} {keyword}’ to look for a result from a specific site

f) Search for a specific type of file

    Use ‘{keyword} filetype: {type}’ to look for a particular type of file such as PDF, jpg, MP3, and     etc

g) Calculator

    Type ‘calculator’ in the search bar

h) Timer

    Use ‘timer {amount of time}’ to start a countdown. There’s also a stopwatch!

i) Image search

    Get information on an image by simply uploading the image on Google Images

 

Keyboard Shortcuts

These keyboard shortcuts are your life savers. Knowing these at the back of your hands will help you navigate and work faster, you won’t even need a mouse to work with!

 

 

  1. Use Command / Ctrl + A to select everything in a document

  2. Use Command / Ctrl + C to copy selected text

  3. Use Command / Ctrl + V to paste selected text

  4. Use Command / Ctrl + B to bold text

  5. Use Command / Ctrl + U to underline text

  6. Use Command / Ctrl + I to italicise text

  7. Use Command / Ctrl + X to cut selected item

  8. Use Command / Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs 

  9. Use Alt + Tab to switch between windows (Windows)

  10. Use Command / Ctrl + S to save your progress 

  11. Use Windows + Arrow (Left/Right) (Full screen button on Mac) to maximise your window         to the left/right side of the screen

Assignment Shortcuts

Working on assignments can be a tedious job. Hence, it’s necessary to have proper organisers to smoothen your workflow especially if you have multiple tasks to work on at the same time.

Here are several nifty tips to take note:

 

A. Save your important tabs

This way you don’t have to worry if your device crashes or if you forgot which tabs you used. There are a few ways to do this: 

1. Open tabs where you left 

This function is readily available on Google Chrome itself. Simply click the 3 vertical dots on the top right of your Chrome window and click ‘Settings’. Click on ‘Search engine’ and scroll all the way down till you see ‘On startup’. Select ‘Continue where you left off’. 

Note: This function only works to restore the final Google Chrome window you exit before you log off. 

2. Use a Chrome extension

You can install Google Chrome extensions called ‘Session Buddy’ or ‘Tab Saver’. These extensions help you to save and categorise all tabs and even multiple windows that you want to hold on to, so you can easily access and restore them the next time you log on to Chrome again. 

For ease of reference, you can rename each tab according to the subject or assignments you’re working on. 

3. Bookmark

Another technique to keep all your tabs is by using the Bookmark settings. But, you don’t have to save each tab individually. Simply right-click on the window tab and select ‘Bookmark all tabs’. Ta-da!

 

B. Use a cloud drive

One of the biggest fears of a college student is probably losing the entire file of your assignments. But you can avoid this nightmare from happening by backing up all your files onto a cloud drive (a web service for you to store all your files on the Internet). This way, you can access your files across devices, wherever you are. Just remember to save it in the drive, of course. 

Suggested cloud drives to use:

C. Improve your English

1. Grammar

Install Grammarly as an extension on Google Chrome to help correct your grammar in your essays and any other forms of writing. Remember to set your settings to your preferred English dialects (American, British, Australian, Canadian). 

2. Vocabulary

  • Right-click on a word and select ‘Define’ (Google Doc) or ‘Synonyms’ (Microsoft Word) to get the definition and/or synonym of a word to vary your vocabulary in your writings. 

  • Dictionary.com also offers the definition and thesaurus to the words you search for. 

D. Citation

Doing citations can be quite annoying especially if they get on your way to completing your task (PS: every mark counts)! Your life is about to change with this Citation Generator. Simply key in the necessary details and the preferred format and voila, it’ll do the job for you!

That’s not all, this handy tool also helps you to list your citations in an alphabetical order with a click of a button. Citing your references has never been easier!

There you go! We hope you find this useful throughout your journey in college and even thereafter. Do share these tips with your friends and bookmark this article for your future references.

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Josephine Serena
Editor
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