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How to Cultivate Great Relationships with Your Professors

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Professors do much more than deliver classes and grade assignments. For instance, they’re the ones you’ll ask for letters of recommendation and they may even offer you the chance to participate in a research project while you’re still at college. However, if you never reach out to your professors, the only thing they’ll know about you is how well you did in class. The good news is there are numerous ways you can develop stronger relationships with your professors.

1. Find Out More About Them

Search online to see what you can find out about each of your professors in terms of their research and academic achievements. Places to look for information include your college website and LinkedIn. If you find that any of your professors share the same interests as you, definitely put in the effort to cultivate a relationship.

2. Introduce Yourself

Armed with the above information about your professors, you’re in a better position to strike up a short conversation after your first class. Introduce yourself and mention what you’re looking forward to. However, don’t expect professors to remember your name the next time you meet — they have a huge number of students every semester. You’ll need to interact with your professors a few times before they’ll put a name to your face.

3. Stay Engaged During Class

If your professors encourage students to speak up during class, make sure you do contribute (at least occasionally). The rest of the time, make sure your body language shows that you’re paying attention — this is something professors notice. Lastly, complete even optional homework assignments, and do your best. Although the homework may not count toward your final grade, it will shape your professor’s impression of you.

4. Go to Office Hours

Aim to attend two or three office hours with any professor you want to get to know better. Office hours are ideal for when you have a doubt about something you’re studying, you want more detailed feedback after a test, or you need support before you submit an assignment. During one of your office hours visits, it’s a good idea to talk about your career goals. Ask the professor for advice about what you can do to meet your targets.

5. Ask for a Letter of Recommendation Early

Instead of waiting until you need a letter of recommendation, ask your professor for one as soon as you finish the class. This will mean your professor still remembers you well — and the letter will reflect this.

6. Stay in Touch After Class

Save your professors’ emails to ensure you’re able to drop them a message in the future. For example, you may notice that an employer you’d like to work for is connected to your professor on LinkedIn. Having a mutual contact could help you gain an introduction.

You’ll have more opportunities to connect with professors and work with them on projects if you live near campus. For Durham College student housing, your best option is Foundry Simcoe. Our welcoming community is just steps away from the North Oshawa campus. You can hang out in the common room or study at the desk in your private bedroom — all the suites have high-speed internet. Apply now to secure a spot for an immediate move-in.

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6 Money Mistakes to Avoid in University

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Most students have minimal financial responsibilities before university. Then suddenly, you need to manage your own money to ensure you’re able to cover essentials, have enough for fun activities, and avoid going into debt. Be aware of the most common mistakes to ensure you manage your money appropriately.

1. Misusing Credit Cards

You may like to have a credit card to build a credit history. However, it can be tempting to use your credit card to put off paying until later something you want now. You should only take out a credit card if you know you can trust yourself to be responsible. This means only using it for purchases you’ll pay off as soon as the bill comes — as if you can’t afford to pay the balance in full, you’ll incur a high interest rate.

If you’ve never had a credit card before but you want one for the credit history, use it just for recurring payments like subscriptions. Set up autopay for payments — and never even take the credit card out of your apartment. This will make it impossible to misuse your card.

2. Spending Your Entire Budget

Although spending all your money before the end of the month isn’t quite as bad as going into debt with a credit card, it’s still a bad habit. You have unlimited opportunities to spend at university, but you need to set restrictions for yourself. Turn down invitations to activities that are too expensive or after you’ve already spent all your fun money for the month. There will almost always be free events taking place on campus that make great alternatives.

3. Thinking Scholarships Are Not for You

A misperception many students have is that scholarships are only for those at the top of their class and star athletes. In fact, there are most likely a few scholarships out there that apply to your situation — you just need to look for them. You’ll need to dedicate time to researching and applying to scholarships, but this can pay off big time.

4. Only Searching for Jobs in Obvious Places

Whereas it’s worth considering jobs on campus and nearby that pay an hourly rate, these are far from your only options. Turning to entrepreneurship will allow you to start work related to the career you want to pursue. It’s also likely you’ll enjoy your job, and the experience will enhance your resume in a way that a standard job never could. Plus, the options are endless: you could offer landscaping services, help locals move, do freelance web design, provide childcare, or sell your own branded university merchandise. Provided you possess the necessary skills and there’s demand for the service, you can turn an idea into a profitable business.

5. Waiting Until Graduation to Apply for Jobs

Unless you’re going on to study a master’s degree, it’s best to have a full-time job lined up for as soon as you’ve graduated. It’s likely that your university offers support for finding a job, such as by holding regular job fairs and publishing job posts aimed at recent graduates. Be sure to take advantage of these resources.

6. Living on Campus

Student housing can be one of your biggest expenses at university. Whereas living on campus may seem like a logical choice, it’s certainly not the best decision financially. Not only is the rent lower when you live off campus, you’ll also save money by preparing your own meals compared to paying for a mandatory meal plan.

An alternative to Ontario Tech University residence is Foundry Simcoe. Our student housing will give you a room in a fully-furnished suite or townhouse located just steps from campus. Plus, to help you save even more money, rent includes high-speed internet and a washer and dryer in your unit. Apply now while immediate move-ins are still available.

Young Woman Using Laptop

Which Laptop Should You Choose for University?

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There are many laptops available on the market, and it can be difficult to know what will meet your needs for university. To narrow down your options, you need to consider how you’ll be using your laptop and what kind of functionality you want. Here’s a brief guide to get you started in making an informed decision.

1. Price

Look for a laptop that will provide you with everything you need at the lowest possible price. If there are qualities you’d like your laptop to have but that are nonessential, consider if you can afford a slightly better model. For instance, you may like to have a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) rather than a regular hard drive, as these laptops are faster and less likely to break.

2. RAM

The amount of RAM you have will impact how much software you can run at once. You need at least 4 GB of RAM, but it could be worth spending more for 8 GB to make your laptop a better long-term investment — it will be able to cope better with programs in the future that are more demanding.

3. Battery Life

Think about whether you need your battery to last a long time, as a longer battery life will mean you sacrifice performance. If you don’t need a great deal of RAM and want to use your laptop throughout the day without needing to constantly search for an outlet, a long battery life could be ideal.

4. Portability

If you’ll be on the go with your laptop, you’ll also want it to be lightweight and reasonably small. Bear in mind that this is another characteristic that will reduce processing power. It will also mean your laptop has a smaller screen, which could be unsuitable for graphic design and other tasks that require attention to detail. However, if you’ll mainly be using your laptop to take notes and write papers, this is unlikely to be a problem.

5. Screen Resolution

As well as screen size, you need to compare display resolution between different models. Since even the most basic laptops today have a high resolution, you should only pay extra for more than 1080 pixels if you do need this kind of resolution.

6. Hard Drive Storage

When you have a large amount of storage, you never need to worry about running out of space for files and apps. However, you can always store some documents in the cloud. You can probably manage with 128 GB of storage, unless you’ll be working on media files.

7. Operating System

You may like to choose an operating system according to what you feel more comfortable using. Having said that, since you’ll likely pay less if you choose Windows than MacOS, you should also consider your budget. Furthermore, one operating system may be recommended over the other for your major: Macs tend to be the preferred choice for creative majors, whereas Windows is sometimes necessary for certain software, such as for statistics.

If you don’t already have a laptop that’s suitable for university, it’s likely to be one of your biggest investments. The good news is there are other ways you can save money — in particular, by finding affordable student housing. Instead of living in Ontario Tech University residence, move into Foundry Simcoe. Our suites and townhouses are fully furnished and the rent is all inclusive, meaning you won’t have any extra expenses for furniture and utilities. Save even more by signing a lease now to receive our early bird pricing.

Man lectures students in lecture theatre, mid row seat POV

How to Make the Most of Long Lectures

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Love them or hate them, lectures are critical for helping you understand the material for your classes. Unfortunately, long lectures can feel like a slog, especially if you struggle to pay attention for extended periods of time. Nonetheless, it’s important to make the most of them to take full advantage of your education. Here are some ways to get more out of your lectures.

1. Select Your Seat Wisely

If the lecture hall is large, you may struggle to hear well sitting near the back, particularly if the professor lacks a microphone. Avoid missing information by choosing a seat near the front of the room. You should also sit in the middle to have a clear view of the PowerPoint presentation.

2. Improve Your Note Taking

Experiment with various note taking strategies to figure out what works for you. Try both writing and typing — you’re likely able to type faster, but writing can help you retain more information. Using more than one colour is also useful, as is including diagrams.

3. Consider Recording the Lecture

If your college allows it, you may like to record the lecture with your phone. This could prove useful if you miss parts of the lecture due to your mind wandering. Having a recording is also helpful if you find that your notes are unclear in places, as you can listen again to what the professor said.

4. Ask Questions

It’s important to clear up any doubts you have about the lecture. Some professors welcome questions during lectures, whereas others prefer students to stay quiet. In the case of the latter, you can either stay behind for a few minutes after the lecture or make a note of your question and pay the professor a visit during office hours.

5. Stay Hydrated

Bring a bottle of cold water with you to your lecture to stay hydrated. You’ll find this maintains your energy levels better than large amounts of caffeine or sugar, as you won’t experience a crash when the effects wear off. If you have a couple of long lectures on the same day, this will be crucial.

6. Make Friends with Your Classmates

It’s easier to handle long lectures when you attend with friends. If no one you already know is in the class, put in the effort to make a couple friends. You’ll be able to study together to compare notes, discuss ideas, and generally support each other.

7. Choose Interesting Classes

Even the longest lectures are enjoyable if you’re interested in the topic. On the flip side, though, sitting through a long lecture for a class you find boring can be challenging. Read class descriptions and talk to other students before you come to a decision about what classes to take, and drop any classes you dislike early enough to take something else.

Making the most of long lectures is just one way you’re more likely to succeed at college. Another is dedicating enough time to studying on your own — although this is often easier said than done, especially if you face numerous distractions due to living in student residence. The solution is to move into an apartment. For Durham College off-campus housing, there’s no better option than Foundry Simcoe. Our fully-furnished suites and townhouses are designed to suit the student lifestyle. Sign a lease now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

empty dorm room

9 Decorating Ideas for Student Apartments

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An exciting part of moving into student accommodation is the chance to decorate your apartment however you like. If you’re unsure where to begin, try incorporating some of these ideas.

1. Display Some Photos

Bring a piece of home to your new apartment by decorating with photos of friends and family. You’ll be able to turn to your favourite moments from high school and family vacations whenever you’re feeling homesick. There are several ways to display photos, although top ideas include creating a collage and hanging photos on a clothesline.

2. Soften the Lighting with a Lamp

An overhead light can be too intense in the evenings. For softer lighting, install lamps next to your bed and beside the couch in the living room. It’s best of all to choose one that allows you to adjust the level of brightness.

3. Hang Some Fairy Lights

Another way to improve the lighting in your bedroom or living room is with fairy lights. Hang some strings across one wall to make an accent wall or around your photo collage to make it the centrepiece of the room. You can even find lights that change colour in sync with your music.

4. Buy Some Potted Plants

Plants can instantly add life to your apartment, lifting your mood. Choose low-maintenance plants that won’t die if you forget (or if you’re unable) to water them for several days.

5. Update Your Bedding

Instead of bringing the bedding you have already, treat yourself to some new sheets and a quilt. You can find some in a style you love to welcome you back home in the evenings.

6. Give Your Bed a Headboard

If your bed doesn’t already have a headboard, it may be worth purchasing one. As well as adding to the aesthetics of the room, it will make your bed more comfortable if you want to sit there to read, watch a series, or scroll through social media.

7. Throw Around Some Pillows

Make your bed even more comfy with some more pillows. Choose fun designs that match the style of the rest of the room. Don’t forget to also bring a few pillows for the living room couch.

8. Warm the Floor with an Area Rug

A thick plush rug can make getting out of bed for your early classes more bearable. In the living room, it can give your guests a place to lounge comfortably on the floor. Plus, area rugs come in all kinds of colours and designs, meaning you can find one that matches your style. You could even make your own shag rug using yarn, a latch hook, and a rug canvas.

9. Create Seating with Ottomans

If you want to invite friends over often, it makes sense to have seating. An ottoman is ideal because it doubles up as storage. You can fill it with things like extra bedding, textbooks, or just odds and ends.

Before you get too excited about decorating your new home, remember that you still need to find an apartment! Foundry Simcoe is the perfect choice for Durham College student housing. You’ll have a private bedroom and bathroom in a suite with two roommates or a townhouse with four other people. Our apartments all come fully furnished with modern fixtures, including stainless steel appliances, a wall-mounted TV, and a large couch. Sign a lease now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

Teenagers on first day of college

How to Ease First-Day Jitters

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Your first day at university can feel a bit daunting. You’ll need to figure out where to go for classes, talk to a bunch of people you’ve never met before, and generally navigate a whole new life. This can lead to anything from mild jitters to full-blown anxiety. Wherever you fall on this scale, there are certain things you can do to ease your nerves.

1. Remind Yourself That Everyone Feels Like You

Although some students are better at hiding their feelings than others, almost everyone will be anxious on their first day. It will take a while before faces become familiar, but you’ll find that the conversations gradually become more natural — and you’ll be making friends before you know it.

2. Find All Your Classes Beforehand

Never wait until right before a class starts to figure out where you need to go. A good strategy is to walk around campus a couple days beforehand, figuring out how to get from one class to the next. You’ll feel much more confident knowing that you’re unlikely to get lost or arrive late.

3. Ask Your Professors What You Need for Class

To avoid wasting your money, it can be worth waiting to buy textbooks until you’re sure that you’ll need them. The downside of this is that it’s anxiety-inducing to even contemplate the fact that you may neglect to bring something you do need. The solution is to message your professors in advance to ask them what books and other materials to bring. An added advantage to doing this is that you’ll also have introduced yourself to your professors before you meet them.

4. Remember That You Can Drop Classes

It’s often difficult to know what to expect from a class by its description alone. If you turn up to a class only to discover that it’s not what you expected, consider dropping it. Do this by the deadline and you may even be able to switch to a different class without incurring any fees. If you’re unsure how to drop a class, reach out to your academic advisor — student services exist to help you navigate university and ensure you have a positive experience.

5. Set a Bedtime

Sleep is an excellent way to calm you down. Aim to go to bed by a certain time on your first day of university — it will mean you feel better prepared for the second day. In fact, it’s a good idea to stick to a bedtime every night (or at least on weeknights) to stay healthy. Getting enough sleep regularly will work wonders for preventing anxiety over the long term.

It’s easier to settle in at university when you have a comfortable home to return to at the end of the day. An alternative to Ontario Tech University residence is Foundry Simcoe. You’ll have your own bedroom, an en-suite bathroom with either a shower or deep soaker tube, and high-speed internet to complete your homework in peace. Book a tour to check out where you could be living when you start university.

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9 University Expenses to Prepare For

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University can be expensive — and not just because of tuition fees. Here are a number of expenses you need to add to your budget that you may have neglected to consider.

1. Books

One of the major expenses for university students tends to be books. To save money, purchase secondhand books from other students or rent through a textbook service. If you decide to buy your books, you can also gain back some of your investment by selling them when you’ve finished your classes.

2. Food

If you live on campus, you may receive a meal plan, but you should be aware that this will be more expensive than purchasing your own food. Plus, even if you do have a meal plan, you’ll have additional food-related expenses, such as for snacks and eating out with friends.

3. Utilities

Some student apartments don’t include utilities in the cost of rent. Others include electricity, gas, and water, but landlords expect you to pay for internet services.

4. Clothing

You likely want at least some new clothes for university. It could even be a necessity to update your wardrobe if you’re moving somewhere with a different climate.

5. Tech

A decent laptop is essential for every university student. Depending on your major, you may even need a high-range laptop and some other tech equipment.

6. Extracurriculars

You’ll have numerous opportunities to join clubs, societies, and other activities at university. Some of these may require membership fees and you may incur additional expenses, such as for purchasing equipment, travel, or insurance.

7. Transportation

You may also need to pay for transportation for other purposes. If you live some distance from campus, you may need to pay for public transportation or have your own car, which comes with expenses including fuel, insurance, and parking. You should also think about how you’ll return home and how often.

8. Travel and Study Abroad

You may like to use your breaks to travel farther afield. In addition to flights, you’ll need to pay for accommodation, travel insurance, and other essentials. You could even decide to study abroad for an entire semester. This is becoming an increasingly popular option with students, as it’s a great way to expand your horizons, experience other cultures, and put your language skills into practice.

9. Emergencies

You’ll need to have an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses — and it’s important not to touch this money unless it’s a true emergency. For instance, you may need to repair your car or return home unexpectedly. Running short of spending money for the month, however, doesn’t count as an emergency.

One thing that doesn’t need to be a huge expense is housing — you just need to search for affordable apartments for rent. North Oshawa students can find high-quality student rentals at a price that fits their budget at Foundry Simcoe. Plus, the rent is all inclusive and the suites fully furnished, including with a washer and dryer. This means you won’t need to pay for utilities, internet, furniture, or laundromat services. Apply now to secure your spot for the move-in day of your choice.

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Summer Goals to Set for Students

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Summers at university are long, but they can disappear in a flash if you wile away the days, not doing much of anything. Whereas it’s definitely worth spending some time relaxing and recovering from the last semester, you’ll feel much better about how you spent your summer if you set some of the following goals.

1. Master a Skill

Identify a skill that could benefit you after you graduate or that you’ve just always wanted to learn. Dedicate time every day to mastering this skill, perhaps by taking classes or using online tutorials.

2. Enroll in an Online Course

Stay in a learning frame of mind by enrolling in an online course. You can find a number of platforms offering courses for free. They’re great for enriching the material you covered in university, preparing you for a challenging class you’ll be taking next semester, or just expanding your knowledge.

3. Apply for an Internship

Working an internship will give structure to your summer while gaining you some valuable experience, showing you what it would be like to work in a particular field, and teaching your new skills. Plus, an internship is a great way to improve your chances of being hired by the company in the future. You can find numerous opportunities for internships with a quick search online or by talking to the careers services at your university.

4. Volunteer

Dedicate time over the summer to a cause that matters to you. Like an internship, volunteering enhances your resume, but it can be more personally fulfilling.

5. Work Out Your Long-Term Goals

As you progress through university, you’ll likely be able to form a clearer picture of what you want for the future. Decide on some major long-term goals and then work backward to figure out the steps to reach them.

6. Create a Vision Board

Every student should have a vision board in their apartment. Your vision board represents your hopes and dreams. It’s filled with pictures and ideas that motivate you, show you what you want to achieve in life, and remind you of why you need to study hard. If you don’t have a vision board already, spend this summer making one.

7. Check Off Some Books on Your Reading List

Decide how many books you want to read this summer and pick a few from your reading list. It’s best to create a diverse selection to give yourself a balance of reading for pleasure and reading to learn.

8. Find a New Podcast You Love

Listen to new podcasts whenever you have some free time — this could be when you’re cooking, cleaning, driving, or just having a relaxing afternoon scrolling through social media. Keep your search going until you find a podcast you love and will listen to on a regular basis.

9. Adopt a New Hobby

Explore new possibilities for hobbies — perhaps something you have no idea if you’ll enjoy. It’s ideal to pick something you’ll be able to continue when you return to university.

10. Start Freelancing

Earn an income through a side hustle by freelancing. Consider what skills you have and how you could use them to make money. For instance, you could create stock photos, design websites, or become a virtual assistant.

11. Improve Your Online Presence

Go through your social media profiles and delete anything you don’t want anymore — this includes people you’re following as well as posts. Update your profiles with fresh information. Pay particular attention to LinkedIn, as this is what prospective employers will be checking most closely. Make sure you have a professional photo, a compelling summary, and a large network by adding all your university friends and classmates.

One more goal to set for the summer is to search for better rooms for rent. Oshawa students don’t need to look far: you can live at Foundry Simcoe. You’ll receive a private room where you can focus on your studies, an en suite bathroom, and the option for an apartment with a balcony. Apply now to improve your student experience.

A Guide to Cleaning Your Student Living Space

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No matter how busy you are, you do need to keep your living space at university clean. This will be good for your mental and physical health, prevent arguments with roommates, and mean you’re always able to find what you’re looking for. Here are some tips to maintain a tidy space.

1. Clean Before You Move In

Before you start unpacking, disinfect surfaces, door handles, and light switches. Clean the floors, and spray the room with your favourite air freshener to make your new home smell welcoming.

2. Keep Clutter Under Control

Assign every one of your possessions a place in your apartment. When clutter starts building up, put items back where they belong.

3. Do Basic Cleaning Tasks Daily and Weekly

You’ll find it much easier to keep your apartment clean if you do certain tasks every day. This should include making your bed, washing dishes, and generally tidying up. On a weekly basis, throw out expired food, do your laundry, and sort out any papers you’ve accumulated from your classes. All these activities only take a few minutes and will save you from needing to dedicate a large amount of time to cleaning in the future.

4. Create a Cleaning Schedule

Share cleaning tasks for common areas among roommates by writing down what each of you needs to do and putting it into a schedule. Being able to hold someone accountable should ensure that all the cleaning gets done and you avoid disputes. Make sure you include vacuuming or sweeping and mopping, taking out the trash, dusting, and washing the windows.

5. Organize a Thorough Clean at the End of Each Semester

The best time for a deep clean is at the end of each semester. If you’re going to your parents’ home for the break, this will mean you return to a clean apartment that puts you in the right frame of mind at the beginning of the new semester. Even if you’ll be staying in your apartment, it’s a good idea to organize a thorough clean. You can coordinate with your roommates to turn it into a regular event. Use the chance to clean all the appliances, including the fridge, oven, cooktop, microwave, and coffee maker. After you’ve emptied the trash, wash the cans. It’s also worth moving furniture to vacuum underneath. In your own room, you may like to completely empty your closet to vacuum the floor.

It’s easier to keep your home clean when you at least have your own bedroom. This means moving out of on-campus housing and into student apartments. Oshawa students can rent a flat or townhouse suite at Foundry Simcoe. You’ll have an ensuite bathroom and you’ll only share the living room and kitchen with two or four other students. Plus, monthly housing is available to reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do yourself. Sign up now to take advantage of the lowest rate of the year.

The Downsides of Cramming for Finals

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Whether you’re unorganized or you just don’t know how to effectively prepare for your finals, you may find that you end up cramming the day before a big test. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea for a number of reasons — including the following.

1. You’ll Soon Forget the Information

You may be able to retain the facts long enough to pass the exam, but most of the information will never enter your long-term memory. Whereas this is less of an issue for general education courses, it’s a problem for material related to your major. It could mean you struggle with later classes, at grad school, or in your career.

2. It’s Ineffective

It’s impossible to concentrate for long periods of time — and cramming usually involves spending many hours studying without a break. After the first hour of cramming (or often less), your attention will start to wane and you’ll no longer be absorbing the information. At this point, you’ll just be wasting your time.

However, if you spread out your study time, every minute you spend preparing for finals will be time well spent.

3. It’s Tiresome

Whereas it’s true that studying for finals is far from the most fun part of the university experience, it shouldn’t be something you hate. If you leave studying until the last minute, you’ll need to cover the same material until you’re sick of it. However, switching from preparing for one exam to another will keep your mind engaged.

4. Your Stress Levels Will Rise

Cramming tends to make students anxious and stressed. This leads to nausea, loss of appetite, and forgetfulness — which just adds to your anxiety. You may find that your mind goes blank on some questions and you worry about the answers you do give. This stress may persist after the test and can impact your performance on other finals or even mean you stay feeling anxious until you receive your results.

5. You’ll Be Exhausted

If cramming means you only sleep for a few hours before the exam, you’ll likely be too tired to concentrate. This will slow you down and make it more difficult to process questions, especially when the wording is not exactly what you expected.

6. Your Test Scores Will Be Lower

Students who cram usually have lower test scores than those who start preparing weeks before their finals. Since crammers are less familiar with the material, it takes them longer to figure out what the question is asking and how to answer. This is particularly problematic for essay questions, as you need to know how to pull together different pieces of information. However, you’re also likely to score lower on multiple-choice tests, since there’s a higher risk you’ll run out of time.

To gain top grades on your finals, you need to start preparing early and use the time you have available wisely. If you want to be able to concentrate on your studies without distractions, it makes sense to search for rooms for rent.

Oshawa students should look no further than Foundry Simcoe. You’ll receive a private bedroom and an en suite bathroom in an apartment with two or four roommates. Apply now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.