1. All the information in the world at your fingertips.
Best: With the invention of the internet we’re just a click away from any piece useful information we can think of. Think about it, 20 years ago if you need to look up the difference between macro or micro economics or the definition of bilateralism you had to haul a 70 pound leather-bound book back to where you were sitting hoping the table didn’t collapse under the weight of the damn thing.
Worst: Have you ever gone on Wikipedia for a totally productive reason, like figuring out what neo-liberalism is only to realize you wasted 2 hours and are now an expert on the small African nation of Liberia… because I have.
2. Email and other social networking websites.
Best: For two of my four classes this semester we have a Facebook group so we can share notes and other information about our assignments and exams. This is a great thing, I don’t think I’ve written my own exam review in the entire time I’ve been at university, nor have I ever been confused about what my prof wanted out of a specific assignment. I don’t think I could imagine studying for my exams without the ability to email my prof for clarification of some advance theory or what exactly neo-liberalism is (Seriously I’m having a hard time).
Worst: Facebook absorbs way too much of my time during exams. I never use Facebook during the regular school year, I find it way too annoying and I really couldn’t care less what my high-school acquaintances or distant cousins are up too (Seriously, if I want to know how your lunch was or how much of a thug you think you are I’d ask). But for some reason when I’m faced with studying for a course on East European communism it becomes the most interesting and exciting thing I’ve seen since Breaking Bad ended.
Best: I just can’t study without music or some other kind of background noise, it’s boring and the silence is often louder than the music itself (figuratively of course). Exams also give me a chance to listen to new music because during the year I have other things to do than sit around listening to that new band all your trendy hipster friends are raving about.
Worst: If you’re like me you have music ADD. I’m constantly changing the song or the artist or the playlist I’m listening too. Chances are I spend more time looking for music then I do listening to it or studying.
4. Online Notes
Best: About 75% on the Profs I’ve had in University post their notes online so you can print them off and follow them in class. It’s awesome, I know most of the lesson before I go to class and can write down all of the little things they add during their lecture without feeling like I’m going to break my keyboard from typing to fast.
Worst: Because the notes are online I NEVER GO TO CLASS. I get lulled into this false sense of security because all the lecture notes are online. The next thing I know I haven’t been in four weeks and I’m so far behind in the lecture reading I won’t be able to catch up until 4 days after the exam has ended.
5. Study Breaks
Best: Everyone needs a study break every now-and-again. If you don’t have time to go to the gym or a run, watching a YouTube video or browsing Reddit for 20 minutes can be just enough to give your brain a rest from learning about how a slightly hot summer can affect the attendance at various outdoor tourism destinations/events.
Worst: That 20 minute Reddit break is never just 20 minutes. I once wasted 90 minutes of one /r/askReddit post… not one page, just one post.