3 Transferable Skills From College That Can Be Applied In Startup Life

Before you go to college, you are likely going to hear more than a few times that it will be the greatest four, or more, years of your life. And in truth, there are a lot of great things that you will experience while you are in school that will never forget.

However, there are also some very important life lessons that you should keep in mind that you will learn during college as well. This is especially true for those who are looking to start their own business after they graduate (or even while at college).

Here are some transferable skills from college that can be applied in startup life.

Self Motivation
If you don’t want to go to class while you are in college, you don’t have to. In most cases, there are lecture halls worth of students and your professor won’t even notice if you ever show up. After all, if you are paying tuition, why should they care if you are there? Then again, if you really want to get the most out of the education you are paying for and truly make a strong push, then you need to be self motivated.

It is easier said than done though. Some say that modern education has been, to some extent, dummed down in order to improve scores and a school’s public reputation. I personally am not so sure about that. For example, take a look at this accounting and finance prospectus. Don’t kid yourself: you are going to need motivation if you’re going to get through that.

The same is to be said with a startup, and possibly even more so. If you want to sleep in until noon, you won’t have a boss that tells you that you can’t. Everything is riding on you and your abillity to get going. However, if you want to be successful and make something of your business, you need to work hard at it and stay motivated to push as hard as you possibly can. Otherwise you will fail, much like you probably will if you don’t go to class.

Time Management
When you are taking 15 credits in college, you have to realise that the professors that you have don’t talk to one another, nor do they care if they schedule exams all on the same day. This is especially true around breaks or finals time.

Well as a startup, you are going to also have clients who want things at the same time, deadlines to meet and little room for errors. That is why you have to have excellent time management skills in school and once you graduate. The better your time management skills are, the better you can control everything that comes your way.

One of the best parts of college is the fact that you are going to meet a bunch of awesome new friends and resources. Even if you don’t like everyone you meet in college, it’s still great to try and make friends and be as cordial as possible. You never know when you’ll cross paths with these people again and it’s your connections that will open doors for you. This is also going to be true when you are making the most of your startup, and you are looking for people to meet and places to start.

Many of the things you learn in college can be directly applied to a startup lifestyle. Keep in mind the hints here as you prepare to go down the path to being successful in both.

Five Proven Techniques to Enhance Your Memory Skills

By Allie Cooper

AlliepostHaving a good memory relies mainly on the health and vitality of your brain. But, while the old adage suggests that old dogs aren’t capable of learning new tricks, it doesn’t apply when it comes to improving your memory skills. The human brain has the ability to adapt to changes, which medical professionals refer to as neuroplasticity. Psychologist Kendra Cherry said it is the ability of the brain to restructure based on your experiences.

As a student, you’re still under the process of neuroplasticity as you gain new knowledge and experiences. If you’re studying for a final exam, here are some techniques to enhance your memory:

Chunking Technique
With the Chunking Technique, a cognitive compression mechanism, you’re able to expand your memory, dividing larger information into tidbits that are easier to digest.

Chunking is best done through the acronyms. If you’re reviewing for a biology exam, you may create a word from the initials of the list of topics you need to review. For instance, you can use the acronym “LIME” to stand for Lymphatic System, Immunology, Muscular System and Endocrine System.

Mobile Apps to the Rescue
In a blog post, Verizon recommended that it’s best to reinforce your healthy lifestyle with brain exercise apps. The article outlined five of the most highly-effective apps, helping you in terms of concentration, spatial memory, and attention.

Memory Trainer – Developed by Urbian, Memory Trainer helps you hone your concentration by offering sessions on visual thinking, abstract thinking, and quick reasoning. It tracks and documents your progress through comprehensive graphs.

Brain Trainer Special – Brain Trainer Special employs the gamification approach. Aside from memory, the puzzle games are tailored to develop analytics and observation skills. The time and scores are well-documented to track progress.

Memory Palace Technique
With the absence of technology, the ancient Greek scholars resorted to the old fashioned way – mentally. This practice was later called the Memory Palace Technique, wherein they would use their creativity and imagination to remember items better. Here are the steps:

  • Choose your palace by visualizing a familiar place.
  • Locate five vacant rooms in your chosen place.
  • For memorizing purposes, choose one item from each room.
  • In ascending order, assign a number to each of these items. Remember that you can add more rooms and items as you wish.
  • From your palace, figure out which one you want to remember, and associate this with one item in the room.

In using the Memory Palace Technique, remember that the key here is visualization. The clearer the visuals appear in your imagination, the more likely that you would recall them.

Bedtime Recital
Before you go to sleep, you can use the Bedtime Recital technique to assimilate songs for the text and scripts that you need to memorize. The process calls for reading your material out loud. When you fall into a deep slumber, your brain arranges all the information you’ve read in a systematic manner. Here are some tips for the technique:

  • Ensure that your bedroom is free from outside noise.
  • On a sheet of paper, jot down all the information that you need to remember.
  • Read the list aloud twice.
  • Recite it 2-3 times.
  • Go to sleep.

In the morning, you’ll be surprised that you’re able to retain and recall all the items you listed.

Mediation Technique
The Mediation Technique comes in handy when reviewing for Geography. In this practice, you need to build a bridge to link you to the items you need to memorize. Word pairing is the key of this technique. For instance, when your teacher asked you the capital of Poland, “Warsaw” will automatically pop on your mind.

Take note of the following ideas:

  • The World War II started when Germany attacked Poland.
  • Poland SAW WAR first.

The additional information about the World War II was used as the mediator to bring Warsaw and Poland together.

These strategies have already been backed by cognitive psychology to prove their credence. Using one of two of these guarantees the high remarks you will get on your next exam.

[Image courtesy of:  Susan Fitzell Flickr CC]

About the Author:
AllieAs a blogger, Allie Cooper is very attentive to details. Before conducting interviews for information gathering, she has a habit of using the Bedtime Recital technique to familiarize herself with the questions, especially on phrasing them properly. You can tweet her at @AllieCooper_18 or hangout with her on Google+ for more of these cognitive techniques.

Top 10: Best Degree For Finding A Job

imagesWe are starting another series of blog posts called, “Top 10″.   I love lists and I feel they are easy ways of digesting information in an entertaining way.   The first list we are checking out is the Top 10 Best Degrees For Finding A Job, which was posted on Yahoo Education.   The list is from a Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce study called, “Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings.”   I love this list because it is not identifying the most popular majors.  It is identifying a much more pragmatic approach to find out which majors will actually help you the most in finding employment after you graduate.

  1. Nursing
  2. Elementary Education
  3. Physical Fitness and Parks & Recreation
  4. Chemistry
  5. Finance
  6. Mathematics
  7. Hospitality Management
  8. Drama and Theater Arts
  9. Family and Consumer Sciences
  10. Marketing and Marketing Research

Do you think this list is missing a major?  Share it with us and start a discussion.


Summer Employment: Tips For College Students On The Job Hunt

By Susan Wynne

During the summer break and throughout the semester, students need a little extra cashYoung female student looking through job offers on board while they are going to school. Part-time and seasonal jobs are in demand for college students. They can be especially difficult to snag for student workers already low on the totem poll. But dedicated job hunters willing to sacrifice a bit of free time can easily snag themselves great jobs.

Stay On Campus During Breaks

Yes, family togetherness is a hallmark of school breaks, but if you’re broke as a joke, you may need to sacrifice a weekend or two at home in order to score that dream retail job. Seasonal employers require, above all else, constant availability, a quality you cannot offer if you’re constantly commuting to and from campus. If you can plan family visits and holidays accordingly, you can keep a job going all semester or even the whole time you’re in college. Otherwise, consider establishing your own unique experience with other friends hanging around campus for this very profitable work period.

TestSoup: Meet the Team – Laura Shanteler

TS_logo TestSoup has an incredible team of dedicated, passionate and fun employees.   I thought it would be a great idea to introduce you to some of them on a monthly basis.   Yes, we have a great test prep resources.  However, it is nice to see the faces behind the applications.   We are extremely dedicated to creating quality content to help people in all walks of life and, as you will see, the character and experiences of our staff lends directly to this mission.

Meet Ms. Laura Shanteler.    Laura is our K-12 / CommonLaura Core Guru.   She is AWESOME!   Passionate about education is not a strong enough descriptor for her.    She has spent endless hours fine tuning ebooks, flashcards and practice tests to personalize them for teachers, students and parents.  She is leaving no stone unturned.  Our K-12 products are second to none and it is all thanks to Laura.

Below is an interview we had with Laura, prior to her coming to TestSoup in a full-time capacity.  Enjoy!

Test Prep Tips: The Power of Sleep

You always hear that sleep is very important for the learning process and test taking.   When considering a good tip to discuss for test taking this was the first topic that I thought of (as I sit at my computer with gallon of coffee).   I wanted to discover some facts about this so I went to Google.   This is a snippit of information from an article on the National Sleep Foundation website.  The entire article can be found by clicking here.


  • Sleep is vital to your well-being, as important as the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. It can even help you to eat better and manage the stress of being a teen.
  • Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence — meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm.
  • Teens need about 9 1/4 hours of sleep each night to function best (for some, 8 1/2 hours is enough). Most teens do not get enough sleep — one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights.
  • Teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week — they typically stay up late and sleep in late on the weekends, which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep.
  • Many teens suffer from treatable sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.

Not getting enough sleep or having sleep difficulties can:

  • Limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. You may even forget important information like names, numbers, your homework or a date with a special person in your life;
  • Make you more prone to pimples. Lack of sleep can contribute to acne and other skin problems;
  • Lead to aggressive or inappropriate behavior such as yelling at your friends or being impatient with your teachers or family members;
  • Cause you to eat too much or eat unhealthy foods like sweets and fried foods that lead to weight gain;
  • Heighten the effects of alcohol and possibly increase use of caffeine and nicotine; and
  • Contribute to illness, not using equipment safely or driving drowsy.

TestSoup provides study materials for a variety of standardized tests.   We offer online / on demand tutoring, eBooks and eflashcards.   And coming soon:  Interactive Practice Tests and Social Knowledge Games.


Education News – The Latest & Greatest

TS_logoWe, at TestSoup, read endless amounts of articles each week on various educational topics.   Some good. Some not so good.   Some useful.  Some not.   Each month we are going to release a list of what we consider “The Latest & Greatest”.   If you stumble upon a good article, please share it with us so we can pass it along to others, as well.  Knowledge is power!!

Without further ado, check out this month’s articles:

5 Awesome Innovations in 2014 – from Edutopia

5 TED Talks Teachers and Students Should Both Watch – from Edudemic

4 Things You Should Be Doing Your Junior Year of High School – from The Huffington Post

10 Innovative Ways to Bring STEM to Schools – from Mind/Shift

Post College Tests Would Help Job Seekers – from Community College Spotlight


Using Project-Based Learning to Push Students’ Thinking and Understanding

By Laura Shanteler

Getting back into the swing of things after winter break can be tough, but it’s also a new fresh start for your and your students! Now that the hustle of the first half of the school year is over, you might be looking for new ways to engage your students in the material they are learning as well as provide opportunities for them to creatively think about what they’re doing. Common Core has a newly revived focus on students forming their own ideas and opinions and explaining their reasoning behind their thinking. Project based learning can stimulate these types of conversations for your students. Projects give students the opportunity to explore what they’re learning and apply the skills you’ve taught them already. They might come up with a new way to look at a math problem involving area based on a model-building project you did. Students in a reading or writing class may learn about a current issue in their community through research and investigations. They work to form their own opinions on the issues based on the facts they’ve learned and support their position, maybe even offer up solutions by writing in to the city council with their ideas. Project-Based learning can become it’s own independent part of your class, it doesn’t mean you have to give up what you’re already doing! Projects give students a different perspective on learning and show them the usefulness (practical application) of what you teach them. It also gives them a different view of school in many cases, because they are exploring in their learning, not just copying down notes or taking tests (obviously that’s not the case, but I know that’s what my students felt my classes were like sometimes!).

To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of some different blog posts I’ve come across recently. They give in-depth explanations of project-based learning, provide examples of ones that worked in classrooms, and give you tips on how to develop your own project-based learning units that align with what you’re looking to do!

Developing Questioning and Critical Thinking Skills

20 Project Ideas

Project Ideas with links to awesome resources to help with Project-Based Learning

As always, we love to hear your ideas regarding our blog topics, as well as any questions you might have! If you want to start your own project-based learning unit and aren’t sure of where to start, let us know and we can work together to get it going with you! :)


5 Community College Tips from a Successful Student

By Alex Hollis (@wvedutech)

This past weekend, I was a victim of the great polar vortex travel fiasco of 2014.

The plan was simple. I was going to travel with my parents to meet my sister in New York. We would then fly together to New Orleans for a brief family gathering.

We woke up Friday morning and headed to Logan airport in Boston to embark on our trip. 24 hours later, we had flown to New York (but never landed) twice, my sister was in New Orleans by herself, and our luggage was MIA.

But I am not writing this post as a vehicle to vent any complaints. I am writing this because during the fiasco we met a highly successful young gentleman named Armand and I think his story is worth telling.

Armand grew up in a hard-working and loving family, but they had financial troubles and certainly could not afford to send Armand to four years of private college.

Armand’s grades were pretty good, but not good enough to score a substantial scholarship. So Armand decided he would try community college for two years and then try to transfer. This way, he figured, he’d save maybe $80k or so.

Armand enrolled in his local community college and did extremely well, getting his associate’s degree in less than 2 years.

He then applied to a prestigious private college and actually earned a scholarship based on the merits of his community college performance.

Armand is now a mid-level manager in a Fortune 500 company and pulls in more than $80k annually. So, Armand got through community college, performed well, was able to get his bachelor’ sat a discount, and now makes more than he would save by attending community college for two years over private college.

He feels as though he made the right decision.

I asked him, how did you do it? How’d you graduate early? How’d you turn your academic career around where many people end up having an academic downfall (first year college students typically experience a significant decrease from the GPA they achieved in high school).

Armand laid out 5 things that, he believes, would help any community college student excel. Here they are in chronological order:

1) Crush the ACCUPLACER. “I saved thousands of dollars and about a half year of my life by doing well on this one, stupid test. I hated studying for it, but it paid off as I placed out of all the remediation and intro classes, which saved me time, money, and headaches. It’s pitched as a ‘placement test that you can’t fail’. Don’t approach it like that. Acing it helps. Doing poorly hurts.

2) See if your community college offers CLEP tests and take them. “My friend told me, ‘if I could do one thing over, I would CLEP out of classes’. I had no idea what he meant, but after researching I realized I could place out and get college credit for calculus, business, US History, Spanish. I refreshed my knowledge of all those subjects I learned in high school using a study guide and took the tests. They were easier than AP and gave me college credit. I ended up saving more money and time here”.

3) Flip your study habits around. “Flip your learning habits by familiarizing yourself about what’s on the syllabus for tomorrow’s class. Use that class as an opportunity to ask questions and solidify what you taught yourself the night before. This way, you come out fully grasping the content and having thorough notes rather than coming out of class all foggy and rushing to cram all those lessons in before finals”.

4) Schedule your time wisely. “I worked while attending community college and needed to make sure I scheduled study time every day. I made sure I studied during breaks in the workday, on the bus to and from work, and on the weekends. If I put it off until night, I was too exhausted to get anything out of studying. My brain wouldn’t work.”

5) Know your goals. “I knew I wanted to attend private school after my associate’s degree so I treated my time as such. I knew what classes my target schools wanted me to take, what credits would transfer, and I planned my class schedule around it.”

I hope these tips help those out there following the same path as Armand. I also hope that you are all as successful as he has become.

Note: we are building CLEP prep as we speak. Email alex@testsoup.com if you want to be notified when they launch and receive a 50% discount on launch day.

Also let us know what CLEP tests are most important to you? Spanish, calculus, literature…

Education Trends in 2013

By Laura Shanteler

2013 was a big year for educational reform. Some states pushed forward with Common Core while others began to back out. The debate over charter schools continues as more and more charters pop up across the country. Technology continues to be integrated into classrooms everywhere to keep up with the changing tides and to push student thinking further than before. And that’s just scratching the surface. With all of this going, it’s hard to keep up with it all! I follow around 20 people/organizations on twitter that are strictly education and educational reform based and if I don’t check it at least once daily, I’m swamped with hundreds of tweets about the changing educational landscape. It’s a collection of new ideas, news reports, debates over the Common Core, discussions for improving classroom performance, and recommendations for products that support teachers and students (and that’s just the short list!).

So, when I saw that Education Week put out “Top 10 State K-12 Blog Posts in 2013: From Common Core to Michelle Rhee” I was excited to have a recap of some of the most important happenings in education from the year. This obviously doesn’t include everything, but it definitely gives us a good look into some of the big things. Try to read one a day for the next 10 days, as I have done. Moving forward, it’s always best to be as informed as possible, understanding all sides of each move that is made in educational reform. 2014 is going to be another busy, exciting year as the U.S. moves forward in developing the best methods, practices, and resources for teachers and students.

What do YOU think was the biggest thing to happen to education reform in 2013? What do YOU want to see happen in 2014? Leave your thoughts for us and our readers below!