It may be game time as far as studying is concerned, with the finals approaching for my Intro to Literature, Calculus II and Engineering Physics I classes. There are a few websites, however, that have really helped me through this past semester, and I hope that others can find use in them as well!
I rented a textbook from Chegg for a week-long history class last August for only $10, and on top of that, when I returned the books in the free shipping box, I had space to throw in a couple other hard-to-sell books for more than the college bookstore would pay!
But the real value in this site has been the “homework help”. It offers a lot more than the answers. For example, for my Physics class, the answers not only have the equations used, but often the rationale behind using them. It even had the answers to a 1996 textbook that our professor enjoys copying assignments out of. One downside: it costs about $75 a year. Still, it seems worth it once you consider that the results end up on your transcript!
Look past the goofy name and layout, and this ends up being a surprisingly easy-to-navigate resource. It’s been quite valuable during the poetry and drama sections of my Intro to Lit class, especially when reading Macbeth. I’ll admit, it’s more targeted toward high-school students, but I do turn to this site before Sparknotes or Cliffnotes, and definitely before the academic journals. It offers a few other topics, which I haven’t needed, but they might be useful at some point.
Both Calculus classes I’ve taken so far have had expensive textbooks that were abstract and filled with irrelevant pictures of Lance Armstrong and fields of flowers. In fact, we could probably substitute these notes and have much less trouble with modern textbooks. I suppose we’re just lucky that he decided to publish them online!
Most of the notes follow along with traditional curriculum at your college, so it’s worth downloading the corresponding chapter after double-checking the subject matter and studying this to make sense of that picture of Lance Armstrong, although you should probably study the questions instead. There is also khanacademy.org, and many other sites, but I haven’t had a math subject where Paul’s math notes did not help me.
Yes, it is a little gimmicky at first, and you aren’t sure how much you should trust them with your information. But, the wonderful thing about MyEdu is that it helps you decide which teacher you should take.
“Wait, doesn’t RateMyProfessors.com do that well enough?” you might ask.
Well, yes and no. I won’t dismiss Rate My Professors entirely, as some great information about teachers gets posted all the time. On the other hand, what MyEdu offers is the grades of students who took a given class last semester. You can look at all classes a certain teacher taught, or you can look at the grades for all times of a specific class, letting you compare teachers side-by-side. Of course, you may not want the teacher with too many A’s in the column, but this can help you avoid the ones who will give half the class a C or lower.
I’m still a big fan of khanacademy.org, which is widely-known, so I didn’t include it in my current list. Also, it’s worth mentioning that when you need an answer, sometimes it’s worth Googling the question, word-for-word, in parentheses. You may not get quite the solution you wanted, but you might get lucky!
I may eventually add this list in a sidebar or something, and will likely supplement it as classes become more complicated. This has been a busy semester, and I will probably give a post-semester report on all the events of the last few months, as I’ve had a big job transfer and am still going full-time to school. For now, I hope this list ends up helping someone who needs a little boost this semester!