School

Super Chill Coffee Shops To Study At

Tired of always doing your homework in the saaaaame spot? If you’re feeling like the answer is “YES”, it’s time to ditch your typical digs and grab a change of scenery by hitting one of our fave coffee shops! Diversifying your study station makes studying a little more new and exciting and is one of the best ways to keep motivated. Tasty snacks? Check! Fancy drinks? Check! Chill vibes? Check! These five local coffee shops will keep your thirst quenched and your brain fueled!

  1. Istanbul Café

Located right at Eglinton & Redpath (right near you NSS kids!), Instanbul Café transports you straight to the super chill Middle East with its décor, traditional Turkish food and coffee. Creating a warm and cozy atmosphere for its customers, this space will make you feel totally at home without actually being AT home. Comfy chairs, big tables, and a laptop friendly environment, this is one of our fave coffee shops to study at!

  1. Boxcar Social (Summerhill)

Conveniently located right outside the Summerhill subway station, Boxcar Social is super-easy to access even if you’re not within walking distance. The interior’s rustic vibes make the space feel lived in and comfortable. Fitted with an upstairs, this shop has ample seating, making it easy for you to study with or without your squad!

  1. Crosstown Coffee Bar

A hidden gem off of Eglinton near Avenue road, Crosstown Coffee Bar is simply adorable. The shop’s comfy window seat receives tons of natural light that will definitely make your study sesh pleasantly bright. The shop’s three c’s – cookies, coffee and cuteness - make this tiny shop one to visit sometime soon!

  1. Rachel’s Coffee House

On Yonge street just steps away from Davisville station, Rachel's Coffee House is another cozy coffee shop that you should definitely check out! Equipped with coffee and snacks of all kinds, this shop will keep you well-nourished while you’re cozying up in their ultra-comfy armchairs.

  1. De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters

Located just down the street from TMG, this is the perfect place to kill some time studying before or after your tutoring sesh. Walls covered in artsy murals, this spot is super-hipster but like, not in a bad way:) All of their pastries made in house, De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters has some seriously yummy (and healthy!) snack options to fuel your homework session!

 

How to Beat the (Procrastination) Blues!

We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. We’ve ALL procrastinated at one time or another. But that was then and this is NOW. Now is the time to change, to put the past in the past. Today you can start establishing new and healthy study habits that maximize productivity and decrease procrastination. Sounds impossible, right? Think again! With these five quick and easy tips to beat your old habits, you will be establishing effective routines in no time! Feeling like there’s absolutely NO WAY you can master the information that is about to come your way? Well, that’s because you’re not meant to “master” it all! What we’re asking you to do is read over these tips and try your BEST to implement only SOME of them. At the very least TRY to put some of the tips into place because you want to SUCCEED in school during what can be THE busiest time of the year. So, without any further introduction, presenting to you on this week’s blog: How to Beat the (Procrastination) Blues!

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  1. Make a schedule

A sure way to help you combat your procrastination habits is to make yourself a study schedule. When making yourself a schedule, be specific! Commit to working in an environment that you know is effective for you (more on this later) and write down the set amount of time that you will be studying for each subject. By writing down a schedule with set instructions on WHERE to study, WHEN to study, and WHAT to study for, studying becomes hard to avoid!

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  1. Hide all electronic distractions

Just do it. I know we’re all addicted to our phones, computers and the social media that comes with these devices BUT the sure fire way to be effective and get work done is to POWER DOWN. Commit to putting your devices away and out of sight for JUST 30 MINUTES! Crazy, right?! TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. If you turn your phone off and put it out of plain sight, you will be able to get SO much more work done! Just TRY it!

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  1. Make studying fun!

Hate the quiet in the library? Go to a buzzing coffee shop! Hate studying alone? Make a study group! Studying doesn’t always have to consist of you sitting alone in a library. No! Studying can be fun times spent with friends outside of school. Need someone to quiz your for your upcoming test? Make a game using flash cards to help you prepare. Studying doesn’t need to be as dry as your textbook. Get creative, have fun – studying CAN be good times.  

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  1. Know yourself

OK, I know I just told you to have fun while studying and I sincerely mean it. But come on, we can’t have SO much fun that NO work gets done. It’s important to strike a BALANCE when working so that you are PRODUCTIVE. This is where “knowing yourself” really comes into play. If you don’t study well with friends, don’t do it. Instead, make plans to meet up with your friends after you’re done studying alone. Can’t focus when there’s too much background noise? Find a quiet environment that allows you to pay attention to what you’re working on. Don’t know what works for you yet? Don’t worry. Figuring out what kinds of studying techniques are right for you takes time, be PATIENT!

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  1. Be kind to yourself

Being patient with yourself brings me to my final piece of advice. At TMG we believe it’s most important to be KIND to yourself. It’s really easy to beat yourself up over your schoolwork. Thoughts and feelings about not doing enough and needing to do more are likely to pass through your brain. Rather than thinking about what you NEED to do and what you HAVEN’T done, think about how much you have already checked off your to do list. Studying and creating effective study habits take time, but trust me, they will come and so will the marks!

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The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess

One major #KeytoSuccess in school and beyond is taking effective notes. Sounds like a simple task, right? Wrong. Oftentimes our teachers and professors speak too quickly, making it a challenge to take down everything they’re saying. Other times they provide us with information that is actually unnecessary for the purpose of succeeding in the course but we write it down anyway. So, how do we strike the perfect balance between writing down everything and writing down nothing at all? This blog post will let you know how to beat this common pitfall and help you learn much more about effective note taking! Here’s to crushing school with TMG (again)!

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  1. The Beginning Stages

Every note is the opportunity for a new, beautiful beginning. Each page is the chance to perfect your skills while simultaneously making the page dazzle with new information. Step one to taking effective notes is to start off every note on a new page with the date and page number. Keeping track of your notes via the date will help you know the chronological order of course content so that when it comes time for that test you know exactly where to look for the material.

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2. Highlight, highlight, highlight

The best thing to highlight first on your page is the title of your note. Doing so signals to you what the subject of the note is and helps you to begin to organize the other information on the page. By writing down and highlighting the title of your note you will get a sense of what information you should and should not include on the rest of your page, you will begin to ask yourself: is this information relevant to the subject’s title? Pro tip: don’t think that the only thing you should highlight is the title—key terms, relevant problems and quotations are also fair game.

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3. Rewrite Your Notes

The best way to retain information is to re-write your notes (preferably by hand), after class. Rewriting your notes in your own words is also a plus–you are synthesizing the information given to you by someone else and translating it in a way that allows YOU to BEST understand it. This strategy to note taking also helps to prepare you for any future evaluations because you will have already studied for an upcoming test while perfecting the scribbles that you may have written down in class.

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4. Create Your Own Code

Teachers and professors can often speak quickly and provide you with too much information to write down. Creating your own short forms will help you take notes in a faster, shorter and condensed manner that will not compromise the note’s quality. You can even have some FUN while making your own shorthand by creating a language that is unique to you—stars, arrows, abbreviations and more are all elements of solid short form creation.

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5. Don’t Stress!

Just because the teacher or professor is talking, doesn’t mean that you have to be writing. Rather than copying down all information given, taking note of definitions, facts, enumerated lists, charts and information repeated or written on the chalkboard can be considered useful. Don’t get too hung up over your note-taking abilities—effective note taking is a skill that, like anything, will develop over time. For now, focus on following TMG’s tips to help get you started taking effective notes.

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Top 5 Study Break Ideas (that don't involve stress eating!)

Last week on the blog, we featured 5 awesome recipes to fuel you during your study sessions. While we highlighted the importance of food for energy and nourishment, for many, it’s easy to over do it on the snacking. Instead of stress eating, try these five different activities during your study break. Not only will they make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, but they will prevent that bloated and uncomfortable feeling you might get when you eat too much and then have to sit back down to study. http://

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Meditate

Yes, there’s a reason that our logo happens to be a woman sitting in the classical “Lotus” (or “meditating”) pose with beautiful mathematical symbols emanating from her hands. Meditation is a great way to relax and slow your heart rate down, something you’ll find especially helpful if you’re feeling hyped up and anxious over a certain set of problems. Find a space to sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. If you aren’t sure where to begin, try using an app. We love Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think.

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Phone a Friend

Sometimes, there’s nothing more isolating than sitting alone in a room for 3+ hours on end. Rather than sending texts and distracting yourself throughout your study session, save the chatting for a break and have a #realtalk over the phone with one of your besties. It will get your mind off of the books, and make you feel less lonely!

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Stretch

We all know that sitting in the same position for a long time is horrible for our bodies, especially if that position is being hunched over a desk. Take a few minutes here and there to get up and give your body a decent stretch. We recommend focusing on exercises that open your chest, to counteract all that screen time. Small movements like rolling your shoulders, clasping your hands above your head, or a runner’s calf stretch will also have you feeling energized! http://

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Get Some Fresh Air (and Up Your Step Count)

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air! If you’re feeling trapped and claustrophobic at your desk or in the library, take 20 minutes to go for a walk. Fresh air can reinvigorate you and there are countless studies that have shown that being in nature stimulates the brain, increases immune function and has a calming effect on our bodies. Use a pedometer to track your steps, and set a step goal for yourself to make sure you’re moving enough even during exam time. If you have a dog, do double duty by crossing a chore off your to-do list, while also taking care of your mind, body and soul!

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Have a Dance Party

You know it’s never a dull moment here at The Math Guru, so why not incorporate some of the crazy into your own private studying sessions? If you’re feeling fatigued and unmotivated, put the books away for a couple minutes and blast your favourite tunes. Be sure to get out of your chair and dance around to them, since frequent movement is key to surviving long periods of studying. Don’t worry no one will judge you based on your music choices OR dance moves, so go all out and get those endorphins pumping!

SUPER Study Spaces

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With exam season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about strategies you can implement into your study routine to help you ace those finals. Sometimes a lot more is needed than just a desk with some pencils and paper. Being in a space that is comfortable, but conducive to studying will help you work more efficiently, while also keeping you chilled out and focused. Below we’ve listed some key things you should look for in a good study space. IMG_0696

1. Good Lighting

How are you going to study if you can’t read your textbook?! A well-lit space is so important if you want to avoid straining your eyes. Not only is it bad for them, but it’s usually the cause of that horrible study headache we’ve all experienced. If you’re studying at your desk, make sure you have a good desk lamp and position it in the top left corner so the light falls in the same direction that you read. If you’re at a coffee shop or library try to snag a spot next to a window so you can take in as much natural daylight as possible!

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2. Comfy Chair

As far as we know, no one’s ever studied on a stool and lasted more than 20 minutes. Comfort is key when studying and you want to make sure your back is being well supported so you don’t get any painful aches! However, if you’re sitting on something too plushy, like a couch, you might find yourself fighting the urge to doze off. Try and find a chair that keeps you upright, has a comfortable seat and a solid backrest.

IMG_07003. Minimal Noise

This one may be controversial, but we do recommend you don’t try and memorize your biology terminology with hard core hip hop blasting. Although lots of students find that studying with music in the background helps them focus, make sure you aren’t getting distracted by singing along. Instrumental music sometimes actually helps - try electro, or even some classical. Although coffee shops are great places to study, sometimes they can be a little too noisy. Try and scope out spots where you know the music and the atmosphere are chilled out enough that you’ll be able to focus.

IMG_07014. Brain Food

Nothing builds up an appetite like a long study sesh. If you find your energy has started to dip but you’re determined to finish that last problem set, grabbing a quick (and HEALTHY) snack will re-energize you so you can push on. Nuts and granola are a great option, as are crackers with hummus or cheese. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try out these healthy energy balls that are packed with protein but have a hint of chocolate. We are of course also in favour of sitting down with a soothing cup of tea, and replenishing as often as you like!unnamed5. No Distractions

GUYS. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will not disappear forever if you don’t check them every 10 minutes. Put your phone out of sight - we suggest leaving it in a different room altogether, preferably one in which you have to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to ;) You know even if you tell yourself you’ll only scroll for 5 minutes, it’s easy to get wrapped into a cyber vortex and waste half an hour without even realizing it. If you really need your laptop or phone with you, download an app like Forest. It grows a virtual tree while you leave the work-related app you’re using open, but kills it once you leave - don’t be a tree killer!!

New Year, New (Smarter) You!

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It’s THAT time of the year again – the time when hope springs eternal and the chance to reinvent yourself into a new (smarter) you seems more possible than ever. But let’s be honest: it’s also that time when many of us feel that we’re screwed, that with half of the school year behind us, there’s no chance of catching up to where we wish we were. Well, I’m here to help you see that educational glass as half full and to help you take 2016 by storm! Here are ten ways in which YOU can turn your academic frown UPSIDE DOWN - Let’s do this!

1. Go tech free. Okay relax - I don't mean forEVER! But seriously, turning off your phone, laptop, whatever, for even an HOUR, can make a huge difference to your productivity - and to your state of mind in general. Okay I get it, your phone’s on silent – DOESN’T MATTER! Just KNOWING that your phone is potentially buzzing with messages is enough to distract you from focusing 100% on what's in front of you. Set aside one hour each night, and vow to dedicate it to just you and your textbook – no technology allowed.

2. Set tangible goals. It's easy to say that you want to be a 'better' student, do 'more' homework, or get 'higher' grades - but what do those things actually mean? Setting goals you can actually measure doesn't only mean that you have something to strive for, but that you'll have something to celebrate. Try "I want my math mark to increase by 5% this semester" instead of "I want my math mark to increase," or "I want to start studying for my tests 1 week in advance" instead of "I want to stop cramming last minute."

3. Get an agenda that you love - and use it. Ahhhh the crux of every students' educational success: time management! Okay listen - time management is hard for most of the population, but the key is mastering it as soon as humanly possible so that you never have to struggle with it again. Trust me.The first step is realizing that everyone finds organization overwhelming and that that's totally fine. So chill. The second step is embracing it as a challenge, and being determined to JUST DO IT. The third step is getting the tools you need to make it happen.

I always loved the physical agenda - a beautiful, new-smelling book with fresh pages waiting for a smooth pen to mark them up with dates and plans and promises. I always found that the agendas my school gave me were wayyyy too small and it seriously stressed me out having to cram all that info into each tiny space, so I always made a point of getting a giant agenda from a pretty bookstore. BUT even I will admit that now, I'm totally tech - I like to have everything on my phone so that I can access my plans super easily, and change things without having to white them out. There are a TON of apps to help keep you organized, such as My Homework App - this thing is genius, and guaranteed to kickstart your time management process! My absolute fave, and the one I use, is good ol' Google Calendar - can't go wrong with that. The key to all of these tools though - is to use them! Become addicted to entering, refining and re-checking when you're supposed to be doing everything - soon that in itself will become therapeutic instead of overwhelming!

4. Stop procrastinating. Like you haven’t vowed to do this a million times before, right? But seriously, make this time different. Be mindful of when you’re procrastinating, what you’re even DOING when you’re procrastinating, and why you’re procrastinating. These three things alone will make a HUGE difference. Just starting to identify moments of procrastination instead of pleading ignorance, is the first step in making yourself stop!

5. Make mornings matter. Mornings are like this secret treasure trove that often goes overlooked. Hitting snooze a billion times, eventually dragging yourself out of bed, missing breakfast, and throwing yourself into your period 1 class just in time for the bell to ring – well, that sucks! Morning is my favourite time. Nothing has happened yet, the whole day lies ahead, it’s like bonus time. Try waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual, making a cup of tea, lighting a candle, and writing down three goals for your day. Or three things that are going to make today awesome. Or simply writing your morning thoughts. I know it sounds cheesy – but systematically starting your mornings this way could be the biggest game changer ever! For more magical morning game changers, check out Forbes' 10 Morning Habits Successful People Swear By!

6. Tell yourself you're awesome. Okay so you’ve set your goals, you’ve obtained a shiny new agenda, you’re waking up bright and early every morning, and you’re waiting for magic to happen. It’s easy to get discouraged – that’s the whole thing with resolutions – people go hard the first week, and then start slacking when they don’t see immediate results. But you’re not going to be one of those people – RIGHT?! The key is to remember that good things come to those who wait – and to those who persevere. You need to legit tell yourself, every day, that you are AWESOME for sticking to your resolutions, and even MORE awesome for doing so EVEN THOUGH you haven’t seen results yet. Look in that mirror, and tell yourself that you ROCK. EVERY DAY.

7. Pick ONE bad habit to get rid of. If you can actually get rid of ONE bad habit this year – how incredible would that be?! Pick something, anything. Maybe you ALWAYS wait until the last minute to study; maybe you always go to bed later than you should; maybe you always stuff your worksheets into your bag instead of putting them into your binder; maybe you never check your answers when you do your homework; maybe you NEVER DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Whatever it is, write it down, and vow to obliterate it THIS YEAR!

8. Get to know your teacher. Half the year has gone by and what do you REALLY know about your teacher? I’m not saying you need to become full-on BFF, but start getting to know what they look for when grading your tests and assignments, when they’re around for extra help, and what resources they can provide to help you gain higher grades and a better understanding of course material. Most of your teachers WANT to help you – they’re just waiting for you to ask. You will be shocked at how much you’ve been missing!

9. Be realistic. Guys, remember - Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re not going to go full on “She’s all that” makeover overnight, and you really don’t need to. Even though you’re setting goals to change a number of things, there are a BUNCH of things you don’t NEED to change! That’s because there are a ton of things that you’re doing RIGHT – remember that. It’s easy to focus on everything you’re doing wrong, but don’t succumb to that trap – remember that you rock – and that setting resolutions is just a way to fine-tune your already well-oiled machine!

10. If at first you don’t succeed…CHILL OUT. So you sleep in late one morning, get a crappy test mark, forget to do your homework – that doesn’t mean you throw the entire plan out the window! It means you re-set your alarm, re-jig your agenda, and get back on track tomorrow morning. There’s always a new month, a new week, a new day, a new minute – a new chance for a new - smarter - YOU!

Got any advice on how to make – and keep – educational resolutions?! Share your words of wisdom in the comments section below, would love to hear from you!