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student life

6 Useful tools to prepare you for your exams

Exams are around the corner and it’s time to hit the books. As a psychology student, you have probably learned lots of theories on how to maximize your study success and are aware of the importance of distributed studying and taking breaks. While theories are nice, the following article will introduce some useful tried and proven study tools, to help you get through the coming weeks as smoothly as possible.

1. Quizlet

Quizlet is one of my favorite study tools. It is an App, that lets you create personalized flashcards. The free version gives you access to all of the basic functions, while the premium version lets you take your cards to the next level and add images and diagrams. One of my favorite features is that you can share and co-edit your sets with others. Depending on privacy settings you even have access to cards others have created in the past, which can save you lots of work. The software can be used on laptops or smartphones, making it easy to study on the go or even creating your cards during lectures.

Link: https://quizlet.com/

2. Mindjet

Maybe you are not into flashcards and prefer mind maps in order to get a good overview of your classes. Mindjet offers the option to create mind maps digitally. Some create the basic structure before class so that they can add their notes during the lecture. I personally use OneNote for mind maps, because I like drawing them by hand. That, however, requires a laptop with a touch screen. So Mindjet is a good alternative. Mindjet isn’t free but in order to get it inexpensively, you can buy it from your university’s software store. (The same place where you can buy SPSS etc.)

Link: https://www.mindjet.com/

3. Uniboard/Summaries

This section is probably most important for new students. One of the greatest tools to use during your studies are summaries of literature and lectures. These can either be created in study groups or found on different student platforms (different at every Uni, if you do not know the platform used at your university, that’s a great reason to talk to fellow students and possibly make a new friend 😉). Uniboard is a general platform, that has some material on it. While that is one, the most commonly used platform differs between universities, so it is best to find out which one is used at your university.

Link: https://www.uniboard.ch/startseite/

4. Grammarly

After constantly seeing Grammarly adds on YouTube, I gave in and gave it a try. I was surprised by how useful it was. It is a program you can install and use as an add-on in tools like Word. It corrects grammar and spelling surprisingly accurately. So far, I have only used the free version, which has been enough. The premium version goes even further and gives you advice on your word choice and sentence structure. It is worth giving it a try if you ever need to write something in English.

Link: https://www.grammarly.com/

5. KKarten

Unfortunately, they are not available for all classes and all universities. Nonetheless, when available, the pre-made flashcards are a very useful tool to prepare for exams. They can be a lifesaver when you are low on time or have lots of exams in a short amount of time. The main drawback is the price (37.-) but by buying ones from older students or buying a set with a fellow student they can be made more affordable. Along with the physical cards you receive a code, that lets you use the digital version. The content is created by students and is based on the slides and literature. I usually complete them with my personal notes.

Link: https://ube.uniseminar.ch/ (They can also be bought at the universities book shop

6. Motiviert Studiert

This last tip is not as much a tool, as a platform with many useful tips. The founder creates useful YouTube videos where he focusses on studying effectively rather than constantly (Spoiler: LOTS of repetition and lots of breaks). I found one of his videos during my third year of studies and still learned new things on how to make my studying more efficient. On his website he also has various templates and resources to create study plans etc. If you are in a study crisis I would highly recommend checking out some of his content. (Unfortunately, his content is in German but under downloads there are templates you can adapt to your own language)

Video/YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWYZnronE0o

Link to website: https://motiviert-studiert.de/

Hopefully, you discovered some new useful tools; have a calm exam season (as calm as they get) and good luck on your exams!

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Author: Sabrina Sovilla

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student life

Is Psychology the right choice for you? Find out!

Are you interested in psychology and want to find out if it is the right choice for you? Or are you unsure whether your expectations and skills fit with reality? Maybe you’re already studying psychology are second guessing  your choice and would you like further information.  Then you should check out the Online Self-Assessment Test written by the University of Applied Sciences and Art Northwestern Switzerland and the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich.

Online-Selbsttest Psychologie

https://www.fhnw.ch/de/studium/psychologie/online-selbsttest-psychologie

The test is structured in three main modules which can be done separately.  At the end of  each      assessment you’ll receive an extensive feedback on your results, including further information and personalised diagrams. Each test takes around 10-40 minutes. You are not obligated to complete the whole module, just fill out the tasks you are interested in.

The module “My interests and expectations” consists of three tests. The test “Expectations” tests, whether your expectations correspond with the reality of the courses you will be taking at the university. At the end of the questionnaire you will receive information on how strongly your expectations correspond with reality. If your expectations are unrealistic, you will be given information for clarification. The next test asks about your interests in different fields of psychology. As a result, you will get a personalised diagram about the psychological fields you are the most interested in. They also provide further information about the different fields like clinical psychology, work psychology, sports psychology etc. The same test is offered, concerning different fields of psychology.

The module “My skills and competences” tests your ability to understand English and German texts, your capability to read statistical diagrams and your skills in “mathematical and language thinking”. This module is useful to help you  gage how prepared you are or whether you should work on certain skills before you start your studies.

The module “Frequently asked questions” is an overview of the study programmes and where you can get help to find more facts. There is also information about employment rates, salaries and the areas psychologists work in.

This assessment should provide basic information about studying psychology and the different fields you can work in later. Furthermore it’s a tool  to prevent future students from starting a degree in a field they are not interested in or one they have unrealistic expectations of. Even I, a real psychology enthusiast, learned new things about the different directions psychology has to offer. Moreover I found out which fields interest me the most (with the surprising outcome that I am more into work psychology than I thought). I think it is worth going through certain tests if you are unsure about your interests or psychology in general. It can help you learn more about yourself, no matter how far along you are in your studies.   

Author: Carla Wüthrich 

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student life

Finally, I am a psychotherapist. But how does it feel at the very beginning?

Two years ago, I earned my master’s degree in psychology and I am finally allowed to pursue the profession of a psychotherapist. But what does it mean to work as an assistant psychologist? What do you learn in the psychotherapy training? How does all of this feel?

These questions have often occupied me and I am sure others have the same difficulties.

At the university you are thought a lot about people. Clinical lectures and seminars in particular deal with a wide variety of disorders, diagnostic instruments and different approaches of psychotherapy. And yet it is something completely different when you’re sitting in front of a client for the first time, conducting an initial consultation, a diagnosis or a psychotherapeutic intervention. “What am I doing here?”, “Am I doing this the right way?” and “Does my client notice that I am still completely inexperienced?”. Such questions came to my mind during my first therapy sessions in my time as an assistant psychologist. Yes, I felt thrown in at the deep end. But isn’t that the case with every career start after graduation? Maybe as a psychotherapist it’s different again because you work so closely with people and their wellbeing is at stake.

After a few months and a higher number of cases there was a certain “routine”. Through structures, more precise considerations on case conception and a larger repertoire of interventions, I was able to gain confidence day by day. Among other things, the psychotherapy training made a proper contribution to this. Exciting seminars ranging from depression to ego-state-therapy gave me inputs that I was often able to try out and implement directly in coming therapy sessions.

Almost every day you are confronted with difficult situations from the clients’ lives. I had to learn to distance myself from them and not take the stories home. It was just as important for me to learn that I could not “save” every client and take responsibility for their lives. These are processes that took time, where the therapeutic self-awareness and supervision were an important support and part of it. My best friend always had an open ear for me in the initial phase. I also managed – mainly through sports – to get a certain distance from work.

In addition to the fact that day-to-day work is not always easy, the profession as a psychotherapist also has some incredibly beautiful facets: situations in which you become aware that a good bond between the client and you as a therapist has developed, when clients regain more self-confidence and show a more functional approach to situations that were previously impossible, when personal goals of the clients are achieved or when a therapy can be completed in which the client reports a fulfilled life with an improved state of mind.

Even though the path is long and there are always difficult moments, I am very happy to be able to carry out the profession of psychotherapist.

Author: Silvio Deplazes