6/30/2016 12:21:00 pm

studyblr masterpost: HOW TO STATIONERY SMART

As students, it is not surprising that we spend quite a bit on stationery. As studyblrs, we might even 'invest' more money to achieve the 'tumblr-feel' and aesthetic stationery collection and notes. However, again, as students, we also have a limited budget, hence I am here in hopes of not just helping people stick to their budget and stationery smart!

(And yes, I'm using 'stationery' as a verb: it means to both use and purchase stationery (in my dictionary)

There were a couple of masterposts that was already out there, like this, but I was looking for even more alternatives, tips and tricks.

Note: this is just a list of methods I have thought up/tried and tested to stick achieve the aesthetic studyblr-feel and notes while sticking to your budget. I'm not saying you can't buy fineliners, midliners, moleskins and stuff, these are just suggestions and alternatives to stick to your budget.

This can be done through 3 steps:

1. Plan

a. Splurge vs necessities

Take some time to list down your necessities for stationery (what you cannot do without) and your splurges (what you want but not prioritized) in two columns. For example:

b. Budget

Sit down, do your accounting. Allocate a budget for your stationery, whether it's a certain amount for the month, term, semester or year, make sure your stick to it!

c. To-buy list

To make sure you don't buy too many things on impulse at the stationery shop/bookstore (I'm guilty of that too), write a to-buy list of stationery you need and put it in your wallet/purse. Ideally most of the items in the list should be from your necessities list, a few exceptions being those to treat yourself on special occasions, or when you've reached your target (A in exam, for example).

The next time you pass by the store, just get what is on that list.

d.  Prices

   i. Compare and contrast

Don't hesitate to take a minute or two to consider the difference in prices of the same product from different stores; the prices often range from a few cents to up to a dollar. This may not seem much, but in the long run, it will accumulate and you'll save more than a few dollars. If you do online shopping and have trust in the online store, check that out too.

   ii. Membership options

If the book/stationery shop offers membership options, check that out. For example, Popular, a chain in where I live offers membership at a decent rate: 3-year, membership at $30 (adult), $20 (student);1-year, $12 (adult) $8 (student), which is rather worth it considering it offers a discount of 10% for most of the items (excluding stuff like textbooks which has another discount).

   iii. Sales and promotions

Always be on the lookout for those, especially during Back to School season.

2. Organize

a. Keep all stationery in a centralised location

Not only will it be easier to find when you need them, it will also give you a clear idea of what you have. 
Knowing where all the things are 
= less likely to lose it (or for the item to lose itself) 
= finish using the item (e.g. use up all the ink in a pen, fully utilise it) 
= won't have to replace it so often
= won't buy the thing (thinking you don't have it) and have multiple sets of the same item lying around

3. Smart

a. Free stuff

I'm not saying you have to be cheapo (slang, describing tightward, misers), I'm saying this option can allow you to save more and you can direct the money to somewhere else. I'm not certain about other countries, but in the country I live in, freebies are basically what people love.

When I went to school open houses, conferences (MUN), property showhouses, hotels etc, there were usually goodie bags (first two of the list) and freebies. For example, at school open houses, there was usually a pen, a notebook/notepad, sometimes a post-it pad. Business conferences (from what I remember) usually have a notepad and a pen, and if you have a family member who frequents these events, you can perhaps ask them to bring some back for you.

b. Save the pen

It doesn't really matter (for myself) what kind of pen I use for my maths work, English and Chinese essays and compositions, as well as past year exam papers of all subjects, seeing that I don't really refer to it as frequently as my notes and mindmaps. Furthermore, writing an essay takes up a lot of ink in a pen, so for these less-important work, I use the cheaper (or free, see 3a) pen. This allows the pens that I like to use for notes (uniball signo 0.38, which costs $1.85) to be used for notes, flashcards and mindmaps, and it'll be used up less quickly.

c.  DIY

Instead of purchasing a nice but more expensive notebook/journal (for example), one can simply get a basic one and DIY themself.

d. Alternative

Like I said earlier, instead of buying a nice but more expensive item, there are other alternatives to it.
 What I'm saying is, you don't need Midliners, Moleskins, Fineliners to study/studyblr, there are plenty of options out there which are just as aesthetically pleasing, tumblr-worthy and they perform  the same function (highlight, write) just with a slightly different result (not exact shades of colours, different ink flow, etc), and they are cheaper! You can try:

e. 1 in, 1 out

This mostly applies to pens, highlighters, pencils, erasers etc. To ensure you don't have multiple items having similar function (say, 4 highlighters of different brands, all fluorescent yellow), have a one-in-one-out rule. This means, only buy the same item when the one you have is used up. When you bring a pen/refill/highlighter home, you also should dispose the one used up. (In the case of notebooks, make sure you have completed the one you're replacing (e.g. journal) before buying a new one). This also avoids cluttering. 

f. Motivation

Use your addiction of stationery to fuel your grades (further, besides using them to study). Set a reachable and realistic target relating to academics and allocate a reward (usually on the splurge list). Some examples:
  • Target: Get B+ and above for Additional Maths (a subject currently at D-ish) for the Aug exam. Reward: 
  • Target: Finish taking notes for Geography chapters 4, 5, 6. Reward: 

g. Gifts

Ask (or if they don't approach you/not close to them enough, hint) for giftcards or cash as your birthday or Christmas present, so it can go towards something you want or need. It also saves your family and friends the trouble of going to stores and deciding what to get you.


Let me know if you would like me to focus on any particular aspect of studying in future masterposts, and I'll try my best!

6/26/2016 01:55:00 pm

studyblr masterpost: EMPTY NOTEBOOKS

Take a look at these scenarios:

  • I have many notebooks but sometimes I really don't have any idea what to do with them
  • These notebooks are really nice and I don't want to waste it

Sound familiar? Does it happen to you too? I've come up with a list of ideas you can use for your empty notebook lying around.

Some notebooks are slim and narrow, some wide; some thin, some narrow; some stapler-bound, spiral-bound or sewn; some lined, dotted, checkered, blank, some are hardcover some soft; some are on white paper, some on coloured. Whatever size, shape, design your notebook is, I bet at least one of the ideas below can be applied on your notebook.

1. Journal or diary. It can be long-term or short-term. I think they're the same thing, although some people refer it to different names.

The long term kinds are basically what I meant is those notebooks you write your daily memories into. I have one awesome ring notebook with the word 'MUSIC' on the cover, and it's been my best friend, although I don't write in it every day.

The short term kinds refer to those like summer journals or camp journals, those you just need a thinner notebook compared to the long-term ones.

2. Goals or/or resolutions for the day/week/month/year. It's like you write in it every day/week/month/year (depending on your choice, although I don't recommend 'year' on a notebook because it only comes around every 365 days/72 weeks/12 months... write your year goals/resolutions on a piece of nice paper and stick it to your room or wherever you like.) on what you want to improve on, or what you want to achieve by the end of the day/week/month.

3. If it's a medium to large size notebook, use it as a scrapbook. Put photos and your memories. Write them down beside the photos. Decorate them. Cut photos and words from magazines and paste it in too.

4. Write down poems/song lyrics that you like.

5. If you like to write, write down your ideas of your stories. You can use tabs to 'split' the notebook into two parts and use one for ideas and one for the story that you're working on.

6. Write down the quotes that you like.

7. If you have a handwriting that you can probably read in two months, use it to write your school notes, if necessary. Like for my favourite class, Literature, we're required to write down stuff, so I do that.

8. Write down anything that you heard which inspires you. From movies, books, quotes, or just something wisdom-y that your friend just said, write it down.

9. Use it as a friendship journal with your good friend who is willing to do it with you. Every time you meet, you pass it to your friend who will write something. Then your friend can pass it back to you and you write in it. It is said to be quite useful, especially when you both become busier.

10. Sketchbook/artbook, if you're an art person.

11. Write stuff about yourself, like your favourite colour, favourite song, movie and much more. Maybe a month or two later, write another post on the same 'favourites', but you might have a difference taste.

12. Make it your travel journal if you travel often. Put in photos and tickets for memory.

13. Make it your dream journal. Place it near your bed, along with a pen. When you wake up, if you have a good dream and also if you remember them, write them down before you do anything else.

From Notebook Stories:
"I’ve gotten some good story ideas from dreams, or at least little bits of story. On New Year’s Eve I watched the movie Inception, and somewhere in the beginning the main character says that we only use a fraction of our brain when we’re awake (or something like that).
So take advantage of that. When you roll out of bed, write down what happened in your dream, no matter how stupid or silly or weird it sounds. Obviously, not all of these will be good story ideas, but after a couple weeks of dreaming there’s always a gem or two."
14. If it's small and is protected by a cover (not necessary, as long as you don't mind it being a bit torn and worn out after you're finished with it), use it as your pocketbook. Put it in your bag or pocket or purse or wallet or whatever that you carry along with you, and write down the stuff that you need to remember for afterwards, like your homework assigned to you, or what you need to bring for you friend next week. Or it can be a song you need to download, or just an inspiring quote you need to copy to your quote book later. Anything that comes into your head needs to go into your pocket book.

I find it really useful.

15. Joke book. The two words basically explains itself, doesn't it?

16. Stuff you want to accomplish in your life. Kinda like a bucket list.

17. A notebook dedicated to a specific family member or friend. It can contain his/her name, age, favourite colour/song/movie/book/all that stuff, and the memories you have with him/her, as well as photos.

18. Music book. It can contain playlists and songs, songs to check out...

19. Movies to watch, movies you have watched, and your review on the movie...

20. To-read books and books you have read, and your review.

21. Recipe book.

22. Wishlist. Use it to jot down the stuff that you want so that when people ask what you want for your birthday or christmas, you won't blab about ridiculous items you never needed.

23. Write 'letters' to people you want to confront or talk to, but don't have the guts to do. It can be a notebook dedicated to one person, or it can be filled with many letters each dedicated to different people.

24. Language journal. 
Write down basic words in the language you're slowly learning, for fun. Or you can write down a word in different languages, one for each page. That's what I do. (For example I write 'Hi' in top of the page, then on the second line I write 'Hola'. On the third line I write 'Hi' in French, then in Malay on the fourth line. I have 10 languages.

Or you can dedicate a whole notebook to a language.

25. If you play 'Truth or Dare' with your friends often, use a tab to separate them into two parts and write all the 'Truth's in the first section, and the 'Dare's in the second section.

26. Decorate them and if you like, give them to friends as a gift.

27. Use it as a research journal, on topics you're interested.

28. Cool facts. Write down random facts that seem cool. When you and your friend have nothing else to say, pop that fact up, like 'a pumpkin is a berry'. Yes it's true!

29. Food/health journal. Right now I'm trying to stay healthy, so I note down what I eat (not calories, just the food itself), how much water I drink and how much excercise I get daily.

30. Use the notebook to write letters to yourself which you will date, both the date that you wrote it, and the date that you want yourself to read it in the future.

31. One-liner feelings. I thought of it when I was trying to find an alternative to putting my emotions out there on social media, so I have a notebook where my random emotions are put into paper at random times, hence replacing Twitter.

32. Write any ideas that pop into your brain about music/filmwriting/stories depending on your niche.

33. Bullet journal. Many on studyblr use bullet journals, though I personally don't (for reasons I might share later). However I do find it cool and very tumblr-ish. From what I understand (do correct me if I'm wrong), a bullet journal is a notebook-slash-planner where the user designs the monthly, weekly and (maybe) daily 'spreads', as well as includes notes, lists or any information he/she might need.

34. Words journal. Basically in here you can fill in new words you've come across, and also this is a good idea to widen your vocabulary.

35. Brainstorm journal. Mindmaps here.

36. Gratitude journal. Write down things you are grateful about, at least one point every day. It will help you be more appreciative and overall make you become a more thankful person.

37. Happiness journal. When you encounter something that made you happy, smile or laugh write it down. On a down day, take out this journal and it will definitely help your mood.

38. Address and phone book. This is not common nowadays, especially with the rise of smartphones, but it will come into use when your phone suddenly dies and you need someone's address/phone number.

39. Hobbies and activities you like. You can add in things to try, things you have done and things you would like to do again.

If you have any ideas of what to do with notebooks, or what you're using your notebook for that I have not listed down here, please comment!

6/22/2016 10:28:00 am

Almost-Sunset at the Field

Imagine this: you've come back from a tiring futsal (or any other team sport) practice: sweaty, somewhat dehydrated, and wanting a shower, but on the way home you pass by a small field near your house with trees bordering it. Inspiration strikes, and what do you do?

That's right, right after futsal, I went home, got out my camera and equipment, and cycled to the field.

6/20/2016 07:22:00 pm

studyblr masterpost: HOW TO STUDY

This is my first studyblr masterpost.

To be honest, in primary school (7-12 years old) didn't understand what my friends meant when they said they couldn't go out and had to study. Study for what? For exams? Don't you just pay attention in class, clarify your doubts, do your homework and corrections? How do you even study?

Only till last year did 15 year old me finally get an idea of what studying was. It was basically reading through your textbook and flipping through your assignments, as well as making new notes. (Or is it?)

It's been a long time since I last blogged, the exam and O level stress finally caught up on me. Up till April, I was still relaxing, chilling, slacking, not much stressed about the O level exams (equivalent to IGCSE) that my peers and friends were extremely anxious and stressed about. But then I suddenly realised that my midyears were to be used to apply for any scholarship for school next year, or just to apply for any school that had special applications in July/Aug. (The O level exams take place over a span of 3 months, from August (listening comprehension, oral exams, lab practical) to November. Results are released in early Jan, and students send applications within a week to their desired future school).

Long story short, I decided to try to do well-ish for this mid-year exam and prepare for it. Usually, for my term tests, I'd just read through my notes I took in class and the textbook, and just wing it.

So, I've been studying. And now, while I'm in a slightly procrastinating mood, I'd write a blog post on tips to revise and study. (I know you're like 'finally, she's getting to the point now'.)

Studying does not have a one-size-fits-all method. For different subjects I have different methods.


Work through the past exam papers my teacher hands out, both for composition and comprehension, and in class she goes through the answers with me and I do corrections.


Same with English.

Practice with past-year exam questions. Also, I do the formula flashcard method for formulas.


First I write summary notes, of all the definitions, laws and whatever is in the textbook. Basically a summary of the chapter from the textbook. Sometimes the teacher has additional information and I combine all the info in the notes.

Then I have the one-page mindmap for each chapter. (This was the last resort before midyears, 4 days before the start of midyear exam, when I realised that there's no time for aesthetic, studyblr-worthy notes).

Then I'll attempt questions from past year O level papers.

Physics consists of a lot of formulas, so I make flashcards to remember them.

Physics notes:


Same as physics.

I'd also draw any major diagrams on a flashcard (e.g. heart, lungs) and have numbers instead of labelling them. On the other side of the card, I'd have the number connected to the keyword/label. So basically I'd look at the diagram and name all the parts, then flip to check if it's correct.

To organise all of the above and decide when to study what, I use two things: my planner and my subject checklist.
My planner has a monthly view and a weekly view, so in the monthly view I put in the appointments and events; in the weekly view I write my to-do list and homework assignments.
The subject checklist is basically a table with a few columns: 

Chapter (number) and topic | Notes | Paper 1 | Paper 2 | Mindmap | Formula | Got it? | Second revision |

This basically to keep track of what I have done and what is left to do when I study. And when I have an issue with a topic, say Turning Effects of Forces, I just pencil a huge star next to the topic for future reference to put in more time on the chapter.

And as always, my study methods are always evolving. I'm always looking for an easier, simpler, more effective and better ways to study. I'm also open to any tips or suggestions.

So, a summary:
  • Notes summarising the chapter - physics, chemistry, biology, geography
  • Formula flashcards - maths, physics, chemistry
  • Diagram label flashcards - biology
  • Mindmaps - physics, chemistry, biology, geography
  • Past year papers - all

So, what study methods do you have? Are any of yours similar to any of mine?