The NUS Education and Learning Blog

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It is all in the science – Studying STEM courses


The decision to study any type of degree is often a heavy one, and for those who choose to commit to higher education for four full years, often have, at the very least, the semblance of a plan for their professional future. Students commit years of their lives to graduate and then go on to prepare to begin their careers. For some, that preparation comes in the form of crafting an investment banking resume template, while for others it comes with internships and training days to train them up for their newly forged career.

One of the most difficult fields to work towards, and then successfully get into, is the fields that are categorised under the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) umbrella. Historically, there has been a significant gender gap in  female students who take on STEM courses, and male students. With the help of strengthening online education methods and platforms, studying subjects of such substance has never been more inclusive, but there is a long way to go.

For the inspiring young women (and men, for that matter) that are currently taking on STEM studies – or even aspiring to – there is one piece of advice that is crucial to balancing (and exceeding) one’s studies. Science is not one of those branches of education that can easily be sidestepped around, with minimal effort put in. To yield successful results, all students studying courses that fall under the STEM umbrella must pay attention. This may seem obvious, but put it this way: if you do not go to a class, and you do not understand the definition of something given in the standard issue text, then you opt out of having the chance to learn any other definitions that may be easier for you to understand. Effort matters.

Due to its precise nature, STEM courses demand a lot of forethought, effort, and even repetition. When studying heavy topics, it can be incredibly beneficial to go over the content covered multiple times. Doing so allows students to familiarise themselves with the content on a level that, with each repetition, almost becomes second nature. Over time, this increased repetition results in a resurgence and consequential ingraining of the information into the individual’s memory, allowing them to better maintain important information.

STEM degrees are among the most difficult that a student can take on, and it is incredibly important that all students aiming to excel in studies of this nature are prepared for the intense time ahead of them. Studying, revision, research, assignments, and last minute cramming all come together to forge what can be an immensely stressful experience if the individual is not adequately prepared for it. More than anything, science is a branch of education that attracts future pioneers of human development and revolutionary discovery. Therefore, the skills needed to tackle such prominent topics in the world today (and in the future going forward) rely primarily on determination, commitment, efficiency, and accuracy. These are the four cornerstones for choosing to study STEM for higher education purposes.

Mental health of college and university students in crisis


Throughout their studies, college and university students find themselves having to embrace the life of a student in all ways. Whether it be applying for internships or cramming for the upcoming biology finals, there are challenges and stress around every corner. While the life of a student is full of challenges and hard work, it is abundantly worthwhile when they reach the finish line and come out of the experience with a degree and a deeper appreciation of the hustle it takes to make it through the tunnel and out the other side.

It is no secret that higher education is challenging. The average course load for a full-time student is four courses, sometimes even more if they get approved for extra credit. While four courses seem simple enough in theory, the reality is that each of these courses is designed to be an intensive, twelve-week subject that crushes an abundance of information into a miniscule time. Students not only have to turn up to classes and complete revisions every week to stay on top of and refresh their past week’s information intake, but they must also study for upcoming exams, research, write, proofread, and edit assessments, participate in class discussions, and maintain every other aspect of life at the same time. The level of stress goes on increasing as one starts post graduation and later starts working on PhD. Though some tasks can be outsourced like opting for professional english editing services to edit the manuscript, students have a major task to take care of, which includes increased no. of assignments and projects.

If that does not sound stressful enough yet, there is also the reality that not every student has the luxury of being able to get by as a student without having to work to keep themselves above water. Some students juggle a full-time course load, work full time hours, and attempt to maintain a social life with family, pets, and friends. There is a lot of sacrifice that is consistently going on in the average student’s life, and it is important to realise that such an immense work load often evolves into a hefty weight on their shoulders. It is not uncommon for a student’s mental health to suffer when they are experiencing difficulties coping. In fact, it is an unfortunate and sad fact of life that many students experience worsening mental conditions over the duration of their studies, making the darkness more and more difficult to find their way out of.

While some universities and colleges have treatment centres and procedures in place, even many of them do not make students abundantly aware of such treatments. The chaos of university spills over to the institutions themselves, but that is not an excuse by any means. Schools are well aware of the strains of taking on so much work at the one time, and the simple fact is that they must step up and take accountability for the students within their facilities that are struggling. Students do not always feel supported and understood, and as a result many of them do not feel comfortable coming forward with their struggles. This can obviously have catastrophic results.

The mental health strains on students can come in waves, or can form like a rigid ball in their chest, unwilling or unable to be moved. Regardless of the form it takes and how it presents itself, mental health among students around the world is not to be taken lightly. In fact, if anything, the mental health of the minds taking on the responsibility of being a student should be the number one priority now and always.

Preparing for college can take a lifetime of learning


School is an integrated facet of many developed societies. Whether one attends public or private school after their PreK years, they are still in some type of structured form that demonstrates the foundational principles of learning and obtaining a proper academic education throughout childhood and adolescent development. School and getting an education are important. Those early years set students up to be anything they want to be if they have the intellectually ability to succeed academically to get into which private colleges or other higher education institutions they choose. Picking a college can be hard, but preparing for college can be even more difficult.


College preparation can truly take a lifetime of learning. Starting in kindergarten and even before then, early intervention of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and reading programs allow students to get ahead and begin their academic career being ready and able to take on any task given to them. For some students it seems as though academics come easy to them whereas others may struggle. Unfortunately, for the students that struggle in early academic life, it can take a lot of catching up before college if they are continually left behind year after year in elementary, middle, and high school. Preparing for college takes the right amount of academic desire for learning and obtaining a degree. To get into college, a student must have excellent study habits to excel at academic standardized tests required to get into the school they wish to attend. Aside from the tests, they must also obtain the right grades that a college will accept. Generally a 3.0 and higher are good grades to land a scholarship. The most important thing about going to college is making sure the tuition is covered. Whether government aid and grants or scholarship and private loans are used, paying the tuition is the only way to ensure a student gets to keep going to college. A student must make sure to budget out their finances to allow for tuition to be paid each semester.


Deciding to get a degree and going to college can seem daunting at first. It’s a lot of money and it is also a lot of time to dedicate to an education right out of high school, but getting a degree will ultimately lead to more opportunities. Many jobs now require some type of degree to even get considered for a position. A lot of jobs used to just require a high school education, but as the workforce continues to advance, so do the qualifications necessary for the job tasks. Now as fields expand and become more niche markets, the type of employee sought is often someone who specifically specializes in certain areas that can help the company grow. Many diverse minds can make great teams. College is meant to foster an environment that allows their students critical thinking skills to carry on past graduation and into the work environments to work on great teams and develop outstanding projects that carry onto higher achievements.

What to know prior to pursuing a medical career


There is a common (and vaguely insulting) assumption that, because most nurses work three days a week on average, they are not putting in as much mental and physical effort. What most people may not realise is that, on average, a nurse’s shift is twelve hours (sometimes being dragged out to thirteen or even fifteen, if the shift gets particularly busy). It is impossible to account for everything that will happen in a single shift. There is too much margin for error, too many shifting variables. Every shift is different than the last, and being a nurse demands that the individual can not only master all their own daily tasks and the tasks of the doctor on call, but the unexpected as well.

While doctors undeniably earn their praise, nurses often get shoved to the sidelines and regarded as merely the people that write up the charts and check the vitals (as if these tasks are not important enough on their own). The individuals that nurse people back to health when they falter are literally the nurses. After the surgeries and the diagnosis’ are through, it is more often than not the nurses that are charged with the follow up, with ensuring the stable recovery of the patients in their care.

The nursing profession has been referred to many times as the “Navy Seals” of the healthcare industry. this statement alone signals the emotional, mental, and physical strain that nurses endure every time they walk into the hospital in their scrubs. On an average day, a nurse will admit patients, check vitals, write up charts, measure, dose, and administer medications to patients, and do their multiple rounds checking in on said patients. On a busy day, in addition to all their regular daily tasks, a nurse will be thrust into emergency admission procedures. They might not even get time to eat their lunch. The life of a nurse is often a tired one, but it is a worthy and incredibly rewarding career path.

Individuals that opt to study a Bachelor of Nursing take it upon themselves to assume accountability for the wellbeing and general health of not only their patients, but themselves as well. Generally, the kind of person that builds a career as a nurse is the kind of person that is compassionate, determined, and strong – a cocktail of personal traits that do not often register on the same scale when looking at a prospective career. It takes a special kind of person to become a nurse, and building a career in such a people-centred industry is bound to be one of the most rewarding career paths that an individual can embark on.

The demand for nurses is always consistent, and with the healthcare industry calling for a new generation of individuals who want to be innovators of the industry, having a career as a nurse and dedicating one’s life to improving the health and lives of those around them has never been more honourable.


Is a degree still important in employment?


Over the years the battle between whether or not a university degree is necessary has been fought. People believe that school, university, a job, and marriage is the way life is supposed to be, and even today many want to live up to those societal standards. Education as a whole doesn’t refer to just acquired knowledge from institutes or online courses, more broadly it describes acquired learning on a day to day basis. In a way, one can get an education without ever going to school or university. However, many believe there is still a requirement for degrees in order to get employed full time and get a better salary.

When some of the most successful people are talked about many times the most common characteristic is that of autodidactism. These people strongly believe that it is necessary to learn every single day, they also usually read a lot. Even then, it is seen that big companies and other employment opportunities come easier to those with higher education qualifications. That is when the question about the importance of degrees arises. Most successful people have proven to be intelligent and capable without a degree. However, even in the world of millennials, where everything is available digitally, where social media dictates actions, people are still judged on their ability to avail higher education.

What a formal education indicates is one’s availability to dedicate time and effort into learning about their chosen careers. Some people believe that people with a degree have acquired better skills in terms of writing and speaking. However, in today’s world where everything can be outsourced, where companies can get professional essay writers just by looking online or freelance digital marketers in a span of minutes. Therefore, where skills can be so easily found, and even more easily acquired the real importance of a degree can be questioned. Yet there is still a higher employment percentage and earning potential for those with a degree, even today.

However, how important are a formal education and a degree in times where every bit of information is readily available in people’s fingertips? Online courses as education are becoming more lucidly accepted publicly by day, even some of the most highly acknowledged institutions are providing online courses. Online education seems to be the future as it is convenient and demonstrates the skills one can acquire by simply dedicating ones attention to the knowledge one wants. It is important to realize that online education requires an amount of disciple which can be difficult to practice for a lot of people. Concentration is also a big factor in autodidactism, one must be willing and able to learn. These characteristics, in general, make for better employment positions.

While degrees continue being a major factor of employment a lot of big-name companies are starting to allow it to dissolve as a requirement. This is because more and more of the job positions available are internet based and training for them is available everywhere. Places like Edx, Coursera, Udacity and more are creating a big shift in terms of formal education. Some companies like HubSpot and Google are also starting to provide courses for their particular features like CRM or analytics. Overall, it is necessary to not that in today’s world a degree won’t be as important as it used to be because people are coming to accept that it, in reality, doesn’t portray a person’s caliber.

Education of the Future: Mental, Philosophical and Technological Investments

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Of all the changing and developing industries of the modern world, education remains to be one of the most challenging and demanding ones as it directly interferes with human lives at a very fundamental level. All the jobs require some sort of a formal education while the society itself values and promotes higher learning and therefore education is an integral part of modern living. Technology, another highly valued and promoted element of modernity, has infiltrated into the education sector from a very centralized point of view and the marriage between modern day education and technology promises nothing short of efficiency and success for students, educators and the markets alike. As the collaboration strengthens between these camps, it becomes obvious that the society as a whole will also benefit from it, which means that it will be increasingly important in the future to consider technology as an integral part of education and vice a versa. Whether it be science departments using state-of-the-art laser systems, computer departments providing lightning fast internet connections through top notch servers or students being able to afford high quality bullet journal notebooks, the given relationship will surely help both students and their institutions achieve more in terms of discovering, understanding and applying information.

Alejnadro Paniagua for The Brookings Institute reports on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s new project “Innovative Pedagogies for Powerful Learning (IPPL)” which intends on bringing innovation to urban schools of the world which are at large stuck up with everyday realities to pay attention to the issue. The system considers teachers to be important individuals with innovative educational ideas and not simple technicians and therefore the current education paradigm limits their capabilities. In order to overcome this issue, the system seeks to create a common international framework of pedagogies to include “hundreds or even thousands of innovative cases and experiences coming from diverse sources” in the name of equipping such teachers with the right type of educational information and experience. IPPL also intends to bring new and promising educational practices and approaches to integrate them into the grander learning theory by paying attention to their inclinations such as “play, emotions, creativity, collaboration, and inquiry” as the system’s “innovative clusters consciously promote the engagement of learners and match the fundamentals of learning to better understand how people learn best.” The theoretical innovation will be applied to the educational systems in the OECD countries to initiate collaboration between them to attain more reliable and constructive results. Once a grand information network is established, the new generations of educators will have access to crucial information and data to be able to directly target key issues emergent in their systems but more importantly to communicate with others to come up with plausible remedies.

Mike Slagadze for Forbes Magazine considers the move towards a more integrated and efficient future in global education through a philosophical prism to outline three major innovations in approaching education. The first innovation is how learning in the new age will “mirror how we learn outside of the classroom” meaning that high-tech devices and software will be utilized to replace the traditional modes of learning. Since we are already using such gadgets and programs to learn outside the classroom, it will be match in heaven for schools to integrate them into their actual curriculums to help the struggling students continue their learning curves into the classrooms by using the same methods and approaches. Slagadze also underlines the fact that the new age of learning will be more interactive to bring dynamism into the classroom experience to create group work and peer collaboration. This way, students will be encouraged to interact with one another to learn from each others’ rights and wrongs to eradicate their fears related to the process of learning and its possible glitches and outcomes. Finally, Slagadze notes how learning will take a lifetime by becoming a lifelong effort as the job markets are constantly evolving which demands the future employees to constantly renovate themselves and develop new skills and capabilities to adapt to the changing working environments. Apart from employment, the general social paradigm will shift towards a more liberal and accepting outlook within which critical thinking and communication skills will play an integral role in establishing social relations. This scenario will also demand that individuals will be prone to learning and embracing new ideas while communicating them with one another to be able to succeed in the actual life itself.

John M. Eger for The Huffington Post reports on technological progress as a great participant to the modern day educational system to emphasize the role of investment by big firms and corporations in this pursuit. Eger begins his argument by stating that with more and more sophisticated artificial intelligence and robotics popping up daily, the labor market has significantly changed and that in the next 20 years 43% of the existing human jobs today will perish. The author then claims that regardless of this trend, individuals and their education will still matter while the colleges and universities need to focus on more precise, accurate and productive means and methods of teaching to save time, money and effort. Eger then states that Oracle has already invested $43 million to start the Design Tech High School to help ambitious and talented students produce prototypes while Google also has donated $50 million to organizations which focus on developing technical expertise in students with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook also having donated $100 million already. As businesses become more technically specific and demanding, there will be further investments of this sort not only for publicity related reasons but also for practicality reasons, investing into schools and institutions that will educate potential employees for their companies to carry out sophisticated processes. As this system become more popular and begins to have more direct impacts on students’ careers and their placement in the workforce, the education of the future will benefit significantly from technological investments and related business development for sure.

Education technology is making mastering languages easier than ever before

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Mastering new languages and translations is not an easy task. People that wanted to learn a and understand a new language used to have to sit in classes and write notes by hand, reciting them over and over in an attempt at mastering a second language. These method of learning languages are still relevant, however times have changed and, as a direct result, so have the ways in which people teach themselves languages. More and more often, people are taking it upon themselves to learn new languages, to push themselves out of their comfort zones. The only issue with this is that these individuals are using tools and forgetting the relevance behind the art of language. Education technology is here to help.

Education technology has developed and evolved several virtual learning concepts, all of which have proven to be of value in different ways. The process of learning or understanding a new language has evolved vastly over the last few years. As little as ten years ago, students had to copy verb conjugations from their textbooks by hand to grasp language properly. While individuals do still sit in classrooms and write out notes to learn languages, there are more recent, easier ways to master languages – without getting lost in translation.

Education technology has produced a great many topics in language learning, including AI, AR, and VR. The tech being developed is increasingly becoming second nature to some individuals, and is proving its worth again and again. Some technologies can even go so far as to provide users with live feedback, after recording and analysing their speech. Concepts like language translation agency platforms and apps that teach users languages from proficient basics to intricate fluency have taken education technology to an entirely new level.

As education technology continues to improve translation and language tech, it quickly becomes a game of give and take – in order to better our grasp of languages, we risk losing cultural value when we get to put our language skills into play in the areas they originate from. Education technology has given us an easier, more efficient way of learning new languages, there is no doubt about it. But what it has also given us is a potential problem – in taking out the human interaction that used to be the core of language and translation proficiency, education tech also removes some of the cultural value that seeps into the learning process in the traditional learning methods.

While the value of education technology giving us easier access to language tools is intrinsic, it also provides a motion of relative awareness. We can use education tech like language and translation agencies and apps to learn languages, but it is important to also not lose sight of the cultural value that each language is home to. To have the best of both worlds, we must be able to value and be thankful for the education tech that makes such easy learning possible, while simultaneously understanding and appreciating the culture that is the core behind every language. Every culture has a story – if we use education tech in alignment with learning about the cultures each language encompasses, we can have the best of both worlds.

Technology and its academic benefits

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In the year 2018, study tips that included the use of hi-liters and sticky notes are no more. To succeed in college or further educational pursuits, students do not utilize paper and pencils, dictionaries and thesauruses. In the digital age, to succeed, students must learn how to utilize technology to their advantage. USNews provides an explanation for the new study tools students are exposed to online. Whether you are studying for some of the best project management courses or studying for the SATs, these tips will surely help ease some of the study stress.

Utilize a schedule
A tip that can be applied to any student in any course or any school, studying for any exam or any homework assignment, would be to utilize a schedule, which can in turn help keep students organized in order to ensure that they are studying regularly and to completion. Using reminders or task lists can help ensure that study time is used for studying what needs to be studied and completing what needs to be completed. During study time, it’s important to ensure that there are no distractions that may take away from the study time. That means turning cell phones off, blocking websites for a set time frame, or going somewhere comfortable may be necessary. Every student studies differently, too, so music and background noise may be needed for some students, whereas others may find them distracting.

Do outside research
Doing outside research on both courses and degrees help students ensure that they are preparing themselves for a career that they are interested in and able to pursue. Speaking with professors outside of class, scheduling a meeting with an adviser, and seeking help from campus resources, like the tutoring center or the career services office, will help students learn further information on their field of study and their future career.

Utilize communication technology
When struggling with homework for a coming exam, rather than waiting until the next class, utilize technology that allows for faster communication. A phone call may help with complicated matters, whereas an email or chat message through a school’s messaging system will ensure that matters are handled quickly and efficiently and that students are receiving the help that they need quicker. Some students are even studying with others by using social media, closing the gap between scheduling study sessions and actually studying with the help of others. PMP exam study materials are available for those studying for project management courses. Other similar study materials are available online, complete with downloadable handouts, videos to watch, tips for specific exams, and more. Even google searching for ‘study tips’ or ‘exam help’ will produce millions of search results, especially if the exam is a common one, like the SAT, the ACT, the LSAT, the MCAT, and more. These study groups and online study technology could be the make-it or break-it for the course or test that’s surely to be stressing students out.

Considerations to Make When Studying a Marketing Degree

student-employability-1024x683.jpgMarketing is one of the oldest professions that anyone can think of. But even in the current world, marketing remains an important and relevant field. In fact, marketing is an integral part of any organization. It’s no wonder more and more job opportunities keep emerging in the marketing industry.

It is good to remember that marketing is not relevant only to people who want to pursue it as a career. As long as someone is thinking of running a business or an organization in the future, marketing is one of the courses they ought to study. In other words, almost everyone needs to have some marketing skills regardless of their profession. However, it is important to know what one needs to specialize in when studying a marketing degree.

Types of Marketing Careers

  1. Marketing Manager

A marketing manager is someone responsible for creating marketing strategies in relation to the market possibilities, characteristics and markup factors. The manager is also responsible for coordinating and directing marketing activities in relation to advertising. Finally, the expert is responsible for budgeting, monitoring product developments and return on investment (ROI).

  1. Sales Representative

As a marketing representative, one has a duty of engaging with prospective clients through various formats. One may use one on one conversations, telephone calls or social media networks, to reach out to potential clients. The expert is also responsible for recommending products to customers. Finally, a sales representative ensures that customers’ complaints and issues are handled well by relevant departments.

  1. Marketing Research Analyst

A marketing research analyst is expected to examine the local, regional, national and international markets. They do this by gathering information on products that people consume and how much people are willing to spend. The task ensures that appropriate campaigns are developed and executed so as to maximize sales and profits.

  1. Sales Manager

A sales manager is responsible for resolving issues and complaints in relation to sales and service delivery. The expert is also responsible for overseeing junior sales managers and helping them in ensuring smooth service delivery. Finally, the sales manager reviews operational reports and records for profit regulation.

  1. Public Relations Specialist

This is someone responsible for electing a spokesperson for the organization. He ensures that objectives and promotional policies are well understood by other departments. Finally, the expert ensures that right communication channels and policies are created so as to maintain good public image.

  1. Advertising Manager

This is someone responsible for planning and directing advertising policies, producing posters, coupons, giveaways and conducting contests so as to attract customers.  In addition, an advertising manager is responsible for producing advertising content that will be used to advertise and promote the company’s products.

  1. Management Analyst

This expert is responsible for conducting research and evaluating the design systems and tools with the aim of improving efficiency in the operation of the organization. The expert is also responsible for developing reports with findings and proposing possible solutions to the problems identified.

Regardless of the career field that one chooses, studying a degree in marketing can help one become a better professional and possibly a better business person.

Career advice for fresh graduates after their “dream job”


A vast majority of people like to claim that your “dream” job is just waiting for you around the corner, only if only you wait and stay true to your passions. Being narrow-minded about pursuing a job that aligns with your passion is a fairly dangerous strategy. Firstly, your passion doesn’t promise dinner on the table – harsh, but true. Secondly, chasing your passion doesn’t diminish the point that there will periodically be elements of your job that will not excite you.

If you’re gearing up to join the workforce soon, here are a few invaluable pieces of graduate career advice that will help you succeed in securing a job without sacrificing your mental well being.

1. Know when to quit:

At a time where hustle, tenacity, and perseverance are glorified, letting go of something that doesn’t actively contribute to your professional growth can feel like the wrong thing to do. After all, if you just keep working at it and giving your 110 percent, you’re eventually going to get there, isn’t it?

Well, not if you’re toiling away at something that’s not right for you.

Caroline Cotto, Culture Content Creator at HubSpot, recently admitted in an interview with The Fast Company that “she was extremely self-conscious about quitting her first job as a researcher at a nutrition lab” even after realizing that “it was the wrong place for her.” Afer joining HubSpot, she soon changed her mind, and touts “quitting and refusing to settle for a job I did not enjoy” as “probably the best decision of her life.”

2. Learn when to say ‘no’:

Yes, opportunities knock on our door when we least expect it, and sometimes they come with a promise of bigger and better things, however, sometimes it can be an intelligent decision to say no, especially these opportunities are more likely to hinder with your ability to be good at your job.

Lauren Berger, Founder of InternQueen.com explains that a college graduate’s desire to go out of their way can render them overworked,  and prone to overlooking their core duties.

She goes on to state that you might be skilled at “everything”, but once you’re hired for any job, you have to concentrate on the work at hand. As a brand-new employee, holding back and saying ‘no’ to that extra project can be a smarter decision.

3. Find meaning in ‘grunt work’:

Kevin Lancelin, Apparel Designer at Nike told Fast Company that right from the beginning of his college degree, his long-term “dream” goal was to work at Nike. So, he went ahead and designed his curriculum and coursework to put himself in the best possible position to work for the sports apparel company. “I really studied to impress Nike,” he told Fast Company.

Remember, even if you do end up being stuck with a substantial amount of grunt work, silently complaining is not the only alternative. You can be diplomatic about making the best of the grunt work, for instance, discovering a specific niche that you can excel at, especially if happens to be something no one else wants to touch.

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