Being a college student is harder than a lot of people give you credit for. You constantly have people on your back with assignments, judging you, critiquing your work, and then you have to try and be well-rounded and join clubs and teams and have a social life. There are certain things you need to spend time on, like researching your content and writing it well, and other aspects of life where taking a shortcut is perfectly acceptable. There are many hacks on Instagram, and all around social media and the internet for that matter, here are some of the most useful to help you excel in the field of academics.

Hack #1 – Plant Audience Questions

When tasked with giving a presentation to the class, what you want to focus your time on is the actual presentation. Researching it, writing it and actually psyching yourself to go up and do it. The dreaded Q&A question at the end is where you can get caught out, and all your hard work goes down the drain.

A simple hack to avoid this and make yourself look pretty spectacular is to plant one or two questions in the audience beforehand. Simply ask a couple of friends to ask particular questions, the answers to which you can have researched in advance. It’s a win-win because your friends will look good too, for engaging in the questions portion.

Hack #2 – White Text With Black Outline

When preparing the presentation, it’s often easy to forget about how your slides look to your audience. You’re busy adding in all the content, not making it pretty. However, creating a presentation that is easy to read and follow is very important.

An easy hack to remember is that white text with a black outline can be read on any color background. It avoids any negativity regarding your presentation on something that doesn’t actually matter, it’d be a shame to ruin it all over unreadable slides if you’d done an excellent job otherwise. This is especially useful if your professor is old and struggles with his eyesight…

Hack #3 – Filetype:ppt

If you’ve missed a lecture or are struggling to get your head around a particular concept or topic, this is a wonderful way to get caught up to speed.

Google the subject matter followed by filetype:ppt (for example rocket science filetype:ppt) and it’ll come up with powerpoint presentations from various universities. Take your pick for free!

Hack #4 – Google Your Textbook

Textbooks can be a bore, and sometimes they are too heavy to carry, or we lose them or we forget them. If you find yourself in any of these situations, this hack will help you out.

Google the name of the textbook followed by filetype:pdf and find copies online. Lifesaver!

Hack #5 – Google Scholar

When writing an essay on a deadline, we don’t always have time to run to the library to track down that journal article or magazine article we need for a quick quote or reference. This is where Google Scholar comes in.

From the comfort of your room, you can use Google Scholar to track down academic publishers, universities and preprint depositories to access for free digital copies of articles. You can also create alerts for when new papers in your interest area are added.

Hack #6 – Google Translate Audio

The first thing any respectable editor will tell you about proofing your work is to read it aloud to yourself. If you’re reading it in your head, you’ll often skim over mistakes. This is because you’ve been working on it for so long, you end up reading it how you are expecting it to be written, not how it is actually written.

Cue Google Translate. Copy and paste the text into Google Translate and then click the Read Aloud button. Obviously, this isn’t the purpose for which it was created, but it sure is a great way to hear the flow of your work and make any mistakes glaringly obvious.

Hopefully, these six hacks will help you to be more successful in your academic ventures at university, or at least take the edge of the workload. If you discover any more hacks, why not start your own Instagram account sharing them? If you get enough followers, it could become the side hustle you’ve been looking for.