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Ways to Use Google to Enhance Your College Studies

Google is probably the widest-ranging search engine, with billions of entries and is a great asset to studying. It can save you a lot of time (and maybe agony).

As with any search engine, the more accurate the information you give it, the better the results. However, it’s better than most at interpreting misspellings, and asks you Did you mean . . .? through its automatic spell checker and offers alternatives.

Google has many useful features, including world weather, world time zones, stock market results, but the most useful for students are probably the following.

  • Fill in the blank. Put an asterisk (*) into the part of the sentence you want finished or the question you want to ask. ‘Will you still need me, will you still * . . .’. This can be really useful if you didn’t manage to write down all of a quote during a lecture.

  • Google books. If you type ‘Google books’ into Google, press ‘enter’, and then type the author or title of a book into Google books, Google then returns any pages with that content. This is very useful for tracking down titles or quotations (as well as spotting plagiarism).

  • Definitions. Type ‘define’ then space, then the word you want defined and you get a dictionary definition.

  • Synonym search. If you type ~ (tilde) in front of your search term (~carbon neutral), Google displays related terms.

  • Calculator. You just have to type the calculation you’d like done in the search box, for example, 20 per cent of 357982165.

  • Unit converter. This can convert many measurements – height, weight, length and other quantities into different units. Type in the conversion you want, ‘27 kilometres in miles’, for example, and Google provides the conversion.

Overall, Google at the moment seems to offer the simplest and most comprehensive searches, saving time and effort.

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