’Tis the season—for final exams, projects and papers, that is. Just think—in a few short weeks, the semester will end and you’ll be ready to enjoy your holiday break with friends and family. Until then, it’s time for one last round of studying or putting the finishing touches on your project.

We’ve come up with the best ways to study for final exams, work on projects or write papers that will keep you calm, focused and ready to conquer. So, sit back, relax and take it all in. Oh, and no note taking is required.

Set a study schedule

The chances of you having more than one final exam this semester is pretty high, so the first thing you should do is check the due dates of each exam or project and plan a schedule around them. If you are working on a group project, plan dates and times that people can get together to work on it and include those in your overall study schedule. Set boundaries and limits for the amount of time you can study for each class – this brings us to our next tip!

Prioritize the material

Part of the game plan is to prioritize what material for each class may require more time to focus on. For exams, the best way to approach this is to break everything down into three categories:

  1. Material that will definitely be on the exam.
  2. Material that will probably be on the exam.
  3. And (the dreaded) material that “might be” on the exam.

If you have a good handle on one portion of the material, then you know you’ll need to spend more time on the other sections.

Make your own study guide

It’s great if your professor has put together a study guide for you but you may also benefit from making your own. Recreating the material in your own words not only reinforces your knowledge of the material, but it’s as if you are teaching yourself the material in your own way that makes sense to you.

Organize or join a study group

Ever hear the expression, “Two heads are better than one”? People have been “brainstorming” for centuries, although the term is new to the modern world. When it comes to studying, not everyone has the same style. The beauty of a study session is the combining of different study styles and the bouncing of ideas and material off one another. You’ll be surprised at how just listening to the way someone else explains certain material may help your own understanding of the subject. Additionally, being in the same study boat with your friends can help relieve the pre-exam jitters.

Take practice tests

They say, “practice makes perfect.” Unfortunately, we can’t go so far as to say that taking practice tests will earn you a perfect grade on the final. What we can say, however, is that studies have shown that taking practice tests improves performance on exams. Since the chances of seeing a version of the final exam is slim, experts suggest using flash cards to quiz yourself and your friends on the material. This study tip is an important step in keeping your mind sharp, focused and ready for exam day.

Take five

Did you know that taking a five-minute break every hour does your brain good? It’s true. One of the keys to successful studying is to take a “brain break.” Use that time to stretch, take a quick walk or grab a bottle of water and a healthy snack. Did someone mention food? That brings us to our next tip.

Eat healthy and get enough sleep

You’ve heard it a thousand times: It’s important to eat healthy and get enough sleep, when in fact the reality for most college students is dining on pizza, chugging energy drinks and burning the midnight oil. It’s hard to turn down a pizza, but instead of overloading on heavy food that can make you sluggish and lose your focus, experts suggest stocking up on water, nuts, yogurt and other healthy foods. And, if you must indulge in sweets, try to limit the sugar as much as possible – this will avoid a sugar crash!

Study to music

Several research studies have proven that listening to the right kind of music can put your mind into study mode. Did you know that tuning in to the right music can increase your concentration, relax your mind and improve your focus? Read all about the benefits of studying to music in our wildly popular blog, “Studying to Music Can Put Your Brain in the Right Frame of Mind,” and our latest studying-to-music blog, “Studying to Low Fidelity (Lo-Fi) Music Gets High Marks with Students.

We hope you found our tips for studying for finals helpful. For more great pointers on preparing for these exams, check out our blog, “Finals Season: 10 Fun Study Tips to Help You Get Through.”

Take a deep breath and know you’ve got this. Staying positive and visualizing yourself doing well on the exam can also help! And remember—your mental health and wellbeing are what truly matter.

Engineering is playing a starring role in today’s hottest holiday gifts. Tech enthusiasts will have their pick of cool gadgets to include on their holiday lists this year because this industry has something for everyone, from the latest drones to a pet cam that can actually “feed” your pet treats—while you watch! And all these fascinating gadgets are made possible due to the advancements and cool innovation of today’s engineers!

So, this holiday season, we have compiled a list—and yes, we checked it twice—of today’s most innovative tech gifts that will have even Santa doing a double take. Get ready to see them for yourself. Which ones will you be getting for the tech lover in your life?


Excitement is soaring to new heights as today’s drones are taking the sky by storm (not literally, of course.) From drones for beginners to the most advanced models, UAV enthusiasts are discovering the freedom of flight from the palms of their hands. Powerful motors and the latest in hi-tech cameras are making drones the go-to gift for the aviation lover on your gift list.

Did you know that Vaughn College is one of the top colleges in New York that offers classes in UAV technology, usage, operation and drone law?― We also have communities for like-minded UAV hobbyists, such as the UAV club, where students and faculty members put their heads together to build, program and compete in top contests around the nation. If this sounds interesting to you, check out all the cool careers you can pursue as a UAV pilot in our blog, “Turn Your Love of UAVs into a High-Flying Career.”

Smart Phone Sanitizer and Charger

Did you know the average cell phone has 25,127 bacteria per square inch? That’s enough to make anyone cringe. Today, more than ever, it’s important to keep your hands clean and free of germs. There’s a new charger on the block that can handle this problem—and so much more. It’s not only cool but savvy, as it’s built with the latest engineering and technology that sanitizes your phone for germ-free (and worry-free) use.

Smart Water Bottle

Imagine getting inspiration directly from your water bottle to keep you on track with your water intake throughout the day? There’s a water bottle that does just that. LED smart sensors glow different colors to remind you to drink while Bluetooth technology helps to track your water intake. Smart water bottle creators definitely had a mechanical engineering background.

Wi-Fi Dog Camera

Want to make sure your dog isn’t acting up while you’re not home? Of course, you do. Now there’s a Wi-Fi dog camera that allows you to see and talk to your best friend and even “feed” him or her treats via an app! And there’s no training required—for the dog, that is. What kind of knowledge is needed to make a wi-fi dog camera? You guessed it – computer and electrical engineering for sure!

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Is it a robot? Is it a vacuum? It’s the best of both tech worlds! Today’s autonomous robot vacuum cleaner can clean multiple rooms, detect obstacles and sense steep drops. (Sorry, it doesn’t do windows!) Some of these robot vacuums work with Alexa and Google Assistant so that you can clean and even schedule a vacuum from anywhere. They can even learn your cleaning habits and make intelligent suggestions. Now, that’s one smart vacuum! Did you know that Vaughn’s award-winning robotics team is the perfect embodiment of mechatronic engineering at its best? Are you interested in robotics? You could be a part of the next generation of engineers! What would you invent?

Check out our blog, “Journey Through Time: How Iconic Sci-Fi Television Shows Inspired Today’s Technology,” for a fun look back on how cartoon characters like “Rosie” the Robot Maid inspired some of today’s most innovative tech products.

3D Doodle Pen

Are you a doodler? Imagine doodling in 3D. Yes, it’s possible. Today’s innovators have designed a pen that helps you write or draw in 3D. You can even create and design art, too! Does this sound too good to be true? Unleash your creativity. Grab the closest piece of paper and check it out for yourself. Similarly, did you know that Vaughn’s engineering and technology department has their own 3D prototyping innovation center? This space offers students hands-on opportunities to bring their classroom knowledge to life by applying the concepts they learned and then turning them into physical objects.

We hope you enjoyed our selections of some of today’s most popular tech gifts. Which ones will you either be adding to your list.

An engineering and technology degree from Vaughn College could land you a job working in this leading field! You may even be the inventor of one of the industry’s next big tech gadgets! Discover all that’s possible. Apply today!

There’s excitement in the air this holiday season as travelers take to the skies to celebrate with their loved ones after being grounded for so long. With the latest changes and travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be difficult to keep up with all of them.

In this blog, we summarize the latest guidelines, important information and helpful tips to make your travel experience is a seamless one. And for any overzealous packers out there, we’ve even included important tips, so you and your carry-ons won’t get flagged at TSA. Here is what you need to know.

Staying safe in the air

If this is the first time you’ll be traveling since the beginning of the pandemic, you should be aware of how things are looking and operating differently these days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated their travel guidelines for domestic and international travel so that you can prepare to travel efficiently and safely. Here are some of the key things you need to know to protect yourself from COVID-19 while traveling:

  • Get vaccinated—If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, it is highly recommended that you do so. If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends wearing a mask in indoor public places in areas of substantial or high transmission and maintain physical distance when traveling. (Note: People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series—such as the Pfizer and Moderna—or two weeks after receiving a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
  • Get COVID-19 tested—Changes prompted by Omicron now require all international air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to have a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel to the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
  • Wear a mask or face covering—Federal law requires all travelers to wear a mask or face covering throughout their travel experience, except when eating or drinking. Most carriers have a “zero tolerance” policy for failure to comply with the mask mandate.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently—Your hands can never be too clean. When in doubt, sanitize.

Be prepared

The holidays are notorious for being a hectic time to travel—which is only heightened by the pandemic. Airline experts agree that being prepared is the best thing you can do to make your journey as smooth as possible. Here are some great tips and suggestions to keep in mind before traveling:

  • Download the airline’s app—Using your airline’s app puts everything you need at your fingertips and will keep you informed on up-to-the-minute changes. From accessing your boarding pass to receiving notifications on flight status, you’ll be happy you took the time to carry out this easy step.
  • Book early—With millions of passengers expected to fly this holiday season, it’s best to book your flight early. This will not only ensure that you get a good seat, but you’ll also be able to secure the best fare possible.
  • Book directly with the airline—No one can foresee a cancellation, but in the event your flight is cancelled, or you need to make any changes, booking with your airline directly can make this process easier. If you book through a third party, like Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline, you will incur additional fees for changes.
  • Familiarize yourself with any travel requirements or restrictions at your destination—Some destinations—including international ones—may have specific restrictions or COVID-19 requirements, such a negative COVID-19 test before entering or leaving. Knowing and preparing for these ahead of time will save you unforeseen hassles and disruptions during your trip.
  • Arrive early—If you’re looking to reduce any stress at the start of your trip, this is perhaps the best advice you can get. The airlines suggest you arrive two hours ahead for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights. Once you’re there, you can sit back and relax, enjoy a beverage or a light meal, and maybe even do some duty-free shopping until it’s time to board.
  • Pack your patience—No one wants their flight to be delayed or cancelled, but it can happen. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best take a deep breath and show kindness to yourself and those around you.

Packing tips

If you’re planning on packing gifts, there’s important information you should know regarding what should get packed and where—your carry-on or luggage. During this time of year, some enthusiastic travelers pack homemade goodies such as cakes, pies, jams and even gravy for their loved ones! Here are some tips to make sure you pack things in the right place, so that you make it through the TSA line without any hassles—or spills.

  • Carry-on bag—It’s safe to say you can pack baked goods such as cakes, pies, breads and other treats in your carry-on bag. Don’t be surprised, however, if your bag is flagged for them anyway. TSA agents must do their jobs and may ask you to open your bag to be sure that what you’re bringing is safe. As always, liquids are a big “don’t” unless they are the approved 3.4-ounce size. The exception to this rule is that now the CDC allows travelers to pack one 12-ounce bottle of sanitizer in their carry-on bags.
  • Checked luggage—Aside from your personal belongings, which include clothes, shoes and the alike, any liquid—including jams, jellies and chutneys and yes, gravy—should be packed in your checked luggage. If it can leak or spill, that’s a good indicator that you should pack it away. To protect your clothes, it’s recommended to place those items in a sealed plastic bag in the event of a spill.

Little extras that go a long way

It’s best to be overprepared, especially during these times. Here are some things you should consider packing to make your trip even safer and more enjoyable:

  • Extra snacks and small meals
  • Extra masks
  • Disinfecting wipes to clean your seat/tray table
  • Hand sanitizer

Celebrating safely

Gathering with family and friends this holiday season is an exciting time, but it’s important to do it safely. Here are some suggestions to ensure everyone is comfortable around each other.

  • Discuss everyone’s vaccination status ahead of time and have an open and honest conversation about expectations for celebrating together.
  • Do NOT attend or host a gathering if you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus.
  • Indoor gatherings should be well-ventilated by either opening windows or using fans.
  • Sharing serving dishes or utensils should be kept to a minimum—or avoided.
  • Clean, clean and continue to clean common surfaces and wash your hands frequently.

We hope you found our blog on safe holiday travel helpful.

From all of us at Vaughn College, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season.