StudyBlue Review (video)
If you’re not a fan of video, skip over this video below 🙂
StudyBlue Review (text)
StudyBlue is an application I use on my iPhone when I want to use flashcards. While aimed at college students, I find that this app servesanyone wanting to learn about specific topics, if memorization is your learning style. I used this app to help me study for an oral test – a super important job interview.
You can use StudyBlue on iOS, Android, and your web browser. I like to create my cards in my laptop and then pull them out on my iPhone app.
StudyBlue works on a freemium model, which means free to use with premium features costing a few dollars
All You Little Kids, with the Pumped up Tricks
StudyBlue’s intended audience is the college student, as asks the user to pick a University when signing up. However, the app builds around a communal way of developing and sharing materials.
For example, when you start developing a deck around psychology material, StudyBlue will use what you’re typing and start retrieving the work of other people for you to use in your own collection. Students of social work or other psychology related fields have already started doing the work for you!
I find that I might download a deck of cards that seem a little flimsy for my tastes, but will bulk up the material with whatever I need to learn. I can opt to share this with the StudyBlue community or keep it to myself.
Flashcards and Learning Styles
My learning style is much more visual, and application based – I learn by being able to see all of the materials at once or by applying concepts into my work. A great example of this is mindmapping (but that’s for a different article).
In practice and professional development, doing is the best way for me to learn. Applying theory or practice models are how I learn to utilize them. Learning from my mistakes helps me in my growth, as I know better for next time. Granted, same can be said for flashcards – you (hopefully) learn after each goof-up, but the consequences aren’t as heavy as when when making a mistake in application of the concept.
The few times I have used memorization in my social work career is to help me is when learning Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development, as I ALWAYS get the darn stages confused after Trust vs. Mistrust and before Identity vs. Role Confusion. Damn kids.
Since I learn by doing, StudyBlue was tremendously useful when I was preparing to applying for a job I really wanted.
Rehearsal for the Big Show
I really wanted this job. A new experience working with a marginalized population that I have never worked with before. I had to prepare for a performance in which I was articulate, knowledgeable, and personable. Free of bullshit – managers deal with enough bullshit and I was determined to show myself off as the great brown unicorn that I am.
To abate my worry about my job interview performance, I googled “social work job interview questions” and found that my friend Dorlee and her SocialWork.Career site. The social work job interview questions she posted were a tremendously useful resource. The commenters on the blog post also provided exceptionally useful information.
I needed to prepare myself for questions that might throw me off of my game. I needed to rehearse my talking points and show the interviewer(s) the exceptional social work professional that they would be
A Great Book for Job Hunting
A book I recommend is “What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get A Job Around Here?” by Cynthia Shapiro. While the content can seem a little disempowering, the main message is this: human resources spends a lot of money recruiting new hires and quickly eliminates prospects that give big red flags are eliminated from consideration.
While the book appears to cater to people going into the field of business/sales/not-social-work, I think it is incredibly relevant for the social worker looking to get a job anywhere. 401(c)(3)s are run like businesses that want to limit their risk as much as possible and public agencies want to make sure that tax dollars are not being squandered, so don’t give off too many red flags, really build on your strengths, and re-frame things that may be undesirable.
As you can see, I drank the kool aid on this book and my only disclaimer about this book is that your mileage may vary.
Stress by a Thousand Paper Cuts
I copied/pasted text on a word processing file and printed out text to make flashcards into a traditional method using index cards, killing a few trees in the process, and carrying around a fat stack of cumbersome paper. I didn’t realize how redundant and time consuming it would be to:
- Copy text
- Format text
- Print text
- Cut out text
- Physically paste text onto my flash cards
- Try not to smudge the ink from my inkjet printer with the excess glue from my glue stick
- Wait for the text to dry overnight.
“But why didn’t you just write them all out LOLz”.> My judgement was that the process above would have taken less time than if I hand wrote EVERY SINGLE QUESTION.
Fighting the Kraken: I Turned to StudyBlue
I used the same questions I used for my physical flashcards for my StudyBlue version. I made two decks of cards in StudyBlue: Job Interview Questions versus Clinical and Diagnostic Questions.
For job interview questions, I included favorites like: Why do you want to work here? What brought you into the field of social work? What are the types of interventions or theoretical models that you like to use?
See Dorlee’s list here: Social Work Job Interview Questions.
I also threw in some Social Worker Greatest Hits:
- What do you think is the biggest barrier for people to access mental health services?
- Talk about a time you disagreed with your clinical supervisor.
- Describe an ethical dilemma, how you solved it, and what you learned.
- Clinical and Diagnostic questions included questions like:
- What are features of major depressive episode?
- What is the difference between Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder?
- What’s the diference between Bipolar I and II.
- What are the key questions to ask in a psychosocial assessment?
- How are Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder similar/different?
I put talking points that would be critical in conveying my experience in several open-ended questions and copied diagnostic criteria where applicable.
Preparing for Battle
The questions/answers (i.e. each flash card) would feed quizzes on StudyBlue where you could go in sequential or random order. You could go through 5, 10, 25, or all cards at a time per study session. During my lunches, downtime, after work time, and any spare time that was available for me would be spent in StudyBlue. Depending on how much downtime I had to study, I determined the length of each quiz as needed.
I rehearsed the heck out of my answers. Rehearsed, spoke with confidence, exuded confidence when I felt comfortable with what I had to say, and faked it when I felt there was a deficit that I carefully reframed into a positive.
I don’t know about your brain, but when mine is on a creative roll, things blossom out of it. I added other questions that came to mind, edited answers to include great talking points I would have missed otherwise, and built repeatedly on strength, and added detail to answers that needed expansion.
A nifty feature of StudyBlue is being able to mark answers as answered correctly or wrong: StudyBlue keeps tabs on which questions are easier for you or harder. When I answered a question to my satisfaction, I’d mark it correct. When my answer needed more polishing, I would mark it incorrect.
StudyBlue lets you tailor your quizzes where you can select to answer hard, easy, or mixed questions.
Slaying the Kraken: Job Interview #2
Job Interview #1 went exceptionally well… I murdered it. I got a call for Job Interview #2. I went back to the same questions and overprepared.
PRO TIP: Ask your professors or supervisors what type of throw-you-off-your-game questions they like to ask when
torturing hiring a prospective new employee. It trains your brain to go into answer-gymnastics, thus ready for anything thrown your way.
The interview panel for job interview #2 was more casual. I got to ask questions about the position and convey my enthusiasm. And we all lived happily ever after.
I love StudyBlue or any app that can help me shed the amount of paper I carry with me. While there are other apps that can do the same thing, the charm in StudyBlue is the community that exists as a result of the social sharing aspect of the app. This is the app’s greatest strength. As a premium member, I’m satisfied with what I paid for.
- Free features include: a flashcard app that lets you create content for studying.
- Premium features include: Ability to hide cards (skip the easy ones), download shared material to PDF, Custom text formatting, advanced search, no adds, offline mode (mobile), study reminders
- Should I upgrade? If you’re in the middle of a need to study (e.g. you’re a student, you need to study for an exam), the premium version is worth your time. Otherwise, the free version is pretty awesome, too.
For My Homie, D
I want to give Dorlee an appreciation for being the true embodiment of professional empowerment in our online community. Her social work career development site is tremendously useful if you don’t haven’t checked it out lately, you’re really missing out.