By Emily Yao:
Picture this common scenario: it is already past midnight, yet a student still has a large pile of homework to complete. With little time left to sleep, it is no surprise that the student will attempt to find the easiest and fastest way to finish his or her homework. Students often turn to SparkNotes for condensed and easy-to-understand summaries, particularly for English reading assignments.
While most teachers criticize this sort of behavior, SparkNotes does has many benefits that teachers overlook. In fact, SparkNotes is a useful tool for students, as long as they use it wisely as a supplement.
Even though most students go straight to the literature section of SparkNotes, other parts of the website are just as helpful. A few sections people should specifically look into are the college and test prep tabs. Not only do these sections offer information about college life and admissions, but they also provide test preparation for the SAT, SAT subject tests, American College Testing and Advanced Placement tests for free.
For example, the SAT subject test prep section includes a review on all topics found on the test and also a few practice tests. While some students are spending hundreds of dollars on test prep classes, others are getting the same amount of prep without paying any money.
[pullquote]While textbooks may use 16 pages to explain a concept, SparkNotes pinpoints the main information a student needs to know and condenses it into a half-page summary.[/pullquote]
In addition, although SparkNotes is notorious for simplifying lengthy text into condensed summaries, the website is actually beneficial for subjects like math and science. For example, in the physics section, each topic is broken down into main points: the introduction, an overview of the topic, the terms the student needs to know and a summary and analysis.
Additionally, while textbooks may use 16 pages to explain a concept, SparkNotes pinpoints the main information a student needs to know and condenses it into a half-page summary. This allows students to understand a difficult topic without spending hours poring over a textbook.
The summaries that SparkNotes provides should not be seen as poor resources because they help students fully understand a subject without being confused by extra details.
Because everyone has a different way of studying, SparkNotes presents a variety of resources. It offers many overlooked study tools, such as flashcards, quizzes and SparkCharts that can be useful for subjects taught at school.
SparkNotes’ study tool SparkCharts compiles information into a convenient folder for studying anywhere. One can view these charts online or buy them and have a hardcopy wherever they go. Having flashcards, practice tests and SparkCharts allow students to fully prepare for upcoming tests at school.
Other resources, such as flashcards are useful for U.S. history when one has to memorize important acts, organizations, people and dates. Instead of wasting time making flashcards, one can get them on SparkNotes for free, and the cards are even organized based on time period, allowing students to easily find the section they need to study.
In addition, if one is stressing over an upcoming test, the student can do the practice quizzes online to prepare. For instance, under the biology section, each topic has its own review test.
Even though students are constantly told not to go to SparkNotes for help, the site actually provides resources that many overlook. Students must be given a chance to explore SparkNotes, as it is full of treasures that are waiting to be discovered.