Homework getting you down? Don't get mad...get even!

Dark images, empty spaces, bad coffee...and that's just the first few minutes of academic enchantment.

If you really don't get the point of education, and your exasperation knows no bounds - relax! Do you really think you're the first to spit accusations at the system? It's common knowledge that homework is really a by-product of a capitalistic society and the manifestation of an authoritarian regime (aka Mom and Dad.)

Unfortunately, the world is no longer a place for the academic renegade. If you don't do your homework, you have to Face The Music...and the Music isn't pretty.

Well, you don't have to walk down that road. Take the fly-over to success, sprint over the dunes of mediocrity and laugh in the face of death (or calculus, as he's now known.) In an effort to help you get there, we've outlined a brief guide to the best homework sites on the Web.

http://www.encarta.msn.com/reference/

Encarta is the online starting point for almost anyone with some ambiguous information to ferret out from the Web. The Web site has a thorough and effective interface that allows you to navigate through its informative directories.

Particularly helpful is the separate section on homework, which instructs you on how to handle school or college assignments and guides you to a detailed source study. The help line also offers you the option of frisking through articles on how to improve your study techniques and concentration.

Helpful, informative and very dense, the site is the perfect place to get your bearings.

http://www.brittannica.com/

Unlike Encarta, Brittannica.com offers the consumer a more generic search that narrows down its results like a search engine. The site has traditionally been a treasure trove of information on American history and culture, so if you have to submit a paper on a couple of dead presidents then this is where you get off.

As you enter the site, it bombards you with a heap of information and links to everything you would want to know about the Americas, and the contemporary political arena.

http://www.go.com

Could this site be any more exhaustive? If it doesn't get to you with its superior coverage, it'll dazzle you with its efficiency and speed. Unfortunately, the site doesn't possess much historical value and seems to specialize in contemporary socio-economic and political life.

However, if the subject matter of your term paper or project conforms to the above time frame, chances are you've reached ground zero right here on go.com!

http://www.historychannel.com

If you want to catch up with the past, tune in to the History Channel Online, and take a trip back through time to the days of the Romans, when soldiers wore armour and lions ate Christians. The site is a huge resource of historical information, broken down into categories like Civil War history, automotive history, entertainment history, literary history, technology history and sundry other categories.

A Speeches section contains full-text archives of famous speeches throughout history, while a Classroom section contains free study texts for students. You can search for specific historical events by century, or via the search engine, and the site usually returns relevant and accurate results.

If you're a history buff, you'll enjoy the history quiz, and you'll probably come back frequently to check out the "This Day In History..." section, which provides a daily list of important historical events (you can even key in your birthday to see if anything interesting happened when you were born!) Book reviews and an email newsletter round out this site, which is well worth adding to your bookmark list!

http://www.nationalgeographic.com

If you're looking for the latest news and information from the world of science, or just have a deep and abiding interest in the natural world, drop by the official National Geographic Web site. The site, which is extremely intuitive and well-designed, has the latest news stories from the world of science and technology, together with special features on the natural world and new discoveries.

A special Photography section contains gorgeous photographs (the magazine is well-known for these) and the site frequently runs special multimedia presentations and contests. A special Kids section offers entertainment for a younger audience, while the Education section comes in handy for all those late-night papers. Finally, a site index and search engine help you quickly find what you're in the gigabytes of information available in the magazine's huge archives.

http://www.brint.com

Billing itself as "your survival network for the brave new world of business", Brint.com is a huge warehouse of information on everything even remotely connected to the worlds of business, high-finance and management.

With articles and features on e-business and electronic commerce, data warehousing, B2B and B2C commerce, knowledge management, venture capital and a whole lot more, Brint.com is perfect for college students who need to put a new spin on their MBA presentations. Statistics, industry reports and graphs are all available in plenty, and most users will soon find themselves led astray by the wealth of information available.

The downside: with all this information out there, it's sometimes hard to drill down to exactly what you need, and Brint.com's categories are often inadequate to the task. Still - better more than less, right?

http://www.google.com

One of the best search engines online, Google is the tool you should turn to if you haven't been able to find anything worth plagiarizing yet.

The site, which ranks as one of the top search engines for the Web, uses advanced searching technology to link your search terms into concepts, and find Web pages that match your needs. Power users will appreciate the advanced search features, which allow you to specify rules for the search queries, while the more adventurous amongst you will certainly find a good use for the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

But don't take our word for it - try it yourself and see. And till next time - stay healthy!

This article was first published on 17 Jan 2001.