One of the major challenges of being a student is trying to go through it alone. Ideally, we could all do with a tutor or three, along with additional resources to help us understand our coursework. It’s no secret that many courses are badly taught and that sometimes the key to understanding a subject is looking elsewhere.

Often, lecturers will be open about the fact that to succeed you'll need to use the “optional” readings, found in expensive textbooks and the like.

Of course, as a student, money is necessarily tight. If you're working during your free time, you're probably not making much, and you've already got more expenses than you can manage.

So, how do you get help without buying expensive books or paying tutors? Here are some tips to help you get started.

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Only pay when you need to

The problem with hiring a tutor is that you're paying them regularly for their time to help you out in a general sense. Ideally, you would only get in touch with them when you needed help understanding something in particular, but most tutors are not available at your beck and call. You're going to pay them for an hour, or not at all.

This is when websites like Homework market are useful. Some students try using them to get their coursework done without ever doing the research themselves. But you can use them far more effectively by asking for help with something you're struggling with yourself. Because their time is streamlined – they don’t have to come to you or spend a full hour with you – they charge much lower prices and it’s still worth their time. Ask a question and discuss it when necessary, rather than relying on them for regular sessions.

Find free resources

You may believe that knowledge should be available to all, no matter how much money you have, but unfortunately, that’s not how academia works. Generally, your university will give you access to most academic journals, but sometimes you'll come up with an important research article that you need to pay for.

And those additional readings that are technically optional, found in books that are available in the university library, are out of reach if you don’t have money.

Websites like are controversial, as they break copyright rules by giving you access to journals and textbooks for free. If you know there’s no way you're paying for these resources in any case, you might be inclined to throw caution to the wind.

Aside from these websites, there are a lot of alternative resources online for free. There has been a big drive over the past decade to make education more accessible to everyone, and in addition to free online courses, many academics are making their work available for free. Do some searching for these resources, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how much you're able to find.

Education should not break the bank, but unfortunately, it often does. To get help with a university degree that you're already paying for, the above options can get you the assistance you need, even if you cannot otherwise afford it.

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