5 Software Programs That’ll Make You Feel Smarter Than Everyone Else

I was a smart kid. I read everything I could get my hands on. I could tell you the full names and birthdays of every American president. I could rattle off the capitals of every state in the country, and I knew where every major country was located, without even looking at a map. I loved learning new words, where they came from, and how to spell them. New knowledge was exciting and I absorbed it like a sponge. And then....I don’t know. I don’t know where that information went in my brain.

Maybe it’s still there and you could get me to find it through hypnosis. I could blame it on teenage hormones (who cares about presidents when the cute boy in homeroom is staring at me), or maybe the life-sucking force that is reality TV (will the ladies of RHONJ ever get along?), or the natural transition of life and how we get busier as we get older and there’s little time left in the day to brush up on our history and geography facts. It’s probably a combination of the three, but it bothers the bejesus out of me nonetheless. I don’t particularly enjoy getting schooled by 4th graders on things I learned before they were born and should still know. It’s embarrassing. And I think a lot of people can relate to this feeling of "knowledge lost."

Part of my New Year’s resolution was to learn a new language (which has been on the list for about seven years now), and to refresh my basic elementary school knowledge. I want it all back. I want it fresh. I want to be able to play the States Game* without losing and wanting to punch myself in the face.

If you’re looking to do the same, here are five software programs from Avanquest that’ll make you feel like the genius that you are, once again. Some of the programs are designed for kids, but I’m sure any software company would have trouble releasing “basic US history” for adults (because we should know this already!), so don’t feel bad. Make sure you add an Avanquest discount code at checkout to save big on your shiny new brain toys.

1. My Amazing Human Body - $19.99

For some reason, anatomy was never a requirement in my curriculum. I think it might’ve been an AP course. Or maybe my major didn’t require it. We touched on the basics in science and in sex ed, but just because I wasn’t going into nursing and caring for the bodies of others doesn’t mean I don’t have one of my own. And especially as an adult, this is information I would like to have. I can’t tell a muscle ache from a torn ligament and I assume that every abnormality is a form of cancer. Time to fix that.

2. Berlitz® German Premier - $39.95

The only word I know is, “sprechen.” And I shouldn’t know the German term for “speak” if I can’t even do that.

3. The New Way Things Work - $29.99

This program explains the fascinating worlds of history from 7000 B.C. to present-day. The program is divided into four main sections : " The A-Z of Machines," "Principles of Science," "History" and "Inventors." YES. Learning should be fun. I’m in.

4. Family Tree Maker Essentials - $39.95

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” - Marcus Garvey

That is all.

5. Punctuation (Or Spelling) Made Easy - $19.99

I think every adult could use a refresher course in spelling and punctuation. How do I know this? I’m an editor. And you know what? I’m guilty of careless mistakes too. There will always be words that never seem to look right (ahem, vacuum), and commas that shouldn’t be there. So let’s admit that we all need a little help here and do this together.

*The States Game is where you write down all 50 states in under seven minutes. It sounds easy, right? I’ve listed Iowa three times on one list before and skipped both Carolinas. Don’t underestimate the pressure that comes with playing this game. You’ve been warned.

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