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About BrainMass

Frequently Asked Questions

About BrainMass

About Solutions & The Custom Help Service

About Academic Experts

Administrative Questions

About eBooks & Video Lectures



About BrainMass

What is BrainMass?

BrainMass is a website that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of explanations to academic concepts and problems, eBooks, Video Lectures, as well as a Custom Help service for specific problems. Our answers help you to fully understand ANY academic concept studied from High-School through to University. If you're struggling with any topic within any subject, chances are you'll find help at BrainMass.

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How does it work?

BrainMass is very easy to use. Type a few words from the problem you're studying into our search field and browse the results. After you find a library entry that's applicable and a brief payment process, you'll be able to download the answer instantly. You'll also find eBooks and Video Lectures for you to review.

For a great overview of our services, please watch our Tutorial Videos.

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Can I use BrainMass if I'm not in North America?

Absolutely. BrainMass can be accessed from any computer that has an Internet connection and at any time of the day. That means you can use it whenever you need it and wherever you live or are currently traveling.

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Why do I have to give my email address?

BrainMass provides you access to the answer you've purchased via email and instant download. This way, even if you lose the instant answer we provide, the link in your email will still be available. You can rest easy knowing your answer won't be misplaced.

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How do I pay for your services?

BrainMass uses PayPal to facilitate payments. Through PayPal, you can use Visa©, MasterCard©, American Express© and Discover© credit cards, or transfer funds from your PayPal account to BrainMass. If you do not already have a PayPal account, creating one takes only a few minutes and can be linked with your Bank Account to safely make purchases on the Internet. Bulk purchases for schools, libraries, student groups, and parent associations are also available.

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How do credits work?

BrainMass offers two types of Credits that may be purchased and then used to pay for material created by Academic Experts.

Custom Credits, valued at $4.99 USD each, are used to pickup up responses to custom help problems. You may purchase any number of Credits. They will be stored perpetually in your account until you choose to use them. The value of each problem response is determined by your bid amount.

Library Credits can be used to download content from the BrainMass Library, which includes solutions, eBooks and Video Lectures. Library Credits can be purchased for $2.19 USD each, or at a discount in larger quantities. The rates for the Library packs are as follows:

BrainMass 5-Pack (5 Library Credits) - $8.75 USD
BrainMass 10-Pack (10 Library Credits) - $14.99 USD
BrainMass 20-Pack (20 Library Credits) - $24.99 USD
BrainMass 30-Pack (30 Library Credits) - $29.99 USD

Please note that any unused Library Credits expire 30 days after purchase without refund. Custom Credits and Library Credits are NOT transferable.

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What Does Level Mean?

The various schooling systems of the world use many different terms to describe the academic years. In the US, for example, the four undergraduate years of college are named, Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. Those same terms are not used as readily in Canada or England.

As such, we have developed a neutral set of describers:

High School: All high school years
Level 1: The first year of college or university (Freshman)
Level 2: The second year of college or university (Sophomore)
Level 3: The third year of college or university (Junior)
Level 4: The fourth year of college or university (Senior)
Other: Any other level (Elementary School, Masters, etc)

NOTE: Please elaborate on your level in the Posting text itself if you choose 'Other' as your option. This way, our Academic Experts will know how simple/complex to make their response.top

About Solutions & The Custom Help Service

What will the solution look like?

All answers provide step-by-step explanations to the problem listed. Depending on the nature of the question, answers will consist of in-depth writing , attached documentation, additional references, extra sources of information, pictures and anything the expert preparing the answer thought relevant.

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What level of detail is covered?

BrainMass covers subjects that are studied at the high-school level, the undergraduate level and the post-graduate level. Each problem's solution is fully explained and many provide additional resources to use. Be sure to read the problem description carefully in order to get a good idea of what level the solution was designed for.

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What if I need more information on a topic?

Many answers will provide you with additional resources to further your understanding of a topic. They can consist of specific books relating to your question, articles written by experts, Internet links as well as interviews. If you still require more information, then you can opt to use our Custom Help service, which will allow you to post a specific problem for an expert to help you with.

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What if I can't find what I'm looking for?

If you're unable to find an answer within the Library that fits your needs, then you are able to ask our pool of experts a question by using the Custom Help service.top

What if I'm not satisfied with the solution?

We aim to ensure that every single customer is satisfied with their experience at BrainMass. If for any reason, you are not happy with the service provided, please email us using help@brainmass.com. If your point has merit, we will offer you a complimentary download so that you may find an alternate answer.

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What if I can't access my solution?

If you're having any trouble with accessing your answer, please check your email for any information that may have been sent to you (and your junk mail folder as well). If you're still having troubles, please email help@brainmass.com for assistance.

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How long can I access my solution for?

If you register an account with BrainMass, you will have access to all the answers you've purchased for as long as you wish to use the service. If you choose to purchase an answer without registering, it will be available to you for seven days.

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Is this considered cheating?

No. BrainMass offers a service that aids in the understanding of academic concepts. As such, the help available will be of assistance to you in your studying and preparation. We are not a service that provides homework answers.

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Can I hand my answer in?

No. The answers available here are meant for assistance and the understanding of challenging academic topics. Instead, use the solution alongside your own work and watch your knowledge and grades soar!

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Can I use BrainMass Solutions as a reference in my assignments?

Although our service is meant primarily for assistance, it is possible to source our experts for research purposes using the following format:

[Expert Name], Academic Expert [Expert #], Posting Code [Posting Code], http://brainmass.com (hyperlinked if submitted electronically), [Month], [Year].

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Why isn't my attachment working?

The system will not allow attachments larger than 2MB in size to be uploaded. You can try zipping your file to make it smaller, saving it as a different file type, or removing images/tables to reduce the file size (if the images/tables are not essential to the question).

If you have problems, please email help@brainmass.com for aid with attaching your file to your Posting.

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How does the bidding system work?

Each Custom Credit is valued at $4.99 USD. Every time a problem is posted to the system, the student responsible for the Posting is asked to assign it with a "Credit value".

The Credit value is the number of Credits that the student is willing to pay for a detailed response from one of our qualified Academic Experts. In this way, a student may "bid" an amount for each Posting.

Each Posting may be valued anywhere up to a maximum of 25 Credits. This is to ensure that our services remain affordable for all students and not just those that are able to "out bid" their peers.

When Academic Experts log onto the system and view the Postings, they will assess the complexity of each Posting and weigh it against the assigned Credit value. Each will decide independently whether the bid amount is appropriate and then decide whether or not to assist the student.

This system acknowledges that some problems are much more complex or more urgent, and therefore deserving of higher pay to Academic Experts.

As a guideline, we suggest that every Custom Credit is worth approximately 10 minutes of an Academic Expert's time (provided that the Academic Expert has a very good grasp of the material).

You must have enough Custom Credits in your Student Account to cover the cost of your first Posting. You will be prompted to purchase these Credits before your question is sent to our Academic Expert community. These Credits will not be removed from your account until you pick up your response.

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What is a Deadline?

The deadline field allows you to communicate the general timing requirement for your Posting to the Academic Expert community. Knowing approximately when a response is required helps our Academic Experts meet your specific assistance needs. Note that if your Posting is no longer needed, it is your responsibility to delete the Posting. As a note, you will not be able to delete the Posting if an Academic Expert has it signed out. If you make a Posting you are expected to pick-up your response.

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What happens if my Posting isn't addressed by the deadline?

Though our Experts make every effort to address questions before the deadline is reached there are some cases when a Posting may not be addressed before the deadline you have set. If this happens, the Posting will be suspended by our system. This ensures that you don't receive a response you no longer need. You can Edit your Posting and change the deadline at any time within 24 hours of it passing, but after that, the Posting will be deleted by our system.

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Why am I having trouble receiving a response to my Posting?

Some common reasons that Experts might not respond to your Posting are:

  1. Have you explained what it is you're looking for? Remember our Experts do not complete assignments for you, so please be specific about what is troubling you about the assignment.
  2. Is your Posting too big? If too many questions are included, it might dissuade Experts from wanting to help you. Dividing the group of questions into smaller chunks is likely to work better.
  3. Have you received any feedback? An Expert will explain to you why they have chosen to return your Posting.
  4. Is your Posting in the right subject area? If your question is mislabelled, then the Experts reviewing it will not be able to answer your questions.
  5. Is your credit bid fair? Remember that 1 custom credit is approximately equal to 10 minutes of an Expert's time. Bidding fairly will definitely get your post answered.

If you have difficulty receiving a response, please email help@brainmass.com and our team would be happy to provide suggestions or comments.

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What do the different Posting status' mean?

AE #XXXXXX viewed Posting - This Academic Expert has looked at your Posting but has not yet signed it out
AE #XXXXXX signed Posting out - This Academic Expert has signed out your Posting and is working on a response
AE #XXXXXX extended sign out period - This Academic Expert needed more time to create a response and has extended his/her session
AE #XXXXXX returned Posting - This Academic Expert could not complete a response so he/she returned your Posting for the reason stated

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How does the Messaging System work?

Our Messaging System is used to help Academic Experts settle specific issues about your Posting before it is signed out and completed. From time to time, you may receive messages from Academic Experts containing instructions, suggestions, or asking questions about the Posting you have made. Once a message has been sent to you, you will have the option to reply to that message. This option will be made available to you in the "Posting Tracking" page associated with each Posting you make. Please note the following important points regarding the BrainMass Messaging System:

  • Students are not able to initiate messages to Academic Experts. Students may respond to messages that have been initiated by Academic Experts.
  • Messages appear in the online accounts of Academic Experts and are sent to them via email. We cannot, however, guarantee that messages will be read or responded to.
  • Please avoid sending the same message to Academic Experts multiple times.
  • When replying to this message, please note that only this Academic Expert will be able to view your message. If the Academic Expert is suggesting that you change your Posting, it might be advisable for you to edit your Posting for all Academic Experts to see.
  • Any messages containing inappropriate language or content will result in the immediate termination of your account.
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What is Posting Tracking?

The Posting Tracking feature allows students to follow the progress of a Posting as it is viewed, signed out, commented on, and responded to by our network of Academic Experts. Knowing who is viewing a Posting, who is working on a Posting, and, if necessary, what comments Academic Experts may have regarding a Posting helps students keep better tabs on their Postings. Additionally, students may use the Posting Tracking section to respond to Academic Expert messages. This monitoring and communication tool helps students navigate our Custom Help service more effectively.

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How Does Advanced Posting Work?

Using our Advanced Posting Option, you can restrict the Academic Experts who have access to your question. Beside the statement "Who Can Respond?", you will see three options. Clicking on "All Academic Experts in Subject" will allow any Academic Expert in your chosen subject area to sign out your Posting – this is the default option.

Choosing the option "Only Specified Academic Experts" will allow you to pick which Academic Expert (s) you want your question to be available to. By clicking on the button that says "Select Academic Experts", you will be given a list of active Academic Experts in the subject area you have indicated. You can check off one or more Academic Experts from the available list and, when you are finished, click on "I'm done, Continue". When you confirm your Posting, a notification will ONLY be sent to the Academic Experts you have selected. All of the Academic Experts in your subject area will be able to view your Posting, but only the Academic Experts you have chosen will be able to sign out and respond to your Posting.

NOTE: we cannot guarantee that the Academic Experts you have selected will be available within your deadline. If you notice that your Posting has not been signed out and you would like to open it up to all Academic Experts in the system, you can do so by Editing your Posting and selecting the "All Academic Experts in Subject" option. This will make your Posting available to everyone in the subject area you have chosen.

Choosing the option "Everyone EXCEPT Specified Academic Experts" will allow you to prevent certain Academic Experts from signing out your question. By clicking on the button that says "Select Academic Experts", you will be given a list of active Academic Experts in the subject area you have indicated. You can check off one or more Academic Experts from the available list and, when you are finished, click on "I'm done, Continue". When you confirm your Posting, a notification will NOT be sent to the Academic Experts you have selected. All of the Academic Experts in your subject area will be able to view your Posting, but the Academic Experts you have selected will NOT be able to sign out and respond to your Posting.top

About Academic Experts

Who Writes the Solutions, eBooks and Video Lectures?

Every answer, eBook or Lecture at BrainMass was prepared by a Graduate-Level Expert, Tutor or Professor from a top University. We carefully screen every Expert that works for us to ensure they're knowledgeable and then teach them the best way to provide solutions to academic questions. The result is a fantastic collection of academic minds ready and willing to provide exceptional aid to students like you. In addition, at BrainMass, you're able to interact with the Experts who have been helping you.

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What is a cumulative AE Rating?

Our top priority is ensuring the quality of the learning experience for each and every student that places their trust in us as teachers.

To monitor the quality of our Academic Expert's work, we have established an ongoing rating system that tracks the approval rating, response by response, for each Academic Expert. Each time a student receives assistance, a rating from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) is assessed to the Academic Expert. These individual ratings are summed and averaged each time the Academic Expert provides assistance. Before deciding to pay for the assistance that an Academic Expert has provided, students may first view the Academic Expert's rating. Responses that receive poor ratings are reviewed by administration staff. Academic Experts with poor ratings are removed from the network completely.

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Who is in the Academic Expert Community?

Our community is populated by literally hundreds of students, teachers and professionals all of whom are studying towards or have already earned a Masters or Doctorate degree from an accredited university institution.

These highly-trained academics have joined from countries all over the world to share their academic knowledge amongst each other and with students around the world in nearly every academic discipline.

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How does BrainMass verify that every member of the community has graduate-level status?

All of our Academic Experts are carefully screened and monitored to ensure that each is studying at the graduate level at an accredited university institution or has graduated with a masters or doctorate degree.

Before being activated on the system, each Academic Expert candidate must submit a copy of an official transcript or copy of a degree as proof of academic credentials. Additionally, our Academic Expert Community Director will often confirm credentials with the university institutions. All submitted contact information is also checked for accuracy.

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What are graduate-level professionals?

We consider graduate-level professionals to be those members of our community who have attained a graduate degree and are now working in their chosen field of expertise professionally. These Academic Experts often apply their "real world" experience when assisting students leading to unique insight for students enclosed within smaller scholastic communities.

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What if I want to ask the expert a question?

If you'd like to ask the expert who prepared the answer you're looking at a question, you're able to do so by using our Custom Help service. In the process of creating your question, you'll be able to select the expert you'd like to direct your question to.

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What policies are in place to ensure that BrainMass Academic Experts uphold academic ethics?

Online learning, as one of the most important alternative learning approaches, has come under heavy fire with regards to ethical dissemination of knowledge. The issue of plagiarism has become a major obstacle for online learning and has led some people to undervalue the credentials of online learners. The underlying theme of online education has been distorted and misrepresented too frequently. In the face of this situation, our challenge is to identify and embrace ethical practices and models across the complete spectrum of our services and programs.

BrainMass is a self-aware, dynamic community of ethical and qualified Academic Experts who believe in the common objective of creating information by sharing it. Besides possessing specialized scholarly expertise, our Academic Experts are equipped with a strong awareness of the issues surrounding the process of sharing this knowledge. Therefore, they make conscious efforts to circumvent the possibility of promoting unethical learning. They whole-heartedly nurture the educational experience of students but not without taking precautions. Knowledge is valuable but only if it is untainted. The members of our community must have a common trait - they should all believe in fairness to the owners of original work and take the responsibility to do independent work. Academic Experts help a great deal in limiting such morally-incorrect practices by informing students appropriately about plagiarism and how to cite and acknowledge other people's work correctly.

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Can I become an AE?

If you're interested in becoming an AE, we'd love to have you on board! As long as you meet the requirements we've laid out and you think this position is right for you, please find out more by joining our community of Academic Experts.

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Administrative Questions

Who administers the BrainMass Community?

Although we are a very large community of highly trained academics, only a handful of people actually administer the website. In fact, a full-time staff of just 8 currently handles all site development, site supervision, editing, communications, marketing, accounting, office duties, and coffee runs!

Important to remember though that we do have one of the most impressive talent pools found anywhere on the planet at our disposal. Academic Experts help out as best as they can every day with assistance, guidance, suggestions, advice and hours of real work.

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Who came up with this idea?

Although it was two individuals that first thought of bringing this group together, it has really been one great collaborative effort that has made it all possible. Hundreds of brainstorming sessions, research groups, trial runs, and trouble shoots by many, many talented people bring this academic world to you.

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What is BrainMass' policy on privacy over the Internet?

We take the issue of Internet privacy very seriously here. All contact information is stored securely in our databases and are not shown or sold to outside parties. Additionally, contact information is not made visible within the community except to the administrators of the system. Academic Experts are not able to view the email addresses of students or other Academic Experts and the public is not able to view the contact information of Academic Experts. Please view our privacy policy to which we strictly adhere.

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About eBooks & Video Lectures

What is a BrainMass eBook or Video Lecture?

BrainMass eBooks and Video Lectures are pieces of academic help, authored by our Experts. They're designed to help you understand the key topics, concepts, questions or problems for the subject you're studying.

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What Format do your eBooks and Video Lectures take?

Our eBooks are downloadable PDF documents. Once you've purchased one, you can email it to yourself, keep it on your hard drive, even carry it around on your phone! Video Lectures are videos and as such, must be watched on the site itself.

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What Topics are Covered?

Our Experts cover a wide range of subjects and topics. As such, our academic eBooks and Video Lectures also cover a wide range of topics. Simply use the search bar at the top of every BrainMass page to look for a subject that interests you. Chances are we have a book or a video that relates to it!

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How Much do they Cost?

We price eBooks and Video Lectures so that they're affordable, but some will range in price. You'll find you can download books and lectures on the site for as low as $2.19.

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