Final exams are coming up and you are freaking out! There are steps that you can take in order to help you prepare for the upcoming exam. Don't panic. Do not wait until the night before to start studying. Start going over the material weeks before the final. Previous exams - use the midterm and any other exams to help you study material from earlier in the semester. Problems that you saw on these exams may also show up on the final. Practice finals - many professors sometimes hand out practice problems or practice finals in order to help you study. Go over these problems and make sure you know how to solve every problem. Take a break from your study routine occasionally. Your brain will thank you!
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Sometimes adults can grow impatient with children, when they seem unwilling to concentrate on a task as long as adults seem to be able to. But in fact, there may be no problem at all with the child, because they actually are spending just as much time on tasks as adults are able to - it's just that time is moving at a different rate for them! There is a way to understand the difference between the attention span of a young child and that of an adult by considering the definition of time. Aristotle's definition of "time" is "the measure of motion according to the before and after." This means that "time" is just a way of describing change and is not something that "exists" in its own right. Time does not exist outside the mind. Changes happen, but they don't measure themselves, and time is just a way of measuring changes. It's the human mind's way of understanding change. In philosophical jargon, it's a "mental abstraction with a basis in reality." That means that time... read more
I have spent nearly two years working entirely with students that struggled with mild to severe ADD. First, both students with ADD and those who teach them need to be knowledgeable of WHAT ADD is. A few basics: 1). ADD is NOT simply being easily distracted, or lack of focus. For the student suffering with it, it feels as if there is a mental fog around everything they do. Tasks requiring long and acute attention are draining for the average joe, but can feel nearly impossible or even painful to an ADD/ADHD student. 2). ADD is caused by by under-stimulation to the areas in the brain responsible for thinking, solving, and task management. I often hear older students (17-18 yrs) say they are not allowed to drink coffee. Coffee couldn't be more appropriate, actually (if you are on medication, talk to a doctor before adding coffee to your routine). In fact the drugs used for ADD are heavy-duty stimulants that are chemical cousins to methamphetamines. 3)... read more
Ask any classroom full of students how they study, and you're likely to get a lot of different answers. There will probably be many similar answers, but most people have different methods, locations, and techniques that shortens their study time somehow. Sometimes shortcuts are a great thing- like a shortcut that avoids heavy traffic. The trick to using shortcuts with studying is knowing which ones work, and which ones don't! One of the best ways to ensure that your study time will be used effectively is to take notes during class. Ensuring that your notes make sense to YOU is really important. Your class notes should translate what your teacher is telling you into something that you can remember. For example: the definition of onomatopoeia is, 'the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named.' If you have a long list of literary terms, the strange spelling of onomatopoeia might get lost with your other lit terms. Writing "sizzle" or "buzz" next... read more
Lately I've realized just how stressful economics can be, particularly for students with English as a second or third language. Trying to explain utility and utils to someone a few days ago, all I could think about was my own AP Econ professor, with his southern drawl, and a look he reserved for confused students. Someone would ask a question. There'd be a pause. Wearing his varsity football coach jacket, he'd sigh, and make eye contact with whoever had asked the question. Then, it was more like he was looking at you for something in particular - did you really not understand the concept, or were you confused by how the word was being used? Different questions would require very different answers. As a student who was frequently confused with the use of terms in a different context than I was used to, I hated that look. For the first month of classes, I was convinced he hated me, and that I was going to fail miserably. Every time we got a test or quiz back,... read more
So much stress, anxiety and wasted time can be completely avoided if you remember just 3 basic truths about asking for something in life. It's a matter of simple mathematical probability really. You see, each time you ask someone for something, you have a 33.33333333333333333 (you get the point) percent chance of getting one of 3 responses: a "yes" a "no" or a "maybe" or something similar like "I don't know" or "perhaps" or "not now" or "next year," etc. For simplicity, it looks like this: When you ask for something you have a 33% chance of getting a "No" 33% chance of getting a "Yes" 33% chance of getting a "Maybe." What I find extraordinary is how many people ask for something with just one of these probabilities firmly set in their minds. They completely rule out that the other 2 are likely to occur and consequently, set themselves up for all sorts of potential drama. The best way to keep yourself low on unhealthy stress is to be prepared... read more
As the smell of new boxes of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils fills the isle at the market, parents might be thinking “Help! My child is behind in school and I don’t know what to do. How can you start out behind?” This realization brings a feeling of failure before the new school year has even begun. Although the education system in America has many problems, one of which is constantly allowing students to be promoted to the next grade regardless of their failing to meet the standards required to be promoted, there are many things that parents can do at home to help their child succeed and grow as much as possible. 1) Read, read, read everything in sight! Children of all ages need to hear fluent adults reading to them on a regular basis. This helps them to develop expressiveness in reading, fluency and accuracy, increase vocabulary, and better understand figurative language. It also greatly influences a child when they see that their parents or guardians... read more
Picture it: The gentle rustling of papers flapping and pages turning, the scratching of pens on notebooks, the snoring of the kid next to you, and your professor lecturing at a speed that makes you wonder if she's going to combust. Odds are, somewhere in this scenario, if you are like me then you're lost and writing furiously trying to take some kind of notes before the slide changes for the 47th time. But there's a problem; the professor is moving faster than you write. Typically the best thing to do is to raise your hand and ask her to slow down. The next step however, comes the point of this Note. The best way to take notes is to take as few as possible! By this I mean why write two words when you can write half of one? It'll allow you to keep up with the professor and return your attention to the board or the slides. "But how do you do this word-cleaving Black Magic, Frank?" you ask? You don't need seven years at Hogwarts for it. It's simple: short hand. Try to develop... read more
The holidays are almost upon us - school will be out soon - and parents and students are looking at a 2-4 week hiatus from the regular routine of school work. What happens to all of the knowledge and skills learned from school and tutoring during those weeks? Well, having been a high school principal for years, as well as a classroom teacher, my experience is that students often will not read on their own, review math on their own, or if in an AP class "read ahead" on their own. If you have tutors in the educational profession, we also have that time off and our lesson times can be flexible - so instead of all of those late afternoon, early evening, or weekend appointments, most of us can now meet with our students in the morning or afternoon. So, what would your student gain from tutoring in the winter break? 1. Weekly reinforcement of knowledge and skills already learned in the first semester... read more
Here is an overview of my 5 BEST TIPS for realizing your highest potential on the SAT: Read and Write Daily- Do not read just fluffy stuff from internet sites or think that your emails constitute all the daily writing you need (join a writer's group and keep a journal). Most importantly, read thoughtful, intelligent articles from reputable sources (like the Wall Street Journal) on a daily basis on topics that stimulate your thinking and challenge your vocabulary. This is the best approach for long-term improvement in reading and writing. Study High-Frequency SAT Vocabulary Lists- There are many of these word lists obtainable on the Internet. The problem is that you may not retain the words using a crash-course study approach. This won't be helpful for long term unless you pace your study of the words and see words in their context. I recommend a 7 day study approach. Study 30-50 words each day for two days in a row using flash cards, review the list of... read more
Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language. Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?" Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience. Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning. DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not really of interest to you. DON'T... read more
The story is familiar one. A student who did well in school seems to suddenly hit a wall. Their grades drop even though they seemed to work harder and longer than ever. This most often ocurs at the 5th, 7th, or 9th grade levels. It also has been known to appear in the freshman year of college. This is an intelligent, bright, tuned-in kids who was doing well just months ago. What's happened? It’s quite easy to explain. These were kids that primarily operated on natural ability. Much the way a talented young athlete does well one season but suddenly struggles. It's a matter of the student having progressed to a level where talent alone can’t carry the day, these kids struggle because raw ability is no longer enough. The problem is often compounded because when these students don’t have the close reading, study, time management, organizational and other skills needed for success. Why don't they have them? Because they weren’t needed. It’s not a rarity, and... read more
Hello all, I found this article from Fox news very helpful. We might relate to it differently but at the end of the day, we may all agree that multitasking might not be as effective as it feels! Hope you enjoy it! 12 Reasons To Stop Multitasking "We all do it: Texting while walking, sending emails during meetings, chatting on the phone while cooking dinner. In today's society, doing just one thing at a time seems downright luxurious, even wasteful. But chances are, you're not doing yourself (or your boss, or your friends and family) any favors by multitasking your way through the day.Research shows that it's not nearly as efficient as we like to believe, and can even be harmful to our health. Here are 12 reasons why you should stop everything you're doing—well, all but one thing—and rethink the way you work, socialize, and live your life. You're not really multitasking What you call multitasking is really task-switching, said Guy Winch,... read more
While assisting students in developing effective study skils, I have found developing those skills is a three-phase process. The first phase, and arguably the most important, is identifying the bad study habits students have developed over the years. These habits, I have found, can include studying at inopportune times, using the same methods to study for different subjects, or not studying at all. Identifying these habits—and all those in between—involves in-depth history taking. Phase two involves identifying distractions that frequently draw the student’s attention away from study. These can include anything from the munchies to phone calls and texts, to boredom. Removing these distractions sets the stage for new study behaviors and habits. Phase three involves putting in place behaviors and habits to replace the bad study habits. The most common replacement habits include: avoiding study marathons and studying for only realistic periods of time;... read more
I am going to pass on a simple tip to you parents on how to get your child to focus when studying or doing homework. Chewing gum! I kid you not. Chewing gum helps your brain focus and causes you to pay more attention to what you are reading or working on. Special Education teachers have known this for years, but a recent study in the UK by Kate Morgan of Cardiff University was published in the British Journal of Psychology. Previous research has shown that chewing gum can improve concentration in visual memory tasks. This study focused on the potential benefits of chewing gum during an audio memory task. Kate Morgan, author of the study explained: "It's been well established by previous research that chewing gum can benefit some areas of cognition. In our study we focused on an audio task that involved short-term memory recall to see if chewing gum would improve concentration; especially in the latter stages of the task." "The... read more
Greetings, scholars! Using flashcards is a tried-and-true method for rote memorization. As a student, I had stacks of index cards with terms on one side and definitions on the other. These cards proved the key to success in subjects like biology and psychology. Flashcards also help in subjects like calculus and chemistry, although memorization is not a substitute for problem-solving practice. For instant gratification, one can purchase pre-made flashcards for certain subjects (e.g. MCAT test pret, SAT vocabulary). The commercial cards are nice, but buying cards means missing out on the learning that takes place while making them. Today, technology has put a new twist on a classic learning tool. I recommend the website and accompanying app, Study Blue (http://www.studyblue.com/). Using the website, a student can create a set of online flashcards or browse through the existing libraries of cards created by other students. With the app,... read more
This is probably one of the most common questions students have; whether they ask it or not, they still can’t stop thinking about it. Many students come up with the conclusion on their own that quadratic equations are useless in the real world and therefore lack the motivation to really put time and effort into learning it. Unfortunately, they are only half right. The examples I am about to give might be more focused on math but they apply to any of the physical sciences. The answer to this question could be yes and no, depending on how you look at it. No, if you are talking about quadratic equations, hyperbolas, anti-derivatives, and so on. Unless you are going into the few occupations where these knowledge might matter, chances are, you will not solve a quadratic equation again once you are done with school. I understand the text book does provide some word problems that seem like the real world, but let’s face it, if I needed to build a fence that needs the length to... read more
For the first time in a while, I'm taking a course where the information I have to know is entirely based on memorization. In my experience, a liberal arts degree has requires hundreds of hours of writing (so I have that down pat!) , but its been a while since I've had to know the text almost verbatim. This is how I've taught myself the material: 1. Talk about it with friends. My boyfriend has an interest in the course material, so we discuss it conversationally. This allows me to really have a context for what I am learning. 2. I highlight! I know, I know, my pages are ruined. But color-coding the information helps me put it into note form, after I've read the chapter. 3. Read, then read it again. Yup. Definitely helpful, but not always fun. 4. Utilize all study guides. This may seem obvious, but for anything that doesn't have an outline, I make one, and I make note of information that could be asked in test form. And then I test myself.... read more
I find that discovering my students' limitations and trying to make them realize what these are is a very beneficial technique for improving grades or test scores. The limitations become the new focus of our attention and as we narrow the scope of our efforts much more is able to be accomplished. Students may at first be unwilling to admit their shortcomings but after they realize how much progress can be made when light is shone on them, they become all the more eager to continue working with you. I also use the experience of my own wrestling with limitations; often I find that my limitations are similar to other people's and that the skills I have learned in battling them are invaluable to others.
Study skills are a challenge I had in school with subjects that I wasn't the best in. My strategy was my studying and practice time I put into the subject; French, Honors Algebra and AP U.S History were consuming at times when it came to homework. However, as long as I stayed on top of my homework, took great notes in class, asked the teacher questions AND practiced I was always guaranteed great results. I carried that belief with me through college and today.