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Many of the students I tutor want help with general study skills as well as specific subject matter. Now that many students are heading into a new semester, perhaps it's time to review some basic tips for how to improve your grades this semester. 1) Manage your time. A good way to do this is by downloading a time management app, or keeping track of how you spend your time manually. Allotting time for each task you need to complete will help you achieve your academic goals. 2) Make a to-do list. At the beginning of the day, make a list of the things you want to achieve. You'll feel accomplished by marking off completed tasks, and at the end of the day any uncompleted tasks move over to the next day's list. 3) Form study groups or get a study buddy. Bouncing your ideas off others helps you think through problems and come up with solutions. Plus, being in a group will motivate you to keep on task. 4) Don't be afraid to ask for help. Teachers and professors usually have... read more

Educational administration, whether at a small college or a major university, requires a lot of tactical efforts, not just educational efforts. Think about all those courses and who must determine their time slots and assign classroom space. Think of the first day of a semester when students are rushing to find out where their class meets. Imagine if you had a job where your office location changed several times a year! But even with all that planning, so many colleges seem to select a different classroom for a final exam than the classroom in which the course was conducted. The problem--according to a good deal of psychological research--is that you do best when your exam is in the same room as the one you study in.  Think about this. Lots of students find a study space that they find just right, and it becomes "their" space. Students sit down in a classroom filled with empty chairs, and that chair you first selected ends up being the one you always go... read more

How to Get Organized 1 Get all of your school supplies and put your name on them. 2 Copy your homework form the board as soon as you get into class so, you won't forget to do it, or rush to finish copying it at the end of class. 3 Make sure you participate in class by asking questions, no question is dumb. It is better to ask for clarification if you don't understand something. 4 Take good notes by writing using abbreviations for long words. 5 Stay organized by putting everything in its place. 6 Use a calendar to keep track of important dates. 7 Create a study routine by first getting a snack, then sitting down in a quiet place to do your homework. 8 If you have a project or paper due, make sure to start working on it a little each day so, that you are not rushing to finish it at the last minute. 9 Make sure that you get the phone number of a friend in each one of your classes so that, if you forget to copy your homework or you are... read more

Philosophy of Education for M.J. T. To me the purpose of education is threefold: (1) provide students with a basis of knowledge, (2) teach students how to reason so that they can continue their education throughout their lives, and (3) instill in them a life-long excitement about and love of learning. Students must acquire a basis of knowledge, a framework on which to sort out and understand how various aspects of information in any subject area fit together to make the whole picture of where we have been and where we are going as a civilization. Science affects philosophy which affects the arts … ad infinitum. Nothing exists in a vacuum-sealed box. All knowledge is recursive and intertwined - reaches out and affects many areas outside the discipline in which it begins. I liken this basis of knowledge to a needlepoint tapestry mesh framework. The threads of different strands of information are worked in at various points. In some way every thread touches every... read more

Read. Pick up something and keep the wheels turning. Keeping fresh on news, or just pleasure reading is a skill that needs to be exercised and worked on regularly. Write. Depending on where you are in your academic career, one thing is fairly certain; you will be required to write the deeper you delve into subjects and years of schooling. Writing is learning on a new level. Research. Research something. Take it beyond Google, and do not rely on Wiki. Anyone can publish on Wiki, and some big mistakes happen there. Research and writing work in tandem, get used to it and have fun with it, after all you will learn something this way (and far into the future). Honing your search skill (Booleans, etc.) will pay you back exponentially one day. Learn something or do something new. Find a new hobby or research (see above #3) something new or do something new after looking into it as long as it's safe of course. Set Attainable... read more

Back-to-School Smart Tips It’s FINALLY almost time for school again, and I know a lot of you are excited (I know I am!), but there some excellent pointers to keep in mind as school starts back up again. Before school starts: 1. Get a really good planner you like. Most students aren’t accustomed to using planners or don’t keep up with it. Planners, whether you know it or not, are just as important, if not more important than binders and pencils. I know that all through middle school, high school, and college, I would have been completely lost without my planner. Planners are EXCELLENT for writing down quiz dates, test dates, homework, and after-school activities. Some schools will sell planners and those can be excellent, but I also recommend looking around at Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart/Target for other general planners that organize by time and day. Weekly planners typically do not work well for people with full schedules, so try to stay away from... read more

Developing a grounded understanding of numbers, and number operations provides the firmest foundation for learning math. Touching, seeing, and manipulating physical objects are perhaps the surest way to accomplish that in the beginning. Developing the practice of drawing pictures to reflect an arithmetic or story problem is the next step and soon becomes a central tool for thinking through a math problem whether represented in math and science, or encountered in life. Finally, talking about, through, and around math, arithmetic, problems, and solutions is equally important to proficiency in math and any other area of education, socialization, and life. It is important to recognize the preferred learning style of each student in order to achieve the best opportunity to that student’s learning and performance. Yet, excellent teaching includes multiple approaches and learning styles on the way to each student’s full facility, proficiency, and confidence. This necessary... read more

Hi all, Thanks to those of you who take the time to read this. I would love to start a dialogue with you so feel free to write to me with comments. This past school year has been a big one for me. I completed my graduate practicum in the fall, in a self-contained ESL and Sheltered ESL classroom in a high school. It was a challenge and required a lot of work but it was worth every minute. The things I learned are invaluable in terms of relating to students better on a personal and professional level, learning how to reach them and motivate them, figuring out other ways to teach the same lesson to someone who did not understand the first time, teaching students how to advocate for themselves and so much more! I had to prepare a huge binder of evidence for the Department of Education, just to prove myself again (and again and again). I did it! Then I had to begin studying for the Comprehensive Exam for my Master's Degree. I was going to originally try to take it in December... read more

Well, school is out and the beach is calling! If you are a high school senior or the parent of one, you know that studying is probably not high on anyone’s list of preferred activities this time of year. But, if you are taking summer classes, need to do some catch-up on basics, complete summer reading and writing assignments for AP courses, or want to get serious about SAT test prep, now is a good time. The last year of high school is filled with great activities and a lot of excitement, but there are also expectations to master the three Rs before they hand out diplomas to the Class of 2014! This summer, consider tutoring if you need the extra boost that comes with 1:1 individualized instruction and coaching. If you’re not considering tutoring at this time, think about planning ahead for the next school year. And don’t forget, the SAT testing dates are fast approaching: the deadline to register for the October 5 test is September 6! Wishing you all a happy summer! --Laur... read more

Students, don't let summer steal your great learning! Instead let summer be a time of exploration using those very skills you picked up during the year. Need some tips on how to use those skills? Here's 5: 1. Read about it. Where are you going on vacation? Where is your friend going on vacation? Look up those hot vacation spots online or in a travel book. You will have a chance to practice your geography as well as challenge your math. Make up travel math problems to challenge your math skills. Find some answers on websites like "Travel math" and other maps and directions sites. While you are there, print out your own map and follow along. Then you will know if you are there yet. 2. Write about it. What topic or class most interested you last year? Do more research, take notes on the topic and write your own research paper. While this may earn you more geek points than you want, it will also help put into practice those research skills and hone your writing... read more

21 Tips and Tricks to Improve Study Performance Don’t skip classes or be late 1 Do all homework, always on time 1 It reinforces Do it to the point of full comprehension Review lecture immediately after class, even if just for 5 minutes 1 This helps encode information into long-term memory Review past materials throughout the term 2 Work out examples in your own words Rewrite key definitions and ideas Make connections between concepts Do practice problems - if none were assigned, find some! Opposite of cramming 1 Prepare for Class 1 Read ahead a little, to familiarize yourself Sit in the ‘T’ of class (the middle column and front row of desks) 1 Fewer distractions up front Helps build an important connection with your professor/teacher Start Homework THE DAY it is assigned 1 Helps encode information into long-term memory Allows you come prepared to the next class meeting with questions Learn... read more

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES Now that students, teachers, parents and tutors have had a chance to catch their breath from final exams, it's time to make use of the weeks we have before school starts back. Consider all that could be accomplished in the next few weeks: Areas of math that students NEVER REALLY GRASPED could be fully explained. This could be elementary skills like adding fractions, middle school topics like systems of equations, or high school areas like sequences and series. Students could have a TREMENDOUS HEAD STARTon topics that will be covered in the first few weeks of school. Imagine your son or daughter being able to raise their hand to answer a question in the first week of school because they had worked several problems just like the ones that the teacher is demonstrating. ENORMOUS PROGRESS could be made in the area of preparation for the standardized tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT and more) that are so important to getting into a great college. STUDY... read more

Just like learning a new language, every year students try to learn CBS: College Board Speak. The College Board is the name of the company that creates the SAT. In order to make gains on the SAT, one may have to try new ways of learning. One of the best ways to learn a language is to create an immersive experience by surrounding yourself with speakers of that language, by traveling to an area in which the language is spoken for an extended period of time, or by attempting conversational level fluency prior to learning the written language. Ways that have worked for me and for students I have helped in the past are the following: SAT words on a shower curtain, flash cards wallpapering a bathroom or bedroom wall, and 30-60 minutes of sustained work daily for a prolonged period of time. Just doing to prolonged work won't help all students because some students need a multi-sensory approach to learning. In my classes, I reach students of all learning styles using color-coded... read more

I love using Google Calendar. I wish I had used it more effectively during college and graduate school. It would not have been as seamless as it is today without a smartphone. When I moved to Ohio, my old cellphone was dying. The screen had died after falling repeatedly from my desk or bed back in Brooklyn; I suspect that it also did not like the occasional and sudden exposure to rain. So, I used some of my savings to get a Droid X. While fiddling impatiently with my brand new toy, I came across the app and remembered how fruitlessly I had tried keeping a personal agenda in booklet form. I would always forget where I left it, and it would end up as scrap paper for some formula derivation. After a few uses while I established a new student base, the calendar app became more appealing. I learned quickly to keep track of all of my appointments on the calendar app. My events automatically synced with my online calendar, and I setup reminders (via text messages) for tutoring... read more

When working with children (especially 7 and below) it can be vital to their memory retention to take a break every thirty minutes. I have had great success with my younger students who become stir crazy after half an hour of reading by leaving the study are and going outside or in a space where we wont bother others and doing some physical activities. Since time is a concern it is important to only do this for ten minutes or so. Sometimes we run and play tag, or we will do some jumping jacks, or just do some silly dancing. When the student returns they are feeling a little more refreshed, lighthearted, and ready to continue. That being said, it is very important to make it clear that the activity is is only supposed to be for a few minutes then it's right back to studying. I hope this helps! Miss Jessica

Hi there Medical Billers and Coders: Have you been attempting to do medical coding and need some refreshing or just a guide of what to do. When I tutor a student, I also add tips and strategies used to help select the best the best code. For example checking the similarities between two medical terms. for example dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and dysphasia (impairment of speech). A good coder is familiar with medical terminology and always has a medical dictionary available. Recognizing the difference in similar terms ensures accurate coding. This means a claim can go out clean and would spend less time pending for payment, there would be no denial, thus no claim follow up, and no resubmissions when the information is abstracted properly for coding. Keep this in mind! Til next time! The Coding Instructor

I don’t know about any of you , but I would love to find a mentor. Don’t get me wrong, I actually have a couple of mentors. But once you leave school, experienced, knowledgeable, and understanding advice givers are not so easy to come by. Most often, they’re VERY busy and, although mean well, aren’t available to guide someone with a lot of questions. The problem with that is ... you don’t know what you don’t know. You need someone, ideally a knowledgeable someone you can trust, to tell you. A tutor is a type of mentor. You have to seek one out that works. It’s not like you get up in the morning and head off to school or else be counted absent or tardy. You’re not being tracked or held accountable for failing to find a tutor. Nope, not even a little bit. No one is forcing you to dig deeper to learn whatever it is you don’t know. And therein lies the paradox: Hiring a great tutor and finding awesome mentors requires you to be ENGAGED in solving your own problems... read more

You may be surprised to hear that there is a right and a wrong way to study. If you are surprised by this, then keep reading! The most important thing to know is that you should aim to work smarter, not harder. What does this mean? Well, a few things: - Studying for several hours straight isn't effective! Instead, aim to study no more than 90 minutes at a time. Then, take a break for 10-15 minutes. Relax. Do some stretches. Take a walk, get some fresh air if you can. Research shows that nothing recharges the brain better than a walk through nature. Then, go back and work for another 60-90 minutes. - Make a plan Actually write down what you need to accomplish. And be specific. For example, "Read pages 120-145 of Literature textbook" is a good goal. "Start studying for math exam" is not. The more specific your goals are, the easier they will be to accomplish. - Reward yourself Next to each goal on your study plan, write a little... read more

Now is the time to be thinking about mid-terms. To prep for mid-terms and finals, get a 3-ring binder notebook per subject. Don't mix subjects or you will confuse yourself. Have tabs for notes, homework assignments, review, quizzes and tests and action items. Action items should include anything like notes of what you have due such as homework or upcoming tests, questions you have for your teacher or tutor, study schedule for upcoming tests and quizzes and, if you are taking an AP class, have your AP test plan and schedule there, too. One huge tip I will leave you with is an easy way to retain information. It is guaranteed to result in your never having to cram again. Do homework so you are working for an hour, take a 15 minute break, study some more, take a break. Repeat. This will help you retain key information. But always make sure you are getting a good night sleep - at least 6 hours! I recommend the same routine with homework. On weeks you have a test, start... read more

Do the terms "preposition," "verb," "article," and "modal verb" sometimes stump you? Typically, students are taught the word "preposition" in 1st grade. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that if I had seen that long word at the top of a worksheet in 1st grade, I would have skipped right over it, coding "preposition" as a long word that simply did not fit in my schema of the world. Fast forward to middle, high school, and college, and I see that many native speakers often find one or more grammatical device or structure challenging. Grammar lessons learned in elementary school can easily slip from one's mind, leaving students to struggle when applying their skills to essay writing, earning them phrases such as "wrong modifier!" "run-on!" and "awkward!" splattered in red ink all over their graded assignments.   It is one thing to not remember rules of grammar... read more

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