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Study skills With the school year just starting, it's important to build study skills that will last through the year. Here are some tips to help create good habits now—TEN not-so-easy steps to develop self-discipline as well as become a strong student and an independent person. When December rolls around, you and your child will want to have great study skills to call upon to identify problems, plan projects, and meet deadlines.   STEP ONE: Identify your strengths What is your favorite subject? Where do you excel? What makes that subject fun for you? What skills do you have that make you good at it?  STEP TWO: Write them down Sing your own praises. Make a list. Why? First, just to make yourself feel good. Second, to build some confidence. Third, and perhaps most importantly, to see how you can apply your strengths in subjects that do not come as easily.  STEP THREE: Identify your challenges What is your least favorite... read more

As an economics major with a double-minor in Mandarin Chinese and religious studies, I always have something to do. With all my classes being highly-intensive, time management skills and staying organized are a must. I effectively keep myself on track with my assignments by using this chart:   Important & Due Soon                                          Important & Not Due Soon Not Important & Due Soon                                    Not Important & Not Due Soon By keeping a simple chart like this, I can see what assignments for what classes are important, and when... read more

Study Skills Part 1: Fighting Procrastination It is always the same: You just think about the German vocabulary you have to learn, or about the historical dates you should know---and hey, presto, you find yourself checking E-mails, updating your Facebook site, or cleaning the windows to perfection like you have never done before. There is a word for this phenomenon: procrastination. Although this isn't per se a bad habit, it can be very annoying in quite different areas of your life. You know what? I just did it. I planned to publish this blog post last week. At first, it felt very rewarding to clean the windows instead of working to finish and present the post. However, it was not sustainable. „When we procrastinate, we know we are acting against our own best interests.“ (Steel [2010], p. 3) There is no doubt the long term effect of procrastination is just nasty. You are waiting for the good news? Here it is. It's easy to fix. You will become the master of... read more

Many of my students dread conjugating verbs. They dread it even more when the verbs are irregular and have the same meaning!!  The verbs ser and estar both mean "to be", so what is the difference between the two?? Ser is used to describe things that are permanent or often unchangeable.  For example, Yo soy de Estados Unidos.(I am from the United States).  The form of ser used in the sentence is soy.  You can not change where you are from. Ser is also used to describe characteristics, professions, religions and nationalities.       Estar is used to describe things that are temporary. For example, Yo estoy en Florida para las vacaciones(I am in Florida for vacation). I am vacationing in Florida, but I am not from there.  There is a little rhyme that is printed in the textbook, Realidades, which helps you remember when to use the verb, estar.  The rhyme goes, For how you... read more

Every student can benefit from understanding how to get the best out of their brain. This basic information can improve academic performance by a significant percent with out any other intervention.   SWEF   Sleep • Two basic things happen when you sleep—1) body repair • 2) memory reorganization and long term storage. • Babies need 14 hours, school age kids need 10-11, teens need 9+. • Not enough sleep? You get sick and you can’t remember what you learn. • Water • The brain needs 80 oz of water every day to replace what you lose through sweating, exhaling and peeing. • As little as 2% dehydration causes poor short-term memory, trouble focusing, and difficulties with math computation. • Some water is absorbed from food. But you do really need 8 glasses of liquid every day. • Exercise • Movement gets your blood flowing,... read more

As a student, many lessons were deeply instilled in me that have carried far beyond the classroom. I have come up with five tips to help you succeed inside the classroom and in the outside world.   1. Get Organized This is crucial. Number one has to be the first step for a reason. Without organization and planning, it is very difficult to stay on track and accomplish your goals. Begin at home. Keep a clean room, clean desk, and start a planner of any sort. Even if your planner is just a cheap dollar store calendar hanging on the wall, it will allow you to keep track of important dates and let you know where you stand along the way. Extend this to "your area" at school, work or wherever you may go. By keeping things in order you are making sure nothing menial is standing in your way.    2. Create Checkpoints Think of this as picking off a huge iceberg piece by piece. It can be intimidating seeing the big picture, but by taking it one... read more

We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.   For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.    As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)     So,... read more

IT REQUIRES MORE THAN ACADEMICS TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL LIFE-LONG LEARNERS My tutoring philosophy is about balance. My obligation to my students - which may include roles as teacher, counselor, mentor, and/or role model - is to foster various traits which increase my students' likelihood of success - in school, professionally, and as human beings. According to the Johnson O'Connor Foundation, and various other longitudinal studies, the single best predictor of success both in school and occupation is a large vocabulary. A large vocabulary has been shown to enhance reading comprehension and fluency, improve critical thinking, and make communication in all fields more effective. But, it is also crucial to understand that, as absolutely critical as text based literacy skills are, it is easily possible to have a large vocabulary and still struggle with reading. I know this well from my own daughter’s experience and many of the students I have worked with. So,... read more

Hi everyone! I've had years of experience with teaching and tutoring math and science, and I've been a student of science and math myself. Some of my students have asked me about strategies for learning math and science concepts that are fun and effective. Here are two quick tips to help you ace that next test or homework assignment. Good luck! Make connections between what you're learning and what you'd actually like to learn.  This tip is for people who are learning concepts that don't interest them very much (yet) and are interested in lots of other cool things. Are you learning about graphing inequalities but you're not really a fan of pre-algebra in general? Have a parent or a friend make up word problems about real-life situations that would be interesting to you! Don't like geometry but you're a big fan of dinosaurs and volcanoes? Maybe making up your own problems where you need to figure out how the velocity of a rock that was blasted out... read more

Have you ever been in a situation where comments were made in a negative form. Well I have, I would be 17 years old in my English, History, or biology class and would say to my self, " I hate this", or "teachers are boring", or "I will never be able to understand and figure this out". Well if I could only go back and say that, "yes, yes you can", Learning can be fun, challenging but exciting. Here are some of my creative ways I teach my pupils. Depending on age, attitude, area of subject, and behavior of the person, I can easily make adjustments to different learning plans to focus on their needs.   1) Create useful and relevant learning experiences based on the age group and interests. For example: you love everything outside, well why not create a learning environment outside, full of activities you love to do. Every subject can be implemented into activities of your interest.   2) Explore.... Having multiple different... read more

Hello everyone!    I figured I could start off my first post with a little bit more information about what I have to offer to any of my students.   Currently, I am 18 and finishing my Senior year of High School at an all girls' school in Rochester, NY. I will be attending a college nearby in the fall and planning on majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in Psychology.    I have completed seven AP courses in my high school career including World History, U.S. History, European History, Language and Composition, Literature and Composition, Biology, and Psychology. I have taken AP tests on all of these subjects and can help students who are preparing to take these tests to prepare effectively considering I myself have taken them.    I am mostly interesting in tutoring English students K-12 as that is the subject I am best at, but I am also able to tutor in any of the subjects listed... read more

For those who want to know the reason for writing "reflection" papers, consider how the process is simply another way to learn   Learning is not just about acquiring and using new skills, the process also involves “thinking about your thinking.” The actual term for this action is “metacognitive behavior,” which is a means to help you organize and reflect on information and behavior. The process may sound complicated, but this is simply a form of higher order thinking that requires you to consider how or why information is valuable as well as what makes it important or necessary. Sometimes, we do this automatically. Consider a time when you’ve been in the store and have been presented with two options for purchase. First, you go through a decision-making process, then select the product, and then take it home for use. Most likely, you will then know if you made the appropriate selection. At this point, you may likely reflect on why you made the choice –... read more

Hey all!    When it comes to tutoring sessions I think that it is so important for students to be engaged with the lesson.  Through my experience in teaching middle school I know that the more excited your kids are about learning the better it is!   Here's what I do: 1. Develop a report with the students- creating that bond is important for students to trust you to succeed.   2.  Make games out of homework help and studying- who said you had to sit and just memorize words! Lets make a game out of it!   3.  Relate the school work to real like- honestly, its hard to see the point of geometry for kids in middle school, but if you make the lessons and the work something related to their own life then they may be more interested.   4.  Keep it light!  Lessons dont have to be serious buckle down work- lets make it fun and talk about the text.   5.  Respect- I respect all my... read more

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 was just reading some of the questions in the Answers section.  Many of the questions are legitimate questions about material.  However, there are an overwhelming number of questions which basically ask for solutions to problems.  That is, questions like, "What is the answer to this math problem?" or "What are three of this person's negative qualities?"   First, tutors are not ATM's for answers.  That is not our purpose.  We are here to guide you to your own answer to a question.  Doing otherwise is academically dishonest.  It is the equivalent to our giving you answers to an exam question.  In other words, you are cheating.  The work you are doing is yours, not ours.  We are not here to do your homework for you.  Rather, we are here to point you in the right direction.   Second, you are the one with the assignment, not us.  If you need to know the outstanding character... read more

Happy mid-April!   Can you believe the school year is already winding down? Because the end of the year is upon us, I am looking for some summer tutoring experiences with any student who is looking to gain some success over the summer! I love working with students in the summer months. Sometimes I even bring popsicles :)   Whether you want to increase a reading level, work on some extra writing skills, or just practice some great studying techniques, I am sure we can find success.    Please contact me via my profile for information! Thanks! 

There are two basic levels of study skills with which I attempt to help people. The first is what we might call basic or rudimentary skills. These have to do with establishing good habits that lead to successful study. The latter is more advanced and has to do with conducting research, discerning the authenticity and value of sources, and so on. The purpose of this article is to provide basic advice to those struggling with basic study habits.   Difficulties with basic study habits are usually rooted in a lack of understanding of the subject being studied -- leading to frustration -- and general distractions. If you are having trouble progressing in your studies consider trying the following:   Study at the Same Time Every Day Find a time of the day when you typically feel calm and there aren't a lot of interruptions. Make that your routine study or self-improvement time. With practice, this will condition your mind to go into "study mode"... read more

As "winter" chugs along, you may be wondering what to do about those projects you didn't have time for, and getting a little tutoring for those academic subjects you're struggling with.  I'm available, particularly for those folks on the east-side of the Willamette.   Would love to help you get that paper written, improve your study skills, organize your work, interpret your teachers' feedback on returned assignments, or any other task you've been putting off for a "when I get to it" time.  Call me, Portlanders....operators are standing by!

Study Skills is quite the buzz word these days in the tutoring world, but what exactly are study skills? I decided to do a little research to see what others are saying about study skills and it turns out there are as many study skills as there are tutors. As I wondered how to choose which ones to write about I decided it boils down to my experience as a student, a teacher, and a tutor. I also recognized that most of the skills we call study skills are also life skills and can be sorted into two big categories; planning for success and taking action. Planning for Success Planning for success encompasses all of the planning skills; get organized, time management, look at the big picture, prioritize, and set goals. These tasks take a little time to set-up at the beginning of each new term or semester. Once they are in place they should only require a few minutes each day to maintain. So let’s take a look at these tasks from the whole (get organized, big picture, and set... read more

I find that tutoring sessions are often fit into a busy schedule. One thing I like to do at the beginning of the session is to help students regroup and erase the hectic day. Simply having the student sit for a moment and chew bubblegum allows for a moment to relax and regroup. Have the student focus on chewing and count how many times he/she must chew to make the gum pliable enough to blow a bubble. You will notice a decrease in anxiety and distraction with this simple exercise!

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