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The most requested tutoring subject is MATH! Many students struggle with math (algebra, geometry, calculus) because there is no easy way to learn it. It is nice to have someone to break it down for you and talk you through your problems. But, what happens when you do not have your tutor next to you?!?!   PANIC?! OF COURSE NOT!   Although it is my duty for you to have a firm grasp on the math concepts, I may not always be there when you need me (of course, I will always try =)). What I used as a math student and what I use as a math tutor is a study "cheat-sheet" guide. I would make my own cheat sheets that broke down steps and had formulas with explanations of what each variable meant. This was a HUGE HELP when learning new concepts or having to remember old concepts for a final exam.   As you continue to learn new concepts, you add it to your cheat sheet. These should be very short blurbs like a formula or a short example of the problem... read more

I use a varied approach to learning math, from the fundamental algebraic basics, to the complex procedures of calculus. I use songs and cheers to remember rules. None of us have much trouble remembering songs from the radio. Why not apply that innate strength to math?  I also try to find ways to incorporate physical movement. An algebra student and I might, for example, walk in different directions, dropping place markers to better understand graphing. (This can be even more fun if you have square tiles somewhere in your house or study location.) I'm dyslexic, which I view as a strength. Because I'm dyslexic, it can be hard for me to remember new things from reading. As a result, I am quite fond of color coding to facilitate synthesizing new information. I use color coding with my students in higher levels of mathematics to help them track where certain terms are going in a multi-step procedure. With students who struggle with stamina in studying, I like to... read more

If you couldn't tell from the title, I'm really excited about this one study technique. I wish I had started it in high school, when my dad was hounding me abut it, but I waited until college. Once I started using this technique, I was so shocked at how little I needed to study before a test I actually had time to do fun things during midterms and final seasons while my other friends spent the day (and night) cramming. And the best part, it took me less than 15 mins (and I mean it - I timed myself). And without further ado, your study technique: I'm supposing your going to class and taking notes. So, let's go through the week and implement this study habit. Monday: read over all your notes slowly. Not like, turtle slow, but try to think of why you wrote that note and what your teacher was commenting on or what you noticed that made this note important. Do this for all your subjects (if you're in high school, and you're taking 7 classes, this may take you 20-35... read more

Colleges and professional schools want candidates with a well-rounded resume. This means that as students, you have to balance demanding coursework with sports, internships, volunteer service, and most importantly, also find down time to enjoy with friends and family!   Efficient study techniques will help you juggle all this quite well.    Some tips:   Don't record lectures to spend extra hours listening to the same lecture later. Save study time outside of class and learn within class time. Take good notes during lecture! Note topics the instructor spends time on, important keywords, terminology.    When given an assignment, complete it in advance and run it by the instructor a few days before it's due. This will ensure full credit because his feedback will tell you exactly what he wants out of the assignment. You're going to do the assignment anyways, just plan ahead and make time for it early on. Do not procrastinate... read more

Do you find yourself putting in lots of study but still falling shy of your learning goals? Do you find yourself blanking on tests for which you have studied for hours the night before? Maybe you are a senior in college and need a simple encouragement for good academic performance. Whatever your situation, if you are trying to learn well, these lifestyle suggestions are definitely worth integrating into your daily routine.   Nutrition Give your body the nourishment it needs. Make healthy eating part of your daily routine, being sure to follow guidelines set by accredited nutritionists. It may seem a bit odd, but from a biological point of view, for learning to occur the body must be nourished so that the proper state of mind can be maintained. The more vivid example of this is the familiar hunger during study sessions that prevent full attention to be given to the subject matter. More subtle forms of this phenomenon include forgetfulness, difficulty relating new information... read more

Sure, we have all heard our math teachers say "Study for your test tomorrow." While we can all agree the importance of studying and getting prepared for an exam, not many math teachers actually tell you HOW to study. I am sure we have all spent time making flash cards, staring at our notes, or watching last minute videos on youtube, only to realize the test results often don't correlate to our effort. Before long, these upsetting experiences and test results created a scar in our minds, that statement we have all heard before: I am just not good at math.   The truth of the matter is, many people who have expressed their inability to understand and perform well on mathematics simply don't know how to study for a math exam. After all, those negative signs and multiple choice questions are often so tricky, even though you calculated every step correctly until the very end, all it took was one single mindless error that can well ruin the entire result. If we closely... read more

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

Study Skills 2: Illusions of Learning You can call it organized self-deception. It starts with a brilliant idea like: 'Next time I'll visit my German cousin, I'll talk to her only in German“, or „I want to be able to quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at every suitable moment“. The venture ends soon after the idea takes place with buying the best and fanciest Learning German Book or the complete works of Goethe---the one with the gold rim. It looks good on your bookshelf and soon it is covered with dust. Or maybe, you are a little bit more forward: you always take the book with you, you fight the dust, you spend a lot of time with it. However, there comes the day when your cousin starts to babble about the latest news in German and you beg her to switch to English, or your friend negates all your requests and you try hard to remember the famous Mephistopheles quote, but to no avail (“I am the spirit that negates”). That is when you realize that you fooled yourself about your... 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

imageSo far this year, our school system has had 5 snow days. I began to worry about my students' brains rotting away from binges of video games, hot cocoa and Netflix. When I returned to school, I was pleasantly surprised to find that more than a handful of kids had practiced these "good student" skills that my teammates and I recommended when the snow kept falling. These students came to school ready to learn, and show more tenacity and grit than their peers. They; Review math facts using flash cards Practice math using school supported programs like IXL or Kahn Academy. If your school system doesn't sponsor a program, it might be worth personally investing in one. These make for great summer practice, too.   Read a book- and then talk to someone about it and explain what happened in the book. What surprised, confused or excited you when you were reading? How did the characters in the book change? What was your favorite moment?   Visit... read more

6 Steps to Creating a Successful MCAT Study Plan In this document we will go over the steps for how to create a successful MCAT study plan. All of the advice comes from many years of experience, working for several of the large test prep companies including Kaplan, Next Step and others, and working with hundreds of different students. 1. Start with the Official Materials, familiarize yourself with the exam. Know how the exam will be administered, how many sections, the number of questions, the time etc… To do this start with the AAMC Official Guide to the MCAT which can be found at: 2. Mastering the Science Content with the three pass approach The MCAT exam is very different from so many of our traditional science exams and the study process should reflect this. The amount of material covered on the exam can be staggering as it incorporates material from at least 10 different... read more

1. Colors help the brain absorb information better. It also makes any subject at hand more interesting and appealing to the eye. 2. Note taking should never be a duty, I like to incorporate fun ways to write out notes that'll help with memory. 3. Music to set a relaxing but stimulating mood for the student. 4. Every 15 minutes, students need a quick break from focus to keep their attitude positive and upbeat.  5. The finish line should always be promising and have a silver lining. I like to let my students have something to look forward to when they complete their task at hand. 

Is it possible to overstudy for an exam?  Yes.  Unfortunately, I see it happen way too often.  There is a point when studying can begin to have diminishing returns.  (My Economics students should understand that concept!)     I'm a marathon runner, and one important practice that marathon runners follow is a taper period.  It works like this:  In the months that lead up to a marathon, the training intensity and length of runs slowly builds.  About two weeks before the marathon, the runner has built up to one long run a week...perhaps 18 to 22 miles.  However, during the final two weeks before the marathon, the runs become shorter, tapering down to just a few miles a day before the big race.   This concept works well for studying as well.  If a student can maintain a disciplined study routine during the semester, then the few days before the final exam should be shorter and shorter "refresher" study... read more

Just the other day  I had a conversation with a parent about what's wrong with schools today.Among many things, we agreed that students don't get the chance to really learn the material. They just don't practice the skills enough. Is it because they spend all their time preparing for standardized testing? Is it lack of time in the classroom? Or is it just plain old boring ? Well, boring or not,  repetition is necessary. You heard me right. If you practice something over and over again you will remember it! I can prove it . Marketing gurus use this all the time.  How many of you reading this blog know about the Geico Gecko? Now prior to that commercial, how many of us would have known to call that green  lizard a "Geico"? Very few, I am sure. We would've just said it was a lizard but  because we have seen that commercial pop up on our screen thousands of times. We know about the Geico Gecko even if we didn't want to know about it.  Here's the... read more

One of the biggest frustrations for students is getting something wrong that they know how to do. What is usually the problem?  Careless errors. Do students really care less? Probably, they care less for writing everything down step by step. They care less about labeling the formulas.  They care less about thinking about why they keep making that mistake. For some reason, I have found that students have the perception that smart people don't write stuff down. Students believe that "smart"  people hold it all in their heads. Well, here's the real deal. Smart people write almost everything down with meticulous attention to detail. They know that the "blackboard " in their head gets erased quickly. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out what you did wrong when you don't have a record of what you did. I call it the dance in your head that leads nowhere!  What's the cure? If you believe that your student is being careless  Tell... read more

#1: Keep a smile on your face even when u have nothing to be happy about it makes time fly #2: Don't fell leftout because your friends are outside your makeing things better for all of your futures #3: When in doubt contimplate a new idea for fun #4: All the time you do get on the television look for the channels that have to do with your school #5: All the time you spent online is a waste if it isnt productive

I have noticed that a lot of students are bright, knowledgeable, prepared, and eager to succeed.     Yet, when it comes to test time, they might as well have not studied at all.  It's the nerves!!  I have no explanation for why nerves cause such problems, and I definitely don't have a fix-all.  Unfortunately, if you have anxiety, it's just something you'll have to deal with.     Here's a few tips:   No coffee before tests.  I know you think it relaxes you, but it doesn't.   no cigarettes.  Yes, believe it or not some high school kids smoke.  Wait until after the test to singe your lungs.   no cramming.  You either know it or you dont, so goto sleep and eat breakfast in peace.   try eating unsalted almonds or raw spinach, but defintely not salted almonds or cooked spinach.   if you're nervous, call your tutor. if you don't have a tutor and are nervous,... read more

I remember how nervous I was during every major test in my life. The SAT, AP Tests before undergraduate school. Then there was the dreaded GRE required for admission to graduate school. Fast forward: my master's degree test involved a full day of writing (with no notes or books). My doctoral exams involved a full day of writing, three times a week for one week (also with no notes or books). Talk about torture! And then there was the faculty review ... whew! But you know what? I needn't have been nervous and neither should you, because "testing" begins the minute you walk into the classroom door. If you pay attention in class, do your homework, stay focused (you can always "play" later), take good care of your mind and body -- exercise a little to relieve stress and stay healthy -- and create a peaceful environment in which to study a little bit every day during the school week, you should be able to retain information and write to the best of your... read more

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