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Sometimes I work with students who perform well during our lessons, but who struggle when it comes to actually taking the test. It turns out the reason for this might be genetic.    When we experience stress, our prefrontal cortex is flooded with dopamine. Some of us are coded with a gene that slowly removes the dopamine, while others have a variant that rapidly removes... read more

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The Economist recently published an article with some surprising research findings about stress. Contrary to popular belief, stress is not always bad, nor is it the amount of stress that matters. Rather, the key determinant of its impact on performance and health is largely psychological.    In one study, researchers divided a set of GRE test takers into two groups. Saliva... read more

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Over the years, I have noticed that many students do not like to take their practice test scores at face value. When students get scores below their goal, the temptation to rationalize is strong.   "On Test Day, I will take it much more seriously, so I'm sure my result will be higher."  "I was distracted during XYZ sections, so my score on those isn't as accurate... read more

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Students are often frustrated when trying to learn a foreign language because they can't organize the material like they are used to doing in other subjects.  Language is fluid and we are able to finally understand foreign words when we let go and allow the right side of our brains to take over.  Much of understanding is intuitive and contextual, so give yourself permission to guess... read more

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Our understanding of the relationship between memory and learning continues to improve. Why not benefit from the latest research by incorporating some of these findings into your own study habits? I help my students come up with creative ways to do this all the time, and wanted to share one of the more helpful summaries I've come across about what works and what doesn't.    Here... read more

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I started my Physics course this Summer telling my students they are not allowed to say "I don't know," unless they can't read, listen to a recording, watch a video, or ask a question of someone more knowledgeable. When I was in school we did not have access to information like students do today.  In my humble opinion, students need to bulk up on two things like body builders... read more

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I published this article on my blog and I believe that it will help students, tutors and parents alike so I decided to re-blog here.  Time management is such an important skill! The article published by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension entitled “Thirteen Timely Tips for More Effective Time Management” proved to be very beneficial as well as the Time Management Quiz. They highlight... read more

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I have been a tutor for many years. I have been an advocate for bullied kids for several years as well. But only recently did I begin to see that even tutors can offer relief to kids who are bullied, and point bystanders in a proper direction as well. The tutor's secret is really simple: we don't even have to know whether or if the students we work with are having bullying... read more

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As a college student with a difficult major and two minors, my timetable is my best friend.  It's not an exaggeration when I say that I live and breathe by it.  I don't schedule anything without looking at it, and if anyone (friend, professor, boss, etc.) asks me, "Do you have free time at [X]?", I just email them a copy of it.   If you don't have a timetable,... read more

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When it comes to tutoring, more is not necessarily always better. Although you need a minimum amount of lessons and practice to really see remarkable improvement, you do not need that many lessons for improvement to happen. 1. With me the quality of instruction always trumps quantity. So I seek a transformation of your understanding. 2. I make use of manipulatives or other tools whenever... read more

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Okay, we have all made a math mistake, but for one reason or another we never took advantage of that opportunity to commit the correct step to memory. I have news for you. You can still remedy the situation. Here is how you achieve it. 1. For every time that you’ve made a wrong step in solving a problem, repeat the correct step three times. 2. If it is a multi-step problem, WRITE all the steps... read more

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Everyone knows that in order to do well in school you have to study. No-brainer (all-brainer?). However, what a lot of people don’t know is that what you do while you study can make or break your GPA. I’m not talking about the material you’re studying, because professors usually make PowerPoints or study guides to help you narrow down the material. I’m talking about the little habits that you... read more

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Hello Students!   Many of you that I work with soon realize that the flaw in your academic subjects is mostly because of bad study habits. I think it is important to stress as your courses get harder and grade levels progress, more active learning should be ocurring than passive learning. What is the difference between the two? Passive learning is reading a textbook, watching a movie/documentary,... read more

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Through our tendencies of human nature, we don't like to ask for help. We want the recognition, the glory and the credit to be given to only ourselves. Unfortunately, the thought that we can single-handedly do everything on our own is a huge misconception. The world has been built on a foundation of people working together to towards a common goal. The world needs individuals to work together... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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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... read more

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