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How to Become a Confident Test-Taker

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Taking tests is one of the more stressful parts of being a student. Not only do you need to know the material, but you need to have your mind steady and calm so that you can perform your best. To do this, you should have a plan so that you feel confident when tests and quizzes are administered. Here are three things that you can do to make test taking less stressful and feel more prepared.

Take Practice Exams Regularly

One of the best ways to feel more comfortable is to take the practice tests and quizzes. There’s also plenty of research that backs up how and why practice tests are useful. By doing this, you’ll gain an understanding of how the tests are formatted and what kinds of questions are on the exams. You’ll learn how to pace yourself, too. Many textbooks have practice tests at the end of the chapter or in the back of the book. There are also many teachers that offer practice tests or extra work so that their students are able to do their best when the real test is administered.

Put Together a Study Plan

Studying regularly is important for retention of material. Too many students try to cram studying into a couple of days before a major exam. This is not the best strategy. Instead, you should make the habit of studying for each class at least a few hours each week. By reviewing regularly, you’ll remember more and be able to come up with the information more quickly when it’s time to take the test. Establishing your study schedule will also help you improve your GPA and time management skills, so carve out a few extra hours each week for review.

Stay Engaged in Class

Attending class isn’t a passive activity, and idly listening while the teacher talks is a missed opportunity. To remain engaged during a lecture, make sure that you are up to date on the reading material. Most teachers design their lessons to augment and add greater understanding to the concepts that are presented in the assigned chapters. Also, you’ll be able to take notes in greater detail so that you understand the material better. To stay engaged, you should also participate in class discussions when appropriate.

Taking tests can be many students’ worst nightmare, but if you prepare, you can have a fairly calm experience. Take every opportunity possible to review material and understand the test format so that when test day comes, you feel confident.

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4 Helpful Habits for Writing Stronger Essays

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Some people absolutely love writing essays, while others find it to be tedious and painful. If you’re in the latter group, it might be because you have trouble bringing your essays together. They might lack a focus or proper structure. When you figure out the mechanics of an essay, they can be better and much more enjoyable to write. Here are four helpful habits for writing stronger essays.

Have Strong Sources

Great writing starts with great research. You need to select sources that are credible and relevant. They should back up the arguments that you make in your thesis statement (which should close your opening paragraph). Look for ones that can be properly verified, and don’t use Wikipedia as a named source. You also need to learn how to cite properly. Without correct citations, you could seriously compromise your grade.

Source: Elite Editing | Where to Find Credible Sources for Your Research Paper

Know What Kind of Essay to Write

Essays tend to generally fall into four categories: persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive. Be clear on what the difference between each type is and how to ensure your essay flows properly. A persuasive essay shouldn’t suddenly become a narrative, and a narrative essay shouldn’t suddenly become persuasive. Take the time to read examples of essays of each type to get a better understanding. You want anyone who reads your essay to be clear on what your intentions are and what the focus is meant to be.

Source: Word Counter | The 4 Different Types of Essays

Quote Correctly

Once you have your sources, you need to figure out how to quote them properly. Don’t just throw in quotes in order to pad out your word count. Instead, use the quotation sandwich method. This means introducing an expert, delivering their quote, and then elaborating on the significance of their statement as it relates to your essay. Quotes are intended to strengthen your essay.

Source: College of Western Idaho | The Quote Sandwich

Recognize Counter-Arguments

One of the main purposes of an essay is to make an argument and back it up. Your thesis statement serves as your argument. To show the power of your arguments, you need to acknowledge the opposing side. Bring up counter-arguments, and then use other evidence to further assert your points.

Writing essays should be embraced, as it’s your opportunity to express yourself. While you still need to have supporting documents and other evidence, you can still showcase your unique voice. Remember to start on all your essays early and to revise them as much as necessary.

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How Tutors Can Approach Teaching Difficult High School Students

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The intrinsic benefits of being a tutor are vast. Empowering students to reach their full potential is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in education. However, many students present difficulties that can be challenging for the tutor. By recognizing these challenges and working to overcome them, a tutor can become an invaluable tool for any struggling student. Here are four ways to approach teaching difficult high school students:

Stress Importance Of GPA

Savvy tutors understand the importance of emphasizing that high school students that are interested in attending higher education should aim for a GPA of 3.3 (though some colleges take GPA as low as 2.0). By laying this framework for the importance of good grades for future success, tutors can help to motivate students to stay on task. Students who are resistant to the tutoring service are more likely to buy into the process if they fully comprehend the ramifications of bad grades.

Incorporate Time Management Skills

The root of the struggles for many students is poor time management skills. Some students simply are not equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to effectively balance school with the demands of work, sports, extra-curricular activities, and home life.  This is where having a tutor can really help.

Empower Students

Students need to be empowered to work within their aptitude and skill level. The first step in empowering your students is to identify their unique learning style. Whether that be through instruction or hands-on demonstration, successful tutors understand the importance of recognizing the individual learning style of each student. Once you’ve learned more about how they learn best, help them to understand how to use that knowledge to help them study better when they’re not in tutoring. If they learn best through writing help them with their note-taking strategies, and so on.

Set Goals

Hesitant students are more likely to strive higher if there are official goals in place. Before each new semester, sit down with your student and lay out a set of formal goals. These goals should be challenging yet attainable with hard work. To ensure a successful session each time you meet, tutors should set a list of mini-goals to meet by the end of the appointment. Not only will these goals keep students on task, but they will also encourage the student as the goals are met. Start small so that the student will feel some measure of success when the goal is achieved and continue.

By empowering students to reach their full potential, you are setting your clients up for a lifetime of success. Despite the challenges that many students face, an effective tutor can help to overcome these roadblocks.

5 Ways to Get Students Excited About Science

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Not everyone is excited to learn about science. The subject may be new to them or could seem difficult to comprehend at first. Yet, with all the amazing benefits and lessons science has to teach us, it would be a shame to let students give up just because it’s hard or confusing. Here are some ideas on how to help motivate your students to want to participate and keep learning about science.

Creativity Through Experimentation

Students can utilize their creativity by trying a fun science experiment. It can be suggested that they buy their own kits at the hobby store. You could even do an experiment with them to help demonstrate the concept you’re trying to help them learn. Science Bob suggests lots of simple ideas that can be done both in class or replicated at home to get younger kids excited about new subjects, but they could easily be effective for older students as well. Being creative will allow the students to be free to think for themselves and ask more questions to clarify their understanding.

Volunteer for Science

Volunteering for a charity someone is passionate about often gives their life more meaning. This is important for a job because if it lacks meaning it won’t last. For older students, have them do their research or give them a list of potential opportunities for them to explore in research, writing, or the environment among others. One Green Planet gives a list of great volunteer opportunities that almost anyone can participate in.  Let students know they can make a difference through hard work and dedication if they choose. They can even volunteer at the science fair.

Time in Nature

Exploring the natural world is a great way to inspire students to become involved in subjects like environmental science, biology, entomology, or chemistry. They can hike to study the geology of an area. Drawing plants and animals is a way to help them understand the structures of these bodies. Collecting bugs and water samples can be taken home and examined under a microscope or used for the beginnings of a project. Science is largely based off of people asking questions, so getting your students outside and curious will help them to ask questions of their own.

Encourage Reading and Documentaries

Ask students to read a book or magazine that they’re interested in. A few examples of magazines with science articles are Discover, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. Science documentaries are educational and can be exciting for their artistic approach. Films to consider are Colliding Continents, The Strange Case of Peking Man, and Living in a Parallel Universe. Art has the power to inspire a person to live out their dreams.

Visit a Space Center

One of the most exciting ways to motivate students to love science is to encourage them to visit  a space center. Budget.com describes the Johnson Space Center’s exhibit in detail and it even includes a space shuttle replica, a lunar module, and other exhibits that are fun and educational for all ages. Or perhaps traveling to other museums such as the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC could be even more exciting with the opportunity for students to even try astronaut food in the gift shop. Students can feel the wonder and energy of outer space by viewing amazing science exhibits, see an awesome show or maybe even meet an astronaut. Viewing the reality of science up close will help to make it more real.

Whatever you do, trying to make science fun for your students won’t go unnoticed. Students can tell when you’re making a real effort to help them understand something, and they’ll reciprocate by doing their best to improve their understanding as well. Speak to them enthusiastically, so they feel excited. Encourage them through inspirational words, meaningful actions, and involvement. For more tutoring tips and tricks, check out our blog!

 

Laptop Notes Vs. Handwritten Notes: What’s Better for Learners?

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Walk into almost any college classroom today, and you will find students taking notes on laptops and tablets. While these devices are smaller with more storage capacity than ever before and are generally faster in taking notes, research shows that handwritten notes are still better. So if you want to remember critical data that you have read or heard, then grab a pencil or an ink pen and some notebooks.

Forces Idea Summaries

While it is relatively easy to type most words that a teacher may say, most people cannot write as fast as they can type. Therefore, they must listen for the main ideas and write summaries of what the teacher is saying. This requires a person to process the information at a deeper level leading to a better level of retention.

Conceptual Application

Researchers have found that even when students with laptops were warned not to write things down verbatim, they did so anyway. College America says that writing your notes by hand is better than using a laptop because it forces users to draw their own hypotheses as they listen to the information. Therefore, those who used laptops performed worse as a group on test questions requiring students to draw conclusions from the information.

Fewer Distractions

Researchers believe that while students may doodle on the edge of their notes while listening, they actually stay more engaged with the material than those using electronic devices. On the other hand, it is far easier (and tempting) when using a laptop or tablet to tap over to your favorite social media or your favorite game. In fact, researchers found that students taking handwritten notes have better short-and-long-term recall of material.

Impacts Different Parts of the Brain

The researchers believe that information that is handwritten may be stored differently in the brain than that which is typed on a keyboard. The most substantial difference came when students were asked to recall information from a list, chart or a graph. Those who had hand-drawn the chart or graph remembered the info substantially better than those using an electronic device. Effectivology explains, “one experiment on word recall and recognition showed that people remember lists of vocabulary words better when they write them by hand compared to when they type them on a computer.” They believe that the difference comes from the different part of the brain required to visualize and draw the information.

If you want to raise your GPA or simply recall information better, research clearly shows that you need to put away the electronics. Instead, create handwritten notes that will help you recall the most important details. Then, show others who want to laugh at you for being old-fashioned the results when it comes time to take a test.

 

Tips and Tricks to Help Students Take Better Notes In Class

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Note taking has been one of the most helpful, research-tested methods for successfully learning new material since the dawn of education. It’s one very important study habit. Students may find it tedious, but there really is no better way to cement information into their brains. You may be surprised to learn that handwritten note taking is better for your brain because it maximizes learning potential because of the kinesthetic connection between body and brain. Here are some things to consider as you look to refine your study habits.

Review Notes From The Previous Lecture

Before heading into your next class, take some time to review the notes from the previous lecture. This will help kickstart your brain and help you access the pathways initiated in the last class. Think of your mind like a filing cabinet, and before you can add onto to a file, you first need to open it up and rifle through. You can complete this task in as little as ten minutes.

Take Handwritten Notes

While most of us have enjoyed the luxuries of our laptops and iPads, when it comes to note-taking, there is more value in writing your notes by hand. The process engages your brain and body in a process that allows for better retention. Also, because most students type faster than they write, they end up writing down almost exactly what the teacher says. When students take longhand notes, they engage their brain in rewriting the information, a process that helps personalize the information and make it “stick” better. In this way, handwritten note taking is better for your brain.

Ask Questions to Clarify the Subject

Another helpful study tip is to ask questions as you need clarification. Not only does this show your teacher that you are actively listening, but it also helps your brain absorb information correctly– the first time around. It’s difficult to learn the next building block of information without understanding the first, so be sure to inquire early and often.

Pay Attention During the Lecture

All of these tips can help you pay attention during a lecture, which is really your most valuable habit. This might sound obvious, but minds do often wander. Curtail this by being an active notetaker and asking questions; this will ensure your mind is engaged and your brain working at optimum capacity.

Forming good study habits will provide efficiency in your learning. Don’t spend twice as long trying to study; instead, try reviewing previous lectures, taking handwritten notes, asking good questions, and keeping your brain focused during class.

References:

Huffpost

College America

The Conversation

Edudemic

Pros and Cons to Homeschooling Middle Schoolers

By | homeschooling, middle school, Uncategorized | No Comments

Parents of middle schoolers have a lot to think about when it comes to their child’s education and development. There are public or private schools, online schools, and homeschool, and as a parent, you may agonize over which option is best for your child. When considering homeschool, there are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros to Homeschooling

There are many advantages to homeschooling. When you homeschool, you have control over what your child is learning and exposed to on a daily basis. You get the benefit of setting the schedule and pace to suit your child’s individual needs. Additionally, you will have the time to add in activities or lessons not offered at a public or private school such as money management, thinking skills, religious subjects, etiquette and more. To supplement your child’s education, you can add in online courses or groups. Additionally, some homeschoolers get involved in community courses and activities, giving the added benefit of social interaction.

Middle school can be such a hard time for pre-teens and teenagers as the chances for ridicule and bullying have heightened in response to the hormonal changes happening to everyone. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to decide to homeschool your child at home for their best interest and health. The pre-teen/early-teen years are a great time to introduce new life skills and strengthen a child’s self-confidence, but unfortunately public and private schools are often more harmful than good when it comes to raising self-confident teens. When a child experiences bullying in their formative years, it can leave an adverse effect that can last years. As a parent, you want to do the best for you child. This has led many families to choose homeschooling to ensure the best environment and best future for their child.

Cons to Homeschooling

There are a few cons to consider when you are thinking about homeschooling. Firstly, each state is different, and you will want to make sure you can meet the requirements of your state. Secondly, homeschooling is time-consuming. Homeschooling takes effort from the parents for everything from planning to teaching, to finding alternatives for classes such as music or art if the parents are not comfortable in those areas. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to be considered, so it’s not a huge deterrent. And in the end, self-starting on electives could teach your children to cultivate healthy habits and hobbies that will last a lifetime.

Homeschooling is an excellent option with limitless opportunities. While homeschooling can be intimidating for the parents, it is well worth the effort. This could be the best investment in your family’s future.

References:

Parents On The Pros And Cons Of Homeschooling | NPR

Middle School Curriculum | International Connections Academy

3 Reasons To Love Homeschooling Your Middle Schooler | Only Passionate Curiosity

4 Study Tips to Become a Successful Student

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Whether you’re a prospective student or well into graduate school, knowing how to study is an important skill that you can improve on at any time. If you’ve been struggling to maintain your grades or feel like you’re burning out instead of making progress, it may be time to assess your study habits and implement changes.

Time Management

While some of us may get lucky cramming before exams, it’s much more fruitful to manage our time effectively. If you know you have an important test or research project to study for, don’t put your work off until the last minute.

Structure a schedule that you can be consistent with and allow yourself breaks so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you find it difficult to focus for long periods, consider sectioning your study time into thirty-minute chunks with short breaks in-between.

Limit Distractions

It may be tempting to listen to music or the hum of a television while you’re studying, but such background noise can be distracting, particularly if you’re prone to procrastinating.

The Internet can also be a very distracting time warp that saps your concentration. So when studying, limit technology and try to seek a quiet, cozy atmosphere. If you insist on playing music, opt for instrumentals and orchestrated pieces rather than songs with lyrics.

Test Yourself

We’ve all been in situations where a teacher springs a surprise test on us to check our absorption of the material. The benefit of doing this at home is you don’t have to have an anxiety attack.

Once you’ve read an important selection or think you understand the basics of a formula, go ahead and test yourself. Test your reading comprehension of books and passages. If you’re studying a language or unfamiliar terms, see if you can write down the definitions and translations without looking them up. Testing yourself will give you the confidence you need to overcome exam jitters and be successful.

Take Copious Notes

Some instructors forgo lengthy textbook readings and refer most to lectures. When your teacher is speaking, make sure you not only listen but write down as much content as possible. Identify the important facts and transcribe them so that you have a reliable source to study from. Make an effort to jot down dates, names, formulas, and definitions. Keep your notes simple and follow what works for you.

As long as you keep your mind open to learning something new, it’s possible to make studying more effective. Remember that everyone learns a bit differently and at a different pace, so don’t compare your methods to others. Find what works for you and be consistent.

For more helpful tips about being a great student, check out more posts here!

 

Featured image courtesy of CollegeAmerica