02 Jun

Learn How to Study with Free School Skills!

Are you ready to learn how to study easily and quickly?

School Skills study methods are scientifically based, easy to learn and fun too! School doesn’t have to be hard or take a long time. We’ve put together our top three test strategies into this short video.

They work for any kind of test in any school. Have a look.


Don’t let the simplicity of these methods fool you. They work great!

Leave us a comment too – we love to hear from you!

04 Nov

Pack Up Your Memory with a Friend

Ever tried to memorize a long list of facts for an exam? Then you know how painfully boring it can be. A seemingly endless list of words or concepts can be mind numbing. Reading the list out load can help you to remember. Turning the list into flash cards can help. There is another way, however, that eliminates the boredom. Why not try memorizing the list with another student from the same class? Together you can play a partner memory game that uses ‘stacking’ to pack the whole list into your brain.

Here’s how it works:

Two girl-student in the park1) Make copies of the list for both of you. It might be a list of vocabulary words or cell structure parts for biology.

2) The first person reads the first word, then looks away from the list so they can not see it. Out loud the first person says “We are going to a biology exam and I’m packing my Mitochondria“.

3) The second person repeats the phrase and Viagra adds the next word or concept on the list “We are going to a biology exam. I’m packing my Mitochondria and my DNA“.

4) The first person then picks up the phrase and adds the next word or concept on the list “We are going to a biology exam. I’m packing my Mitochondria, my DNA and my Golgi Apparatus“.

As you play back and forth, make the phrase longer and longer. The trick is to repeat the entire list out loud without looking at your printed list.  Imagine yourself ‘packing’ all the concepts into a suitcase for your exam.  The visual image will help you as well.

Later on, when you are in the classroom taking your exam, imagine your self opening the suitcase of stored words that you packed with your friend.  You can also silently repeat the phrase you used  as a trigger for your brain.

Study partners make memorizing a lot more fun!  Pack up your list with a friend for exam success.

 

04 Aug

A Student Study Revolution from Answer Underground?

Does Answer Underground put an on-line, global study group into your pocket?  Maybe. Their smart phone application hooks you up through Facebook with special groups to chat and get answers to your homework questions.  Or you can provide an answer to someone else’s question. It’s like twitter for your Biology class.

Share your study questions and test preparation with friends

The big problem whenever you hop into any online study group is … can I trust these people?  Do they really know their stuff?  While tools like OpenStudy solve this with a rating system (you vote on the answers you receive), Answer Underground uses the old-fashioned method.  You only invite people you actually know in person to join your group.  Like the people in your class.  Or friends you know who took the class last year.  Trust get discount viagra online problem solved.  In fact – you also solved the problem of where and when your Study Group can meet too. Your Study Group can be meeting all the time, whenever you need them.  Or they need you.

Once your study group is linked up, you can share questions and answers with each other.  Groups are organized by topic (Math, Biology, etc) so you can join the conversation that you need most.

 

It’s a compelling idea and it’s fun to share answers with people you know using your phone.  The App itself is clean, simple and easy to use.  In today’s text-message-savvy campus and school, this app should fit right in.  Should you try it?  No.  Send a text message to five friends. Then try it together.

 

09 Jun

Essay Exams Get a Deadline Makeover

Can your own writing learn from fast and furious newspaper writers? You bet it can! An essay exam is a race to finish your story in a desperately short time. Did your teacher ask for  1500 words on the causes of the American Civil War? You have one hour to write. Just like a newspaper reporter racing to publish the latest news.

So how do reporters turn out great writing in a short time? First, they make a quick outline of the topic – picking no more than three main points. For exams you’ll want to use a separate sheet of scratch paper. Here’s an example

Outline = Causes of the American Civil War

  1. North and South divided over issue of slavery
  2. Southern fear of growing northern federal control of their states
  3. Cultural and economic differences between North and South

Be sure to leave lots of blank space after each of the three items.

Next list any key facts that you have in your mind for each of the three main points. How many slaves were there when the Civil War started? What new laws did the Federal Government enact which threatened the Southern States? What social and economic practices characterized (and divided) the North and the South? Dump all the facts you can think of into your outline page.

July 29, 1938

Typesetting a newspaper in Ireland

Now it’s time to write! Start at the beginning and create a where to buy discounted viagra, lavitra & cialis story which moves from the first point, covering the facts and then moves the second point and then the third. This is where the magic happens. The dry facts should come to life as a rolling, flowing tale. Don’t think about it too much. Just imagine you are telling your Civil War story to a friendly 9 year old child. Make it fun and factual at the same time.

Wait! You’re not done yet. Your essay needs one final cherry on top. A great title.Create the title once you have finished writing the whole story. Now re-read your essay from the beginning and look for the emotional ‘hook’ which would make a reader want to read it. Here are some examples of great ‘hook’ titles from the news:

  • World’s Highest-Paid Athlete Reports To Jail
  • Deadly Kissing Disease Spreads to Schools
  • Piles of Cash Found on Subway
  • For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn
  • Family Receives Son Back from the Dead

Could one of these examples inspire a great title for an your exam essay?  How about “World’s Greatest Nation Rips at the Heart” or “How Could I Shoot My Brother and Son?”.  Look for the human side of your facts and turn it into a catchy title.

Practicing this fast paced writing technique should help you relax during the test.  It might even make your next essay exam … fun.  Reporters learn to love deadlines for the excitement they bring.   You might too.

01 Jun

Study Skills Go Social

click for a larger imageWhen OpenStudy picked up a very prestigious 2012 Edison Award for innovation we wondered … can online community really be as good as  live study group? We all  learn more when we learn together.  Why not just use Facebook? Or a chat group?

At first glance  OpenStudy  looks a lot like any other social network.  You make an free account to join, give yourself a cute name along with a funny picture and then start sharing messages.  The difference is that messages in OpenStudy are divided into areas by school topics.  Biology, Chemistry and Math all have their own ‘areas’ that you move into.  Once you are into the area you want, you can post questions and provide answers to others.  So what’s the big deal?

click for a larger imageThe  problem with any online discussion is you don’t know who is giving you good information and who is dumping mulch into your Horticulture homework.  That’s were  OpenStudy  jumps in. Every participant gets three little rating thermometers measuring their teamwork, problem-solving and egngagement.  The more you help, the more people like your answers, the more your ratings improve.  It’s pretty  addicting.  You can pump up your ratings by helping other people or Cialis posting good questions yourself.  When you help someone else they get to rate the quality of your assistance.   When you post a question, people can rate your question. If you have used eBay you already know about seller ratings.  It helps keep everyone honest.  You also get your own “fans”.  It makes you feel like a rock star.

Click to view larger

Overall OpenStudy is simple, fun and easy to use. It makes study time more focused and your personal study buddies are available 24 hours a day.  You might even have study partners on the other side of the world. Could you learn more French by studying with a friend in France?  Certainly. However, OpenStudy is not the only study tool you will need. You’ll have to look for practice tests, flashcards and research sources elsewhere.  Should you use OpenStudy? If you don’t have a living, in-the-flesh study group at school then we say … yes.  It works great as an online study group. But don’t forget the real people at your school.  Send them a message on Facebook and plan to meet up for study.  It’s always better with friends.

 

 

26 May

How to Break Through Study Barriers

Students Studying at Cathedral Senior High School in New Ulm, Minnesota...Sometimes you just can’t plow through your class study materials no matter what.  You’re stuck. Maybe you don’t enjoy the subject.  Actuarial tables? Bleh. Maybe you  are exhausted or maybe it’s you just have been studying too hard for too long.  Nothing works to get you focused.  And the test is coming up fast.

What do you do?

Here are some quick fixes that work great:

1) Get some sleep.  Drink a big glass of water and make sure you have a good meal.  Then snooze.  It’s the only real cure for old fashioned exhaustion.  8 hours of sleep and 2 hours of study is more effective than 10 hours of foggy eyed, exhausted cramming.

2) Exercise. If there is a  magic potion that helps people focus – it’s excercise.  Drink it! Go for a run, play some soccer or dance with your friends.  Exercise kicks up your blood flow, boosts brain oxygen and burns off stress. You’ll be clear headed and ready to study when you are done.

3) Find someone who loves it.  If you are studying a required subject and, honestly, you buy cheap cialis site espharmacycom hate it then there is only one answer.  Find a friend who loves it.  Then study with them.  Their excitement will rub off on you.

4) Laugh (a lot). Watch a hilarious movie that just makes you smile. Share some jokes with a friend. Laughter has a wonderful way of making everything easier.  It also helps you relax. Take a 5 minute break.  Watch something that makes you bust out with laughter.  Can’t think of a funny video? Try Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance for starters.

5) Use a clock and race.  For those super-competitive people who love to race you can beat the clock – with your homework!  Make a guess about how long the study session will take.  Write down your guess. Then start your stopwatch.  And beat it!

Extra Credit Tip

Energy drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine work great … for about two hours.  Then you will crash.   Their short term energy boost actually robs your body of energy, drains your brain of calories and leaves you more exhausted than before.  It’s not worth it. Try a quick nap or a fast run around the block instead.

18 May

Study with a Better Batch of Flashcards

click to view larger pictureWhat did 50 million  students  do last year?  Study using flash cards in Quizlet!  If that seems like a lot … it is.  Quizlet was started by high school student Andrew Sutherland back in 2005 to help him study for French class. He wanted the computer to flip over his flashcards on screen instead of the paper card decks we all use. It worked so well he shared it with some friends. And they shared it. And so on.

The Quizlet of 2012 brings some great additions to the basic flip-and-check flashcard drill. You can build a deck of flashcards with pictures or words on either side. Then Quizlet will turn them into a practice exam, or a game or review session for you. You can study the same materials multiple ways. You can also share your flashcard levitra coupons 30day free deck with friends in your class and they can send you theirs. Or browse through more than 11 million existing flashcard decks to find one you like.

click to view larger pictureWe love Quizlet for its easy setup and sharing along with a huge library of existing decks you can borrow. Creating a new flashcard deck is simple. The games are pretty addicting too as you race to finish with the highest score and lowest time. Study groups should love sharing their workload by sharing their study materials. Strangely we did not find many flashcard decks that appeared to be created by teachers.  Why not? Couldn’t your instructor create a flash card deck and share it with the whole class?

Overall we found Quizlet simple, fun and joyfully effective.  But don’t take our word for it.  Try it yourself. Merci beaucoup Andrew.

27 Apr

Improve Your Memory with Word Pictures

School throws a lot of strange words at you. PhytoplanktonAdherent? Since you don’t use these words every day they tend to exit your brain as fast as they enter. Even if you know the word’s definition, your brain needs something more personal as a ‘hook’ to recall the word .

So how do you remember these words? Say them out loud all them time? Please say you won’t.

Elefants Never Forget by Sunny Marry

Photo credit: Sunny Marry on Flickr

While strange words can be easily forgotten, personalized pictures make a much stronger memory imprint  and ‘sitck’ in your mind longer. Try creating a ‘word picture’ for each word that turns the word into a scene.  These imaginary pictures can be strange or funny.  They work best if they are personal too.  Here are some examples:

Phytoplankton: These tiny, single cell plants float in the ocean like grainy spinach  soup.  Imagine yourself slurping up a big wet spoonful of greenish soup.  Then say ‘Uck! Phytoplankton!’.  Now that’s a personal picture.

Adherent: This is a person who is ‘stuck’ to a religion. Imagine a bottle of glue with the word “ adherent” stuck on the label.  Try writing the word Adherent out on paper using a glue stick as your pen.  We guarantee it will stick in your memory!

Independence: Wasn’t a pen used to sign the American Declaration of Independence? Imagine a pen dancing across the page of this classic document.  Then make up a crazy dance with your own pen as you write out the word on paper.

Word pictures are a fun way to spice up your study time. They work too! Give it a try today.

 

24 Mar

Study Skills from Colleges and Universities

Schools all over the United States have ‘how to’ pages and test taking tips for their students. Why not?  They want their students to succeed.  Your school might have an Academic Skills center on their web site too.

Here are links to some of the best ones we’ve found:

Belinha has more than good looks

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Francisco Martins via Compfight

23 Feb

Method of Loci Memory Madness

Not everyone is good at memorization. Have you noticed? Some people easily absorb long lists of facts and recite pages from their books for fun. Others wrestle just to remember their own phone number. Yet the same person who forgets their phone number can remember pictures, faces and places with ease.

Has anyone told you “I can’t remember your name but your face is sooo familiar”? That’s because your brain remembers pictures and places better than words. What did your family cat look like when you were a kid? That’s easy. Just picture kitty cat sitting on the couch in your mind. You can ‘view’ the scene in your head and describe everything you need.Where is this bench?

I’d like to introduce you to an ancient memory trick that helps us ‘visual’ memory people recall words and facts. It’s called Method of Loci i meaning ‘technique of places’. How does it work? You use familiar places and images to ‘stick’ your facts and words. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Use a familiar place like your house or your dorm room.
  2. Set up ‘stations’ or ‘rooms’ that will become stops along a ‘memory walk ‘.
  3. Write up the material you need to memorize on a sheet or list. Perhaps your chemistry class already gave you a list of equations to memorize. Have the list in hand.
  4. Create a ‘walk’ which starts at one place and moves through a series of rooms or stops. This walk should be the same walk you use each time you want to memorize. The same stops in the same order.
  5. Walk to your first ‘stop’  (such as the front door) and stand still. Read the first fact or item you need to memorize out load. Then close your eyes and repeat it again. You might even write it onto a post-it note and hang it there at the front door.
  6. Move on to the next stop (such as the kitchen stove) and read your second item out loud. Now close your eyes briefly and say the item again out loud.
  7. Continue on your walk until you have covered all the facts or items you need to memorize. Ideally your memory walk should have enough ‘stops’ to memorize your whole list and return you to the starting point.
  8. Now walk the whole memory circuit again, stopping at each station and reading out your fact.
  9. Do the circuit three or four times, preferably on different days.

When the exam comes, imagine your self standing in the location where your started your memory walk.  Then visually recreate the walk in your mind.  The facts or items you memorized during your walk should easily return to your mind as you imagine yourself moving through the ‘stops’ of your Loci walk.

Extra Credit Tip

Sometimes you need more ‘stations’ than your little dorm room allows.  Don’t fret!  You can use furniture or other familiar items in a room to make more memory stops.  Each room should have no more than five items you use to ‘hang’ your memory items on.  Pick the same items in each room in the same order every time.  Like door – chair – desk – bed – sink.  Some people use this method to memorize hundreds of facts.  Yes … hundreds.