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.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

04 Feb

Better Grades in only 6 Seconds?

Could you use a fast way to improve your grades? Then get ready to slow down. Many exam and test errors come from the same source. Not reading the question well. We get stressed and hurry through the tst questions, missing the main points. We trip onto an answer that ‘looks right’ because we haven’t fully comprehended the question. And we end up getting the question wrong.

Here is how you can fix it.

Each time you come to a question on a test or exam STOP and count three long, steady breaths.

In.

Out.

Breath slowly and easily while your eyes scan the test question and possible answers. 

one … ( IN … OUT)

two … ( IN … OUT)

three … ( IN … OUT)

As you breath slowly and count, let your eyes slowly read the complete exam question and ALL possible answers or options.  There is no hurry.  Please read every word even if you think you know the question or the answer seems obvious.  There are often hidden traps or nuances to test questions that Pele miss.  Slow down.  Read everything. Breathe.

Now here’s the kicker. After counting out three long breaths and reading everything thoroughly, ask yourself “How would my instructor answer this question?”. This prompts your brain to recall the class when your teacher discussed the topic. Don’t try to force yourself.  Just imagine yourself asking the teacher and then imagine their answer.  This removes the focus from yourself and your stress. It also turns on your visual memory – the most powerful way to remember things.  Now you are ready to answer the test question.  Go ahead.

This three breath method may feel like it takes a long time.  It doesn’t.  Using a stop watch you will find that it takes less than 4 seconds per test question. If you use the three breath method on a 60 minute, 100 question exam, you will be done in less than 45 minutes, leaving lots of time for review.

Most people actually finish there exams faster with this method. And they get better grades too.

We suggest you pick up a practice exam and with each test question repeat this pattern until it becomes automatic:

(breath) one …

(breath) two …

(breath) three …

(think)“How would my instructor answer this question?”

Try it today. It works.

 

* * * * * * *

 

26 Jan

Writing for Essay Exams

Have you ever faced an exam with only one question? It’s the essay exam that we all dread. You’ll get a single question on the page like “Explain the causes of the American Civil War including parties involved, issues and key people.” followed by 2 hours and 1500 words to answer.

It might be the toughest type of test there is.

The best way to prepare for essay is exams is … to write essays.  And nothing helps write academic essays better than Gerald Graff’s book They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. If you haven’t yet checked this slim gem out from your school library we recommend you do payday loan consolidation. Soon. Be prepared to get in line with a lot of other people who want help with their essays too. This little book helps you write persuasively and conversationally with the ‘academic’ flavor needed to win good grades.

We recommend working through this book as a group or with a writing teacher since the best practice is … practice. Find topics that excites you, like the newest snowboards, and then turn out 1500 words to amaze and educate your friends. Or start a blog and write weekly about skirt styles. Whatever works best to get you writing.

The secret to success on essay exams is learning to write great essays. On any topic.

09 Dec

Home Baked Practice Exams

How do you prepare for an exam? Do you read your classroom notes until your eyeballs hurt? Do you highlight your textbook with a bright yellow marker?

When teachers prepare tests, they don’t spend hours highlighting pages and neither should you. Instead, teachers read through the textbook and lecture notes, writing down possible test questions for each topic they want to cover in class.

It’s easy to become your own teacher. As you read your textbook and go through your lecture notes, write down the exam questions you would ask if you were the teacher. By creating your own exam questions, it makes your brain think ‘backwards’ about the topic and produces a great way to memorize information.

When you’re finished with your home baked exam questions, give them to a friend and ask him or her to quiz you. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily you remember things. If you miss a question, make note of which areas to study more. Take turns quizzing each other – after all, the best way to study for a test is by taking the test!

26 Nov

A Sudden Falling of Many Leaves

Our road points west from school, both sides lined with long rows of graceful maple trees. Their leaves rustle in the summer sun, turning gold and red as fall arrives. Students drive back and forth down the tree-lined avenue every day worrying about homework, sports and dating. The trees stand tall, decked in billowing colors, never changing.

Until one day in late fall when suddenly, without warning, all the leaves drop to the ground on one wondrous, cool day. Only the trees know the schedule. It’s a secret to everyone else. With synchronized precision on a they let every leaf go, carpeting the avenue with a golden red blanket. How do they all know to drop at the same time? It’s a mystery.

Maple LaneIf you have ever tried to learn anything hard then you know how this goes. You practice clarinet for days and days, months and years with no seeming improvement. Then one day, without warning, you are invited to go to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth Orchestra. Or maybe you devote year after year to science classes, never quite sure if you’ll ever get anywhere. Suddenly, you are invited to work in the lab of the top researcher at your college. Years of nothing and then … everything.

If you are working at school or sports or any type of learning that never seems to get any better and seems to take forever – hang on. It takes more dedication than you think. And just when it seems that nothing will ever change – everything changes. All at once.

04 Nov

The Only Drug You’ll Need

Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a pill that made you smarter? Just pop one or two of these little babies into your mouth and you’re going to the top of your academic class. Amazing grades are yours without breaking a sweat. A ‘smart pill’ would be easy, fast and probably … totally illegal.

InhaleA recent study of academic performance on tests actually did uncover a drug that can immediately and safely increase your grades. Oxygen. It turns out clean, pure oxygen is the fuel that fires up your brain to perform at it’s best. How did they uncover this? They compared the exam scores for students who played 40 minutes of sports before an exam to those who sat quietly studying. Who did better on their exam? The sports group! The activity got their blood flowing, their hearts pounding and their lungs heaving. It poured extra oxygen into their brains and they got … smarter. Their test scores went up and they had fun at the same time!

So the next time you think about reaching for something to help you study, why not consider a fast walk around the block instead? Or a quick game of soccer? Or even a few push ups. Any activity that gets your heart beating faster and your lungs drawing in air will pump up your brain as well. You’ll feel great and your grades will go up too.