Although seemingly innocuous, one of the biggest problems everyone faces is anxiety. Multiple students have told me that even though they have done as much preparation as possible, they are still overwhelmed by feelings of stress and anxiety on the night before the SAT. Although they are often told by their parents, teachers and SAT tutors to relax and rest early on that night, many students are often eaten alive by worrying thoughts: What if the three alarms I’ve set don’t work tomorrow? What if I can’t remember anything I’ve memorized come tomorrow? What if I have no idea what the essay question is asking me? What if there are really difficult vocabulary words? What if…? Sometimes, these thoughts force students into insomnia and keep them up till the wee hours of the morning, hurting their performance during the actual SAT.
[Continue reading to find out how to deal with SAT anxiety…]
In her post, “Time Management,” Nina Bahadur offers tips on how to prioritize your assignments and make study schedules, which will set you on the path to studying more efficiently.
Maintaining momentum is equally important if you truly want to realize the benefits of time management. To get organized and stay organized, you should have the appropriate study materials and environment. The following four items are great basic tools for encouraging organization:
Expanding File Folder
Expanding file folders help to organize classwork. Each tab stands for a class, and class handouts go straight in the designated pocket. No need for three-hole punching, and you have the assurance that English papers will always be found under the English tab! File folders can also store handouts from extracurriculars like sports and clubs.
To prevent clutter, empty out your file folders at the end of each grading period. Keep notes you need for future midterms and exams and recycle the rest.
Some classes require you to keep separate binders, but I would stick with a central file folder as much as possible. Keeping track of one, large folder is easier than juggling 4-6 small binders, and it’s less weight to carry back and forth from school.
[Continue reading to learn about other organization tools]
For those of you who may think, “Oh, I have a terrible memory. I could never retain all the stuff I need to remember for school”, think again. Memory is far more dependent on technique and habit than innate ability.
In 2003, Nature analyzed the cognitive abilities of eight people who finished near the top of the World Memory Championships and found that their natural memory abilities and brain anatomies were NO DIFFERENT from those of the common person.
A typical World Memory Championship competitor can easily memorize and recite, in order, an entire deck of playing cards in less than 2 minutes, and an ordered list of over 1000 random numbers in an hour. These memory athletes, using their very average memories, simply trained themselves to use powerful techniques that take advantage of the way the human brain encodes and stores information to accomplish impressive feats of memory.
Believe it or not, if you had the discipline to train your mind to commit information to memory in a new way, you too could accomplish extraordinary feats of memory as well.
[Continue reading to learn techniques you can use to improve retention] Continue reading →
Active Learning forces students to interact with information in the learning process. Instead of trying to learn by simply listening to a teacher or reading text and attempting to mindlessly commit as much information to memory as possible (passive learning), the student engages in activities such as asking/answering questions, writing, or engaging in discussion related to the material during the learning process. These simple activities force the student to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information, which promotes deeper understanding and longer term retention of the material.
[Continue reading to learn how to implement ACTIVE learning strategies for yourself]
Time management is an essential skill for getting through high school, college, and the rest of your life! Here are my top two suggestions for getting organized and making the most of your time.
By making a list of tasks, you will be able to manage your time accordingly to get everything done. Being aware of everything you have to do is half of the battle!
I would recommend splitting your to-do list into three parts, depending on the urgency of each task. Here is an example list:
1. Highest Priority – do this today
Biology homework (due tomorrow in class)
Proofread essay on “Of Mice and Men” (due tomorrow in class)
Pick up French textbook from Alice’s house
2. Medium Priority – do this before the end of the week
Meet with Matthew to work on history presentation (due next week)
Organize handouts in Math folder
Practice SAT test before tutoring session on Friday
3. Low Priority – do this before the end of the month
Sign up for May SAT test date
While you are studying, I would also recommend listing any concepts that you are struggling to understand. That way, you can easily articulate any questions to your teacher, and you will be able to focus on those “problem areas” when studying for a test.
[Continue reading to learn about study schedules and additional tips]