Archive for the ‘college study tips’ Category

The Effects of Multitasking on Learning

November 23, 2014

multitask2When today’s students are studying, it’s common for them to also be texting, emailing, and posting on Facebook and other social media sites. And while is the social and emotional world young people live in today, scientists and educators are concerned that multitasking while learning can put students at a disadvantage.

Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention. They understand and remember less, and they have greater difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts.

That is because these multitasking operations are actually quite mentally complex. They draw on the same mental resources—using language, parsing meaning—demanded by schoolwork. Under most conditions, the brain simply can’t do two complex tasks at the same time, unless the two tasks are both very simple and don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. But if someone is listening to a lecture while texting, they are engaging in two very demanding tasks, each of which uses the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Researchers offer this bit of advice if you have a multitasking student:

Do 15 uninterrupted minutes of homework. Then take a “tech break”—two minutes to text, check websites and post on social media to satisfy the craving for electronic communication. Then it’s back to the homework for another 15 minutes.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Study Tips for Teens

May 23, 2014

teenstudy1It won’t be long before the school year wraps up for the year—but only after those final exams. Adopting some good study habits can help you perform better on tests and relieve some of the anxiety of taking exams as well.

Don’t wait for a looming exam to get into the studying groove. Get a head start by learning to take good notes all during the school year. Note-taking is a way of remembering what you were taught or what you’ve read about.

Write down key facts that your teacher mentions in class or writes on the board during class. Organize notes by subject and make sure they are easy to read and review. You may want to recopy some of your notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Research has shown that the act of holding a pen and creating shapes on paper (writing down your notes) sends feedback signals to the brain, leaving a “motor memory” which makes it easier to later recall the information. Typing or digitally recording does not have the same cognitive effect.

Not all exams are created equal, so don’t feel the need to divide your studying equally between different subjects. Assess each exam in terms of difficulty and your own level of knowledge, and spend more time on the sections that you know will be more challenging for you.

If you start to lose your motivation while studying, try moving to the kitchen table or going to the library. This can help you get your focus back and potentially improve your memory of the material. Meditation has also been shown to boost focus and improve test scores. Try sitting quietly and focusing on breathing for five minutes twice a day to improve mental clarity.

Most of us can concentrate well for about 45 minutes. So break your study time into 45-minute chunks and take a 15-minute break. Studies have found that taking a 10-minute walking break can help improve your focus for up to two hours afterwards.

Snack on studying-friendly foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, peanut butter, milk and seafood. Get your energy boost by eating a banana or an apple rather than consuming caffeine or energy drinks. And drink plenty of water because even mild dehydration can impair cognitive functioning and mental performance.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Redesigned SAT Takes Effect in 2016

April 9, 2014

SAT3In 2013, 1.7 million took the SAT, a globally recognized college admission test first introduced by the College Board in 1926. SAT initially stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test, later changed to Scholastic Assessment Test.

The SAT is intended to let students show colleges what they know and how well they can apply that knowledge. It tests a knowledge of reading, writing and math — subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

Just recently, the College Board announced a fundamental “rethinking of the SAT” to make it more useful by reinforcing the skills and evidence-based thinking that students should be learning in high school. The new version will go into effect in Spring 2016.

Among the key changes are the following:

  •  The penalty for guessing, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers, will be eliminated
  • The test will not ask students to define obscure words (such as “depreciatory” and “membranous”), relying instead on vocabulary more commonly used in college courses (“synthesis” and “empirical,” for example)
  • Math questions will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking
  • The essay portion, required since 2005, will be optional and scored separately
  • Scoring will revert to the old 1,600-point scale (from 2,400); 800 is the top score on math; 800 is the top score on reading and writing

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Some “Timely” Tips for Improving Your Productivity

March 9, 2014

busterclock3We all have the same number of hours in a day, yet some of us accomplish a lot and others very little.

Following are some simple changes you can make in your daily routine that are sure to give your productivity a boost:

Plan ahead—A little planning can go a long way and keeps you from constantly being in reactive mode. Take 15 minutes each Sunday night to review the week ahead. Then take just 5 minutes each evening to review the next day’s schedule. You’ll be more efficient and less anxious about getting things done.

Take care of the most difficult tasks first—When we procrastinate and let the most challenging projects hang over our head, the resulting stress hurts our ability to focus on what we’re trying to do currently. Tackle the big things first and you’ll be energized. The momentum will carry you forward through the rest of the day.

Focus on one thing at a time—Multitasking reduces focus and robs each task of your undivided attention, making it harder to do your best work.

Reduce touch points—Try to avoid going back-and-forth between tasks before finishing them. The fewer times you touch an item, the more productive you become.

Learn to say “no”—Your time is your most important resource. Say no to less important things, so you are free to conquer those that matter most.

Take a break—Our bodies are built for intense periods of performance, followed by a little rest—ideally 90 minutes of total focus followed by a 10-minute break.

Reduce distractions—Carve out distraction-free time, and put aside anything that can be dealt with later. You don’t have to answer every incoming text or email immediately.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com; and “like” us on Facebook.

Advice on Beating Back-to-School Anxiety

September 15, 2013

The transition into a new school year can be a time of excitement . . . and stress. Children and adults can become anxious, irritable or depressed by this major change.

We’d like to share some tips for all ages from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

Kindergarten through fifth grade students:

Talk about it—Talk with your elementary age children about their excitement, stressing benefits of getting back to school such as seeing their friends again and playing sports.

Give them some control—Be firm in telling your children that they do have to go to school, but give them control over some simple choices, such as buying or bringing their lunch, or riding the bus or riding their bike to school.

Teenage Students:

Keep the lines of communication open—Teens want you to listen to their back-to-school concerns without judging them. Do everything possible to keep the lines of communication open at this critical age.

Look for patterns—A wild new hairdo? No problem. Purple hair and scary new friends and a drop in grades? This may be cause for worry.

Adult Students:

Focus on your goals—Remind yourself why you are going back to school (better job, more money, etc.).

Remember that you’re not alone—Remind yourself that other “non-traditional students” have made it through this, and that it’s normal to be a little anxious or fearful.

If your child continues to be anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Dr. Jane Stewart and the Optiminds staff may be able to help. We will consult with you and your child to evaluate and identify problem areas or learning disorders that may be the source of the problem. We’ll design a customized program for improving your student’s cognitive skills, concentration, reading and other areas we have identified.

Dr. Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Optiminds offers parent coaching and parenting programs designed to instruct parents on how to handle their child’s behavioral or educational issues.  Giving parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their child in positive directions.

Call us today at (248) 496-0150 for an Initial Consultation or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by visiting the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Study Tips to Take the Stress Out of School

August 15, 2013

The new school year is just over a month away. If you are starting college or high school, you will be dealing with a totally new environment, a load of classes and mountains of homework that could be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it.

One of the biggest stressors is not having enough time to do everything, which can dramatically affect your ability to process what you learn in class.

Here are some practical study tips from Anne Crossman, author of Study Smart, Study Less for students of all ages:

  • Learn to manage your time. Map out a daily schedule, including school, sports or music practice, study time and free time.
  • Determine what time of day is your best in terms of studying, block it out and commit to it. Maybe your best time is right after school, or maybe you need a break first before you can hit the books again. Best not to put study off until it’s late and you are getting tired.
  • Create a study environment that is most efficient for you. Turn off your phone, don’t get on the Internet or get involved in social networking if it’s your designated study time. Turn off television and music. Contrary to what most students think, the brain works faster if it does not have to block out noise or images. Don’t study on your bed, either; your brain is programmed for sleeping and relaxing there.
  • As soon as you can after a class or lecture, find a quiet place where you can rewrite your notes and structure them in a way that makes sense to you.

If you feel that learning is still a struggle, consider enrolling in an Optiminds’ brain fitness program. We will customize a program for your specific needs that is designed to strengthen nerve cells and stimulate targeted areas of the brain to improve your cognitive and concentration skills.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Prepare for SAT and ACT Testing in 2013

January 15, 2013

If you are a high school student, there are six letters that are probably on your mind at any given time—SAT and ACT. These standardized tests are an important piece of the puzzle, along with high school grades and other factors, in helping colleges decide which applicants will do well if they are admitted. Many colleges use test scores to award “merit aid” scholarships, which is financial aid not based on need.

The ACT and SAT are different tests that measure similar but distinct constructs. The ACT Test is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students’ academic readiness for college. Test scores reflect what students have learned throughout high school and provide colleges and universities with excellent information for recruiting, advising, placement, and retention.

The SAT and accompanying SAT Subject Tests are a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. The SAT was designed as an aptitude test—it tests your reasoning and verbal abilities, not what you’ve learned in school. It lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. Many colleges use the SAT Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection.

With competition to get into a good college so great today, many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT and ACT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT or ACT this year, Optiminds can help them prepare, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

When to Consider Tutoring for Your Child

November 25, 2012

With the school year getting underway, many parents are looking for ways to help their children gain an academic edge whenever possible. Not long ago, needing a tutor was viewed as a sign that a child couldn’t keep up with his peers. Today, tutoring is an accepted—even expected—part of middle and high school education. Parents are often surprised to learn how common tutoring is, not only for children who are behind academically or have a learning disability but also for those who are bringing home good report cards.

Some points to consider if you are trying to determine if tutoring is right for your child:

Kids who are gifted are prime candidates for tutors because they are often not challenged enough in the classroom. A tutor can create a customized program that is both challenging and stimulating to help renew your child’s enthusiasm for learning if it has fallen by the wayside.

With states requiring testing of students every year in reading and math from grades three to eight, many parents are using tutors to improve their child’s performance. Often the scores from these exams are used to determine whether a child gains admission to a selective public middle or high school or whether a child is put on a vocational or academic track at school.

There is a higher expectation today to know more at earlier ages. Because standardized tests are so important, schools start prepping kids for them sooner. As a result, many middle school children are doing what once was considered high school work, while many high schoolers are taking college-level courses. Tutoring can help students keep up with things and meet the challenge of these higher expectations.

Tutoring can help fill in the gaps in classroom curriculum. Some states no longer emphasize spelling or grammar since that knowledge is not required for state tests. As a result, middle school children may know the definition of SAT vocabulary words such as “perambulate” and “quiescent,” but they don’t know how to spell such basic words as “independence” or when to use commas or semicolons. Parents turn to tutors to help their kids bone up on these fundamentals.

With competition to get into a good college so great today,  many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT this year, a tutor can help them prepare for the exam, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills. Often, scholarships are directly linked to a student’s SAT scores. So it makes sense to invest ahead of time in tutoring so your child does better on the SAT and has a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Early Tutoring Can Be a Real Asset

September 22, 2012

An important resource in ensuring your child’s academic success is getting the help of a tutor. Dr. Jane Stewart offers tutoring services for students of all ages at her two locations—Optiminds in Southfield and The Brain Development Center in Novi.

Tutoring used to be thought of primarily as a remedial tool. If a student was struggling or made some mistakes  along the way, working with a tutor was a way to get help and make a fresh start. But nowadays, working with a tutor is often treated like having an academic personal trainer and, as such, is enlisted by even the best of students. Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring and to get started early in the semester before trouble starts.

With the new school year just getting underway, here are some reasons why starting tutoring early can help:

  • Real learning takes time and starting early gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • By being proactive, your child has a chance to grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work is built.
  • Student and tutor have time to get to know one another and establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more a tutor works with your child, the more they get to know strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
  • Early work means that early homework assignments will be done correctly. This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.
  • A tutor will hold your student accountable for completing work.
  • A tutor provides constant feedback on the work, which helps a student stay on track with subjects.
  • Tutoring builds confidence in a person’s learning abilities, increasing motivation to continue to do well.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about The Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

Optiminds—The College Student’s Best Friend

May 20, 2012

If you’re a college student, it’s a good guess that you find yourself with too much to do and too little time to do it in. Maybe it’s time to treat yourself to some help from Optiminds.

In a short time, we can teach you how to reduce stress and increase your mental capacity, which will allow you to process information better and faster. You will be able to retain critical information that you’ve learned in class, so you can apply it quickly when doing homework or taking exams.

We utilize skills-based programs, computerized drills, visualization techniques and mental exercises individually tailored to your unique needs to achieve proven results. We’ll help you set your goals and achieve them.

Here are just a few comments from satisfied college students about their Optiminds experience:

“My college grades improved, and I actually remember what I studied.”

“This visualizing really works! I see my organic chemistry in 3D in my head and am getting an A. Thanks, Dr. Jane!”

“I’ve learned how to overcome stress and being overwhelmed. Now I have time to have fun with my friends!”

“I got a full ride to medical school after Optiminds helped me raise my MCAT score.”

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds tutoring programs for students of all ages by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.


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