Archive for the ‘study habits’ 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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Back-to-School Study Tips

September 23, 2014

Whether you’re headed back to college, high school, middle school, or elementary school, the back-to-school season is in full-swing! Start the new school year by adopting some sound habits for studying:

  • Avoid distractions in your study space. Choose a space that doesn’t have a lot of tempting distractions, such as TV, radio, cell phone, etc.
  • Keep all of your books, notebooks, binders, and folders for each class together on a shelf or in the same space. Labels things to make it that much easier to find the right materials.
  • Keep track of your assignments, deadlines, and appointments in one place. Prioritize tasks and set a study schedule.
  • Schedule time to complete your assignments based on anticipated time on task and urgency.
  • Divide your study time into blocks separated by quick breaks. It is most effective to study in 30-45 minute blocks of time, allowing yourself quick 3-5 minute breaks in between study blocks.
  • Create and save study guides and aids for each quiz and test you have, rather than waiting until the night before big tests to start creating study aids. You will already have your study aids created, which saves you valuable time that you can dedicate to studying.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate with your teachers. They want to see that you are interested in the class material and that you are driven to succeed. There’s a good chance that a portion of your grades will be based on your class participation. By effectively communicating with your teachers, you can help maintain and increase your class grades.
  • Reward yourself! When you have completed tasks, reward yourself in small ways, such as taking a 10-minute break or treating yourself to TV or a movie.

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.

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.

Call Optiminds for Credit Recovery Programs for Students

April 23, 2014

If your student has failed courses because of poor grades or absenteeism or dropped out of school, there is hope for getting them back on track.

Optiminds now offers accredited, individualized credit recovery programs for students. Credit recovery is the process of helping students recover the credits they have lost so that they can move on to the next grade and stay in school and graduate on time.

Our customized credit recovery sessions focus on helping students boost achievement levels, earn credit based on competency of the content standards for a particular course and gain the skills they need to succeed. After an initial assessment, they receive the intensive instructional support they need to master core subjects.

Please give us a call at (248) 496-0150 for more information. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. 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.

Monitoring Your Child’s Use of Media

February 23, 2014

KidsTech1Children today are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

Studies have shown that the excessive use of media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some recommendations that parents might find helpful in overseeing their children’s use of media and helping them make wise media choices:

  • Use established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use
  • Limit screen time and make educational media and non-electronic formats (books, newspapers and board games) readily available
  • Watch television with your children and put things you watch into context
  • Establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms
  • Turn off the TV during dinner
  • Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content
  • See that your kids spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play
  • Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

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. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Keep Time On Your Side

November 16, 2013

Being able to manage time effectively can help reduce stress, improve productivity and give us a sense of having control over our lives.

There are any number of strategies you can experiment with to help you manage your time well whether you are a student, parent, retiree, self-employed, or a corporate executive. Here is just a sampling:

  • Focus on the big picture. Have and follow a personal mission statement and check occasionally to be sure that your activities are you helping you achieve your goals.
  • Get organized. Utilize time-saving tools such as appointment calendars, to-do lists, file folders.
  • Plan your day ahead of time. Prioritize daily tasks and keep a schedule of daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
  • Do the most difficult work first, perhaps breaking it up with some easier tasks.
  • Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
  • Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
  • Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone and email.
  • Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation.
  • Be flexible—The unexpected happens (sickness, car troubles, etc.); you need to be able to fit it into your schedule.
  • Know who and when to ask for help when needed.

Optiminds’ customized programs include time management training, as well as life strategy skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

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. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Is Your Child Struggling at School?

October 23, 2013

School has been back in session for a few weeks now. If you are noticing that your child seems anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Optiminds can help.

It’s a reality that schools are not equipped to handle the individualized demands that every student brings. As a parent, you know better than anyone if there are changes in your child’s behavior—impulsiveness, frustration, being overwhelmed. When a child struggles with these things, it affects his or her ability to process information properly. It is inevitable that they will have difficulty learning in school—unless they learn how to overcome these obstacles.

Dr. Jane Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Through Optiminds, Dr. Stewart offers coaching and parenting programs to help parents handle their children’s behavioral or educational issues. Optiminds gives parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their children in positive directions.

Optiminds’ individualized tutoring and brain training programs are designed to increase mental capacity, process information better and faster, and improve mental performance, cognitive skills and adaptability.

The Optiminds staff will consult with you and evaluate your child to identify problem areas or learning disorders. We will then design a plan that includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills accompanied by recommendations for diet and physical exercise. Call us today for an initial consultation.

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.

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.


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