Balance is essential…

In the movie Lady in the Water there is a character who is always lifting weights. But he always does the exact same exercise; he lifts the same weight, in the same way, with the same arm. As a result, he has one huge muscular arm while the rest of him looks completely normal.

I wonder how many of us [hidepost]would look that way if how we treat our minds and spirits and relations with others was as readily apparent as how we treat our bodies. We might gawk in amazement and disgust as some fine figure of a man walked by with a shrunken and sickly family life. A beautiful woman with a wimpy, disfigured spirit might arouse pity or loathing rather than envy.Many of us give undue attention to certain aspects of our lives. We may live for school or books, yet sadly neglect our physical health. Perhaps we are the picture of bodily well being and do well in school, yet have no time for our families. Many of us survive this way for years, only to realize in the end, that we short-changed ourselves. Often we realize too late.

Seek balance as you set your goals. The harder it is for us to identify a goal in a certain area, the more we need to concentrate on that area. For example, if you have no idea what a reasonable spiritual goal would be and don’t really even think it’s important, there should be a warning buzzer going off in your head. You are probably scrawny and puny in that area.

Here are some areas to consider when setting long-term goals…

* body
* mind
* spirit
* social life
* family life
* work and school

Can you think of others? In which area do you need most to improve?[/hidepost]

Group your vocabulary for better recall…

When learning vocabulary, get more bang for your buck by looking at synonyms at or sister site For example, when studying a word such as garrulous, you can also memorize verbose, prolix, loquacious, and voluble, all of which mean talkative, more or less.

As you go through them pay special attention to how they differ; prolix, for example, has the idea of tediously long-winded, while garrulous refers more to going on and on about relatively trivial matters. By grouping all these words together you establish a category and make all the words more memorable.

Calculators are way too slow

[hidepost]Awright SAT and GRE preppers; dust off those old synapses.  Do you know your multiplication tables as well as you should?  “As well as you should,” means instantly!  You shouldn’t have to stop and think about the product of 7×9 or 8×6; it should just pop into your head.  Being able to do that will really speed you up on the test!  Here’s a great site to help you get up to speed.  Five minutes of practice a day for a couple of weeks could mean big gains on your test scores![/hidepost]

Memorizing Fast and Effectively

[hidepost]Helpful Software for Memory Tasks

In my classes on GRE and SAT Prep we talk about effective ways to commit all that vocabulary to memory. Reviewing every word every day is a waste of time. You want to study each item as little as possible and still be able to recall it at test time. In class we talked about a way to use different stacks of flashcards to minimize review and maximize recall. SuperMemo 2004 software does the same thing, but much more effectively.

Enter your facts in minimalist, flashcard style. Example; “Q. Lion?, A. Large African cat.” Supermemo 2004 will quiz you on that fact on a schedule designed to minimize reviews while ensuring that it isn’t forgotten. This is very powerful and useful software, and I would DEFINITELY shell out the $19 and use it. One warning; the website and the program are NOT pretty or terribly intuitive. It will take you some time to get used to how the app works, but it pays huge dividends. And it’s not just for vocabulary. You can commit anything to memory using SuperMemo.

Check it out at[/hidepost]

Speed up your reading

with this online app

Just thirty minutes of faster-reading practice, twice a week can save you SOOO much time with your studies. Here’s a slick online app that will help you. Just copy and paste your text into the box and Spreeder will play it back to you at the speed you designate. Adjust the settings to modify the reading rate and chunk size (the number of words it flashes at you).

Learn Smarter, Faster!