Tag Archives: exams

Single Best Way to Boost Your GRE Score

What is the single most effective way to increase your score on the GRE? If you only have three hours to prepare for your GRE tomorrow what should you do? How did one test taker boost her math score by almost ten points with less than six hours work? Continue reading Single Best Way to Boost Your GRE Score

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Does Race Affect Academic Performance?

It does. And so does gender. Exactly how it effects your test scores totally depends on the thoughts floating around in your head, no matter what color it is. In fact, race and gender aren’t really the culprit; for that we have to look to stereotypes.

In the classic study on stereotype threat researchers Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson looked at the performance of African American and White college students. The African American students’ performance on the GRE test varied markedly when they were primed to think of the test in two different ways. When the GRE was presented as a measure of intelligence African American students performed Continue reading Does Race Affect Academic Performance?

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Iron New Information Into Your Brain

Did you ever try to iron a shirt with a cold iron? Could you get that shirt ironed without the heat? Sure, but it would take for-freakin-ever! Ironing a nice fold into a shirt is oh-so-much faster when you’ve got HEAT.

Trying to learn stuff by going over it again and again is about as effective as ironing with a cold iron. You can do it, but it’s sloooooow and it’s a LOT of work. Getting memories ironed into your brain is much easier if you know how to Bring The Heat! Continue reading Iron New Information Into Your Brain

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Start Studying Now!

IMG_2433smallHow far in advance should I start studying for a test?

You should be studying for the test at the beginning of the semester.  Every time you read a text or take notes in class, be thinking, “how will this look on the test?”.  Here’s what an optimal study schedule will look like. Study those notes…

Smile your way to an “A”

Cute kid smileSmiling at the right time can actually improve your grades!  So brush those choppers and start grinning. Here’s how …

  1. Come to class a few minutes early to avoid being part of the herd.
  2. Make eye contact with your professor as you walk in.
  3. Smile warmly (Hint: imagine s/he’s your long lost cousin.  If you don’t like your cousin, imagine it’s your long lost cousin being attacked by rabid ocelots.) Continue reading Smile your way to an “A”

Are you wasting your time studying?

In the past, I’ve talked about exactly when to study for each class you’re taking. Follow that schedule and you will spend less time to get better grades!

But don’t make the mistake of blindly following anyone’s schedules or methods (mine included). It’s all about strategery, people.

Not all classes are created equal.  Some classes you can cut that schedule in half and still get an A.  In other classes, you may have to double up. Treat your schedule like a strategy game; carefully decide where you will get the most payoff and act accordingly.

Example; I took a class in Continue reading Are you wasting your time studying?

Should I Invest in a GRE Prep Course?

Taking a prep course is really an ideal first step for most students.  If you’ve never built a house before, it would NOT be smart to go out and start pouring concrete and putting up boards on your own for a couple of months, and only then go talk to an architect/builder to find out exactly how to do things.

You normally start by getting with an architect to plan the building and by talking to a builder who knows something about exactly how to procede with each step of the process.  Taking a prep course is like talking to an experienced builder and architect first.  Although their services can come at a premium, they can help you make sure that none of your time and effort is wasted.  In fact, they will more than pay for themselves!

A GRE prep course can raise a student’s combined score an average of Continue reading Should I Invest in a GRE Prep Course?

How NOT to read for college classes

homeworkIf you think that excellent students read everything they are assigned for their college classes, think again. The best students know what material to read thoroughly, what material to skim, and what material to skip altogether. That saves them a lot of time and a lot of mental effort, since they aren’t focusing their attention and studying on materials that won’t be on the test.

Think about readings from the prof’s perspective. In general, it costs a professor very little to assign you a given reading. As they assemble their syllabi, it takes them all of thirty seconds to type “Read War and Peace, by Tolstoy, for the March 2nd class.” Doing the reading, however, will take you days! Assigning it Continue reading How NOT to read for college classes

6 Things You Must Know Before Taking a GRE or SAT Prep Course!

First–full-disclosure–I teach a GRE prep course and an SAT prep course for Texas A&M University.

Expensive courses can be worth it if you actually get the increases they claim. They could easily make you ten times as much as they cost, in the form of scholarships, fellowships, or better jobs!

What little independent research there is on the effectiveness of such courses shows little or no increase in score for those who buy the prep books (although buying the books is not the same as reading the books). Those who take prep classes show some improvement, and the greatest increases are among those who get personal tutoring. This research was specifically on the SAT, but the two tests are very similar. On the other hand, GRE students tend to be more self-motivated students than SAT students, so they might get better results from the books.

Pricier doesn’t mean better. Most courses teach pretty much the same stuff, because they all read each others books and integrate any new techniques they find. For the price of a classroom course from Kaplan or Princeton you can get live, one-on-one, GRE tutoring via the internet. That link is for my tutoring, but I’m sure there are lots more tutors out there. Continue reading 6 Things You Must Know Before Taking a GRE or SAT Prep Course!

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.