Tag Archives: research

Does Race Affect Academic Performance?

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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.

Top Two Ways to Nab New Knowledge

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What do the experts say are the top two ways we store knowledge?

Learners acquire and store knowledge in two primary ways: linguistic (by reading or hearing lectures), and nonlinguistic (through visual imagery, kinesthetic or whole-body modes, and so forth). The more students use both systems of representing knowledge, the better they are able to think about and recall what they have learned (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). -bolding mine

How can you turn your readings or the lectures you listen to into nonlinguistic forms? Try these…

  1. Take excellent notes that use lots of visuals. Get pro-active while you learn!
  2. Stand up and walk around while you go over your notes. Mime it for an imaginary audience. (Shut the door first, or your roommates will be grabbing some interesting video for snapchat.)
  3. Make up mnemonics; visual (and audio, and kinesthetic, and olfactory) imagery applied to memory.

Use both linguistic and nonlinguistic methods to nail down new knowledge, and make your learning life much more manageable.

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Great Way to Collaborate on Class Notes

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Why take class notes all by your lonesome when you can work with a buddy (or four!)? Gingko is a simple to use outlining tool that works great for everything from outlining that next research paper, to writing your next novel, to working as a team to take those class notes. Take a look at the Gingko intro video here, or go straight to Gingko here.

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Maximize Your Free Time by Listening More Effectively In Class

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aliya
My friend, Aliya, listening intently

Don’t you hate it when you’re talking to someone on the phone and you can tell they aren’t really listening? The pauses between your questions and their answers get longer and . . . longer. They ask questions that you’ve already answered. You know they aren’t paying attention.

Failing to pay close attention in class makes for missed details, frustrated professors, and poor notes. Missed details? What if one of those details is on your next test? You’ll be getting a lower grade. You might even fail–fates forfend! Frustrated professors and teachers–in smaller classes–often notice your lack of attention, just as you notice when your friend-on-the-phone is otherwise occupied. That frustration can make your prof angry and resentful; not the attitude you want them to have when they are looking over your latest paper with red pen in hand. Even in very large classes, professors notice when most people aren’t listening. Often that makes them Continue reading Maximize Your Free Time by Listening More Effectively In Class

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Watch TV to Build Your Brain

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The heck you say!

No, it’s true, at least according to Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter. Of course, you can’t watch just any ol’ television tripe; you’ll need to watch shows with complex plots that force you to pay attention and work a bit to figure out what the heck is happening. Shows such as E.R., Lost, and Flash Forward should fit the bill.

A sparing application of boob-tube therapy may be just what the psychologist ordered. So watch a little TV guilt free.

tv dumb

GRE Prep? Must know info for students

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Taking a GRE prep course is really an ideal first step for most students.

You normally start building a house by getting with an architect to plan the building.

Taking a prep course is like talking to an experienced architect first. They can help you make sure that none of your time and effort is wasted.

A GRE prep course can raise a student’s combined score an average of Continue reading GRE Prep? Must know info for students

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Does Studying Latin Help on The SAT and GRE?

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DescartesHere are some interesting articles (1, 2) on how students who’ve studied Latin tend to score higher on the SAT verbal sections. Although not applied to the GRE, I would think similar results could be expected.
Unfortunately, the studies don’t prove that studying Latin is causal–that is, that learning Latin will increase your score. They only show that those who’ve studied Latin score higher. Perhaps students who take Latin tend to be students with stronger verbal skills initially?

How NOT to read for college classes

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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