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 SteeleContinue reading “Does Race Affect Academic Performance?”

Iron New Information Into Your Brain

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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 ironingContinue reading “Iron New Information Into Your Brain”

Smile your way to an “A”

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Smiling at the right time can actually improve your grades!  So brush those choppers and start grinning. Here’s how … Come to class a few minutes early to avoid being part of the herd. Make eye contact with your professor as you walk in. Smile warmly (Hint: imagine s/he’s your long lost cousin.  If youContinue reading “Smile your way to an “A””

Are you wasting your time studying?

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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 classesContinue reading “Are you wasting your time studying?”

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.Continue reading “GRE Prep? Must know info for students”

How NOT to read for college classes

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If 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 attentionContinue reading “How NOT to read for college classes”

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

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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 thereContinue reading “6 Things You Must Know Before Taking a GRE or SAT Prep Course!”

Sleep Is a Study Skill; Research Proves It

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Jeffrey Ellenbogen, a sleep research fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that those who studied and then slept on it did much better on a test the next day than those who didn’t sleep. In fact, sleepers got an average score 76% correct while the all-night crowd got only 32% correct! Find theContinue reading “Sleep Is a Study Skill; Research Proves It”

Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT

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PSAT/NMSQT stands for “Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is the precursor to the SAT and, most importantly, it’s used to qualify for those coveted National Merit Scholarships you hear so much about. Colleges pay attention to National Merit Scholars; that means they will come looking for you, instead of you havingContinue reading “Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT”

Get a Head Start On Problem-Solving Courses This Semester

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Taking chemistry, biochem, physics, calculus, or their ilk? These courses are light on information to be memorized and heavy on problems to be solved and concepts to be grasped. That takes time, effort, and repetition, just like learning to play the violin or to draw realistically. Here are some steps to make these sorts ofContinue reading “Get a Head Start On Problem-Solving Courses This Semester”

Flash Cards

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Flash cards are a powerful tool to help you memorize things such as vocabulary, mathematical formulas, history facts, and spelling. Here are some strategies to help you get the most from your flash cards. Use flashcards in several different colors. Use each color as a cue to help recall something about the fact on thatContinue reading “Flash Cards”

How to Become a Math Expert

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You aren’t going to like the answer, I’m afraid. They way to become an expert is to really work at it. I’m not being glib. Malcolm Gladwell explains (brilliantly, as usual) in his new book, Outliers, which I highly recommend. Gladwell builds a very convincing argument that math skill is much more closely related toContinue reading “How to Become a Math Expert”

Avoid Cramming by Scheduling Your Semester Now

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You could just take those syllabi professors are passing out like popcorn this time of year and shove them deep into the bowels of your backpack, forgetting about them until necessity forces you to resurrect them from their linty tomb. But that’s a surefire recipe for cramming, all-nighters, and mediocre grades. Instead, go over eachContinue reading “Avoid Cramming by Scheduling Your Semester Now”

Free SAT and GRE Help and Practice

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I often post links to free online practice for the GRE and SAT, but there is much more available at your local library. Check out the prep books and work through them. Even if they are a few years out of date, chances are the majority of the information–especially the actual practice problems and tests–areContinue reading “Free SAT and GRE Help and Practice”

How Important Is Your GPA?

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[hidepost]Most employers and graduate schools use a 3.0 GPA as a cut-off point for applicants. Once it’s above that, the exact number usually becomes less important. If your GPA is below the 3.0 threshold, you may wonder about the negative effects your GPA can have on your career or graduate school applications. However, there areContinue reading “How Important Is Your GPA?”

Memory is Like a Barrel of Monkeys

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Memory is more like a barrel of monkeys than a barrel of bricks.  With a barrel of bricks, the more bricks there are, the heavier and more unwieldy it becomes. With the barrel of monkeys (and I’m referring to the children’s toy here), more monkeys means more connections, and that means it’s easier to liftContinue reading “Memory is Like a Barrel of Monkeys”

The SAT: An Overview

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The SAT Reasoning Test (note: NOT the subject specific SAT tests) is used widely by colleges and universities as one of their admissions criteria.  It is also often used as a criterion in awarding scholarships. It is claimed to test students’ abilities in subjects such as reading, writing, and mathematics; subjects that are supposed toContinue reading “The SAT: An Overview”