Improving Academic Performance

Making the Most of Summer

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Sun, Jul 24, 2016 @ 03:37 PM


Read More

Tags: increase your academic performance

Mindfulness as a Vehicle for Improving Cognition & Reducing Stress

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

There’s been a lot of talk recently (in certain psychology or educational circles, at least) on the topic of mindfulness practice and its various benefits. What was once a feature of eastern philosophy/religion has grown into an increasingly Western and somewhat mainstream activity. Two of the most potentially powerful benefits of mindfulness practice include cognitive enhancement and stress-reduction. As a result, mindfulness has started to be implemented in school systems and curricula worldwide. But what is the practice of mindfulness, just how effective is it, and how can we reap the benefits by incorporating mindfulness into our lives? .

“Mindfulness can be defined as the psychological capacity to stay willfully present with one's experiences, with a non-judgmental or accepting attitude, engendering a warm and friendly openness and curiosity” (Kabat-Zinn, 2005). This article explores the science behind mindfulness practice and its effects on academic performance and stress reduction along with a few helpful tips to incorporate mindfulness practice into your daily living.

Read More

Tags: mindfulness, improving cognition, reducing stress

Does Better Sleep Equal Better Grades?

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 @ 05:00 PM

Just as the energizer bunny must recharge his batteries every now and then, humans must also take time to power down, rest and recharge for the following day. But just how important is it to get a full nights rest?


Could getting the right amount of sleep (which for many people nowadays means more sleep) beneficially affect academic performance? Indeed, this is exactly what much of the data shows. 

Read More

Tags: academic performance

Are you studying effectively? (For your learning style?)

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jun 08, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

We’ve all heard someone say: “I’m not doing well in this class because I am a visual learner and all the professor does is give boring lectures.”

What does this really mean?

There are four Learning Styles; visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic. Understanding which one/s you fall into can prove beneficial in the development of study and retention skills. Though we may feel we identify with one type of learning over another, the following are undoubtedly study tips that can help us all- not just in studying for exams but in actually retaining the material we’ve learned beyond them.

Read More

Tags: auditory learners, learning styles, visual learners, kinisthetic learners

Improved Academic Performance through Better Nutrition

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, May 25, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Numerous new studies show a promising link between good nutrition and optimal academic performance.

So, let’s explore whether you should start drinking green smoothies and munching on kale chips to increase your likelihood of getting that ACT score or grade you want (to use a few examples of strategies we've encountered...).

Read More

Tags: academic performance, IQ, increase your academic performance, nutrition

Mental Contrasting: A Better Way to Think Positively

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Apr 04, 2016 @ 09:30 AM

Many self-help gurus tout the clear need to think positively to reach your goals.

The general line of thought is that whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Why? Because if you think you can’t, you won’t put in the planning and effort to actually accomplish the goal. On some level, this is in fact true.

However, there is a growing body of evidence that "pure" positive thinking can actually reduce the chances you reach a goal you’ve set for yourself. In this article, we’ll explore how this could be.

Read More

Tags: strategic study plan, goal setting, positive thinking, mental contrasting, strategic planning

Effort vs. Talent? Which has a greater impact on academic success? Part One

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 08:30 AM

Anybody that reads this blog knows that we like to write about how mindset, effort, deliberate practice, proper study habits, organization and time management skills, strategic planning (and many other concepts that have more to do with “what you do” than “what you are born with”) are critical drivers of academic success. And, importantly, they are firmly under the control of any student. In our view, these concepts as a group easily trump IQ or talent when it comes to explaining success in and outside of school.

At the same time, we know that genes do matter. IQ is a metric that does help explain academic and other types of performance, and it is, for example, correlated with performance on standardized tests (even though I must stress again, hard work and structured practice will help you improve dramatically on standardized tests whatever your starting point).

So, is there a framework that can be used to think about the relationship between effort and talent in explaining academic and other types success? Which is more important?

It's a tough question, but while listening to a recent episode of the Psychology Podcast hosted by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, I think I may have found an answer.

Read More

Tags: academic performance, IQ, growth mindset, grit

Early Bird Gets the Worm: Taking Advantage of Brain Plasticity

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Have you ever met a child that knows a surprising amount of foreign languages. Has it ever amazed you how quickly a child can pick up new skills and learn new techniques? Turns out new evidence shows that children learn more and earlier than previously thought (Kuhl, 2011). However, at the same time, the rates of inattentive children in classrooms as well as the prevalence of learning disabilities have been on the rise. In my many years of tutoring, I’ve been able to witness firsthand how young children have the capacity to quickly pick up new information. This article will focus on the importance of introducing students to the concepts of learning and education earlier on in their development to leverage the phenomenon of neuroplasticity.
Read More

Tags: growth mindset, neuroplasticity, malleable brain

The Dynamic Brain: A Fresh Outlook on Learning Potential

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has some interesting implications when applied to humans through the lens of something called neuroplasticity, which is essentially how malleable, dynamic and flexible the neurons (brain cells) in our brain are. This is directly related to the phenomenon of learning. Although, one must wonder when it comes to canines if sometimes the older dog truly can’t learn new tricks, or is simply just too old to care or try!


For me, this raises a few questions:

  • What is it about getting older that makes it harder for us to learn new things?
  • Or is this just a thought put into our heads and are we perhaps not giving our magnificent brains enough credit?
  • And what does this say about the period of time while we are young and supposedly able to “learn new tricks”?
  • Why is it easier to learn when we are younger?
Read More

Tags: IQ, growth mindset, neuroplasticity, malleable brain

Keys to Success: Beyond Hard Work and Intelligence

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

If you ask a random collection of people what is needed to be successful in school, you’ll probably receive quite a few responses along the lines of “hard work” or “a high IQ.”

I would never suggest that one shouldn’t work hard, or shouldn’t always try to continually build their intelligence. But I think there’s mounting research and evidence that hard work and intelligence really aren’t the fundamental drivers of academic, professional, interpersonal/social, athletic, or artistic success.

Before introducing four more fundamental keys to success, let’s briefly discuss why hard work and intelligence don’t really lead to success, and might even lead to failure.

Read More

Tags: intelligence, IQ, deliberate practice at school, deliberate practice, grit, hard work