Improving Academic Performance

Mark Skoskiewicz

Recent Posts

Focused Training: The Key to Building Academic Skills and Improving your IQ

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 10:43 AM

Over the past few years I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and a fair amount of writing on this blog, around what truly drives academic performance. One of my favorite (and most important) insights has been that IQ, or natural intelligence, is far less important than people assume it to be. This article considers that insight from a different angle, and introduces an interesting new book about how it may be possible to improve your IQ through targeted training.

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Tags: IQ, deliberate practice, Strategy Development, effort

An Introduction to Grit: A Key to Academic Performance

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 @ 10:00 AM


Over the past five years, I’ve done a fair amount of secondary research (reading articles, books, etc.) on academic performance. Two of the most interesting and actionable discoveries I’ve made are that A) a student’s mindset is far more important in explaining academic success than I would have imagined and B) a concept called Grit is what seems to power the performance of a student with the right mindset.

 

The “Growth Mindset” is a concept invented by Dr. Carol Dweck, a Standford Psychologist. Her research shows that individuals can generally be placed into one of two buckets: a) those that have a growth mindset and b) those that have a fixed mindset.

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Tags: growth mindset, deliberate practice, grit

3 Concepts Students with Learning Disabilities in Math Need to Know

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

At MyGuru, our tutors have generally attended highly selective academic institutions for their undergraduate and graduate studies and amassed hundreds of hours of tutoring experience. We have experts in a variety of subject areas.

However, we don’t tend to be specialists in helping students with learning disabilities.

I do know that, with the right customized instruction, learning disabilities can certainly be overcome. When one of our students has a “mild” disability, we’ll often seek advice from one of our partner firms, the Chicago Home Tutor (CHT) which does specialize in learning disabilities. If the disability is moderate to severe, we’ll often refer the student to CHT.

In this blog article, I’ll relay a situation we recently came across related to helping a student with a learning disability in math, and reproduce the three-part advice provided by the Chicago Home Tutor. The advice below was provided by an individual named Brendan Deztner a CHT tutor who is licensed as a learning behavior specialist and also received the highly qualified designation in math from the Illinois State Board of Education.

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Tags: math skills, Learning Disabilities

Key Reasons to Consider Online Tutoring

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jan 04, 2017 @ 04:00 PM


I’ve come to firmly believe the benefits of online tutoring far outweigh the downsides. From online GMAT tutoring to online statistics tutoring to online chemistry tutoring and many other subjects (some of which require a virtual whiteboard, some of which don’t), we have a long list of success stories around delivering private, customized tutoring online.

 

I recognize that for some students, the stress associated with not understanding key concepts and being generally behind in a class can be exacerbated by trying to become familiar with new technology. But I believe many students who have just a slight bias toward in-person and away from virtual tutoring would be well served by re-considering an online approach.

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Tags: online tutoring, online tutors, online tutor tips, online statistics tutor

Five Powerful, Free Resources for Improving Performance in School

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


In the past few years, I’ve read a lot of articles and visited many web-sites to learn more about what drives academic performance and to identify mutually beneficial partnerships. I have chosen one web-site, one “app,” one blog, one online course, and one podcast. I believe any given student should at least be familiar with many of the ideas covered by each of these resources. As such, parents, high school, college, and graduate students, as professionals of any age, could benefit from spending time exploring each resource below.

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Tags: study skills, study habits, online educational resources, note-taking

A Strategic Approach to Earning Higher Grades

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

In a recent Linkedin article, I wrote about how we tend to underappreciate the importance of strategy relative to hard work or intelligence in understanding why some people succeed and others fail in any given professional, academic, or personal endeavor. I also suggested that my experience as a business strategy consultant has helped me realize that there are powerful principles of strategy development used by businesses that students could borrow to improve their academic performance. The idea that you can perform well in school by

In that article, I introduced three particularly important elements of business strategy development.

  1. The strategy development process – or, the process companies use to come up with ideas for what to do or not to do to beat the competition.
  2. The concept of market attractiveness vs. competitive position, which explains whether a company is likely to succeed (or fail) because it operates in a good market (or a bad one), is doing something better than its direct competitors, or some combination
  3. The notion of key success factors vs. core competencies, which helps explains why a company is positioned well in any given market (or not)

In this article, I’ll explore point 1 above, how an understanding of the strategy development process could help students improve their performance in any given class.

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Tags: Strategy Development, Market Attractiveness v. Competitive Position, Key Factors v. Core Competencies, Heidi Grant Halvorson

How Children Succeed: Part three

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 @ 01:39 PM

In part two of our introduction to How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character we explored the cognitive hypothesis, which suggests that success today depends primarily on cognitive skills (e.g., reading, writing, recognizing patterns, calculating, etc.) the type of intelligence that gets tested on IQ or standardized tests, and that the best way to build these skills is to practice them as early and often as possible.

In part three, we’ll explore one of the major themes of the book, which is that “character,” and more specifically “performance character” is the more fundamental driver of success, and it too can be nurtured and developed. Tough believes society has gotten significantly off track, focusing too much on building a narrow set of cognitive skills and abilities, and taking a misguided approach to teaching children how to build all-important “character” skills.

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Tags: academic performance, hard work, Performance Character, Paul Tough

How Children Succeed: Part Two

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 07:29 PM


In part one of this three-part introduction to How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character we are introduced the main theme of the book, that grit and character, not intelligence, is what drives academic performance and helps children succeed. We left off with the introduction of the cognitive hypothesis.

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Tags: Success requires more than intelligence, Grit drives academic performance

Focus: The New Key to Academic and Professional Success

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, Dec 02, 2016 @ 01:32 PM


I just finished listening to a great podcast episode from Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman’s Psychology Podcast (one of my favorite podcasts because it’s generally, entertaining, informative and practical as it relates to helping you better understand the world around you) about the concept of Deep Work.

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Tags: deliberate practice, focus, deep work

How 1% improvement can turn an F into an A

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 11:00 AM


Most students don’t realize how small, incremental improvements can accumulate over time to create significant jumps in skill level or academic performance.

Let’s begin by exploring some theories about performance and success that have a lot to do with becoming comfortable struggling and striving to make small improvements. Later, we’ll show how a seemingly small improvement of just 1% a week can turn an F into an A.

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Tags: academic performance, growth mindset, studying, math skills