Improving Academic Performance

Four Things Students and Tutors Should do AFTER an Initial Tutoring Session

Posted by Banke Abioye on Tue, May 30, 2017 @ 03:15 PM

As we’ve mentioned, there are many things you can do before the initial tutoring session to get the most out of tutoring. After you have attended your initial tutoring session, there are a few things you should do to ensure that you retain all the information you reviewed. In this blog article, we will discuss four things you should do after the initial tutoring session.

Write Summary Notes

It can be hard to absorb the lesson content or test-taking strategies your tutor is reviewing while also taking copious notes on the session material during a tutoring session. Because multi-tasking during a tutoring session may take away from you absorbing important material or test-taking strategies, I would recommend focusing on the lesson content during the tutoring session. After you’ve completed your initial tutoring session, be sure to take time to write down notes about test-taking strategies, content knowledge, and tips that your tutor reviewed during the session when everything is still fresh in your head. In fact, as Dr. Barbara Oakley teaches in her popular MOOC “Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects,” summarizing in your own words is a powerful strategy for learning new things in general. You are more likely to retain information by summarizing lesson content or test-taking strategies in your own words, than if you copy things down word for word.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The age-old adage that there is no better way to absorb, retain, and excel at something than to practice at it as much as possible still holds true today. It may be the case that you quickly understood new content that your tutor reviewed with you. Or perhaps, you were able to quickly absorb and apply a new concept or strategy in your session. Even so, you should still take time to continue practicing using the new strategies or content that you just gained in order to commit it to your memory. Some ways that you can practice using a new test-taking strategy is to complete practice problems on a practice exam. To commit new content knowledge to your memory, try writing out or summarizing the content knowledge, drawing diagrams, or teaching it to someone else. Make sure that you are engaging in “deliberate practice” when completing practice problems. Taking time to focus deeply on what you are doing, why each step matters, and when and how you are making mistakes, is far more powerful than rote repetition, as noted by the American Psychological Association. Practice new strategies/content knowledge regularly, preferably on a weekly basis until you are completely comfortable with it.

Review

In order to retain new and old test-taking strategies and content, it is important to review them regularly. Set aside a few minutes a day, or 30 minutes each week to review test-taking strategies and content. Additionally, prior to each tutoring session, take time to review strategies and content so that it’s fresh in your mind during each tutoring session. This will make tutoring sessions flow smoothly, as you can dedicate more time to building on concepts and strategies, rather than spending a chunk of time reviewing strategies and content that you covered in previous tutoring sessions.

Complete Homework for the Week

It is important to come prepared to each tutoring session, ready to learn new content and strategies. In order to do so, make time to complete any homework assignments or practice problems that your tutor assigned you. If you are having difficulty with the assignment, make sure to jot down your questions and ask your tutor about them during your next tutoring session.

Taking the time to complete these four simple tasks after each tutoring session will help to improve your retention of new strategies and content, as well as improve your test scores and academic performance.

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Tags: academic performance, 1-on-1 tutoring, preparing for the initial tutoring session, share materials, share details, set clear objectives

Four Things Students and Tutors Should do DURING an Initial Tutoring Session

Posted by Banke Abioye on Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 03:15 PM

As a follow up to the previous article, "Six Things Students and Tutors Should Do BEFORE an Initial Tutoring Session", we share some tips on how to make the first tutoring session as productive and successful as posssible as it's happening. 

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Tags: academic performance, 1-on-1 tutoring, preparing for the initial tutoring session, share materials, share details, set clear objectives

Six Things Students and Tutors Should do BEFORE an Initial Tutoring session

Posted by Banke Abioye on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

Six Things Students and Tutors Should do BEFORE an Initial Tutoring Session

The initial tutoring session is perhaps the most important tutoring session. It’s a critical opportunity to establish good rapport, set expectations, develop a study plan, and set a precedent for constructive sessions. Waiting until the second or third session to truly establish expectations or a study plan can lead to students feeling as though the tutoring isn’t proving productive. In fact, in many cases, the primary reason a tutoring session “fails” is because objectives weren’t set in advance and thus expectations weren’t aligned.

Here are six things that you can do to ensure that an initial tutoring session is highly effective and productive.

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Tags: academic performance, 1-on-1 tutoring, preparing for the initial tutoring session, share materials, share details, set clear objectives

Tips for Staying Organized: Part 2

Posted by Banke Abioye on Sun, Apr 09, 2017 @ 03:43 PM

Last time, we wrote about becoming more productive by organizing your things and your work space. Today, we’ll focus on your school work and your time (perhaps the most important element of your life to organize).

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Tags: academic performance, organization skills

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 one

Posted by Lisa Alvarado on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


This is the first of a three-part introduction to Paul Toughs insightful book,  How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.
 
The ultra-concise executive summary and key takeaway is that children do not succeed academically because of their innate intelligence, as is commonly assumed. Instead, Tough shares reams of research which suggests character traits like curiosity, grit, and the ability to persevere may be more important to long term academic success, and particularly success in college and life beyond college, than cognitive skills like mathematics, logic, and reading comprehension. The rest of this three-part article will introduce the author, explain the structure of the book, provide an overview of the book's introductory chapter, and offer a brief analysis/review of the book.
 
Let’s start by providing some details on the author. 
 
Tough is a journalist with a specific interest in education, child
development, and poverty in America. He's written cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, and his writing has also
appeared in Slate, GQ, and Esquire. It's interesting to note that you don't find out until the final chapter that Tough himself
was admitted to Columbia University, but ultimately dropped out before earning a college degree. In that final chapter, Tough ponders whether he lacks some of the critical character traits he describes in the book.
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Tags: academic performance, beyond booksmart, hard work, Paul Tough

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

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. 

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Tags: academic performance

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...).

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

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.

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Tags: academic performance, IQ, growth mindset, grit