Improving Academic Performance

The Classes That Scare You: Developing growth mindset around challenging subjects

Posted by Morgan Bissett-Tessier on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

We all have those pesky negative beliefs around certain subjects or classes at school: I’m a bad writer! I’ll never understand math! Learning a foreign language is impossible! Though certain classes may be more challenging than others, clinging to negative generalities about anything, especially education, doesn’t serve us.

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Tags: brain science, growth mindset, study skills, how to improve my grades, improve study habits, improve test scores, Brain Rules, improving academic performance

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

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

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

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.
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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?
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Tags: IQ, growth mindset, neuroplasticity, malleable brain

Learning How to Learn: 3 Techniques to Improve Test Scores

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 @ 03:49 PM

MyGuru is slowly undergoing a bit of a transition. We certainly want to continue to be known as the premier source for extremely accomplished tutors who deliver highly customized 1-1 in-person and online tutoring and test prep in Chicago and a steadily growing number of cities.

However, if you want to improve your performance in school, expert feedback and customized instruction from a private tutor doesn’t necessarily need to be a part of your plan. It is almost certainly a good idea, if you have the financial resources to pursue private tutoring. But, there are other tools, approaches, and strategies you can use to do better in school, and we want the MyGuru brand to be known for its ability to empower students to take control of their education, study more effectively, and develop strategies to meet their academic, professional, and personal goals. We want to deliver much more than the ability to connect with a private tutor.

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Tags: growth mindset, study habits, deliberate practice, strategic study plan