English is one of the languages in which spelling is a big deal. Spelling bees were created in English, and the concept is not present in other languages in which words are more often pronounced just like they look. In English, we have words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings and spellings (homophones). We also have a lot of words that are spelled the same but have different meanings; these words are homonyms, and they are the focus of this post.Read More
Every August, my family takes a trip to Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Growing up we would use the final two days of the vacation to begin school-supplies shopping on the mainland. To this day, the third week of August still smells like freshly sharpened pencils. As we got older, the trips to Walmart and Staples were replaced with a new tradition. We trace our hands on the backs of paper plates and label each finger with an avenue to focus on as fall approaches. More often than not, this exercise resulted in five dreams. Five hopes for what the fall season might bring.Read More
Does this sound familiar?
The final exam date has been announced, and you learn what’s going to be on the test: everything. Frozen with dread at the thought of starting on such a huge task, you focus your attention first on some final projects or essays for another class. Those are due sooner, and with weeks to go before the final, you still have plenty of time to study. Unsure how best to start anyway, you put off studying for your finals.Read More
There are many different ways to learn information, but among my colleagues in medical school, flashcards are one of the most common ways to study. While making flashcards may seem simple straight forward, I have learned over time that the exact opposite is the case.Read More
If you’ve spent a school year (or ten) in the Boston area, you know that New England winters aren’t always fun. On a 10 degree day in February, it takes a lot of motivation for me to venture outside. After several years of school, I know that I study more efficiently when I’m not at my house; when I’m home, it’s too easy to succumb to the temptations of chatting with my roommates, rummaging through the kitchen, or taking a nice nap. The problem is that as it gets colder, going somewhere else to study becomes much harder. Here are some places in the Boston/Cambridge area that make it worth the trek – in any weather!Read More
One of the differences between high school and college can (depending on your particular experience) be how much you know about what you are going to be reading and when, and what days your exams and papers will be. Professors may have different levels of detail but generally speaking the syllabus is supposed to tell you what you’ll be reading, when your assignments will be due, how your grade will be calculated, what you have to do to pass, fail or excel in the class, the rules of the class (the absence policy, what happens if you text in class, can you turn in your work late?), and sometimes the rules of the University that affect the class, like what would happen if someone cheated. Most importantly, your professor and the University assume that you know and understand the policies on the syllabus. At the end of the course, you can’t say you didn’t know about a requirement you didn’t meet or a rule you broke if those things are clearly spelled out on the syllabus. It’s helpful, too: don’t have the money to buy all the texts immediately? The syllabus will tell you which ones to buy first. And you can hightail it to the university and public libraries to see if you can check out any of the required texts.Read More
One of the greatest challenges of our generation is the nearly constant distraction and temptation that technology affords us, from opening a new tab on our web browser to surfing apps on our phone. How do we harness all of the positive connectivity that these tools offer us, without feeling that our lives are dominated by them?
For teachers and students, there’s a way in which September 1 is our January 1, as far as resolutions and new starts go. And once you get back to class, whether it’s college or high school you won’t have time to think about resolutions. So think about this over the last week of summer: How about making a pledge to study without electronic distraction when school starts? Why would anyone do that? Well:Read More
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How should we fuel our bodies? What’s the best thing to eat before track practice? What’s the best thing to eat before the SAT? These and other questions are the subject of much debate in the public sphere, where fad diets like ketogenic or paleo come and go with the wind. My goal in this post is not to give you rules on eating healthy, but to impart a few core principles that you can take with you in life as you make your own diet decisions, especially with regards to optimizing energy for your academic pursuits.Read More
People often assume that decision-making is an activity that requires effort but not stamina. This is a very common misconception – mental effort is as taxing on the brain as physical workouts are on the body, and our mental resources are much more limited than we think. In psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision-making.Read More