Archive for the ‘study skills’ Category

Finding a Balance: Working Hard and Playing Hard

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Girl with stack of booksLaboris gloria ludis.  The glory of the games, and of work.  We must be exactly like the Romans: they have mottos, we have mottos.  They played, we play.  They worked, we work.  Yeah, we must be exactly like the Romans.

Well, since we’re like the Romans, since we want to be like the Romans, we should ask how they found a balance.  And since we’re talking about school work here, not career work or working with our hands, we should ask what they thought schola was.  But since that would take some schooling, let’s just focus on three key things we all know from…school.

First, only the Roman elite went to school; it was the luxury of a few.  It was not at all mandatory as it is in the United States today.  Second, they paid, and they paid large sums.  In the late Republic and in the Empire, the educational arrangement had moved from a personal, family-centered affair to a structure involving tuition (itself a Latin word related to tutelage).  It was the luxury of a few.  Third, there was a more or less set curriculum that all students were expected to undertake by passing through more or less established stages: literature, grammar, rhetoric, philosophy. (more…)

How to Score High on the GRE Verbal Section

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

(Part 1: If you have >4 months)

Intro to the GRE Verbal Scale and how it’s used

The GRE is a little different from the SAT or the ACT.  The new scale, from 130-170 in one-point increments (since 2011), is based around the theory that smaller differences in score will be viewed by colleges as what they are: small.  This way, the test-makers reason, people won’t go so nuts.  Of course, ETS would also encourage colleges and universities to not use any score as a “cut-off score…for denying admission.”  These are two points in a five-point “should and should not” list that the test-makers published in what can only be seen as an attempt to control the normative standards surrounding the GRE.   Fortunately or unfortunately, their five “shoulds” are already largely ignored, as seen in point 4: “Test scores should not be added together.” (more…)

How to Make the Most Out of Your Last Semester of High School

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Colleges do revoke admissions decisions.  That said, it is uncommon.  The high school senior should of course keep up her grades in the last semester, but, honestly, not out of fear of having an admission decision revoked.  Keep up your grades because that’s the kind of character you have and want to foster, not because of some unreasonably placed fear towards admissions counselors.  Avoid senioritis because senioritis is stupid and you aren’t.  Let that be that.

(For parents, actually has a pretty decent article on helping your son or daughter avoid senioritis.) (more…)

How to Prepare for Finals

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
College Calendar

Finals Schedule

First Rule: Don’t procrastinate; avoid cramming.  But since you’ve already broken rule number one (it’s December, after all) then cram, cram, cram.  Effectively, of course.  This assumes that you would have been studying all year, such that you followed a plan something along the lines of reviewing the material at increasingly long intervals.  Say four times throughout the semester:

First, 10-30 minutes after you first learned it in class.

  • Second, a day or two later.
  • Third, a week or two later.
  • Fourth, a week or two before the exam.


How to Find an Academic Tutor

Monday, July 22nd, 2013


Tutoring for College

College Tutoring

Tutors.  Ever thought you might need one?  You definitely deserve a round of applause in recognizing that in certain subjects you might need help.  So what’s the holdup?  For most people it is not knowing how to go about finding a good academic tutor.  But not you!  Panic loves to wedge itself in here to stilt your clarity of process.  Boldly refuse it access to your decision.  Engage yourself calmly by willingly tossing your ego aside.  Then run through the 4 questions you should ask yourself when deciding if you need an academic tutor:

  • Simplify it.  Why are you hiring a tutor?
  • What are my goals for this endeavor, and are they realistic?
  • Where do I begin to find candidates?
  • How do I decide on the right fit? (more…)