Four Examples Of Great Educators And What We Can Learn From Them

When I think of all the teachers I’ve ever had, I am amazed at the many roles they have to play for their students’ success. In addition to being educators, they can be mentors, role models, knowledgeable experts, a sympathetic ear, even a fellow student! Whether you’re a tutor, a schoolteacher, or a university professor, you’ll find yourself playing these roles, and the very best educators play multiple roles seamlessly. Here are a few teachers I’ve had and the lessons that all educators can learn from them.

 

Mrs. Berens: 4th Grade

4th grade was arguably my greatest year of school, period. I’m not kidding. I had it all: good grades, popularity, an active social life, and so much more. I also developed a genuine love of learning, which I owe to the efforts of my teacher, Mrs. Berens.

Mrs. Berens seemed to know everything and was eager to share all that knowledge with you, ready or not. She was a real-life Ms. Frizzle! We covered a ton of subjects every day: Math, Science, History, English, and did a lot of group work in each of them. I remember when she gave us multiplication speed tests, and then instructed us to get with two to three other students to compare answers and correct our work. Everything was a collaborative process in her classroom, and I loved it. The classroom itself was FULL of resources we used during our free time. There was a huge bookshelf that I loved to pick from because she always had the best books that weren’t always available in the library. It was a space designed to maximize learning, but that wasn’t even the best part. Mrs. Berens not only encouraged excellence, she expected and demanded it.

And she rewarded excellence in the best ways: special field trips, lunches, computer privileges—once, when we achieved a reading goal she had set for us, she arranged for our class to attend a movie premiere in Hollywood! She had influence!

The Lesson: Passion

I loved Mrs. Berens because she played a strong leadership role in our learning journey. She set a high standard, expected us to achieve it, and allowed us to be curious and discover new things in the process. With her, learning was a true pleasure, and I understood that attending school was not my duty, it was my privilege.

 

 

Mrs. Rosemann: 6th Grade

As an unruly 10-year-old, I lacked the self-control to focus on my studies sometimes. Take an absentminded child, add a newfound access to video games, and you’ve got a kid who’s not always paying attention in the classroom. Mrs. Rosemann changed all that.

She seemed wonderfully odd to me when I first met her. She had fiery red hair that looked out of place paired with her usual dark blazers. As it turned out, her fashion sense was a perfect illustration of the kind of teacher she was. She struck a balance between stern and empathetic, serious and silly, kind and cold. When teaching math and science, she was all business. When we got to reading and art, however, she’d prance around the room, vibrant and animated. Mrs. Rosemann ran a structured classroom, and her expectations were clearly laid out from day one. She was a strict disciplinarian: if you were caught messing around, she would call you out in front of the whole class. But she was also a free spirit who encouraged creativity from all of us. In the middle of the year, our class wrote and performed our own Greek tragedy—we made our own costumes and everything!

The Lesson: Discipline

Mrs. Rosemann introduced structure at a pivotal time in our lives. At the start of our preteen years, other things were more important than school, and she taught us to remain studious, composed, and to take our own learning seriously. Most importantly, she held us accountable for our behavior, our assignments, and for understanding the lessons. Many of the best educators emphasize that learning is also YOUR responsibility.

 

 

Ms. Bullard: 9th Grade English

Following my middle school years—where I had been puffed up and praised for doing well with relatively easy work—Ms. Bullard shattered my idea of what good academic writing was and forced me to improve my skills—or suffer the consequences…

I’ll never forget that first day: We were a bunch of arrogant freshmen, straight out of junior high, sitting at our desks, waiting to receive a worksheet to fill out for 45 minutes. But it never came.

Instead, Ms. Bullard told us to write an essay about our summer reading. With a thesis, supporting evidence, specific details, a conclusion, and everything. Without the book. Using memory alone. It was a bloodbath.

After that, the real work began. She taught us two important things about academic writing and communication in general: how you say something is as important as what you’re saying, and if you’re going to take a position, you’d better be able to back it up. Her class was rigorous. It was frustrating. It felt impossible. If you managed to break into the “A” range, you felt like a champion because you fought for it.

The Lesson: Humility

With knowledge comes pride. The best teachers give you a good kick in the shins and make you forget everything you think you know so you can start learning from a new perceptive, which ultimately makes you smarter. Even though it was a freshman English class, Ms. Bullard treated us like seniors. She expected nothing but clear, excellent writing from us, and that’s what we had to deliver if we wanted to survive. She was a relentless, unforgiving coach—just what we needed.

 

 

Mrs. Haus: 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade Biology (AND Chemistry)

Science was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it’s all thanks to Mrs. Haus. A lot of students complained about her because she gave a lot of homework, although I later realized the reason why. Much of the learning process is repetition, and her classes were all repetition, all the time! In high school, test preparation slowly takes precedence over actual learning, but not in Mrs. Haus’ class. She taught for understanding.

In my freshman year, she gave us packets filled with a list of that week’s science terms for us to define, as well as a ton of short answer questions that we had to complete with thorough explanations. One week, we had to explain the process of Meiosis, and if we left out a single part, we could expect corrective red marks all over the page.

The devil was in the details.

Her pickiness followed me on to 10th grade, her 6 week summer Chemistry course (which was brutal), and ESPECIALLY to AP Biology, where I wrote, reviewed, and rewrote answers for her all year.

But here’s the thing: her obsession with detail was only half of her winning teaching style. She also focused on getting to know each student and our weaknesses so she could help us learn in our own ways. She knew that I’d skip over the smallest details, so she made me revise assignments again and again until I learned to be thorough.

And it worked! I scored high on the AP test!

The Lesson: Perseverance

Even though she was incredibly nit-picky, Mrs. Haus taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. Excellence is all about the small things that can make or break you, and my time with her was a testament to that fact.

 

 

The great educators in our lives have all played roles besides that of “teacher” in order to teach those core values that help us succeed. Good teachers stick to the material, amazing teachers go beyond it. The best thing about that is, every teacher has the opportunity to be a great educator if they’re willing to walk the extra mile.

For more stories like this one, study tips, homework help, and one-on-one live tutoring, check out StudyGate.com!

 

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What Are Endothermic And Exothermic Reactions?

What are endothermic and exothermic reactions? Our StudyGate experts know everything there is to know about that, and would be happy to share their knowledge with you! They can answer any of your quick questions, or even help you prepare for a test! First, let’s cover the basics before we move on to the harder stuff.

 

Endothermic? Exothermic? What Does That Mean?

Let’s break these words down.

Starting with “endothermic”, the prefix “endo” means “within, inner, absorbing, or containing”, and the prefix “exo” means “outside, or out of”. Of course, the word “thermic” means “heat”. So, if we put it all together, an endothermic reaction is one that takes in heat, and an exothermic reaction is one that gives off heat.

 

Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions: The Definitions

Here are the official definitions of endothermic and exothermic reactions:

Endothermic reaction: Any chemical reaction or change in which energy in the form of heat is absorbed

Exothermic reaction: Any chemical reaction or change in which energy in the form of heat is released

How Do They Work?

On a molecular level, chemical reactions happen when the reactant molecules collide with enough energy to break down existing chemical bonds so that new ones can form. Every chemical reaction includes the same components: two or more reactants and a change in energy. To explain how endothermic and exothermic reactions work, let’s look at a couple of simple examples, starting with endothermic reactions.

 

Endothermic Reaction: Melting Ice

What Are Endothermic And Exothermic Reactions

The melting of ice is a common endothermic reaction. Here’s what happens.

Water molecules are arranged in a rigid state (ice). Next, we add heat, which is a form of energy. Let’s say we leave our ice sitting in the sun. The sun gives off heat, and the ice absorbs this heat as a form of energy. This energy breaks down the rigid bonds in the ice, and causes the water molecules to move quicker and collide more often. As a result, the temperature of the ice rises and it turns into water! Basically, melting ice is an endothermic reaction because the ice absorbs (heat) energy, which causes a change to occur.

Other examples of endothermic reactions:

  • Photosynthesis: Plants absorb the heat energy from sunlight and convert it into ATP and NADPH (energy storage molecules found within chloroplasts in a plant cell) while also giving off oxygen.
  • Evaporation: Heat excites water molecules, causing them to collide faster and change state from liquid to gas.
  • Sublimation: Dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, has a lower temperature than ice. When it is exposed to higher temperatures, the dry ice changes directly from a solid to a gas.

 

Exothermic Reaction: Combustion

What Are Endothermic And Exothermic Reactions

Next, we’ll talk about fire, or combustion, a classic example of an exothermic reaction.

A fire needs three things to start in a chain reaction: Fuel- standard diesel fuel has a chemical formula similar to: What Are Endothermic And Exothermic Reactions. Oxygen’s chemical formula is  What Are Endothermic And Exothermic Reactions

And, of course, heat is the final ingredient. Our reactants are the chemicals in the fuel and oxygen, and the heat is our required energy source.

Let’s say we’re having a bonfire at the beach. You pile the wood in the fire pit. Then, you add some gasoline on top of it, and light a match. The heat from the match causes the carbon and hydrogen molecules in the fuel to collide with the oxygen molecules at a very high rate. Then, the speed at which bonds are being broken down and remade causes combustion, or, fire, which gives off carbon dioxide and other chemical compounds in the form of smoke. So, smoke and heat (lots of it) are the products of this exothermic reaction. To summarize, two or more chemical reactants are put together, and energy is added to allow the chemical bonds to break down and reform at a high rate. This high speed chain reaction releases large amounts of heat.

Other examples of exothermic reactions:

  • Condensation: Think of a glass of cold water. As time passes and water temperature drops, the gas molecules (water vapor) around that glass slow down and change state from gas to liquid as they collect on the surface of the glass. This is an exothermic reaction because heat is technically given off in order for the gas to cool and change state.
  • Oxidation: Take a piece of metal and get it wet. Over time, the water molecules on the metal’s surface bond with the oxygen in the air. Small amounts of heat from this reaction are given off as the metal itself begins to rust.

Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions: A Review

  • Endothermic reactions absorb heat to bring on a chemical change. Photosynthesis, evaporation, sublimation, and melting ice are great examples.
  • Exothermic reactions are chemical changes that release heat. Combustion and oxidation are the more common examples of this.
  • When deciding whether a reaction is endothermic or exothermic, ask yourself if more heat is added or taken away in a particular reaction.

And now you know the basics! If you’re looking for extra help with a chemistry assignment, or would like more detailed explanations, click the buttons below! Then, you can register for a free StudyGate account, post emergency homework questions, find a tutor to meet with online! Whether you’re looking to improve your grades or simply expand your knowledge, StudyGate has everything you need!

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What Is The Difference Between A Simile And A Metaphor?

What Is The Difference Between A Simile And A Metaphor

What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor, you ask? When reading, you will notice that writers and authors will compare things to other things in order to make a point. This can be done in different ways. The most common ways are the use of similes and metaphors. But what are they? They can often look and sound so similar!  StudyGate has the answer!

 

Definitions 

Simile: A comparison that specifically uses the words like or as.

Metaphor: A direct comparison that does not use the words like or as.

 

What Is An Example Of A Simile And A Metaphor?

Similes are easier to recognize because we use them so often in our daily lives. They compare one thing to something else in order to make a description clearer or more vibrant. Here are some examples:

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  • His face was as red as a tomato (Comparing this person’s face to a tomato shows exactly how embarrassed or emotional he was)
  • Light as a feather (Shows how small or weightless an object is)
  • Cold as ice
  • The dress fits like a glove (Shows how perfectly the dress fit)
  • Hard as a rock

Metaphors are a bit more difficult to catch. They make a direct comparison to something else in order to explain a larger idea. Some examples of this would be:

  • “You’re just fishing for compliments” (This doesn’t actually mean that the person uses a rod and reel to catch compliments, but explains the greater point, which is that this person is actively asking for praise)
  • “Baby, you’re a firework” (This person is not actually a real explosive firework- it is a way of saying that he or she is bright, energetic, and exciting.)
  • “Life is a highway” (Life isn’t really a physical street- this compares life to a long road with many detours and hazards, scenic drives and dangerous areas)
  • “Getting a new computer was the icing on the cake” (Explains that a new computer was the best part of an already wonderful experience)

 

How Do I Tell Them Apart? What Is The Difference Between A Simile And A Metaphor?

The best way to tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor is to look at how close the comparison is.

Consider the following example: “His hands were as cold as ice.” How close is this comparison? You have hands, and you have ice. The hands are AS COLD AS ice, but they are NOT ice. The hands are cold in the same way that ice is cold. That’s a simile.

However, if we take a sentence like: “He had icicles for fingers”, you’ll notice that the comparison is direct. The fingers are icicles, and therefore we picture them to have all the same characteristics as icicles. Aside from being cold, they are probably sharp, long, and fragile. We gather a more complete picture of this person’s fingers as a result. This is a metaphor.

Here is the difference between simile and metaphor. Similes make specific comparisons using one specific trait. Similes let us know how hot, cold, big, small, etc, something is. They take a trait from one thing and apply it to another to say that they are alike, but it does not mean that they are the same thing. On the other hand, metaphors make comparisons using a whole group of traits. Metaphors let us know all the ways in which a comparison is true. They take all the traits of one thing and apply them to another thing, and this direct sharing of traits is what creates comparison.

So, if we take two sentences: “Life is as long as a highway” and “Life is a highway”, and apply the information above, we can understand the meaning of each sentence. The first simply compares the length of a lifetime to the length of a highway. Simple. Done. The second sentence tells us that life has all the traits of a highway. in addition to being long, life can also be rough, slow in some parts and quicker in others, seemingly endless, a pleasure, or a nightmare. In other words, a metaphor says that one thing has the same traits as another thing.

Here’s a quick way to tell the difference:

Similar and singular = Simile

Matching and multiple = Metaphor

 

Finding the differences between similes and metaphors is really just the beginning. When you start learning the more difficult literary devices, like hyperbole, apostrophe, metonymy, epistrophe, epiphany, and all the rest, you might need someone to explain all of that to you. Lucky for you, StudyGate is home to a whole bunch of wonderful English tutors that can help you understand! You could have world-class writers, teachers, college professors, and researchers at your fingertips, ready to help, whenever you need it. When you’re ready to get the help you’re looking for, click the buttons below to get started on StudyGate!

 

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What Are Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells?

What Are Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells

So, what are prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells?

A cell is the smallest structural and functional unit of an organism. The most basic cell is made up of a nucleus (the part of the cell that controls all its functions), cytoplasm (the jellylike substance that surrounds the nucleus), organelles (smaller cell structures that perform a specific cell function), and a cell membrane (the  wall through which materials pass in and out of the cell). There are two types of cells: prokaryotic and eukaryotic.

 

What Are Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes?

First of all, a prokaryote is a unicellular (one cell) organism which does not have a nucleus with a membrane or specialized organelles. They look like this:

What Are Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells
Prokaryotic Cell

 

 

As you can see, this particular prokaryote has DNA without a nucleus, a cell membrane and a cell wall, ribosomes (organelles that synthesize proteins), cytoplasm to hold it all in place, and a flagellum that the cell uses to move.

A Eukaryote is a multi-cellular organism that has a nucleus with a membrane, and specialized organelles that each perform a specific function. This is what it looks like:

What Are Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells
Eukaryotic Cell

 

The eukaryotic cell is more complex than a eukaryotic cell. A membrane surrounds the nucleus. There are many different organelles in the cytoplasm that perform different functions. For example, the mitochondrion creates energy for the cell to use. The lysosome processes waste material. The rough endoplasmic reticulum is where many different types of proteins are processed and put together in processes called transcription and translation. Next, the smooth endoplasmic reticulum manufactures lipids and metabolizes sugars and other materials for the cell to use later. Ribosomes create proteins. The cell coat and cell membrane protect the cell and allow materials to pass in and out.  All the cell’s genetic material, chromatin, is kept in the nucleus. As you can see, eukaryotic cells are much more complex compared to prokaryotes.

 

What is the difference between Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic cells?

There are quite a few differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

Eukaryotic cells usually include:

  • A defined nucleus
  • They have more than one chromosome
  • A true membrane around the nucleus
  • Are usually multicellular
  • Handle genetic recombination through Meiosis and the fusion of gametes
  • And include more complex organelles such as lysosomes, peroxisomes, microtubules, and two endoplasmic reticulums

In comparison, prokaryotic cells contain:

  • DNA strands not contained in a nucleus
  • One chromosome and plasmids to help with cell division
  • No nuclear membrane
  • Usually unicellular
  • Genes recombine through cell division and binary fission
  • No complex organelles other than ribosomes

 

What Is An Example of A Prokaryotic Cell?

Most bacteria and algae fall are prokaryotic cells. This includes the bacterium tuberculosis and E. coli, shown below. As you can see, flagella cover the cell body and enable movement.

What Are Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells
E. coli.

 

What Is An Example of A Eukaryotic Cell?

Eukaryotic cells include plant and animal cells. An animal cell is pictured below. Plant and animal cells are mostly similar with the exception of a strong cell wall and chloroplasts in plant cells.

What Are Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells
Animal Cell

 

Review:

Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus filled with chromatin (genetic material), specialized organelles such as lysosomes, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulums, ribosomes, and a cell wall. Then, their genetic material recombine through Meiosis and the fusion of gametes. Most eukaryotic cells belong to animals and plants. Prokaryotic cells contain DNA strands and ribosomes that are held in place with cytoplasm. Prokaryotes recombine their DNA through binary fission, a process where DNA is copied and split off into two new cells. In addition, many prokaryotic cells have flagellum, or long structures that help the cell move. Examples of prokaryotes include E. coli. and tuberculosis.

This is is a basic explanation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. StudyGate is home to a huge community of science experts that would love to provide even more details about cells, the specific detailed function of each organelle within a cell, and so much more. Our tutors are very passionate about science and are available to help, whenever you’re ready! If you’re looking for science help, one-on-one tutoring, and a place to study with your friends, click the button below and start learning today!

 

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Understanding Isaac Newton and his Three Laws of Motion

Isaac Newton and the Three Laws of Motion

Sir Isaac Newton, English author, mathematician, theologian, astronomer, and physicist, wrote his Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, a book that changed the way scientists thought about mechanics and the way we interact with the physical universe. In Principia, Newton outlines his laws of motion and universal gravitation- laws that describe movement as a direct result of the surrounding environment. These three laws are a crucial part of physics, and we’ve provided three simple examples to help you in your understanding of Isaac Newton and his Three Laws of Motion!

 

The First Law Of Motion

Newton’s first law of motion states:

“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

 

This is also known as Newton’s law of inertia. You may have learned it as the following: “Every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force” When an object moves, that movement will continue until something else causes it to stop. The opposite is also true- when an object is stationary, it will remain that way until something causes it to move. The following gif best explains Newton’s first law:

Newton's Laws of Motion

 

Now then. Here we see a giraffe traveling along in a tiny car. According to Newton’s first law of motion, the moving car should continue to move…unless something else causes it to stop moving. That’s where the wall comes in- that’s an external force. When the car hits the wall, it changes state and stops moving.

But wait, there’s more.

You’ll notice that the giraffe is also in motion. When the wall stops the car, the giraffe continues to move. In this case, the car is the external force that acts upon the giraffe. The giraffe continues to move until it has no where else to go. The car causes it to change state and come to a complete stop.

To summarize:

The car and giraffe move together,

When the car hits the wall, it changes state and stops moving. It becomes inert (can’t move). The giraffe continues to move.

The stationary car acts upon the still-moving giraffe. It causes the giraffe to change state and come to a complete stop.

 

The Second Law Of Motion

Newton’s second law of motion states:

“The relationship between an object’s mass (m), it’s acceleration (a), and the applied force (F) is F = ma.”

Acceleration and force are vectors. This means that they both have a certain magnitude (power) and direction (In this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector).

When a constant force acts on an object at rest, the object begins to accelerate, or change its velocity (how fast it’s going). When a constant force acts on an object in motion, it can cause that object to either speed up, slow down, or change direction.

High force = high mass + high acceleration

Low force = low mass + low acceleration

High force = low mass + high acceleration

Low force = high mass + low acceleration

A wonderful example of Newton’s second law of motion comes to us from the action-packed climax of The Avengers.

In this scene, a nuclear missile is headed straight for New York! The missile is an object in motion traveling with a high amount of force (high mass + high acceleration). Luckily, the one and only Tony Stark (in his Iron Man suit) is quickly traveling in the same direction, trying to divert the missile.

At 0:35, Tony accelerates and grabs the missile. As you can see when he catches up to it, he and the missile travel at the same rate of acceleration. Then, at 1:16 he exerts a constant upward force on the missile, which causes it to gradually change direction and travel upwards, narrowly missing the city. As they ascend, Tony and the missile gradually travel at the same speed, and they travel through the portal. The missile’s mass (heavy), multiplied by its acceleration (high), causes the missile to exert a high amount of force as it slams into the ship and explodes!

 

The Third Law Of Motion

Newton’s third law of motion states:

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In other words, when a force is exerted in one direction, the same force is exerted in the opposite direction. Think of a few everyday examples:

  • When you jump, a force is being exerted on your body, which makes you go UP. At the same time, an equal force is being exerted DOWN on the ground. Essentially, you and the ground are pushing off of one another, and the result is this: 
  • When you go swimming, and you kick your legs as you move through the water, what happens? Your legs exert a force on the water, and the water exerts the same force against your legs. As a result, you travel in one direction, and the water travels in the opposite direction in the form of ripples.
  • Do some push-ups. Your hands exert a downward force on the ground, and the ground exerts an upward force on you, causing you to rise and fall.
  • Go outside and watch the birds fly around. Each time they flap their wings, they exert a downward force on the surrounding air. At the same time, the air exerts an upward force on the bird’s wings. This causes the bird to gain altitude, and before you know it, they have achieved flight!

 

And those are Issac Newton’s three laws of motion in a nutshell! Of course, these are basic definitions and examples- StudyGate has tons of knowledgeable tutors that can provide all kinds of detailed explanations about Newton’s laws and so much more! We’ve got tutors for biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy- whatever you need!  If you’re looking for some more science help, click on the buttons below to get started!

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Four Ways To Stay Motivated And Finish The School Year Strong

Stay Motivated

It’s May! That means state testing, prom, research projects, just a bit more homework than you bargained for, and a whole bunch of other things that can really take a toll on your focus. It’s easy to start slacking right around this time of year. The end of the school year is in sight, summer’s on the way, the weather’s nicer, everything seems more upbeat and relaxed. But you’ve got to stay motivated!

Don’t fall for it!

There’s a lot you can do to sabotage yourself in this critical time in the academic year. It’s okay to stop and smell the roses every now and then, but you’ve also got to stand up straight, square your shoulders, and put in the work. Here are four ways to help you do that:

Organize and Prioritize

If there was ever a time to stay organized, this is it. With so much going on in school and at home, it’s important to keep every date, every obligation, every meeting straight in your head. If you don’t already, keep a planner handy to write down things that you know you need to take care of in the future. Then, rank those things from most to least important. Now,  you can direct your attention to the things that need it the most, and you’ll feel less stressed as a result!

Be Mindful

Speaking of stress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that’s going on around you. In the midst of all the chaos, take time to slow down and understand what you’re working on. Group projects and research assignments pile up during this time of year, so it’s a good idea to be especially aware of your work habits and how you’re feeling. When choosing how to divide your time, be selective! Ask for help if you can’t meet a deadline, focus on delivering quality work, and above all, set aside some time to take care of your health.

Get Some Perspective

The tests you take during this important season can improve or hurt your chances of ending up with that A you’ve been working so hard for, or the high SAT or AP score that will take you to the college of your dreams. It’s a crucial moment! But that’s all it is. A single moment in the vast timeline that is your life. Don’t put any unnecessary stress on yourself. One test does not decide what your entire future will be. Chin up, shoulders back, do your very best, and your future will fall into place, you’ll see!

Remember Your Goals

There are so many contradictory things about May. It’s testing season, and you should study hard, but prom is coming up, and you want to party hard. Graduation is coming up, and you feel like you’re finished, but those last few assignments count—it’s not over yet! Take time to remember your goals. What did you set out to achieve? Make them more visible in your everyday life. Write them on post-it notes and stick it in your notebook, on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror, EVERYWHERE. With summer around the corner, it’s very easy to get distracted with all the fun things going on, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop short of the finish line.

 

Students, this is time to remain focused and do all you can to finish the school year strong! Keep yourself accountable, check your urges to slack off, and accomplish what you set out to do! For more helpful tips, homework help, test preparation, and one-on-one tutoring, visit us at StudyGate.com!

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Fighting The System: Good Students Vs. Academic Dishonesty

Academic Honesty

Students are blurring the lines between academic honesty and legitimate study more and more as time goes on. While the nature of cheating is still clearly defined, students can now find help online in a multitude of ways. It can be difficult to determine what is dishonest and what isn’t.

For example, is it cheating if a tutor works out a math related homework problem for a student to study later? The student did not technically do the work, but the student does not turn it is as his or her own work. The distinction is becoming more and more unclear.

As students go further in their academic careers, there is a greater urge to be academically dishonest. The students who have cheated in the past will continue to do so. But what about everyone else? What about the students who normally perform well, but find the need to find extra help elsewhere? There are many reasons why students cheat, but the most consequential reasons come from the fact that students in higher education are often pitted against an unforgiving system that gives very few second chances.

 

Numbers Matter

Many rigorous college courses weigh some assignments more heavily than others. It’s very common for a teacher to instruct a course in which there are two important assignments—a midterm and a final, or a final and a research project. The homework has little, if any, influence on the final grade. Students understand that they’ve got to learn strategy if they want to succeed in higher education. It’s not enough to just show up, listen, and do the assignments. You’ve got to know how to work the numbers and figure out what hits you can and cannot afford to take. If both your tests are each 40% of your final grade, and you don’t do so well on the first one, you know you’re performing damage control for the rest of the semester. This is part of the problem. Students will do anything to boost or stabilize that grade percentage. Sometimes, they run into situations that are less about ethics and more about survival.

 

Full Speed Ahead

The pace of the course is also a contributing factor to why students cheat. You’ve got to be absolutely ready for a midterm in a ten-week course because, again, doing poorly will cost you for the rest of the term. It’s one thing to have difficulty learning at such a rapid pace. Being penalized for it is another matter entirely! Yes, that’s just part of the challenges students face in higher education and they should learn to adjust. But the breakneck pace leads to a lot of anxiety among students who have a lot depending on the outcome of a course. A low or average grade could cause a student to miss out on an internship, university admission, or scholarship. The challenge itself is not what causes academic dishonesty. The outcome and subsequent effect on a student’s life is enough for even the most ethical student to weigh their options more closely.

 

Learning Factory

Many universities around the country offer courses with an enrollment size of 100 or more students total. Professors often do not have time to get to know each student individually, much less learn their handwriting, work ethic, and learning style. Academic dishonesty becomes much more attractive knowing that the instructor may not know that the student is cheating in the first place. It’s much harder to do in community colleges or schools with smaller class sizes, but is relatively easy in larger university courses.

 

So What’s The Takeaway?

I don’t believe new technology has any influence over a student’s decision to cheat. The way we cheat today is the same way we’ve cheated 30 years ago, those methods have just moved to an online format. However, today’s students are aware that they have to understand the system they’re engaged in if they want to survive. Every course syllabus explains the weight of various assignments. The student decides what to focus on. If they slip up on a certain assignment, or perform poorly on a test, they understand that it’s not enough just to do well on the next one. Academic dishonesty isn’t necessarily a route for lazy students to avoid applying themselves. It’s also a way for students to stack the odds in their favor. If we want to address the growing threat of academic dishonesty, we first need to understand the situation students all over the country contend with. It’s so much more than just studying and taking tests. It’s strategy, too.

 

For homework help, one-on-one tutoring, and more articles like these, visit StudyGate.com!

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Four Reasons Why Vocational Classes Will Make AP Students Successful

AP Students

Harvard president Charles Eliot expresses how difficult it is to provide an  education that leaves students prepared for the workforce in his 1869 article, The New Education. On one hand, he champions trade schools. He cites their usefulness in producing effective workers with a strong sense of practicality. On the other hand, he recognizes the need to develop the American educational system to cultivate strong thinkers and educators. His difficulty in finding a comprehensive education presented a problem that still exists today.

About forty years ago, lifestyle courses such as home economics and wood shop were serious elective classes. They taught important skill sets for everyday life. As schools slightly shifted their focus to boosting academic test scores, these classes have taken a backseat and gained a reputation for being “easy A” courses. They are basically where unmotivated students can gain extra credits toward graduation.

In recent years, however, schools like Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, Washington are starting to combine Advanced Placement courses with vocational classes to provide much needed hands-on experience and better prepare students for life after high school, according to a recent PBS article. It’s a move that could potentially lead us to emphasize that pragmatism and scholarship go hand in hand. Here are a few reasons why this improvement is a step toward Eliot’s vision that will give students the tools to be more productive and successful in the future.

 

Practice Over Theory

Typically, high schools separate hands-on experiences from textbook learning as students get older. Yes, many courses incorporate effective learning exercises into their curriculum, but at the end of the day, there is a greater emphasis on standardized testing and sprucing up that all-important college transcript. Students mostly apply their knowledge to hypothetical situations. While this may do wonders for test scores, abstract theories do not completely prepare students for the future. In short, students learn by doing things. The more things they do, the more they think about their skills and work they want to pursue in the future.

 

Practical Skills Are Essential For Survival

Home economics, wood shop, auto repair, and other vocational courses teach valuable skills that adults use every day. While it is important to learn advanced science and math concepts, learning to cook a complete meal is equally important. Students need to learn basic survival skills, such as how to change a tire, change oil, sewing, tax preparation, and so much more. As students transition into college life, these skills will give them a sense of independence.

 

More Application, Less Memorization

In most AP courses, students rapidly move through difficult concepts and lessons throughout the year, taking tests regularly. Then, over the months of March and April, students and teachers shift into test preparation mode. They study the AP test format, nailing down all the definitions and possible questions and preparing students for the big test in May. These courses are useful for teaching students advanced concepts and how to take on challenges, but they are ultimately test centered. The knowledge gained is quickly lost. Students at Tesla STEM High School agree that applying knowledge to real-world situations helps them understand the material. One student links behavioral sciences to a career in forensics, saying that, “The lab work really puts things in perspective and makes them easier to understand when we take tests.”

 

Mixing Students Of Different Academic Levels Could Be Beneficial

In our current academic culture, the gifted and talented students are slowly separated from everyone else. In high school, there is a clear distinction. Mixing students of various skill has the potential to increase learning by removing status as a factor in academic success. The students normally suited to AP courses can apply their knowledge with other students and learn to become problem solvers. They learn how to work in a team of people will different backgrounds and skill sets. Students who lack the skills to succeed in college and beyond would face greater challenges and demand excellence from themselves. A learning environment plays a significant role in a student’s success and there is a lot that they can do to support each other.

 

 

A man cannot run an organization or company without having first performed the organization’s basic services, according to Eliot. A doctor cannot become the head of a major medical institution without having spent time with actual patients. The same concept applies here. Students will be better off if they apply their advanced lessons to real situations. Knowledge coupled with experience yields longer lasting success, and it is time that our educational system reflected this principle.

For more articles about education, homework help, study tips, and one-on-one tutoring, visit StudyGate.com!

 

 

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What’s The Point Of Going To College: A Look At What We Believe Education Should Do For Us

What's The Point Of College?

What is the point of going to college? Is it only supposed to prepare you for the workforce? Or should it broaden the mind and expand one’s ability for developing and understanding new ideas? This question has plagued the minds, the lives, and the relationships between students and parents all over the country for decades.

It’s deeply troubling. But it doesn’t need to be.

 

 

A Matter Of Finances

As it turns out, the perceived purpose of college has been in debate for quite some time. On February 28th, 1967, the national conversation took a turn into territory that informs the way many people, students and parents alike, think about college in the present day.

On the day in question, Ronald Reagan held a press conference on the topic of the 1968 presidential election. He was the newly elected governor of the state of California at the time. The reporter’s line of questioning turned to the state budget. That’s when Reagan shifted his focus to education. When asked whether cuts in education were necessary, Reagan’s initial response was:

“…there’s no one in this administration that intends to do anything that will be harmful to education. But we do believe that there are certain intellectual luxuries that perhaps we co do without a year or two without hurting the cause of education. And we’ve asked for their cooperation both at the college and university level, in finding those things that can be done without getting into the real meat.”

 

 

Useful vs. Useless Majors

These “intellectual luxuries” Reagan referred to are liberal arts courses. The then-governor cites courses where students learn to organize political demonstrations and repair band instruments as examples, but we can safely extend his point to include many of the more arts-centered subjects as well as the humanities.

This idea—that some courses are less valuable than others and are therefore not considered part of a good education—is one that is alive and well today. If you ask a college student who is still undecided why they have not yet chosen an area of study, most students will say they do not know what kind of career they want to pursue. That seems to be the prime reason why undecided college students cannot choose an option. It is not because they are dazzled by the number of courses available for study. It is because they are preoccupied with finding the right subject that ultimately yields the greatest career and financial opportunities.

Parents all over the country urge their children to earn a degree they’ll be able to “use” in the future. That does nothing but confuse them. Every student thinks: “I want to major in _____, but if I do, will I be able to find a job? Are there even jobs available for this subject area? Will I make enough money to support myself?” It’s a harrowing, ultimately unnecessary thought that only holds the student back and dampens their ambition. The student places all their focus on one aspect of their future—earning a living. It neglects all other aspects that can potentially boost their ability to do so. Here’s what I mean:

 

 

Yes, College Should Absolutely Prepare A Student For The Workforce…

There is no denying that a college education is an invaluable resource for everyone. Nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals need to have a thorough understanding of medicine before they can even think about practicing in the real world. Business professionals need to learn about economics, finance, management, and a host of other concepts before they enter the working world. These things are non-negotiable. College can give a student the knowledge necessary to direct their natural gifts and earn a living to support themselves. However, it’s not exactly that simple.

 

 

…But It Should Also Refine Critical Thinking Skills And Fuel A Sense Of Curiosity…

Think back to any graduation ceremony you’ve ever attended. Celebrating a group of students who have the intellect and curiosity to someday change the world is the thesis of just about every speech you’ve ever heard. Why? Because good educators strongly believe in equipping students with the tools necessary to create, innovate, and solve major problems in our world. Yes, they want to you make a living, but education is ultimately about progress. Progress for you and your family. Also, progress for the children in our schools. Advancement matters for our society at large and for our world.

Progress takes a great deal of effort and thought. A college education should provide the tools to bring change.

 

 

…While Also Transmitting Culture Throughout Generations…

These days, students receive their civic and historical education largely though college. Think about it. In college, students (should) learn the importance of voting, the political process and the lasting impact our lawmakers’ decisions can have on us and our families, the history of many foreign countries and peoples, and so much more. Sure, much of this stuff is touched on in high school, but college is supposed to truly expand a student’s worldview. It is here that we learn about our role in society. These things are a crucial part of education because they ultimately decide our trajectory as a nation. Yesterday’s problems give rise to tomorrow’s solutions, which bring about more problems that need solving. College integrates students into a learning tradition in which old ideas are improved, built upon, or dispelled as per the current social dynamic.

 

 

…And Molding Students Into Functioning Adults.

There’s a reason why students leave home when they begin college. Being responsible for a certain number of classes per day, a certain amount of homework per week, and a bunch of extracurricular activities prepares students for the responsibilities of the real world. If you don’t show up to class, you could fail your course in the same way that you’ll be eating dinner in the dark if you don’t pay your electricity bill. Where do we learn to manage our time and commitments? Where do we truly feel the impact of our financial decisions and develop our social skills as adults? College.

 

 

Okay? So What?

Governor Reagan’s comments and the short-sighted attitudes that have survived over the years through our limited perception of college should not dictate how our students approach college and their future careers. Yes, of course college should prepare students for the workforce. That’s obvious, especially in our age of hyper-competitive job markets.

But we’re kidding ourselves if we want to pretend that’s all college is for.

Learning is a lifelong process. A professional in any field needs to know how to take a problem and come up with an effective solution, wonder how to change things for the better, and ultimately work well with others to create wonderful things.

While Reagan was absolutely right to emphasize job preparation, we must now include a proviso. Instead of encouraging students to pursue degrees that are directly applicable to certain industries, such as medicine and law, we must motivate them to cultivate their strengths so they will choose a major where they feel can achieve the most success.  Students will find more success in this, because it allows them to rely on their own ambition and work ethic rather than the agonizing luck-of-the-draw approach we currently rely on.

College is so much more than a place to find the best way to squeeze a good living out of our education.  It’s where we grow, mature, and where many of us discover what we think is important in life. Treating it as such will remove much of the stress and uncertainty from the college experience. It will enable our students, now and in the future, to decide on and commit to a path worth taking.

And that is a much better use of all of our time and effort.

 

 

For more thoughts on the state of education, homework help, and study tips, visit StudyGate.com.

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StudyMate: Smart And Secure Strategies To Survive The SAT Showdown (Part 2)

SAT Survival Strategies

“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

It’s 6:30AM. You’ve had a good night’s sleep, ate a good breakfast, and you’re about to make your way to the test location for the big showdown. This is what you’ve been preparing for all these months. Now it’s time to put that training to the test.

But wait!

This is the real thing! This is where it counts! Even with all that preparation, you’ll need to walk in with a winning strategy if you truly want to do your best. Listen up, solider! Here are some things you can do to stay confident in the fog of war and emerge victorious!

 

Roll Call!

Before you leave, double check to make sure you’ve got all your important stuff. Make sure you’ve got your calculator, your pencils, erasers, snacks, and ESPECIALLY your watch. You can’t afford to leave a single thing behind. While you’re at it, make sure you’re carrying your I.D. and any test registration materials!

 

Set Up Your Station

As soon as you find your desk, lay out everything you need. Take out an eraser and an extra pencil, and keep everything else tucked away under your seat. You don’t know how tiny your work space is going to be, so make the most of it and minimize any distractions.

 

You vs. Time

When your test administrator has gone over all the rules and you’re allowed to begin, take a look at the top of the section you’re about to start. There is usually a suggested time limit printed at the top, and you should set a pace to work within these confines.

Remember that watch we told you about earlier? This is where it comes in handy (sorry).

Having the time right next to you all the time will help you stay focused on your test. If you have to crane your neck to look at the clock alllllllllll the way across the room (and see all the other anxious students working on their tests), it’s going to mess up your flow. You’ll never wonder how much time you have left because you can check it periodically and adjust your pace as you go!

 

Sacrifices Must Be Made

While taking your SAT practice tests, you tried to simulate the real test conditions as closely as you could, but you couldn’t help taking time to answer each question to the best of your knowledge. And that’s great!

But this is war.

And in war, you’ve got to count the cost of your actions.

If you come across a question that you cannot answer in a reasonable amount of time, or has you stuck between two or three answers, don’t hesitate to skip it. It may feel like you’re losing out on valuable points, but an unanswered question hurts less than a wrong one, and more correct answers are going to earn you a better score!

I understand you didn’t want to leave that question behind, son. I know you could have saved it.

But it ain’t worth it, soldier. Move on.

 

Refuel

There will be a designated time to use the bathroom and take a short break. This is when you have your snacks! Yes, you’ll probably be hungry anyway, but OUR reason for bringing snacks is for morale. If you bring a snack you love, it’ll make you happier and put you back in a positive mood after a couple hours of testing. Then, go back in there in finish it off!

 

Live To Fight Another Day (Unless You’re Happy With The Result)

When you’ve handed in your test and have run far, far away from it, remember that you did your best, and that’s what counts. Also remember that you can take the SAT as many times as you want to improve your score. Many people take it two or three times! Get your results when they’re released and take the time to figure out where you excelled and where you could use improvement. Add these things to your strategy for next time, and increase your chances of scoring higher!

 

 

And that’s it! Keep yourself motivated, remember your training, stick to your test taking strategy, and we guarantee you’ll be successful! It’s all about keeping your cool, managing your time wisely and keeping yourself motivated. Once you understand that, half the battle is already won! For more helpful SAT tips and homework help, visit StudyGate.com! Dismissed!

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StudyMate: Smart And Secure Strategies To Survive The SAT Showdown (Part 1)

SAT Survival

If there’s one test that fuels the anxiety of millions of students around the United States, it’s the SAT. Students and parents alike invest tons of money, time, and energy into preparing for the test that will decide their fates, and many people prepare the wrong way. Contrary to popular belief (and all that bad advice you’ve gotten) the SAT is all about strategy. Taking the SAT is like going to war (just go with it), and if you’re going to war, then you need an effective plan. Take a look at these smart SAT strategies to help you prepare for battle and ready yourself for the big test.

 

1. Gather Some Intel

Whether you’re taking a subject test or the full-blown SAT, you need to know what kinds of questions you’re going to run into. Go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a couple of books with complete tests that you can practice with every few weeks. If you search online, you can find actual tests from previous years that you can practice on. Before you even THINK about registering for the SAT, take a practice test and see how you do. With any luck, you’ll do pretty badly, and that’s the perfect place to start your training!

 

2. Get The Lay Of The Land

I cannot stress this enough: The SAT is all about strategy. You’ve got to know when to jump, when to slide, when to duck, and when to run for your life! Study the test format. The SAT is written with the easiest questions at the beginning and gets progressively harder as you go. Study the wording of each question. SAT writers love to use seven words to express what you could probably say with three. Get used to the language and the way certain questions are asked. The quicker you can read and anticipate what you’re being asked to do, the quicker you can answer and move on!

 

3. Words Win Wars

You know you’re in deep trouble when you’re taking the reading portion of the test, and you run into a word you don’t know.

Like “nadir”. Or “halcyon”.

You can try to guess the meaning through context clues, but if you can’t, you’re sunk. Get some flash cards and learn the definitions of just five SAT words per day. 5 per day turns into 35 per week! Also, take the time to read anything you can: books, articles, journal entries, essays, and try to figure out the author’s main point as quickly as you can. If you’re unprepared, the reading section is going to be a pain! Arm yourselves!

 

4. Meet Calculator, Your New Best Friend

In this battle, you’re allowed to bring only one weapon (besides your brain), and it’s your trusty scientific calculator. Your mastery of your calculator can potentially slow you down or give you a much needed speed boost! Take some quality time to learn every function, every shortcut, and every formula you need for the test. It will also clear room in your brain for other information you’ll need to memorize. Make sure you know which situations call for which formulas, but make your calculator do the heavy lifting.

 

5. Train Yourself

Now that you know the test inside out, learned a lot of big words, and bonded with your calculator, it’s time to begin your training. Set aside about 1 to 2 hours every other week to sit down and take a practice test from beginning to end. If you like, you can simulate actual test conditions to allow yourself to adjust. Take a test early in the morning, bring some snacks with you, close yourself off in a cold room, whatever you have to do! Pay special attention to the way you manage your time. Time is such an influential factor in the SAT experience—many students feel rushed at times and completely abandon their strategy in order to finish as many questions as possible. Make your time work for you!

 

6. Assemble A Survival Kit

On the day of the test, you shouldn’t be wondering where all your stuff is. Take a few minutes to gather everything you need. In your kit, you should include:

  • A bottle of water
  • Your calculator
  • A couple of extra pencils
  • An eraser
  • Some (a lot of) snacks
  • A watch (yeah, the ones with the hands that you wear on your wrist)

Put ’em all in your favorite bag and store them close by so you can just grab it and leave. Simple.

 

7. Energize

Energy is your greatest resource when taking the SAT. It’s not time, intelligence, or anything else. When you’re sitting in that classroom, you’ve got to have a clear mind and sharp focus. What does this mean for you? For a start, eat a good breakfast! Get plenty of sleep the night before the test! Do all the healthy things you’re supposed to! You need to be in tip-top condition, so take care of yourself! Don’t leave anything to chance!

 

Preparing for the SAT is about dividing your attention between learning the material and developing your test taking strategy. Even though mastery of these two aspects will leave you in the best shape to perform well on the big test, you’re not out of the woods yet! In Part 2, we’ll show you how to handle yourself during the test! Stop by StudyGate.com for more helpful tips and homework help!

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Do You Hate Group Projects? Here’s Five Steps To A Better Experience!

Group Projects

Group Projects. Nobody really likes them, but we all have to do them at some point. Naturally, working with a group of strangers comes with its problems, but they don’t go away once you graduate! You’ve got to master this! You’ll have to do a lot of it in the workplace. Here is a list of things you can do to make the group project experience less painful and more productive!

 

Say Something, And Say It Quick

You’ll be allowed to choose your own groups if you’re lucky. In that case, great! If you don’t, you’ve got some socializing to do. There’s usually an awkward moment in class when you’ve got to sit with your group while your teacher explains your assignment. Take that opportunity to introduce yourself! Learn your partner’s names and be friendly! You’ll come off as a team player and someone fun to work with, rather than That-One-Guy-Or-Girl-In-My-Group-That-I-Don’t-Really-Know.

 

Find The Alpha, Be The Alpha

There’s always that one person, or couple of people, that assumes responsibility and takes control of the group right from the start.

You know who I’m talking about.

They’re the one that comes up with the ideas, coordinates meeting times, introduces themselves to everyone (ahem), and is heavily involved all the way through. Find that person. Stick with them, learn with them, offer your own ideas, approach the group together. Cooperating with proactive people is a great way to learn how to work with others. Every ship needs a captain, why can’t it be you?

 

Listen Up

When your group meets to work on your assignment, a lot of ideas will be passed around. As a member of that group, it’s your responsibility to listen to those ideas, discuss them with the other members, and decide as a group if you’d like to include them. The trick here is to keep an open mind. Everyone probably has an idea of what they want the final product to look like. What you’re being tested on is your ability to take all those ideas and combine them into something you all can be proud of. Discuss all of your ideas early, get on the same page, decide on a direction, and move together as one!

 

Pull Your Weight

This is every student’s nightmare: You’re stuck with a bunch of slackers who don’t care about their own grades, much less yours. They sit around and mindlessly agree with everyone’s opinions at every group meeting, they don’t work on a single thing, and then they show up to the presentation and take the credit. You better believe it’s happening RIGHT NOW. Don’t be that person. Do your part of the assignment, and give it your best shot. If you suspect anyone in your group of being lazy, offer to help with their portion of the work. Best case scenario? They’ll accept and you can work together to create a stronger project, or at least they’ll get the hint and start picking up the slack.

 

 

Group Projects

Take Pride

At the end of your project, your teacher will likely have all of you present your work. As you speak to the class, be sure to give credit to your fellow group members for their individual ideas. If there was a member who made a particularly great point, or did an important part of the project, let everyone know! It will give your fellow group member a little more confidence, inspire them to give it back to you, and show everyone that your group is united!

 

You see? Group projects don’t have to be so bad! It’s all about getting out of your own space and learning how to be interactive, insightful, and friendly toward your peers. Try it out the next time you’re given a group project! For more helpful advice, study tips, and homework help, visit StudyGate.com!

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