Exam Preparation: What Are the Best Test Prep Tips?

exam preparation_best test prep tips

In recent years, the American school system has become more focused than ever on test scores in order to monitor students’ progress. While tests can never truly measure a person’s capabilities or worth, they’re definitely not going away anytime soon. In fact, after graduation, many employers will often administer tests to prospective employees to measure their strengths and weaknesses. Check out these effective test prep tips on how to be the best student and test taker you can be. It’s easier than you think!

Test Prep Tip 1: Plan, Don’t Cram

test prep tips_study guideIf you’re taking a test that covers material from a whole unit, or even a whole semester, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Trying to tackle everything the night before the test will make you more likely to get confused and forget smaller details that can be crucial. Instead, create a study guide template to fill over the course of the unit or semester, or make flashcards with important vocabulary words. Writing down or typing what you need to know is a great tool to help you remember key ideas, and when you do it over a longer period of time, you have more opportunities to ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Test Prep Tip 2: Get Together with Friends

test prep tips_study groupPlanning a study group with your classmates is a great way to go over material in a relaxed and low-pressure setting. Friends can help to quiz you on important points and help you fill in the blanks for any concepts you may not have been too clear on. However, when forming a study group, make sure your friends are ready to get down to business and not just socialize!

Test Prep Tip 3: Rest, Relax, Rehydrate

test prep tips_rest, relax, rehydrateBy the time the night before a test rolls around, you should only need to briefly look over your notes for five or ten minutes. Anything more is likely to stress you out instead of helping you. Instead, make sure you relax and get plenty of sleep the night before. Remind yourself that you’ve studied hard and done all you can to prepare. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too, so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world!

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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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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.



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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The Art Of Focus

The Art of Focus

During the last year of my undergrad studies, I found it hard to focus.

I was finally approaching the end of a five-year journey that took me across countless classes in multiple cities, two community colleges, and (at last) one university, and I was DONE. We’re now in the middle of March, and for many of you, the work is piling up and you might feel the same way! You’re tired, you’re hungry, you didn’t get enough sleep last night, and you just want to finish that assignment you’ve been working on for hours. Even though concentrating can get harder as you get busier, don’t fret! There are ways you can get back on track, energized, and ready to take on any challenge. Those methods are part of what I like to call The Art of Focus.


Do Something Else

When you’ve been studying for hours, all those textbooks and homework assignments just start to blend together. Give yourself a break, go do something else! The trick is, it has to be something a little complex that makes you think—just in a different way! During midterm season, I liked to spread a puzzle (500 to 1000 pieces, please!) on a table in my room, and I would take a break and work on it every once in a while. It helped me regain my focus because I was using my right brain, the creative side, and giving my left brain, the analytical side, a rest. This is much better than, say, watching TV because it keeps your brain engaged in a different way so you’re ready to pick up where you left off!


Do Something Nice

Whenever I felt especially overwhelmed by my studies, I dropped everything I was doing and looked for someone that I could help. It could be someone redecorating their room, moving heavy items, fixing something, or even someone who’s also studying, too! Not only does helping others feel good, it completely takes your mind off your own studies for a while. When you get back to your work, you’ll realize you haven’t thought about it in a while (that’s the idea) and you’ll be able to approach it with a fresh mind.


The Art of Focus

Do Something Creative

Do you like to draw? Paint? Write stories? Do you have a fun hobby? Take some time away from your studies to pursue something fun and creative that will allow you to relieve stress! In my undergrad career, I loved playing video games as a study break (particularly fighting games) because I could shift my focus to a different short-term goal, which left me energized when I got back to my homework. Another great thing to try is to simply lie somewhere comfortable, listen to music, and just stare into space. Make a playlist of your most relaxing songs, find a good spot, and clear your mind. Just be careful not to fall asleep!


Get Active (Physically And Verbally)

My environment was one of the reasons why I found it hard to concentrate during a long study session. Basically, I shut myself away in a dimly lit room and surrounded myself with piles of papers, books, notes, and clutter for hours at a time. Set yourself free by going…

say it with me…


If you’re aiming to complete a two-hour study session, take a couple of short 15-minute breaks and go outside (if it’s daytime) or just go walking through your home. Speak to the people you live with, call your friends for a quick chat, talk to your friend’s dog if you have to. Just make sure you’re moving your body and interacting with other people. Studying is often solitary, but it doesn’t have to be lonely!



All of these things are going to take a while to adjust to as you learn what works best for you. Here’s the point: Work and rest go hand-in-hand. You can’t work constantly, despite other’s (and our own) expectations. You regain focus in times of rest. Take advantage of the many ways you can do that, and you’ll develop razor sharp focus in no time! For more helpful tips, homework help, and online tutoring, visit StudyGate.com!

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StudyMate: A Smart Way To Take A Test

So, you’re going to take a test today. A geometry test. Or a calculus test. Or a physics test. Doesn’t matter. You walk into the room, your teacher hands you the exam, and you find a seat. Then, you look at the test, glance at the clock, and start working. How do you feel? Stressed? Relaxed? Powerful? Did you give up before it even started? Forget everything you know about test taking and try this method!


Skim It!

Spend a minute or two reading the test. Just look at it! Get a feel for the questions and the length. Touch it, smell it, tear the pages a little (don’t), and get comfortable with it. Find out what you know for sure and what you’ll need to spend time thinking about. Recall any equations you’ll need and how you would set up any problems. Relax and take all the mystery out of it!


Easy Questions First

Now that you know what your test looks like, it’s time to knock out the easy questions! Go through the test from beginning to end and take care of any questions you can answer correctly in one or two minutes. You’ll likely finish a big part of the test quickly and gain some confidence in the process.


Set Up Anything You’re Unsure About

Tricky questions take time. Use it wisely. Go back to the beginning and start doing some of the harder questions. If you’re taking a multiple-choice test, take the time to quickly jot down short definitions or explanations. If you’re solving equations, write out the first couple of steps you’d take to solve them. Then leave it alone and move to the next tricky problem. When you’ve gone through it and set up all the questions you can, go back and begin solving them. This will do two things for you. One, you’ll approach each question with brand new eyes. You’ll be able to find the answers because you’ve already started each question and are now focused on the small details. Two, you’ll save time and reassure yourself that you know what you’re doing. Remember, you’ve studied hard for this test, don’t let your confidence fail you!


Dive Deep, But Come Up For Air

Tackle those questions that give you the most difficulty. Give each of them your undivided attention. Take the time to think and make sure you’re on the right track. Once in a while, though, look up from your test and look at something else. Focus on something else for about 20 to 30 seconds. Glance at the clock, stretch, and do what you need to do to make yourself comfortable. Then, get right back to it.


One Last Look

When you’ve finished, take a minute or two to review your test and make sure you’ve answered everything to the best of your ability. Then:

Get up,

Turn that thing in…

and forget about it.

That’s right. Put it out of your mind. You’ve studied, you’ve prepared, you’ve done your best, and now the test is over. Now go and live your life. Get some ice cream.



Take the test, don’t let the test take you! Sometimes taking a test feels like going into battle. You’ll need a good strategy if you want to win. Try our techniques, and we guarantee that you’ll emerge victorious!

For more top-notch test taking advice, homework help, and tutoring, drop by StudyGate.com!


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StudyMate: Test Preparation Pointers For The Stressed Out Student

Test preparation has always been very stressful. You’ve got to plan your study time around all your other classes, your travel time, and your time with friends and family. If you’ve got one, or two, or three tests coming up, it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to get anything done! We know your time is valuable, so we’ve thought of some tips to help you get ready for your next test (and ace it!).


Know EXACTLY What You’re Studying

Be fully aware of what will be on the test. Know exactly which book chapters and concepts you will be tested on. You don’t want ANY surprises. This is pretty straightforward if we’re talking about a math or science course, but if you’re in a humanities or English class, make sure you’re familiar with the texts and outside materials you’re supposed to be reading. If your professor gives you a study guide, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game! If not…


Go Over Your Notes

Review and organize your class notes as soon as the test is announced. Immediately.  Your notes should at least give you basic knowledge of the subject you’re being tested on and can help you cut down on study time. If they don’t, check out our hints on effective note taking! When you review your class notes, you should be asking yourself what you remember about the material. Do you have a rough idea of what it’s about? Or are you struggling to remember definitions? This will give you an idea of how long you should study, and it’s a HUGE time saver. Try it with your friends and ask each other questions!


Speak Now!

A lot of students don’t like talking to their professors either because they’re embarrassed, or they’re scared of them, or they don’t want to reveal that they haven’t been paying attention in class. Here the thing:

Your professor WROTE the test, and if you ask nicely, they’ll probably tell you EXACTLY what’s on it.

Seriously! It’s that easy! Meet with your professor after you review your class notes so you get a complete idea of the test questions and format. Make sure you ask for any helpful hints that might help you get through the test. Trust us, most professors would love to give you as much help as possible.


Take Action!

Everyone has their own way of studying. If you’re a visual learner, consider using a whiteboard or a piece of paper to write out concepts where you can see them (this works wonders for math and science courses). If you learn best by listening, maybe read your notes aloud, record them and listen to them as you go through the day (or you and a friend could record each other’s notes if you don’t like the sound of your own voice). Can’t sit still? Walk around or do an activity while you study! Anybody can sit in a cold library and stare at a textbook. Change it up, know yourself, and start studying your way!


Take Care


Yes, you have a lot of homework to do.

Yes, you want to get good grades and be successful.

Yes, you want to know as much as possible so that you do well on your test.

These are all important things. You cannot do any of them if you’re running on half a banana and 30 minutes of “sleep”. Be nice to yourself for a change. Give yourself enough time to review and GO. TO. BED. Eat breakfast and bring snacks for the day ahead. Take good care of yourself.

We get stressed out while preparing for a test because we’re trying to both remember and memorize everything we’ve learned in a very short time. Good test preparation is all about gathering information ahead of time, and then reviewing it at your own pace. Go on, try these tips for yourself on your next exam and see the difference it makes! For more helpful test preparation advice and homework help, visit us at StudyGate.com!

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Effective Study Tips: Teddy Roosevelt’s Guide to Academic Productivity

study tips_academic productivity

“I never won anything without hard labor and the exercise of my best judgment and careful planning and working long in advance. I had to train myself painfully and laboriously not merely as regards my body but as regards my soul and spirit.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1913.

Often it is not how much you study but how you study that matters. The best way to study is not the most time consuming but the most effective. Strategic learning, or deep work, can boost productivity so that much more can be accomplished in a shorter time frame. Theodore Roosevelt was, of course, America’s 26th President. Yet he was also an author of forty books, a sportsman, naturalist, soldier, and even a New York City police commissioner. Learning how to be productive was the key to his success. As Edmond Morris wrote in Time, “T.R.’s mental processor moved so fast as to fuse thought and action.” Despite all of his achievements, he was still able to have ample free time while simultaneously developing and producing as an intellectual and leader. A great amount of work can be actualized with the right kind of focused determination. A brief overview of Teddy Roosevelt’s study tips and techniques may help you on your own academic journey.

Study on a fixed-time schedule.

Roosevelt was a man of action, with a wide range of personal interests and activities. In college, he spent a great amount of time sporting and socializing. He also read voraciously on other topics of personal interest. As he became a political leader, he delivered speeches, attended meetings, and met many other obligations. Yet his personal diaries and letters show that he would block out time during each day for certain intellectual tasks.

Work only on high-priority tasks.

Identify what tasks are more important than others. Clarify what needs to be done first and focus your energy on those. Do not obsess about next week’s term paper when the algebra test is tomorrow morning. Recognize that some priorities must be realized first. Others can wait.

Focus on one task at hand. 

Because you are working within the parameters of a fragmented time schedule, it is imperative that you focus all of your effort and energy on your work. Do not take a break or check your Facebook status. Do not fidget with your phone or stop to take a snack break. Do not multi-task. Give it all of your mental energy now, and remain in the moment through the duration of this time period.

Set a specific goal, or solve a problem.study tips_set a goalDetermine a goal, whether this is solving a problem, writing a certain number of words, or reading a number of chapters. Do not go into a study session without having something clear to accomplish. Setting a specific short-term goal will motivate you and allow for a sense of accomplishment.

Create a deadline for “Roosevelt Dashes”

Cal Newport notes that “Roosevelt dashes” were short periods in which artificial deadlines helped Roosevelt to systematically increase achievement. Newport calls such dashes “interval training for the attention centers of your brain.” The idea is to exert your mental faculties to the max in short intervals. Set a timer where you can see it and push yourself to finish your established task within that time frame. This will take some practice. Stick with a set time period to accomplish your goal and meter yourself to the minute.

Read with a purposestudy tips_read with a purposeRoosevelt read a prodigious amount of books. It has been said that he read five books a week during his term in the White House. Yet he also trained his mind to identify the important aspects of the literature instead of getting bogged down in words and details. Some details are important. While some literature needs to be carefully read, strategic reading of certain texts improves efficiency.

Take time for personal growth

Realize that you are not a robot. We all live full and busy lives. We need time for friends and loved ones. Countless obligations will compete for your attention. Yet it is important to set aside time to nourish your soul. Take time for personal enrichment and pursue interests beyond school. Often just claiming some time every day to meditate and reflect can relax the mind and rejuvenate you. Downtime energizes and leads to insight.

Diversify your interestsstudy tips_interestsRoosevelt entered Harvard wanting to become an “outdoor naturalist and observer of nature.” His career turned to the business of politics. Yet he also took up boxing and bodybuilding, dancing and poetry, horseback riding and hunting, swimming and polo, and remained a lifelong nature enthusiast. He had a curious mind and treated everything he did with utmost enthusiasm and passion.

Make learning a life habit

Cultivate a passion for learning and work to constantly expand your mind. The big picture is more than a collection of short-term tasks. Maintain a love for intellectual growth and personal development. This will serve to carry you through the inevitable minor frustrations that arise along the way.

Good study habits need to be developed so that they become a habit. Roosevelt always claimed that he was not the smartest nor was he the most capable of men. What he achieved was done through sheer determination, planning, and strategic thinking—a combination of diligence and prudence. He may have said it best when he explains how he developed his skill as a marksman. He writes, “There are men whose eye and hand are so quick and so sure that they achieve a perfection of marksmanship to which no practice will enable ordinary men to attain. There are other men who cannot learn to shoot with any accuracy at all. In between come the mass of men of ordinary abilities who, if they choose resolutely to practice, can by sheer industry and judgment make themselves fair rifle shots.”


McKay, B., & McKay, K. (2009).How to Speed Read like Theodore Roosevelt.The Art of Manliness. Retrieved 15 August 2017, from http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/10/18/how-to-speed-read-like-theodore-roosevelt/

Morris, E. (1998). Theodore Roosevelt. TIME.com. Retrieved 15 August 2017, from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,988150-1,00.html

Newport, C. (2016). Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

Roosevelt, T. (2009).The autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt.Seven Treasures Publications.

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Food for the Brain: 6 Foods Every Student Should Eat for Great Energy and Concentration

food for the brain

There is no single, straightforward pathway to academic success. It’s a multi-faceted endeavor, a combination of multiple choices that you must make every single day, to achieve the outcome that you desire. The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you already know this and that you’re looking for an edge in the area of nutrition, a potential energy formula that will boost your concentration.

We’ve done the research, and we’ve come up with six food for the brain that will help fuel your body with what it needs to get your brain energized and focused on your academic endeavors.

Food for the Brain #1: Water

Water should be your best friend. Always. And while it might seem strange to think of water as a “food”, it is an abundant, affordable, and essential substance that we need to consume. Consider this; studies have indicated that people perform better on challenging mental tasks when they are adequately hydrated. So aim for those 8 glasses every day, and keep a water bottle handy when you’re studying or taking exams.

Foor for the Brain#2: Fatty Fish

food for the brain_fatty fishFish is among the healthiest of proteins available because fish contains nutrients and components that are both anti-inflammatory and boost the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, all of which are linked to brain health. Fish that are wild-caught (i.e., not farmed) and high in Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely the best for you. To boost that brain, go for wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and herring.  But for those of you who don’t cook or are on a tight budget, look in the grocery store or your campus cafeteria for canned Alaska salmon, Pacific sardines, and canned albacore tuna.

Food for the Brain #3: Eggs

Eggs are affordable, versatile, easy to cook, and available in every campus cafeteria.  Eggs contain high concentrations of the nutrients tryptophan and choline, which contribute to the neurotransmitters that affect mood and memory.

Food for the Brain#4: Berries

food for the brain_berriesBerries are full of antioxidants, which protect brain cells and stimulate brain function and memory. While the seasonal availability of fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries can be short, these fruits are easily found in frozen form in grocery stores.

Food for the Brain #5: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, when ingested, is absorbed quickly by your brain and has been shown to have positive effects on memory and mood. Because of increased demand, coconut oil has become less expensive and more readily available over the past few years and can be used instead of vegetable oils in cooking.

Food for the Brain #6: Kale

food for the brain_kale

Kale has antioxidants, Vitamin B, which is key in brain development, Vitamin C, which increases serotonin, Vitamin K, which helps with verbal memory, AND is one of the best plant sources for Omega-3s.Kale is another food that is very versatile; use it in juices or smoothies, throw some kale in salads, or even coat with coconut oil and salt and pepper and roast in the oven to make kale chips!

Food for the Brain——Honorable Mention

While we wanted to limit this list to six items, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two other brain-boosting foods: walnuts and avocados.  Walnuts are high in Omega-3, and avocados have Vitamin K, Potassium, healthy fats and folate, which is a nutrient that contributes to cognitive function.

With these six food good for the brain, plus the honorable mention items, you could create an incredible full meal to share (or keep the leftovers for lunch)!  But you could also choose just one, two three of the food to make your own energy formula to give your brain a boost.  Any way you choose, your brain will thank you.

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How to Study for the ACT: 8 Popular Study Habits to Avoid

study habits_test prep tips

In order to help you prepare for the American College Testing (ACT) exam, here is some guidance on how NOT to study for the ACT, including how not to approach ACT sample questions and ACT sample tests. Read on to discover some tips on how to avoid common study habit errors, and what you can do instead, to maximize your study time to boost your ACT scores.

Study Habits to Avoid #1: Pulling an All-nighter/Cramming

Let’s start with the obvious. Sleep deprivation, no matter your age or circumstance, is never a good thing. Staying up late or all night, to study for an exam is pretty much the worst idea ever.  Instead, take some time to review your notes, and then put them aside well before you go to bed. Relax and get a good night’s sleep.

Study Habits to Avoid #2: Studying with friends.

Unless you’re in a completely structured and disciplined peer group that is working together toward a common goal, like the completion of a project, studying for exams with friends isn’t a good idea. Distractions will happen, and you’ll lose time and productivity.

Study Habits to Avoid #3: Listening to music*

study habits_loud musicListening to your playlists or other favorite music, especially loudly, is counter-productive.  Because you end up listening to the music more than you end up absorbing the information that you’re studying.  In order to maximize your efficiency, study in a quiet environment.

*Having music on low in the background as ambient noise, especially if it covers other distracting noises, is an exception to this tip.

Study Habits to Avoid #4: Looking at the answers to the sample questions first

Reading the answers before you attempt the question does you no favors. Instead, read the question first and attempt to answer it, THEN read the answer.  You’ll be able to recall the answer much better the next time you go through the practice questions.

Study Habits to Avoid #5: Over-caffeinating prior to the exam

study habits_over caffeinatedIf you’ve made the mistake of cramming the night before, or couldn’t sleep because of nerves, a low to moderate amount of caffeine may help.  However, ingesting too much caffeine can make you jittery, unfocused, and can lead to a major crash in your energy well before you’re finished with the exam.

Study Habits to Avoid #6: Re-writing all of your notes

Some people believe that typing or writing out all of their study notes will help their recall. Not true. Once you’ve been through the practice exams, make index card notes on any questions that you really get stuck on, with the questions on one side, and the answers on the other.

Study Habits to Avoid #7: Multi-tasking

study habits_multitask

It’s not just listening to music that can distract from your studying. Unless you are one of a very small percentage of the world’s population (i.e., 2%), you are not a good multi-tasker. So put down the phone, shut down your browser and turn off the TV.

Study Habits to Avoid #8: Studying for long periods of time

Studying for the ACT takes up a lot of energy, so trying to study for long blocks with no breaks can actually be detrimental.  Focused studying for shorter periods of time, and taking periodic breaks to focus on something else, can help you maintain a consistent level of focus and energy. Make sure you’re drinking water, eating, and taking occasional breaks just to stand up, stretch and move. At least one 10-15 minute break for every hour of study will help keep your focus on test prep.

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