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You need to prepare a strategy for each course to do well on whatever is maximized. A simple rule of thumb is that you should spend a proportional amount of time depending on how much it contributes to your grade. Sometimes this can be deceiving—some teachers might give little weight to homework and more to tests, for example this is almost always the case in college courses. Learning is a mysterious process.
Even at the frontier of research, the nature of how we learn is still pretty mysterious. Regardless, there are still a couple of principles of learning that have been provably effective. To build a tree, first you need strong roots and a trunk—these are the foundational concepts of the subject. So when you learn something, really focus on the fundamental core of what you're learning—the core that underlies all the little details. Different functions behave in different ways; the derivative of 2 x 2 is 4 x , but the derivative of sin x is cos x.
These often require memorization, and the details are the leaves of the tree. At any particular point, the rate of change is equal to the slope of the line tangent to the function at that point. Derivatives, one of the most important concepts of calculus. If you're nowhere near taking calculus, don't worry about the details just yet.
When you understand this trunk, then every derivative formula afterward makes intuitive sense. This is also true in the humanities. When you learn how to write an essay in English or history, look beyond just following the standard essay template given by your teacher. Here's what you need to understand:.
Once you build this trunk, the details of how to do this with actual words and phrases will come naturally. Once you identify this, the details will come more naturally to you. When I visualize how knowledge works, I imagine a network of nodes connected to each other.
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Each node is a unit of information—a math formula, a concept, or a historical fact. When two nodes are connected, I see them as related to each other. Two linked nodes might be the area of a circle and the perimeter of a circle, for example. How I visualize my knowledge: each circle is a concept or fact, and lines connect related concepts. Nodes that are weakly linked and not accessed often tend to be forgotten much more quickly. Intuitively, this makes sense: if a particular concept is related to other concepts, every time you recall one of the related concepts, you'll have a better chance of activating the related concepts.
This then cements all the concepts around. The brute-force way to learn about these events is to memorize the facts and details for each event, as though each were in its own independent vacuum. After all, you're likely taught and tested unit by unit, so this is the natural way to learn. These unifying themes help you see the patterns among these important events.
When you learn about Abraham Lincoln, you can relate his achievements to those of George Washington, strengthening your understanding of both. Now, these events are clearly tremendously different from each other, but defining contrasts is just as helpful. In contrast, in the Civil War, the action was more strongly led by white men in the Union and less so by the slaves themselves. Defining these contrasts still develops a connection among the events, in turn leading to a stronger understanding of both. It also helps you ask interesting questions about why these events differed from each other.
This rich, multi-dimensional network-building is a stark contrast to the usual way history is taught—as a one-dimensional timeline. The one-dimensional way was how I was taught history and it made history a pretty boring collection of historical facts, which is a shame because learning could be so much more interesting and effective. If you can focus on building a strong trunk of knowledge and connecting what you learn to what you already know, you'll be able to learn much more effectively.
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If learning is your job, your teacher is your boss. Your performance will then determine whether you get a promotion an A or get fired an F. This is especially important in subjective pieces such as essay grading, group projects, and class participation. Others are new—they're still trying to figure it out, really want to do a good job, and crave approval from students.
Some teachers are passionate, want to connect with students, and achieve carpe diem moments daily. Others are perfunctory and just want kids to keep quiet and cause less trouble in their lives so they can go home and watch The Walking Dead. Some teachers want lively class discussions and want to see students inspire each other.
Others run class like a prison—no outbursts, or you get solitary. The more you understand how a teacher thinks, the more you can give the teacher what she wants. They chose education as their craft for a reason, usually because they like the idea of inspiring students and contributing to their growth. They also care about the subject matter—if they teach math, they find math interesting. If they teach history, they find history interesting. Most teachers hate students whose sole concern is getting a good grade and who make this desire clear from their questions and behavior.
Most teachers love students who sincerely care about the class material and show curiosity. One place this is clear is in the syllabi that teachers write for classes. You might not know that AP courses at every high school are audited by the College Board for curricular soundness, and teachers are required to submit their syllabi for approval. While this is probably an example of an above-average teacher, it illustrates how teachers who care really do understand what they're teaching and what they want students to get out of it.
You are the future, so teachers want to see admirable qualities in their students. Teaching requires a huge time commitment.
Related Book : Good Grades In No Times 10 Minute Tips That Guarantee College Success
After school ends, teachers have to grade homework at night and plan for the next school day. Some of them supervise extracurriculars. This can mean an effective workday of 7 am to 6 pm. Understanding how the teacher thinks is critical to getting good grades on assignments, tests, and participation. On a history test, does the teacher care more about the big picture or about reciting minute historical facts? In an English essay, does the teacher care about executing a standard template well, or about having a novel point of view?
What skills and concepts does the teacher really want to see in this essay? If you approach your classes from the teacher's perspective, you'll be able to customize your work to what the teacher expects.
20 Study Strategies for Finals Week
We'll talk more about this later. Given the same issue, you can present it in a way that'll make the teacher hate you, or in a different way that'll make the teacher admire your maturity and resolve. Robinson, I got a B on this test. I studied really hard and some of the questions were unfair. Is there any way I can get my test regraded? Can I get extra credit? This is nails on a chalkboard for a teacher. You get anti-brownie points. Poop points. Also, I tried to be thorough in my studying, but I missed the sections that were tested in these questions.
11 tips on getting a first class degree - Save the Student
In the first one, you blame the teacher and your schedule, not yourself. You put the focus on the grade rather than the learning.
Finally, you try to get an unfair advantage over other students without contributing anything yourself. The second option is a on the first. You put the emphasis on improving yourself, not on the grade. You own up to your mistakes rather than blaming other people.
You also make it an open conversation in which the teacher can use her expertise to ask questions and dig more deeply. These kinds of interactions make a world of difference in how teachers perceive you. Teachers will work harder to help you. In cases wherein you need more flexibility, the teacher might be more likely to accommodate you. You should be sincere and not just act the part.
One common way to sniff out a fake is to ask more questions and dig a little more deeply.
Take some time to think through classes you're struggling in or teachers you don't get along with. Do you understand what the teacher's expectations are? Why aren't you meeting them, and what can you do to improve this? This is a lot of time. When you get into the thick of high school, you start taking a lot of things for granted.
Each math homework assignment will take about an hour.