Memorization

March 25th, 2014

Memorization is a constant struggle for most people. One of the best (and immediately useful) classes in college I took discussed how people learned different material. We also went over various memorization techniques. Here at the Study Hut, these skills are obviously applicable and important to our students.

We all know about short-term and long-term memory. But did you know that your brain often filters out information it does not think is useful to you? So when you are trying to study for that geometry test, and you keep telling yourself that the material is not important, this can definitely work against you. That is why repetition, used as a memorization technique, is often useful. Your brain thinks that if you come across that piece of information so much, it must, and should be worth memorizing.

You also learn information in groups. Information can be grouped together either by the environment in which you learned or encountered the information. This is why smells and sounds, like songs, can bring up many other memories. It is then not surprising, that when college students ate dark chocolate in a research study, and then during or shortly before an exam, they were able to recall more information. Taste is mostly olfactory in nature; which means taste is mostly constituted of smell. The researchers also theorized that the caffeine in dark chocolate might have also played a part, but the results were not conclusive. In addition, because we learn information in groups, it can be far easier to remember associations between words, rather than simply the individual words or terms themselves. When studying vocabulary, try to connect meanings and sounds to each other in a story or sentence. When studying history, try not to memorize random dates but connect the important events in a story. This will also, of course, give you a deeper understanding of the meaning of events and no doubt help you write more introspective essays.  In science, try not to remember individual terms but how they connect to one another in a process or function.

 

A proud tutor story!

May 1st, 2013

I tutor a girl who is in the 7th grade and she has a twin sister – both in the same classes. These 2 girls have been struggling in all their classes and have not been receiving the best grades (though as a tutor I knew they could do much better).

We bought the girls planners – so that they could get organized and write all their assignments down instead of using only their IPAD. We really want to help them get their grades up before the end of the year – and I feel like it can happen! I tutor one of the twins and another tutor helps her sister.

For many students, it’s only one or two classes they are focusing on – but these girls need help in all their classes – English, Spanish, Science, Social Studies, and Math.

I am very well versed in Spanish and math – my two best subjects – and not so well in English, Social Studies, and Science – but it’s nice to tutor these subjects – not only to help my student but also to reteach myself things that I have forgotten about over the years.

So together, my student and I have made a good plan and we are on the same page – with preparing ahead – doing flashcards, section outlines, and section reviews right when she finds out she has a test.

Last week we knew she had a Science test – so we prepared very early instead of her waiting until the last minute and not studying and also not telling me she had a test.

We worked on the Cardiovascular system and studied all about the heart, veins, lungs, capillaries, arteries, and many other interesting subjects. 

Long story short – she came in today and told me she got a 91% on her test and her sister got an 83%. She told me she wanted to scream with excitement when she got her test. Today, we then studied for her Social Studies test for Thursday and she really wants to get another good grade!!!

Going away to college

April 11th, 2013

Yesterday, our RB Office Manager had a meeting with a student named Claire and her dad Jeff!! She is a Junior in High School and about to be a senior… and JUST now decided that she wanted to take the ACT.

The girl does well in Science and scored a 27 on her ACT Diagnostic test. Claire told our RB Office Manager that she had taken the SATS but about a year and a half ago, so not very recently.

The problem the student had was that she has been so focused on her grades and pin pointing exactly what she wants to major in, instead of focusing on what school she wanted to go or the area she want to live in.

Claire was focused more on her future and where her major was going to take her, that she did not stop to think about what location she wanted to go to college at, or the area she wanted to surround her self by.

When going to college, you have to think about not only what school you want to go, but also the area you want to live in. From LA to New York, there are so many schools across the United States, and each city is so different and unique, and each offer different things.

Make sure to spend time at the colleges of your choice, because it’s not only about the education, the classes, and the majors a school may offer, but the city it’s it or the surrounding area can also make a huge impact on your college life in either a positive or negative way.

College can last anywhere from 3 – 6 or more years and you want to make sure you choose a college where you are going to get a great education, but you have to make sure you can feel at home and feel safe and secure in the area that you want to live in.

Free Tutoring at MBMS on Wednesday Mornings!

March 5th, 2013

Every Wednesday at 8 a.m. – Study Hut Co-Owner SP, MB Officer Manager Sam, and Nicole go to Manhattan Beach Middle School to tutor students for an hour for free during the school’s late start. They have been going to the Manhattan Beach Middle School since the middle of January and each week more students attend the one hour free tutor hour. The tutoring takes place in Mr. Lub’s Classroom (Room 103). One of the Study Hut tutors made a sign to put at the middle school on Wednesday mornings letting students know where the tutoring will take place so hopefully each week more students will attend.

We started the first week with a small turn out, but each week a few more students show up. This past week they had 15 students – the most students they’ve had yet. The tutors bring doughnuts with them – which all the students look forward to. Along with the tutors, the school supplies a cart of books so you can work on any subject you need. Many of the same students come consistently every week, allowing the tutors to get to know the students on a more personal basis.

The tutors have had students come in for help in every subject including but not limited to Spanish, English, Math, Reading, and Science. The tutors have worked on many assignments with students including book reports, homework, studying for tests, organizational skills, arranging classes for High School, and many others. Usually during the hour, a few students work on the same assignments which makes it easier to  help more students at one time.

Along with the tutors, MBMS also sends in classroom aids to help during the hour and make sure that everything is running smoothly.

Again, the tutoring takes place in Mr. Lubs Room (103) from 8 – 9 a.m. during the late start hour! We hope to see you there!

 

 

Is Freshman Year important?

January 15th, 2013

We are halfway through another school year, and for some of you that means that High school is right around the corner. Since there are 4 years of High School, many students don’t ever think that your Freshman year really is an important year… so I am here to tell you that freshman year really is an important year !! 

Freshman year is a new start for a lot of students…new school, new friends, new teachers/classes.. and every student wants to make a good first impression. For most students, going to a new school can be a big adjustment. Even if you have older brothers or sisters, naturally students will want to pave their own path and create their own reputation. Freshman year will be a chance to find new friends, join interesting extracurricular activities, and adapt to new teachers and their different teaching strategies.

New School: What you decide to do in High School will impact your future… and if you start off on the right track, hopefully your future will turn out bright.
When applying to colleges, they look for not only good grades but also consistency with sports, clubs, and organizations… so when you’re a Freshman, you should try to join either a club or extracurricular that you are passionate about and that you will stick with throughout your 4 years of High School.

New Friends: Usually when you attend High School you will be mixed with new people which is always fun and exciting. These new students could turn out to become some of your closest friends, and Freshman Year is a great way to break the ice and meet new people since you’re all going through the same experience.

New teachers/classes: In terms of new classes and teachers: each year, the learning curriculum will become more vigorous and the work load will become longer and more strenuous. The grades your receive your Freshman year are as important as the grades you receive the most of the years, though Sophomore and Junior year grades are weighted more on your GPA.

Learning to study for Finals will be new to all Freshman, since for most Freshman this will be their first time taking Final exams. Final exams are usually cumulative and there are good strategies to help you when taking the exams. Since grades are always important,  the study habits that you use or learn from others will hopefully improve over time and can help you not only through High School but college as well.

As you can see, Freshman year is very important and can make a good or bad impact on you, depending on your experience. Here’s to a great first year!

 

 

My Experience at a Small Public University

December 12th, 2012

As an alumnus of a small Cal State, in particular, California State University, Channel Islands, my experience was much different than that of my friends. First of all, it is a particularly new institution in Camarillo, CA. At this university, I had the experience of a private education but at the price of a state level institution. My largest class size was around 40 students and that was in a lecture hall. The small class sizes allowed for everyone to become well acquainted with one another which made study sessions, as well as casual gatherings easy to organize. For one project, we had to develop a presentation that would immerse the class in discussion and really break down boundaries. My group all gathered together and rehearsed our proposal to the class. As we arrived to class, all the seats were in a circle (with room to spare) and we began our presentation. Everyone in the class became immediately engaged. Since the faces around the room already had a familiarity to them, we were able to completely let loose and hold firm to our opinions. People laughed and even cried.

I have a hard time envisioning this happening at a much larger institution. Some of my friends have told me about their classes being either 300 strong and over impacted; others have exclaimed that they simply cannot even enroll in the classes they need. These issues really help me to appreciate that I attended a small college. All my professors knew the entirety of the class by first name, were very successful, and were regularly available for help outside of the classroom. The success of my professors, which greatly reflected their teaching abilities, went from an accounting professor that was CEO of a firm that maintained the entire Verizon accounting department to an entrepreneurial professor that served as Commissioner of Small Businesses to President Bill Clinton. Their inspirational stories and different teaching styles made each class uniquely different. We, as a class, enjoyed talking with the professors to gain insight to their success and their approach to obtaining it. In all, my education at CSUCI was incredible and the chances to have memorable experiences were ubiquitous.

Holiday SAT Study Sesh!

December 7th, 2012

The holiday season is upon us, but that is no reason to neglect your SAT studies. The January 26 test isn’t that far away, and the March test will be here before you know it. Staying sharp over winter break isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but here at the Study Hut, we have a slogan: “Come on, Man!” Sure, vegging out in front of your TV re-watching The OC: Season 4 for the third time seems like a good idea, but this time of year provides you with ample time to continue your prep work without having to worry about classes, sports, and other obligations – besides, Season 4 is lame anyway (Spoiler Alert: Marissa dies).
To help you all remain on task, I’d like to share a method that I personally have found extremely effective: The Pomodoro Technique. Designed eons ago in the early 90s as a way to utilize the power of concentrated energy and frequent, short breaks, Pomodoro remains one of the most popular productivity techniques. The premise is simple; make use of all of your brain’s energy in 25-minute spurts, and then take a 5-minute break. Do this three more times and then reward yourself with a 25-minute break. It’s as simple as it sounds, but almost 100 times as effective.

So keep chugging along hut-sketeers (Nailed it!), and let us know how the Pomodoro helps you out. See the chart below for upcoming SAT dates and deadlines to register. Don’t wait until the last minute!

SAT Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline
Jan 26 Dec 28 Jan 11
Mar 9 Feb 8 Feb 22
May 4 Apr 5 Apr 19
Jun 1 May 2 May 17

Starting The College Essay: A letter to future college kids of America

November 9th, 2012

Dear High School Seniors:

The time has come to reap the benefits of all these years of classes, extra curricular activities, and sacrificing TV hours for extra study time. This time next year, many of you will be in your first semester of college … but where?

October and November are the crunch months for college applications. The UC Application, which opened October 1st, is due November 30th – a mere month away. Many of you are applying to multiple schools around the country, and you are currently in the midst of answering several open-ended prompts along the lines of, “What characteristics define you?” and, “Name an event that shaped your life.” Or, maybe you’re tackling something like the infamous University of Chicago prompt: “How do you feel about Wednesday?”

How do you even start to answer a prompt like that?

The best way to start is with a brainstorm. Spend a couple days just thinking before you even open a Word document and start to type. If the prompt asks you to reflect on an event in your life, or a quality that you possess, think honestly about who you are. Ask your friends and family what they think your best characteristics are, and ask for examples of how you embody those qualities. Look through photo albums, listen to your favorite music, think of events in your life that changed you and helped to build the person that you are today.

Next, narrow down your top options. Think: Does this story portray me in a good light? Does it make me seem smart and introspective? Do my actions embody attributes that would make me a good college student?

Remember that college admissions officers read thousands of essays each day during admissions season. They are looking for potential students who will thrive at their university, excelling in courses while adding insight and individuality. They want students who will enhance the university’s community by volunteering and becoming involved. Most of all, they want to see that you are a well-rounded person who is serious about education, but also has interests that extend beyond the classroom and can enrich the lives of other students. They’re building a community, not just a class.

So, just be you. Or – even better – be the most insightful and interesting version of you. Tell the truth, but tell it in an interesting way that will stand out from the other essays. The best way to do this is to try to show the readers who you are, rather than just telling them. Try telling a story that shows your best characteristics, or an example of how a Wednesday changed your life. Be unique, be concise, and be articulate.

And if you get stuck, be at The Study Hut. We’ll help you get inspired.

Adelia’s Summer Enrichment

July 25th, 2012

This summer, as manager, I have been presented with the opportunity to actually tutor! Normally, the hustle and bustle of the Hut prevents me from my real passion, teaching. One of my regular and favorite students in here over the summer is Adelia. She has diligently come in twice a week throughout the summer to study Spanish and Geometry. I admire her confidence and motivation to get ahead of the game and become prepared for the classes she will endure in the fall.
Starting out with Spanish 5/6 in the fall she went ahead and bought the book that her high school, Mira Costa, uses so that I can start teaching her the material. Once fall comes she will be prepared with the vocabulary and will be strong with the grammar. Throughout the course of these few weeks she has already improved in both her retention of vocabulary and her ability to speak and comprehend the language. Last year, I tutored another student in Spanish in preparation for Spanish 2. He excelled in his Spanish class receiving a high B opposed to D+ he received the semester prior. A little elbow grease in the summer goes a long way when it comes to learning a language. I have the confidence that Adelia will be able to start and finish this year strong.
Similarly, math skills are just as important to maintain during the summer. Adelia already has a solid understanding of the primary concepts in Geometry and will have gone through the first few chapters of the Mira Costa Geometry book by the time summer has ended.
Most kids are resistant to summer tutoring and believe that it will take up their entire summer. Adelia, however, is extremely active. She owns a horse is Palos Verdes and rides him every day. She is extremely happy with her progress she has made this summer at Study Hut.
Not only can we provide enrichment for math and Spanish, but also French, English, reading comprehension, physics, history, biology, chemistry and whatever else, you name it, we have a tutor for it! Bring it on fall semester!

Finals Time

June 18th, 2012

Study Hut generally maintains a relatively steady state of operations, seasonally — fortunately, this all changes when our students slam into the Great Wall of Finals. I see students coming in with varying degrees of academic success and perceptibility, which consequently creates a general state of panic and chaos in the majority of students that come in for extra tutoring. While it may seem as if this pinnacle, this cummulation of efforts, is far too all-encompassing to
be manageable, the truth is, none of this will matter tomorrow, or the next year, or the next century. Conversely, in respect to you, the student, everything matters with what you do today, and studying for classes during this hectic time is, rightly, what you must be doing. Study Hut’s role in this system is to facilitate your studies, guide you to answers to questions, and, most importantly, give you the confidence and ability to ensure you function properly at the right moment — test taking time.

I believe that, while some students do require extra tutoring and that others require a confidence chat in between sessions, studying is, clearly, the correct step. We, the tutors at Study Hut, will do everything we can to make sure you are ready for whatever test comes at you — more or less. When you feel as if everything is coming down on you and that things
are simply overwhelming your ability to retain all that information — come on, an entire year? — just remember to breathe, just breathe…