Creating a Productive Workspace

January 26th, 2015

The beginning of a new semester is the perfect time to change any poor study habits that you slipped into last semester. A few minor changes can make all your study sessions more efficient, so you can spend less time studying and more time on other things. One of the key factors to making sure that you stay focused on your work is having a great environment.

 

You should start with a space that is free from distractions. This can mean different things for different people. It could be a room at home that is quiet, a library, or a coffee shop. If you cannot keep focused on work when you are working with your friends, then going with them to the library is not a good fit. Keep your space clear from anything that you do not need to complete your work like magazines, your cell phone, or anything that you could zone out and play around with.

 

You should also make sure that your workspace has everything you need to get the job done. Extra pencils, a calculator, and plenty of scratch paper are great things to keep around. If you have a home set of textbooks that you do not bring to school you should keep them at your workspace as well. Make sure that you have enough light to do your work. If you work somewhere too dim, you will get sleepy. Alternatively, if your light is way too bright you will quickly get a headache.

Finals Cram Sessions

January 8th, 2015

With finals right around the corner, a lot of different high schools are gearing up for their weekend finals cram sessions. Study Hut tutors will be helping out at Palos Verdes High School, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, and West Torrance High School. The AVID classes are holding the sessions in the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District.

 

There are a lot of different ways that students can maximize their results during tutoring in large groups. First, find other students who are studying the same subject, or better yet are in the same class with the same teacher. Someone may have taken better notes, or have been there on a day when you were absent. Together your group can try and work your way through the more difficult concepts of the semester together. Go through the study guide for the final together. Make sure that the answers make sense to everyone. If you are having trouble with a concept, have a friend explain it to you. They may be able to make it make sense in a way that your teacher could not. Do the same for your friends. Teaching the material to your friends will also help you get a better grasp on the information. If any of you have contradicting answers to one of the questions, make sure you find out what is actually correct either by looking in your book, asking a tutor, or by searching on the internet. Afterward, review the information later in the day or the following day on your own to make sure that it all sank in.

Retaining Information Over Winter Break

December 11th, 2014

For some students, their fall semester finals do not happen until after they return from winter break. This is frustrating because a lot of information can be lost over the two weeks that school is not in session. If you are a student at one of these high schools, here are some ways you can make sure that you do not forget any material over the break.

 

Make sure you at least glance over material you have learned every day. Do a few review problems for math and go through your vocabulary flashcards for foreign languages or English. This does not have to take very long and is very effective at keeping the material fresh in your head.

 

If you have homework assigned over the break, do not save it until right before you go back to school. Either try and get it done in the beginning, or before you even go on break, or work on a little bit every day. If you do not look at it at all until the Sunday before school starts again, the concepts will likely be fuzzy and you will be really stressed trying to finish it up the night before.

 

Create a study plan if you know which classes will have the more difficult finals. This way you can start your studying, and know exactly what to do. It will make it easier to do your studying when you have a clear end goal in sight, and starting your studying early will make those A’s even easier to reach!

 

Winter break is also a great time to go over any concepts you never really got the grasp of but skimmed over because the class kept moving.  Review them with a tutor who can help teach you and make the connection that you are missing.  This way you will fully understand before you get to your final!

Blog written by a USC tutor

April 15th, 2014

Today we were given a helmet from USC as a gift with the signature of a previous USC Coach. Therefore, we decided to have one of our tutors from USC write us a blog.

During the past four years, I have had the privilege of learning and growing at the University of Southern California.  I learned that graduates of USC not only have advanced knowledge in diverse topics, but are also prepared to share what they know with others.  Most students at USC take advantage of the opportunity to study in different fields and use their interdisciplinary background to understand how others think.  They are then able to apply this to working with students here at Study Hut.

The diverse student body at USC provides unique experiences you cannot get at other schools.  Graduates from USC understand how to work with people who come from different backgrounds and are able to learn from them as well.  This also means that to get into USC, you need to have a diverse background yourself.  Students from USC have tons of extracurricular activities and varying educational interests which helps the USC tutors understand how to work with the different students they help.

Classes at USC provide lots of opportunities for the students to teach different topics.  In almost every class I took, there was an assignment to research and learn about a subject, master that subject, and then present our findings to the class.  We learned how to explain difficult concepts to classmates who had very little background in the topic.  On top of that, the professors encouraged collaboration between classmates when we were studying for exams.  Within study groups, we would break up different topics that needed to be covered and teach the rest of the group.  On the other hand, we would learn from our classmates and understood what teaching methods work and which don’t.  Seeing both sides of teaching and learning helps us USC students understand how to not just teach effectively, but also how to adapt the methods to make sure it fits the student’s learning style.

USC tutors are extremely prepared to teach and alter their teaching method to best fit the student’s learning abilities.  They have diverse backgrounds and a wide base of knowledge that helps them relate to and understand every student making them better tutors.  Lastly, USC graduates are able to spell at an exceptional level and can count higher than 8.

Top Ten A-Student Habits

April 3rd, 2014

Top Ten A-Student Habits

Staying Organized: One of the most important things a student of any age can do to stay on top of their academic game is to keep all necessary materials and information for every class in a place they’ll always find it. This definitely includes keeping and up-to-date and thorough weekly planner. How can anyone prepare for a test without knowing when it is scheduled?

Notecards

In-class Notes:

Proactive Studying: Studying is so much harder the night before the test. By doing just a bit of studying after a new lesson, the information will be much easier to remember when the time comes to prove you know it. Cramming for tests at the last minute only hurts your chances of actually retaining the material.

Improving Test-Taking Skills: Test-taking is a skill. In fact, it’s an entirely learned skill. You were not born knowing how to fill out a Scantron. In this way, any student who struggles on tests can develop the skills to ensure that their best efforts are reflected in their grades. Simple things like recreating test-taking environments while studying and working with practice tests and quizzes can improve scores by miles!

Eliminating Careless Errors: Perhaps the most common point deduction of all, small mental errors can ruin an otherwise heroic effort. This is essential with subjects like math, where one small mistake can turn into a whole page of mistakes. The best way to eliminate mental errors is to set aside time at the end of a test or quiz to double and triple-check their work. Everyone makes mistakes, but the key is to fix them before turning in your work.

Doing All Homework: This seems terribly obvious, but many students fall victim to leaving free points on the table in every class. Anything that yields credit and points for your student should at the very least be attempted. Of course there are extenuating circumstances, but when a simple worksheet can be the difference between an A and a B, it becomes crucial to cumulative grades.

Paying Attention to the Teacher: This is something that sounds obvious, but there’s a bit more to it. No two teachers are the same, and this can present a challenge in preparing in the most effective ways for any given assignment or tests. The all-star student should always be focused on the tendencies of their instructor. If your math teacher favors word problems on tests, you can focus the majority of your studying on those.

 

Confidence:

Health:

The beginning of the end…

June 1st, 2013

 The Beginning of the End 

We’ve all heard the expression and sang the song, School’s out for summer by the one and only Alice Cooper… but for many, it’s the beginning of the end!! As we say, “So close, yet so far” 

AP’s have past and finals are quickly approaching… and SAT’s are tomorrow!! 

For those that are on the cusp of a letter grade, focus hard and makes sure to get that grade up! If you’re at a 79.8, 79.9,80.0, 89.8, 89.9…. you want to make sure to pull those grades up!!

If you are in the middle of a grade… it will be harder to move your grade to the next letter grade. 

What else can you focus on? Well for those taking the SAT, here are some good tips to remember: 

– Make sure to read the question and making yourself read like a 2nd grade.  Put your finger under every word in the directions (if you tend to make mistakes by not reading the question).

– Lookout for extreme answer choices in the Critical Reading section! If the answer choice contains strong words like ‘never, always, must, impossible, cannot, only, all, none, etc,’ then it is likely incorrect.

-Maintain a healthy low sugar diet high in vitamins and other essential nutrient, it will increase your ability to focus and is good for you anyway!
– Ample sleep is crucial just like any other test!
– Do your best not to stress out, cortisol is a hormone released when you stress, and while its effects may help save you from a bear attack, the effects of cortisol are no good for test taking! Stay positive!
-Consistent studying is very important, cramming Is stressful and not too successful!
-Try to have a good understanding of the direction of how to take the test before you go in so you don’t have to waste time reading directions! Every second is important. 

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!

 

 

iStudy

January 3rd, 2013

For centuries people have made use of their opposable thumbs by communicating information and art with pencil and paper (or sharp rocks on trees and cave walls). Now modern technology has brought us to the next level of thumb-use evolution. With the swipe of a single digit on a screen we have access to a plethora of activities. But does technology actually make studying more efficient for students? Here are a few things to consider when deciding between using a paper-pad and a virtual-pad.

Notes
When it comes to hand-written notes a student is engaged in the activity of writing. That means that they are an “active learner” participating in the process. One drawback of digitized notes is that it removes the hands-on factor. A student is reduced to a passive observer. If the material is not engaging they will easily get bored and gain nothing from their notes. On the other hand, today’s students can often take notes much more quickly through typing than through writing. They can also highlight important information by changing the format of the text (bold, underline, italicized) with the click of a button.

Assignments
Technology is also changing the face of presentations done by students. Poster boards are being replaced by PowerPoint. Some might argue that this robs a child of their creativity. How can they use their imagination without using scissors, construction paper, and pipe cleaners? Well, creativity comes in many forms. Many teachers are now requiring students to present their material by making group videos/short films. This allows average every-day students to become directors, producers, actors, and writers—something that was rare in the olden-days. This gives students the ability to make a presentation in front of the class without the embarrassment or fear that often accompanies public speaking. It’s a win-win situation.

Focus
When it comes to creating distractions, technology has paper beat hands-down. In years past a bored student had no other option but to doodle on their paper during class. And once class was over they could entertain themselves by interacting family and friends in the real world. Today, students can take advantage of the thousands of games and social media outlets their cell phones and tablets provide them with. They can appear to be taking notes or studying all through the night when in actuality they are playing hours of Angry Birds or “liking” every comment posted on Facebook.

In the end, technology is a powerful tool that has opened up brand new horizons for students to learn and apply their knowledge in creative and innovated ways. Though it has its obvious disadvantages, there’s no arguing with the fact that it’s here to stay. That being said, let’s try to make the most of it!

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…

Balancing school work and recreation

April 12th, 2012

The key to being a well-rounded student and perhaps even more importantly a well-rounded person is achieving balance in the elements of your life – academic and personal. With spring break being over for most students it is time to get back into the swing of things and hit the ground running. It is wise during breaks from school such as spring recess to keep your mind active so as to make the returning transition to school as fluid as possible. Even though it may be the last things most students may want to do during spring break, practicing a little bit of math and science or perhaps reading an interesting novel can help keep your mind active and help from forgetting valuable concepts learned prior to the break. That being said, it is also good to use the opportunity of spring break to get outside, be physically active, take in some sunlight, and so on. Actually on a biological level, exposure to sunlight is very important to us because sunlight participates in an important chemical reaction that produces the active form of vitamin D in our bodies. Also, being physically active is a great way to relieve stress through the release of endorphins in our brains. It can certainly be tough, especially for busy students to achieve a good balance in their daily lives. Always try and be efficient with your time and remember the law of diminishing returns. Studying efficiently and more often for shorter periods of time is undoubtedly more beneficial than exhausting several hour long study sessions. Its important to set aside time for social activities, but make sure to also set aside an appropriate amount of time to get your school work completed. It is wise to develop habits like these because they will without a doubt come in useful when you transition from being a high school to a college student.