Back to school!!

September 3rd, 2014

Back to school!

It’s that time of year again! School bells are ringing and classes are officially back in session. Sharpen your pencils, change your calculator batteries and dust off your backpack. Check the shopping list from your teachers and fill in any gaps.  Some important things to remember:

-A planner! Arguably the most important thing you need for the year. A planner will keep you organized and ahead of the game all year, and take the stress out of trying to remember assignments and due dates.

-Highlighters. These are great for critical reading when you need to mark passages or important quotes, or for marking your answers in math

-Sticky Notes. Need to remember a page in a textbook? Mark a date in the planner? Make a to-do list? Remind yourself about anything? These will do the trick without damaging your books.

-Hole punch. Papers aren’t going to fit in your binder without one of these! Really useful if you hate your assignments flying out of your binder or getting crumpled in the bottom of a backpack.

-Colored pens. Using different colors to make notes or color coding your outlines and flashcards will keep you organized and help with recall later.

And most importantly, schedule your tutoring sessions! The Study Hut is gearing up for the school year, with some fresh new faces and a lot of new school supplies. Things are already getting crazy here, the first round of tests are coming up fast!  Whether you need an extra push with schoolwork or want to practice for standardized tests, we are here for you. We have several diagnostic tests coming up for SATs and ACTs, as well at tutoring in all subjects. Need help in math? Got an essay to write and don’t know where to start? Just want to get ahead? Come on by! Our goal is to help students be successful.

How to Ace Bio

May 20th, 2014

How to ace Biology class

  1. Learn Latin! No, you don’t have to be fluent, it is a “dead language” after all. But knowing your Latin roots is a valuable help. Biology is full of strange words that need to be memorized. Endotherm, hemophilia, cephalization, echinoderm, autotroph, mesoderm…the list goes on. It can get overwhelming, and you aren’t going to remember everything. The good news is that knowing your Latin roots will let you “fake” your way through words you’ve never seen before, and remember words that you probably knew a while ago. Take echinoderm. If you know that “echino” means spiny, and “derm” means skin, you know you are talking about something with spiny skin. What has spiny skin? Sea urchins! Echinoderms are members of the sea urchin family, including sea stars and sea cucumbers. How about autotroph? Well, “auto” means self, and “troph” means food. Self food…what organisms make their own food? Plants! Now you can avoid being bogged down in big scary looking words, even if you have never seen them before.
  2. Pretty colors. Biology involves more than writing. You need to be able to recognize images and figures, as a lot of biological learning comes across visually. Would you rather explain what a cell looks like with words or with a picture? A picture is usually much easier to understand. This is where the colors come in. When you are labeling and drawing figures for different biological concepts, try to use different colors for the different pieces. This will help the image stick in your mind, and differentiate between the important parts. When you think back to remember the image on a test, it will be much easier to remember what “the purple part” of the cell was rather than the gray part in a gray picture. Color coding your flashcards works the same way; the color will help the word stick in your memory and your recall will be faster.
  3. Repetition. Let’s face it, biology takes a lot of memorization, more than most subjects. You are going to have to sit down and memorize the process of cellular respiration, the different amino acids, the phylogeny of birds. The fastest and most reliable way to do this is to write down the info. Then write it again. And again, and again, and again until it becomes easy. Physically writing down information you have to know can really cement that info in your long term memory, especially for things that aren’t pictures, but just words or names you have to know. Instead of passively looking at a textbook page, fill up pages with the Krebs cycle if you need to, or the reactions of photosynthesis, or the structure of amino acids. By test time writing the whole thing down will be second nature, and getting an A will be a piece of cake.

Biology Study Techniques

October 27th, 2011

Many students fear science like it’s the plague, but like any subject one can succeed in science if the WORK is put into it. For biology, there are three most effective techniques to receive an A. These three techniques can actually be applied to all subjects, not just to biology. They include: 1. paying attention in class (diligently listening to the instructor’s lectures), 2. understanding what is happening in the laboratory sessions (for other subjects, presentations, videos, handouts, etc will fall into this category), and actively reading the textbook when studying.

The first technique involves listening to lectures in class. This means actually going to class and staying awake! The best idea is to bring the textbook to every class in order to follow along in the textbook as the teacher is presenting the concepts. If you come across a topic that does not make sense to you, you can ask the teacher to explain it right then and there. This will help you associate the pictures/diagrams/graphs that are in the book with the teacher’s explanation for later recall. Attending lectures this way will help the student learn the material in two different ways (visually and auditorily).

The second technique is to understand the laboratory work you do in class. For 99% of the time, the labs will coincide with the concepts that are taught in class. By understanding the labs, you are able to understand the concepts in greater depth and to relate it to a real life example. The labs also serve as an aid to recall the concepts with a hands-on experience. Oftentimes, teachers will also give some exam questions about the lab as well. These will definitely serve as easy points on the test.

The third technique would be to read the textbook! Most students who do not understand the concepts did not actually read the textbook! The textbook is where all the answers are! Reading the textbook will definitely help one understand the material (if the teacher’s explanations are not enough). But one must read the textbook ACTIVELY. This means taking notes in your own words and making flashcards using the textbook which will further help in memorizing and understanding the material. Most students only do the assigned homework but do not actually read the textbook. All the information is given in the textbook and it serves as a great tool in studying.

Although the type of assignments teachers give will always aid students in learning the material, if the student does not take out the time to learn the material or do the assignments, they will definitely not do well. It is the same for every subject, not just biology. If you want a high payoff, you must do the work and put out the TIME.