Top 8 Study Tips for Finals

June 13th, 2014
Top 8 Study Tips for Finals

1. Start Early! – This is the most important one. The internet provides plenty of ways to waste your study time, but you’ll be happy you stayed away from Netflix and Reddit when the final finally comes.

2. Study in Chunks – Your brain works best in 50 minute intervals. You may feel studious after your 6 hour study marathon, but a tired brain doesn’t absorb information like a fresh one. Take 5-10 minutes breaks every hour to make sure you’re making the most of your study time.

3. A Clean, Well-Lighted Place – Studying in bed may sound like a good idea, but once you’re in bed, so will a nap. Find a place that works for you. It should be somewhere where you can focus, spread out your notes, and get in a studying groove. And if you get sick of one place, switch it up!

4. Know Your Teacher – Ask questions, take notes, review old worksheets. Figure out what your teacher thinks is important because that’s what will show up on the final.

5. Study Alone – Start with what you don’t know. Review your old tests, quizzes, and homeworks, and take notes on what you missed. Then spend some time on your own with each of these topics. Write down any questions you have because the next step is…

6. Study in Groups – Once you’ve figured out your own strengths and weaknesses in each subject, form a study group. Here you can ask questions you had on your own and answer some of your study buddies’. Explaining concepts and hearing them explained in new ways will strengthen your understanding of the material.

7. Exercise – Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, and you may need all the brain blood you can get for finals week. It’s also a great way to take a break from book to soak up some sun.

8. Sleep – It may be tempting to cram all night, but
it may not help as much as you think. Give your brain a rest! When the night before the test comes around, be confident in the studying you’ve been doing all week and get some extra sleep.

A Personal tutoring session

May 22nd, 2014

Today I got to work with one of my students, Eric, on his ninth grade biology homework assignment covering natural selection and evolution.  He has a quiz coming up so his homework reviewed the sections in the book.  While working through the problems, Eric and I had a great discussion about each of his answers.  We came up with lots of examples for the different terms he had to know.  The example that stuck most with Eric was how the finches that flew to the Galapagos Islands represented the founder effect of genetic drift.  By geographically isolating a small population of a species, the genetic variation is limited causing the species to change and adapt to the new environment.  He enjoyed thinking up other situations in which the founder effect could be applied.

The one topic that confused Eric was the Hardy-Weinberg principle for genetic equilibrium.  This is a tough concept to understand because it theoretical and complex.  First off, we had to memorize the conditions that are necessary for this equilibrium to take place: very large population, random mating, no natural selection, no immigration/emigration, and no mutation. We talked about why those criteria are necessary for keeping the allele frequencies constant and that helped him remember each of those restrictions.  After establishing the basis for the Hardy-Weinberg principle, we went over how to calculate allele and genotype frequencies.  This uses two different equations and can be confusing at first.  After showing him how to use the equations to solve for the frequencies, I gave him some practice problems.  After a rough start, he did really well by getting the last three questions right.

After a quick review at the end of the session, Eric was much more confident about the material that was on his quiz.  We got a lot done during the session and he improved a lot!