Critical Reading Skills to Retain Information for Assignments

When reading each chapter of your textbook and other scholarly articles for papers, make sure to read the introduction to the chapter or article first.  Find a statement that captures the author’s main point or thesis in the introduction. Then, after you have grasped the overall argument, or the author’s predominant stand point of the article, read the rest  of the chapter looking for the concepts that explain the main point of the reading. Underline or highlight all terms that are in bold, or are italicized. Then, look for any words that are defined or are connected to a greater meaning, theme, or process explained in the chapter that are not in bold and are not italicized. Underline or highlight any key terms that you find that identify the main points in each paragraph.

Look for a central argument or theme within each paragraph and ask yourself questions about the overall meaning of each paragraph to annotate the article or chapter with questions you have of the material or comments about the meaning in the margins. Ask yourself questions depending on the subject matter. You can ask how does the author explain processes and prove their theories? Are their ideas feasible based on the evidence? What type of evidence do they give? Look for ways to connect their ideas and evidence together within the chapter and others as the term progresses to retain the information for tests, quizzes, and other assignments. Are there ideas, themes, patterns, and processes that connect
together throughout each paragraph? Why is this important when defining the author’s main idea or concept they are discussing? Ask yourself, what is the overall goal the author is trying to achieve based on
the central theme, pattern, or argument they are making depending on the subject matter you are reading? After you have annotated the readings in the margins with your questions, answer your
questions with the material  you have read, or find outside scholarly material to help you answer your questions or elaborate more in detail on your comments about the main points in the chapter in another notebook or journal.

In order to make sure you can retain the information in each chapter, after you finish reading each section within the chapter, close your book and summarize the main ideas in each section in your own words. Write this out on a separate sheet of paper. After doing this for each section of the chapter, check your work with the textbook. Also, after completing homework, review the homework questions by summarizing your answers to make sure you have retained the information you learned from doing the homework. When it gets time to take tests, summarize the main ideas in the readings and test yourself with questions that you made while annotating. When listening to in class lectures, look for the pages your teacher is getting the information from and make note of it while writing notes in class. Underline the ideas in the text your teacher discusses when you have time, but more importantly write down what they are going over in class, and then when you get home underline the terms and ideas they went over in the book to review.

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Applying the Use of Note Cards as a Studying Technique

When you study, understanding how to retain the information once you have read the material is often difficult.  A good way to recall facts, ideas, opionions, processess, definitions, and terms is to use note cards.  The use of note cards as strategy to help you learn the information is often more effective in many ways, as they can be used for almost any of the subjects you study.  You can use note cards when reading books and literature to make note of the definitions of key words, in order to remember the information you read.  Focus on the diction used in the work, the setting, plot and roles fo the characters.  Write down meaningful quotes, as well as the roles, definintions of central ideas in literary works as you implement the strategy of using note cards to recall information.

When you are studying history, you can make note cards with key terms and facts and the definitions of those terms, along with short answer questions based on the questions in the reading and your own insight into the reading on the back of the card.  As you begin studying the sciences, you can write out processes, terms, facts, statistics, definitions, any way to connect processes or similar ideas together, and short answer questions on the back of the card.  You can also ask yourself questions with the answers on the back in different forms, whether it be fill in the blank format, word banks, writing out the answer, true/false, and multiple choice format, etc.

You can use the note cards for alsomost any subject including the Social Studies, English, Foreign Languages and Science.  You can organize your note cards by subject matter.  Write down the page number of your textbook to indicate where you got the information, as well as the page number in your notes (notebook) where you got the information.  Use notecards with spiral rings to keep with the cards or buy a clasp to hold your note cards.  Use a whole punch and put them in a notebook.  You can also use them when you write a research paper to write down specific quotes and pages to support the main ideas in the paper.  Make sure to use both your note from class and your textbook to make these cards.  Also, include information from worksheets and handouts in your study guides when you writed down the answers on your cards to review.  You can even organize the colored note cards to help you recall certain groups of information or facts in the same category.

By using note cards, you will be able to view the answer and you can write down the answer on a separate sheet of paper.  Make sure to review the note cards weekly, if not daily.  Work on them periodically throughout the week.  If you choose not to use note cards, make sure to follow these same ideas on notes that you can type or write out in a notebook or journal.  Make sure to be able to cover up the information that you must recall and then write out the answer to review.  Once you have mastered that material, continue to think of new ideas that might be on the tests or quizzes until the day of the test, if you have time.

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Preparing for Exams

When you are preparing for exams, start early. Make sure throughout the semester to organize your notes. Read through your notes from class every week, in order to retain the information for the long term. Make sure to find all of your old tests, quizzes, your own study guides and notes that you made while studying, as well as your homework assignments. Make sure to keep your binders organized with all of this information divided and in folders. Start with re-reading the chapters in accordance with your notes from class. Make sure to have a list of all of the main terms and the most important facts and details in each section of the chapter written down in your notes. You can write questions, or use flash cards to review all of the main idea in the chapters. It is best that you write your own study guides throughout the semester and then compile them together to make one final study guide. When you make your study guides, combine your notes from class with the section of the textbook. Go back through your notes and highlight the main terms as well as the main points to review. You can even cover over the term or the information and test yourself to see how much information you can remember. It is a good idea to always make your own study guides with this information to test yourself because you will be able to combine information from the book and the notes to have a better understanding of the material.

The goal is for you to retain as much of the textbook and the notes from class as possible. In order to do that, re-read the chapters as many times as you can be focusing in on the main points from the lectures. Once you have read the chapters and the notes enough times, review by writing down what you can remember section by section. Use old tests and quizzes, as well as homework assignments to test yourself after you are confident you have retained as much information as possible and use it to refresh your memory before you start studying. The goal is for you to remember the information and so you must start at least two or three weeks before exams to retain the information. Do not wait until the night before or a few days before to study because you will not remember the information.

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Time Management

In high school, you have to learn to manage your time wisely. You have countless tests, quizzes, papers, and projects.It is important to learn time management skills in high school so that when you get to college you will be able to succeed. College classes require you to spend hours each day per class to prepare and complete the work assigned. You will have to spend hours one day on one or two class and the other day the next one or two classes. In high school, you have numerous classes and you have to manage your time to complete all work on time. Make sure to use a planner and write down all of your assignments each day in them. Then use another calendar to write down when you need to complete your assignments. If you have a test, plan to start studying about two weeks ahead of time. If you have a quiz, give yourself a week to prepare. If you have a research paper, start working about three to four weeks ahead of time. Make sure to save the most time to study for your tests and complete homework. Give yourself 30 minute breaks in between. Study an hour a day for tests and give yourself 2-3 hours to do homework. Give yourself 30-40 minutes to work on homework for each class. Take a ten-fifteen minute break in between. Make sure to work on whatever is due first or what test or quiz you will have first and finish with the work that is due later. Study by quizzing yourself after you read each chapter.

Write down whatever you can remember and compare it to the book. You can study by making flash cards with the main terms. Also, write down questions about all of the main points on each page and put the answer on another page. Test yourself about everything you can remember by asking your  own short answer questions and fill in the blank questions. If you have essay questions to memorize in subjects like history, write the essay well in advance and re-read it until you have memorized it. Take in sections. Once you get one line or two memorized go to the next. Memorize paragraph by paragraph working on it some every day. Memorize a paragraph every day until you have the answer memorized. Write down the essay from memory three or four days before the test to make sure you can remember it. Review paragraphs you memorized the previous day the next to make sure you retained the information. Re-answer homework questions to quiz yourself for tests. These are all helpful strategies to help you succeed. It depends on how you study, what study methods work for you. If you are better at memorizing certain chapters quiz yourself by writing down whatever you can remember. If you need help recalling information write down questions of your own like a test and quiz yourself. Remember to always keep up with your notes from class and always work on revising them before the test day.

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

How to Have a Successful School Year

When you are beginning the school year, begin thinking about how you can plan ahead. Consider your major tests, papers, and projects beforehand. When assigned a book report or a test on a book you have read, begin by annotating the text. Look for important lines that define the plot and characters. Analyze their roles as either the protagonist, antagonist, flat character, or round character. Define their role in the story and how they move the plot forward. Look for key elements such as setting, the main event in the story, and literary themes, literary devices, or motifs. How does the books compare or contrast to others you have read that are similar and in the same genre?
Research the author’s contemporaries and tell how this book stands out from others in the genre. Research the genre and found out more about it and what the genre was like during the time it was written. Focus on one of these elements to write about. When taking a test, make sure to write key quotes, the author’s biographical information, when it was written, famous lines made by the characters and their qualities, as well as literary devices, such as metaphors, and symbolism. Look for key elements that are symbolic in the story. Prepare for other projects by working on an annotated bibliography early. Make sure to document all sources in MLA format and write about the purpose of the article or chapter in the book you are using. Keep these sources on notecards and the annotations, as well. Put the number at the top in alphabetical order, in order to use the information to cite in your paper or project. Use purdue owl and night cite websites to help you document your sources. Remember to always use a .gov, .edu, or a .org site. Do not use Wikipedia. Make sure that the .org site is credible. Only use the most pertinent information that summarizes the author’s purpose and your stance. Answer why you used that particular quote to explain your stance or purpose. All annotations should be a paragraph and can include a quote or two that defines the thesis of the text you are reading. Keep track of all of your sources, as well as outlines, and drafts, in order to prepare you for the final research project. Make sure to research your topic thoroughly, especially if it is scientific. Only use the most recent sources for all scientific topics. Try to uses sources within the last twenty years for other papers, as well. Only use credible articles for an academic audience online or periodicals from the public library. Ask a librarian for assistance and they will help you find periodicals online. Prepare well in advance and do not wait until the last minute.
Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Preparing for Back to School

It’s back to school time! You’ve had the summer off.  You’ve had time to relax, you more than likely have read some books for school or those you are interested in, you’ve taken a vacation or two, spent time with friends and family, and now you begin to feel the anxiety of having to get back into the same routine again.  Try not to begin the school year with too much stress and anxiety as you have to get used to waking up early, being in school all day, and then coming home to do homework and extracurricular activities to help you get a scholarship or get into a good college.

Try to make a planner to organizer your timely properly. This will allow you to fit in some time to take off and rest and give you a time frame to accomplish your studies and other extracurricular activities. Make sure to not take on too many extracurricular activities if you cannot do your homework, study, and do the activities. Try to find the right balance between work and play. If you are interested in sports, playing an instrument, dance, cheerleading, dance team, debate team,or other activities that show you are well rounded and have leadership skills choose the ones that interest you the most and that you can find time in your schedule for. Wait until you have some idea about the academic expectations for the year before you make too many commitments. It is best to choose two or three activities and probably not more than that unless you know you can multitask and get everything done.

If you are a slow worker, make sure to allot enough time to work through your papers, projects, and study time in you schedule. If you are a fast worker, take on a few more extracurricular activities as these may help you get  a scholarship. Remember that your schools work comes first and that it is more important to do your best in school, but you need to find the right balance so that you do not overstress. When a test is approaching, do not panic and wait until the last minute. Make sure you have scheduled enough time a few weeks ahead to study. Review your notes, retype your notes, re-read the chapters, and you will do fine. Make sure to have a positive attitude knowing that you are capable of doing your best and plan for the school year appropriately.

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

How to Write a Standard Five Paragraph Essay

     You will be writing essays in high school. When you begin writing, you will be starting out with a standard five paragraph essay. This will help you understand the development of thought processes that leads to a greater depth  of research and new ideas you will articulate and explain  about the topic. You will more than likely be required to write on literature including books and poems, along with other extraneous topics your teacher may choose. You will also be required to write five paragraph essays on standardized tests and you will more than likely have to take an entrance exam in college requiring five paragraph essays. When you are given a prompt, stay calm and focused. As you approach analyzing the topic, make sure to read through it several times underlying key phrases and ideas. Focus the most on the last statement because that will be the main point your thesis will be answering. You can annotate in the margins interrogating the main issues that ask yourself questions about the topic you would like to explore, Once you have decided to focus on one main idea that specifically answers the last statement of the prompt, write a brief outline before starting on your essay. The outline should include the main points you will introduce in the thesis that answers the prompt followed by a thesis statement that contains three main points interrogating the main point you are making. You will begin the statement with “therefore” or “in conclusion.”  You will then state the three main points that will be the basis for the next three paragraphs you will write. Each main point will be explained in every paragraph. The outline should proceed to ask questions and interrogate each main point you will make. These main ideas will build your argument and will lead to the end of the paragraph. Once you have completed an outline, begin writing your introduction. Think of an attention getter that will draw the readers interest into what the topic is you are writing about. You can begin with an interesting question or perceptive statement that will lead into the main ideas in the paragraph. Write one sentence describing each main point and then conclude with the thesis. The introduction should not contain any material that should be used to support your main ideas later in the paper. Make sure to define all of your terms if you are using any terms that need to be explained for the reader to understand your topic. This should be done specifically, if it is a topic most readers would not be acquainted with.

     When you begin the first body paragraph, along with the other two paragraphs you will be writing make sure to introduce the point you are making. Use an interesting lead in that addresses the topic in an open ended way that lead to more detailed thoughts in the rest of the body paragraph explaining the topic. In the other two paragraphs, make sure to transition by connecting the main idea in the last paragraph to the next main point you are making. Make sure to have a sentence introducing at least two to three main ideas that argue the main point you are making in each paragraph. Make sure to make your arguments clearly stated before you use logical appeals to substantiate and explain your ideas. Make sure that you do not get off topic and only discuss the one main idea using sub points to explain your idea. You should have at least three sentences per sub point within the paragraph. Your main points that describe your argument should build to the final conclusion you reach at the end of each paragraph. You will then conclude by linking the main idea that you discussed back to your thesis.

     The conclusion should present an overview of the main ideas discussed. Do not repeat the introduction. Go into more detail that was illustrated in the body paragraphs. Make sure to call to action. Offer an explanation as to why your research is of useful in a larger context such as your field of research or how your research is useful to the world. Then make sure to conclude. If you follow these steps, you will write a well developed essay.
Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.

 

Summer Reading and SAT Scores

Summer reading often is not on the top of a student’s to-do list. Usually, over the break students use their time to hang out with their friends, enjoy the weather, and do activities outside. Kids don’t want to “waste” their time reading. (Of course, there are students who enjoy reading for

fun, but this blog post is not intended to convince those who already enjoy reading to read). To those students who groan at the very sight of a book during summer vacation, this blog post is for you. “Why should I read over the summer?” you ask yourself and every adult within earshot. If contemplating reading a dusty, ancient, library book seems like a chore, then you should listen up.

Reading fluency is essential for those high SAT scores that you want. During the summer months, when you will primarily read buzz feed articles and personality quizzes, play video games, and go outside to swim, hike, or play sports, you are not wasting your time.

Relaxation is absolutely important to one’s happiness, and you should continue to do that. But you should also make some time for reading, because the few hours you spend a week on a book, either for fun or for school, will increase your SAT/ACT verbal scores tremendously.

It’s pretty obvious that reading over the summer will have this effect. If you spend some time on reading a book, your ability in understanding the reading passages on the tests will increase. You may learn new words naturally, and recognize them on the exam more easily. You will be able to comprehend passages faster and more clearly. You will have practiced patience for reading through a dense text with a lot of information. You will naturally go back and search for answers in the text, and will remember where to find the answers more readily. With more experience with reading, the easier it becomes, and the more you will enjoy the experience and the faster you will get. If you enjoy it more, you will be less nervous when test day comes around, and you’ll score higher because you will not make as many mistakes.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

rachel-close-up-good-pic (183x200)

About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of
the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.

Avoid Three Things on Your College Application Essay

During the summer before a student’s Senior year of high school, students and parents work hard on college applications. Some college deadlines start in the beginning of August! This is a time that students and parents are understandably nervous about applying to college. Students wonder if their junior year shows both their academic rigor as well as their commitment to activities outside of school. Students want to get into their “dream school” but they often do not know what to do every step of the way. Students often struggle with writing a thoughtful essay to

Submit to colleges to demonstrate their character. Here are some specific
take-aways that I find help my students:

 

  1. Make sure to answer the prompt!

One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is that students don’t address the question laid out in the prompt. This demonstrates one of two things: either the student did not understand the prompt or the student was not capable of answering the prompt. Both faults can be detrimental to a student’s overall application. Admissions committees ask specific questions for a reason. They want to know if you will fit into the culture of the college, and that the student’s values align with those of the college. They need this information to make the best decision, for you and for

college. Don’t jeopardize your admission by not answering the prompt directly.

 

  1. Don’t write in clichés

Writing in clichés is something that tutors, teachers, and admissions committees dislike vehemently. Why? A couple of reasons: Clichés come from popular culture and are often only understood by a particular group. Your essay should be clear and concise – anyone and everyone should be able to read it and understand your thoughts. Furthermore, using clichés shows that the student didn’t actually take the time to think about the prompt and answer the question from his or her own experience. The admissions committee will question if the information you include in your essay is exclusively your own thinking, or if you are borrowing

work from someone else.

 

  1. Maintain your tense

When writing an essay, students sometimes jump from the past tense to the present tense to the future tense, not realizing the havoc it wreaks on the reader’s mind. My advice to students is to pick a tense and stick with it throughout the essay. You do not want your admissions committee reader to be confused about when something happened. Don’t allow verb tense errors to take over your paper.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

rachel-close-up-good-pic (183x200)

About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.

The Importance of Academic Calendar Planning and Organization skills

When you are too busy due to all of your after school activities and other events outside of school, you may not remember when your next test or quiz is coming up which leads to a poor academic performance and issues at home. To avoid this from occurring, it is best to use an academic planner even if the school you attend does not require you to buy one and use or use one on a regular basis. Instead of just using a planner when you think your schedule is the busiest as some people do, it is best to use an academic calendar even when you are not as busy to keep from forgetting when your next assignments are due. It is easy to forget doing homework even when your schedule is not as full due to the numerous of assignments given per week.

It is best to either use an academic calendar that gives you enough space to write in detail what you need to have done that week and what is due in the near future as well as when to accomplish your goals. You may need to type a written calendar on your computer and save it to the desk top which will allow you to write out the details you need to remember in order to succeed. You may need to use your cell phone calendar and save events on it to keep from forgetting when your assignments are due. The typed calendar should have specific details about what the assignment is and when you will begin working on it as well as when you plan to have it finished by. If you do not finish the assignment as fast as you had planned keep track of the issue and reorganize your calendar by estimating how many hours you think it will take to complete it based on how many days you have left before it is due.

It is best to begin working on major projects at least a month or so before the project is due to make sure you don’t wait until the last minute. It is too easy to forget what the teacher assigned in the first place if it is a paper or presentation and you do not plan ahead. You will more than likely not do the assignment as well because it takes time to brain storm ideas and put them together in a cohesive way that follows the instructions. You may end up losing the assignment sheet or notes that you took with the details about the assignment if you wait until a few days before it is due. It is best to keep your papers and notes written about your assignments in separate folders. Keep your homework papers in one folder or section of your notebook, your tests and quizzes in another section or folder, and papers your teacher gives you providing you with details about your future assignments in another section or folder. If you don’t start trying to work on your study skills in high school you more than likely will not do well in your college courses due to the many other distractions you will have in college that will keep you from completing your goals if you let it. Do not be like the other students that let the distractions keep them from completing your goals by being intelligently planning ahead. Learning to have good study skills in high school will help you succeed in the future.

 

Julie

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.
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