Archive for the 'Better Grades' Category

Does Reading Fiction Make Us Better People?

That is an interesting question this BBC article addresses quite well – does reading fiction make you a better person?

One thing we do know for sure is that reading MORE non-fiction books ensures you’ll have a better, higher-paying career.

 

 

 

 

Should I read or listen to a book?

Each is best suited to different purposes, and neither is superior.

By Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia.

A few years ago, when people heard I was a reading researcher, they might ask about their child’s dyslexia or how to get their teenager to read more. But today the question I get most often is, “Is it cheating if I listen to an audiobook for my book club?”

Audiobook sales have doubled in the last five years while print and e-book sales are flat. These trends might lead us to fear that audiobooks will do to reading what keyboarding has done to handwriting — rendered it a skillthat seems quaint and whose value is open to debate. But examining how we read and how we listen shows that each is best suited to different purposes, and neither is superior.

In fact, they overlap considerably. Consider why audiobooks are a good workaround for people with dyslexia: They allow listeners to get the meaning while skirting the work of decoding, that is, the translation of print on the page to words in the mind. Although decoding is serious work for beginning readers, it’s automatic by high school, and no more effortful or error prone than listening. Once you’ve identified the words (whether by listening or reading), the same mental process comprehends the sentences and paragraphs they form.

Writing is less than 6,000 years old, insufficient time for the evolution of specialized mental processes devoted to reading. We use the mental mechanism that evolved to understand oral language to support the comprehension of written language. Indeed, research shows that adults get nearly identical scores on a reading test if they listen to the passages instead of reading them.

Nevertheless, there are differences between print and audio, notably prosody. That’s the pitch, tempo and stress of spoken words. “What a great party” can be a sincere compliment or sarcastic put-down, but they look identical on the page. Although writing lacks symbols for prosody, experienced readers infer it as they go. In one experiment, subjects listened to a recording of someone’s voice who either spoke quickly or slowly. Next, everyone silently read the same text, purportedly written by the person whose voice they had just heard. Those hearing the quick talker read the text faster than those hearing the slow talker.

But the inferences can go wrong, and hearing the audio version — and therefore the correct prosody — can aid comprehension. For example, today’s student who reads “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” often assumes that Juliet is asking where Romeo is, and so infers that the word art would be stressed. In a performance, an actress will likely stress Romeo, which will help a listener realize she’s musing about his name, not wondering about his location.

It sounds as if comprehension should be easier when listening than reading, but that’s not always true. For example, one study compared how well students learned about a scientific subject from a 22-minute podcast versus a printed article. Although students spent equivalent time with each format, on a written quiz two days later the readers scored 81 percent and the listeners 59 percent.

What happened? Note that the subject matter was difficult, and the goal wasn’t pleasure but learning. Both factors make us read differently. When we focus, we slow down. We reread the hard bits. We stop and think. Each is easier with print than with a podcast.

Print also supports readers through difficult content via signals to organization like paragraphs and headings, conventions missing from audio. Experiments show readers actually take longer to read the first sentence of a paragraph because they know it probably contains the foundational idea for what’s to come.

So although one core process of comprehension serves both listening and reading, difficult texts demand additional mental strategies. Print makes those strategies easier to use. Consistent with that interpretation, researchers find that people’s listening and reading abilities are more similar for simple narratives than for expository prose. Stories tend to be more predictable and employ familiar ideas, and expository essays more likely include unfamiliar content and require more strategic reading.

This conclusion — equivalence for easy texts and an advantage to print for hard ones — is open to changes in the future. As audiobooks become more common, listeners will gain experience in comprehending them and may improve, and publishers may develop ways of signaling organization auditorily.

But even with those changes, audiobooks won’t replace print because we use them differently. Eighty-one percent of audiobook listeners say they like to drive, work out or otherwise multitask while they listen. The human mind is not designed for doing two things simultaneously, so if we multitask, we’ll get gist, not subtleties.

Still, that’s no reason for print devotees to sniff. I can’t hold a book while I mop or commute. Print may be best for lingering over words or ideas, but audiobooks add literacy to moments where there would otherwise be none.

So no, listening to a book club selection is not cheating. It’s not even cheating to listen while you’re at your child’s soccer game (at least not as far as the book is concerned). You’ll just get different things out of the experience. And different books invite different ways that you want to read them: As the audio format grows more popular, authors are writing more works specifically meant to be heard.

Our richest experiences will come not from treating print and audio interchangeably, but from understanding the differences between them and figuring out how to use them to our advantage — all in the service of hearing what writers are actually trying to tell us.

You can buy my audio book here or you can buy the print book here.

Students watching other students study – new viral trend?

Students watching other students study is this the new viral trend?

Post comments below!

9 TED Talks Recommended For Students By Students

Ever heard of  TED Talks ?  TED Talks is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (maximum of 18 minutes) on various topics.  There are near 1500 videos on their website.  Whenever you need inspiration, motivation or just to look at something interesting or different, select one amongst the various subjects and spend some quality time expanding your perspective.

TED stands for:  Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Try watching 1-2 TED Talks a week whenever you have 15 minutes to spare.   The more you learn, the better!

Here are 9 very interesting TED Talks selected by students for students.

Enjoy!

Four Memory Tricks

Four Memory Tricks
Nothing helps you get ahead quicker than a good memory. Whether you’re trying to remember the name of the guy you just met, a state capital, or complex sets of business data, these simple tricks can help you improve your memory skills.

1. Start by chunking. According to psychologists, it’s especially hard to make your brain recall long lists of separate pieces of information. To make it easier to remember a long list of almost anything, break the list into small and manageable groups, or “chunks.”

For example, you might find it hard to remember all of the original 13 British colonies in the United States. But if you break them into small groups based on common traits, such as the region each colony belongs in, it’s much easier. First, just concentrate on learning which colonies belong in which region. When you know each region, you know the whole set of 13.

Mid-Atlantic

1.       Delaware
2.       New York
3.       New Jersey
4.       Pennsylvania
Southern

1.       Maryland
2.       Virginia
3.       North Carolina
4.       South Carolina
5.       Georgia
New England

1.       Connecticut
2.       Rhode Island
3.       Massachusetts
4.       New Hampshire
2. Use mnemonic devices. These are memory improvement techniques, and are sometimes quite elaborate. One common device uses words or abbreviations to compress lists of information into shorter bits that are easier to remember. Here are some common examples:

Names of the Great Lakes

H-O-M-E-S;  Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior

Colors of the spectrum

R-o-y G. B-i-v; Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

Order of operations in mathematics

Please Explain My Dull, Awful Subjects; Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division,Addition/Subtraction

Planets in the solar system

Many Vocal Enemies Make Jokes Squealing Under Nervous Pressure; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars,Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

Biology taxonomy

Kings Play Chess On Funny Green Squares; Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

Musical scale

Every Good Boy Does Fine; E, G, B, D, F

3. Link information to visual cues. Often it’s easier to remember a place or an image and its characteristics, than it is to recall a set of unfamiliar pieces of information. To memorize the information, you can try taking an item from the list and associating it in your mind with a picture or place that you know well.
For example, let’s say you need to memorize the presidents of the United States since World War II. You could associate each of the presidents with a place you know well, such as your front porch:

Eisenhower
Sitting on the steps
Kennedy
Knocking at the front door
Johnson
Swinging on a porch swing
Nixon
Standing at the mailbox
Ford
Ringing the doorbell
Carter
Sitting in a wicker chair
Reagan
Standing under the porch light
Bush (1st)
Standing on the right
Clinton
Sitting at a table
Bush (2nd)
Standing on the left

To reinforce this, you could draw a sketch of your porch, and note on it the location of each president. This technique is so powerful that you might find yourself thinking of the presidents the next time you go to your porch.

4. Read with a purpose. Many psychologists think that the best way to remember what you read is to follow the PQ4R method. PQ4R is a mnemonic device for Preview, Question, and four R’s: Read, Reflect, Recite, Review.

If you are reading a chapter in your biology book, for example, you should start by skimming the whole chapter for an overview. Then create some questions to concentrate on while you study, such as “How does photosynthesis work?” Then read the chapter.

After you’ve finished, reflect–think about how the chapter has answered your questions. Recite the answers back to yourself, explaining the information in your own words. Finally, go back through the book, skimming again for the main points.

Sound like a lot of work? It may take longer than a quick skim, but it’s also a great way to make sure you retain what you are reading, rather than just sitting in front of the book and turning pages.

Quick Riddle: Married vs unmarried

Whos not Married

Quick Riddle: Rock’n Roll Music

Rock n Roll Music

Quick Riddle: What is the Total?

1000 What is the Total

Quick Riddle: Playing Chess

Playing Chess

Quick Riddle: Who is Lying?

Who is Lying

Don’t take notes on your laptop or tablet

I know some people think I am “old school” when it comes to taking notes with pen and paper, after all, it’s 2015…

But all I care about is – RESULTS.

A recent article extols the benefits of taking notes with pen and paper and NOT on your laptop or tablet.

I admit, I am biased. I have 5 university degrees, all completed in record time. I am a speed reader. All I care about is learning quickly and remembering as much as I can.

I am a HUGE fan of technology (I have been using Macs/Apples before they became trendy 25 years ago). I do “everything” on my beloved MacBook Air and 27″ iMac Desktop… Except take notes when it’s important and I want to learn something new.

I do that on paper and with a pen – using MindMapping principles.

If you are a Millenial or younger, I can already hear the sighs of disagreement. All I can say is – SEE FOR YOURSELF.

Take one subject and take ALL your notes on your laptop and take another SIMILAR subject and take all your notes with pen and paper.

YOU decide which one produces better results:

  • Which one is quicker, easier?
  • Creates better retention/memory/recall?
  • Produces the best grades – with the least amount of effort.

Then stick to what works for YOU.

Chances are, it’s going to be pen and paper – you’ll have to accept that, or live with lower grades. Hmmm…..

 

 

Smart Phones = Dumb Students

I’ve blogged about this before numerous times… Even though I am a fan of new technologies, there is a time and place for everything – just like smartphones. Don’t just listen to me – read this brief article summarising the findings of a research study by the London School Of Economics that included 130,000 students in 91 schools.

The worst part is that the weakest students are the most affected, which will only lead to a widening gap between the two groups.

Simply put, the onus is on kids and parents to do what’s in their (the student’s) best interests. The problem is the temptation is substantial and pervasive with the ubiquity (easy access to the Internet and now 3G and 4G cellular networks).

If you are a student and you allow yourself to be constantly distracted, your grades will suffer and you might not get into the program or school you want. That might mean never becoming an engineer, doctor, lawyer, dentist…

It’s sad but it happens every single year when schools and programs REJECT applicants.

If you think you won’t be REJECTED, think again – it’s all about your grades and playing around with your smart phone when you should be listening to your teacher, doing your homework, reading, writing, researching or just thinking and concentrating on YOUR work is just plain dumb.

But you you know what?

The good news is that if YOU don’t do this – you have a greater advantage than ever!

Yes, every year your classmates play around with their phones means YOU have a better chance to get into college or that special or exclusive program. The competition will get weaker with every year – as long as YOU don’t engage in the same dumb behaviour.

The question is simple: Would you rather play with your phone NOW or spend the rest of your life/career doing the job you really enjoy?

That’s a pretty “heavy” question to be asking yourself if you’re a high school student.

Turn your phone off and think about it.

 

ClickBank Products

My book “Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort” is one of the top selling educational products on ClickBank.

I recently realised that not everyone knows what ClickBank is and what that actually means… So I had my graphic designer put this together to summarise it in one “infographic”.

ClickBank Infographic - Get Better Grades Now Dot Com

The App Generation

Today’s youth seems to be struggling with the secondary effects of technology in and out of school.

A recent Harvard Study that led to an intriguing book (The App Generation) explains the perils and pitfalls of apps that can do just about everything.*

Their argument, and I happen to totally agree with it, is that convenience comes with a loss of critical thinking skills. Others have focused on the superficiality of thinking in comparison to deep thinking about complex questions and problems. All these issues are intertwined with the ubiquity, ease of use and extensive functionality these apps provide.

The researchers and I are not advocating you abandon your apps and smartphone, but realise that there is a price being paid, like a tax every time you choose the easier way to get something done.

One easy example for people of my generation is — “back in the good ‘ole days, I could remember hundreds of phone numbers… Now I can barely remember my own number.”

Kids today struggle to do simple arithmetic and readily confuse orders of magnitude.

The point being that technology is great, but as the world continues to shift to a “knowledge-based” economy and paradigm, those with the most advanced critical thinking skills will rise to the top and dominate their industries and will be handsomely rewarded.

Suggestion: Force yourself to THINK THROUGH THINGS a little more deeply, seek the distinctions that make a difference and ASK better questions.

Here is a list to get you started, submitted by Andrew Powell of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

6 Critical Thinking Questions

* I am going to download the book on my Kindle App and speed read it on my iPhone…

This was submitted as a response to this blog post – very funny….!

Cartoon App For TVRemote

 

 

Stimulation = Better Grades

A University Of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study revealed that “well-off” parents talk to their school-age children for three more hours each week than low-income parents.

They also put their toddlers and babies in stimulating places such as parks and churches for hour and a half more hours. A University of Chicago study echoed this with a simple statement. Well-off parents play with their toddlers more and organise their teenagers better.

Most studies agree that the two most important parenting factors that affect grades are:

  1. Intellectual stimulation: Talking, reading, answering “why?” questions and
  2. Emotional support: Bonding with infants so they grow up confident and secure.

Hmmm… Food for thought.

What can you do if you’re not an infant or toddler? Stimulate and motivate yourself! It helps if you can speed read and use colourful mindmaps

You talkin’ to me?

We know the classic line from Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver… “Are you talkin’ to me?”

Robert De Niro - Taxi Driver

What might be less well known (or understood) are the following facts extracted from a 1995 study at the University of Kansas:

  • Children in professional familiies heard on average 2,100 words per hour
  • Working class kids heard 1,200 words per hour
  • Welfare kids heard  a paltyr 600 words per hour

By the age of three, a doctor’s or lawyer’s child has probably heard 30 million more words than a poo child has.

SHOCKING.

 

Note Taking – how important is it?

The weakest ink is stronger that the strongest memory.

As The Exponential Growth Strategist, I present to audiences around the world. I reveal the most powerful and valuable insights for people who want to achieve extra-ordinary results. People pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to hear me speak and deliver my content. Content I have gathered and collected over the past 20+ years, information extracted from more than 1,000 books and 3,000 academic articles. Knowledge acquired via 5 university degrees…

And the thing that surprises me the most is that the vast majority of attendees do not take notes – the EXPECT to remember what I have said.

I can make a list of the 4 Keys To Success and within 10 minutes ask the audience to repeat them to me and THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN are the ones who took notes. How do the others ever expect to remember it the day after or a week later?

It baffles me.

Students of course take notes in class – BECAUSE they want to know what will be on the exam, but they usually don’t take them effectively – that’s why if you want to take the BEST notes possible, you need to switch to MindMapping To Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort.

Note Taking, Student Notes, Class Notes, Lecture Notes

Thank you to John Weiss of Keymetric Business Solutions for mentioning this quote during my Blogging For Small Business Workshop, in Corona, California. An event sponsored by Allegra Corona and attended by VIP Mastermind Club Members.

Meditate to get better grades

child-meditatingI have blogged about using a floatation tank to improve your grades

A recent study further supports the view that meditation can improve your grades. If this is all too zen for you, that’s OK, enjoy the stress and strain of doing it ‘your way’ and let me know how that works out for you!

Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours sent me this link – knowing that getting good grades leads to a much better career.

Listen to music to get better grades

Brain Activity - MusicChelsea Wilson, the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s Online LLM program, informed me that @WashULaw recently created a new study aid in the form of a Spotify Playlist composed of late baroque era classical music. The playlist was created based on a Stanford study that discovered music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. Due to the phenomena, it is believed students and professionals alike would be well served to find ways to incorporate music into their lives, careers, and studies.

The playlist includes works by Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven and Handel, among others (the style of music used in many studies). You click on the hyperlink to determine how you can listen to music to improve your grades. Click on this hyperlink for the Spotify playlist to improve your grades.

 

 

MOTIVATION: Two types of students

There are two types of students:

Moving towards students – who want to get the top grades, look good, win a medal, make more money.

Moving away from students – who don’t want to fail, look fat, don’t want to lose a game and don’t want to lose the money they have.

Which one are you?

The reason I ask is because what works to MOTIVATE a MOVING TOWARDS student won’t work for a MOVING AWAY FROM student.

I don’t know you, but ask yourself: Are you focused more on NOT flunking an exam than acing it?

This is important to know because the ONLY thing that motivates a MOVING AWAY FROM student is FEAR OF LOSS, FAILING a course or exam.

They only pick up their books when they know they have to otherwise they will fail. They don’t exercise until their pants are too tight… They NEVER invest their money – they let it sit there in a bank account SAFE, not earning much interest.

Unfortunately, these students are rarely successful in the general sense of the word.

They can have a very “good” life, but the ultimate rewards escape them because they are not willing to do what it takes, they lack the HUNGER and DRIVE.

Fear overtakes them – all the time.

Reduction of RISK is different than achieving an ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Without the FEAR OF LOSS, there is no hunger, motivation.

With school, these students must FEAR that their lives will be DRAMATICALLY different without good grades or the right degree. Unfortunately they usually do the degree for the wrong reason (fear instead of desire) but if it’s the right degree, then it is still a good thing to get.

Getting a generic bachelor’s degree is no longer worth anything these days. It’s a necessity, but no longer a worthwhile investment – just like a high school diploma is worthless – UNLESS you don’t have one. It has become a necessity, but there is a HUGE cost to getting one if it’s not a valuable degree.

Kids today are mostly spoiled. They get driven to and from school, have iPhones, iPads, all the sports equipment they need, etc.. The ONLY problem with all that is they have NO HUNGER, NO DESIRE.

That being said, it’s a hard thing for young students to deal with. The real question is:

Are you happy to FOLLOW or
will you TAKE THE LEAD in your own life?

That is the question.

If you are female, once you read the book Lean In, you’ll have a better appreciation for the forces at play – not that you don’t already know this, it’s just a great way of seeing the situation.

All I know is that anyone, anytime can alter their destiny – IF THEY WANT IT ENOUGH.

Easier said than done, which is why most (80%) of the population don’t do it.

It is VERY COMPLEX and each person has his/her own story / baggage / history to deal with.

It requires:

  • A LOT of drive, determination and discipline.
  • A LOT of heart, desire and passion.
  • A LOT of trials, testing and realignment.
  • A LOT of self-belief, confidence and courage.
  • A LOT of patience, understanding and acceptance.
  • A LOT of many things most people lack.

They only lack them because they haven’t practiced these skills, abilities and “values”.

The more courageous you are, the more courageous you become.