News & Updates
March 24, 2021
If your kids are taking math online right now, I can see why you might be worried. It’s hard enough to hope for As in math classes when kids are attending school in person, but 2020 made everything more complicated.
Now that class is online, it’s even easier for kids to find themselves falling behind. Students are more distracted and less engaged. Class discussions are virtually nonexistent. Getting individual attention from a teacher seems harder than ever. How in the world are students supposed to master complicated math concepts in this environment?
While the online format isn’t ideal, tutoring can help! For kids who are missing that one-on-one interaction, a math tutor can bring them the connection they crave, now from the comfort of their home. Classes are now almost always recorded, giving tutors a way to glimpse course material and work through it with students. Virtual pod-based tutoring can help kids supplement the social aspect they might be yearning for. So if you worry about your kid grasping the math curriculum, don’t give up just yet. Here’s how tutors can make a difference…
Many parents worry that Zoom is less engaging than in person math class. There’s definitely some truth to that–it’s hard for kids to get invested in the material when they’re just another black square in a sea full of turned-off cameras. It’s tempting for kids to start playing Minecraft or scroll through Instagram during a lecture as there’s no teacher in the room. Discussions aren’t as fluid or active and it’s hard for kids to make themselves known. In this virtual environment, students are not as involved in the subject at hand.
However, getting a great tutor can help solve this problem. No longer will your kid be an anonymous member of a huge Zoom class. Tutoring gives kids a personal, individualized approach to learning, even through the internet.
At Tutor Portland, we give one-on-one tutoring that’s totally focused on engaging the student. Our tutors build a strong rapport with students, ensuring that kids feel safe to express their frustrations and explain their own way of thinking about problems. Tutors check back with students each week and give them the positive encouragement they need to strive for growth. Even though kids have to learn through a screen, with this approach, we can keep kids excited and interested in the material.
That being said, even if students remain involved, they might not be able to be able to keep up. Math is cumulative, meaning if students miss one concept, they can easily get behind. Working through recorded lectures with a tutor might be able to change that…
Keeping Students From Falling Behind
Fast-paced math lectures are so common, it’s a wonder how kids can keep up at all. This has been a problem long before online learning. It’s a byproduct of our tendency to teach math with little to no discussion among students, let alone individual questions and feedback. Now that many lectures are virtual, students might have even less opportunity to slow down the class and inquire about a tricky concept.
Luckily, in this new online educational environment, lectures are almost always recorded. These recorded lectures are made available to students at any time. This means students can go back and rewatch whenever they need to in case they get stuck on homework. They can pause and rewind or go to a specific section when they may have overlooked a detail. Plus, if they want to review for a midterm or a final, they have every lecture laid out for them online. Instead of having one chance to get the teacher’s lecture, they can access it any time.
This is a great tool that tutors and kids can use together. Previously, if a kid struggled to comprehend an idea, tutors would have to guess how the teacher taught it to them. Now, tutors can see exactly how the concept was explained to the student, so the tutor can more deeply understand their student’s learning process. Students and tutors can go through recorded videos and take a new look at any material the student doesn’t quite understand.
Beyond having relationships with teachers and tutors, students also need to relate to each other and work together. But, how can tutoring help kids get that experience without in-person classes?
Incorporating the Social Aspect
Although socializing with others may seem extraneous to learning equations, having discussions with others about material really helps struggling math students. Studies show that students understand concepts better when they’re able to verbalize their thinking and have back-and-forth exchanges with other individuals.
However, online school makes it impossible for kids to talk about material as they walk the halls, and makes forming study groups a lot more challenging. This is especially true if your student is new to the class or doesn’t have a group of classmates to collaborate with.
Tutoring can help by not only connecting students with a great tutor, but a network of their peers as well. My brother and I had this social component in mind when we created Zoom Tutor, a website made specifically to help kids through the online educational landscape. On Zoom Tutor, not only is one-on-one tutoring offered, but pod-based tutoring with a group of students as well.
This means students are organized into small groups that meet each week to go over material. Although they may not be able to gather in person (yet), these regular sessions give kids the ability to meet and work with an entirely new group of peers. Instead of working through problem after problem alone, they can have a community to share their frustrations and victories. This can fundamentally transform students’ attitudes towards math. Instead of stale repetition, these peer groups help make math fun and social.
Get Your Kid Tutoring Today!
Even though learning math online may seem like an impossible challenge, tutoring can help students make the most of it. When Zoom leaves kids uninvested, good tutoring can help them engage with material again. Working through recorded lectures with tutors can guide kids towards success if they find themselves falling behind. Incorporating group work into the online tutoring format can help students have meaningful discussions that allow them to get a grasp on complicated math subjects..
So if you want to help your kid make the most of learning math online, you can sign up for your first free Tutor Portland session here, free of charge. You can also check out Zoom Tutor here! If we can give students access to a meaningful learning experience despite the tribulations of the online format, we can help kids come out of this challenging time on top, ready to achieve their goals.
February 21, 2021
English is incredibly frustrating. We often underestimate it’s difficulty, since it’s such an integral part of our lives. However, when it’s time to sit down and write an essay, we find our grammer doesn’t sound right. We struggle to make our sentences flow. The word count seems impossible to reach and our whole argument feels inconsistent.
Writing is more than just a trivial part of high school academics. It’s central to passing any university course and remains relevant in the professional world. If a student finds English challenging now, they’re going to have trouble crafting a compelling college admissions essay or expressing themselves concisely in a cover letter. It could cost them job opportunities, promotions, research positions, and more.
At Tutor Portland, we understand the importance of helping kids master English now so they can excel later. Our tutoring focuses on helping students get the core principles of writing down, while also boosting comprehension and critical thinking skills. We offer tutoring for all kinds of writing, including college admissions essays, editing, research papers, standardized tests, descriptive essays and narrative work. Stick with us and we’ll have your kid reading and writing like a pro in no time.
Mastering Writing Basics
There are a lot of parallels between the high school English curriculum and communicating in the professional world. That’s because basics like thesis writing, crafting strong arguments, providing solid evidence and conducting thorough research are extremely relevant beyond grade school. Lawyers need powerful arguments to create contracts or defend clients. Business professionals must know how to present evidence to effectively share quarterly earnings. Scientists rely on strong research abilities to compile solid research papers.
Working with an English tutor to hone in on these basics is remarkably helpful. Tutors read through essays to make sure a students’ arguments are in line with their thesis. They can determine if the evidence in an essay is really proving a point, or simply distracting from the main idea. An English tutor knows what relevant and impactful research looks like and help students incorporate it correctly.
At Tutor Portland, we can help teens apply these basics in any subject–not just English. For example, if your student is interested in science, but needs a little help with writing, we can tailor lessons to stronger research papers instead of just book reports. Say history is a student’s weak spot. An English tutor from Tutor Portland can help them identify strong sources and construct a powerful thesis with compelling arguments that explain the causes of the War of 1812. No matter what the task, we’ve got you covered.
Conquering Reading and Comprehension
If kids are struggling to get through assigned readings, an English tutor can help with that as well. Being able to effectively read and extract the valuable information from a document is an exceptionally useful skill. Tutors can go through class readings line by line to help kids see what data is really critical. This ability will come into play when teens are expected to read a dense credit card contract or understand a complicated economics lecture.
Not only that, but reading can be a way for young people to increase empathy, think more critically about life, and reflect on their own emotions. Reading literature allows students to step into the shoes of others and empathize with characters from different times and situations. Understanding how to digest and process non-fiction, like news stories or texts about history, politics and economics will bring students a greater understanding of the world. By guiding kids towards becoming better readers, tutors help students explore new perspectives.
When it comes to comprehension, a good English tutor steps in where teachers might be lacking. Oftentimes, teachers are just concerned with making sure kids read the assigned works, quizzing them on what happened in chapter five. A tutor can help kids really break down the material and pull out the most important information. They encourage kids to think deeper and ask them challenging questions that actually engage them in what they’re reading.
Cementing These Skills
Any good English tutor knows that the key to truly mastering language arts is the same as studying for science or math: careful repetition and putting in the hours.
I dedicated time to writing every single day when I was in college. This discipline and structure helped me improve my writing immensely. It gave me the power to ace college classes and land jobs after graduating. Now, my writing skills play an integral role in running my business and maintaining my blog. If students really want to write strong material, they’ll have to put in the reps. Tutors can create practice prompts or go through exercises with students to give them the repetition they need to succeed.
Along with discipline, great writing requires a lot of trial and error. An A-scoring essay is not going to come easy. Students have to be willing to assess, rework and rewrite, no matter how much time and effort it takes. A tutor can guide students through this process and provide constructive feedback on every draft.
Additionally, an English tutor can apply a trained eye to students’ writing and identify how they can take it from acceptable to incredible. Even when the material in an essay is grammatically correct, that doesn’t mean it’s as strong as it could be. Ditching bland or overused words for more active, impactful language can elevate a piece of writing immensely. Changing sentence structure can make an essay much more digestible and persuasive. Tutors allow students to accelerate their writing skills beyond what they thought possible.
English Tutoring at Tutor Portland
At Tutor Portland, we know that tutoring isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially not for a subject as nuanced as English. We’ve got tutors from a wide range of backgrounds, ready to meet the needs of each individual student.
Our English tutors can help your student with focused, intentional practice in the language arts. As college students and professional writers, they know how to create written work that’s not only grammatically correct, but compelling. They’ll equip your student to impress professors, amaze college admissions officers and achieve their wildest dreams.
If you’re ready to unlock your full potential, sign up for a free session today.
January 20, 2021
Studying. Few of us like to do it, but it’s totally necessary for nailing exams and earning awesome grades. If you think you’re a bad test-taker, you might be super smart, but lack some of the best strategies for effective studying. Here are some tips for excelling at studying and doing everything you need to ace your next test.
1. Plan a Study Schedule
You might think you should focus on the hardest subjects first, but that can be a counterproductive study habit. Instead, create a plan that designates extra time to focus on more challenging subjects but still includes time to review everything that’s going to be on the test. That way you’ll be well versed in all the topics you need to know and won’t be thrown off by a test question that references a subject you forgot to study. For example, if you have three hours to study for a test that covers six chapters of your textbook, and you really struggled with chapter three, create a plan like this:
Review Chapter 1 & 2: 30 minutes
Review Chapter 3: 50 minutes
Chapter 4-6: 55 minutes
Re-review Chapter 3: 45 minutes
This schedule prioritizes chapter 3 but still ensures that you review everything else at least once. So instead of assuming that you’ll be able to recall information, you’ll go into the test 100% sure that you’re prepared for anything that could be on it.
2. Create Essay Outlines
When you sit down to write a big essay for an end of semester project, it’s common to experience writer’s block. The weight of it’s importance can stir up so much anxiety that you feel totally out of ideas.
Rather than starting off your writing session with no direction or plan, prepare an outline beforehand. This is a complete breakdown of everything you want to include in your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the outline, you’ll want to include everything from clever hooks, transitional phrases, and quotations from outside sources. Outlining helps you determine the order of information you’re presenting and what ideas you want to focus on the most. That way when you sit down to write, all you have to do is transcribe everything into an essay format. If you need help getting started, use Scribbr to help you craft the perfect essay outline.
3. Review Your Notes
This might sound obvious, but reviewing your notes before starting any assignment, even homework, is imperative. Doing a quick re-read not only assures you understand every concept before diving in, it can also prevent you from making critical mistakes, which is especially important for writing assignments. Make sure to read a writing prompt in its entirety so you know exactly how many paragraphs you have to write, what topics you need to discuss, and the format it needs to be written in. Nothing is worse than spending two hours on a 1,200-word essay only to realize it only needed to be 800.
4. Test Yourself!
You don’t have to wait for the big exam to get into test mode. Create weekly quizzes for yourself so you can better absorb what you’ve been learning. Focus on identifying the main topics your teacher highlights, especially points that have been brought up multiple times, because they will be on the test.
To find material for your practice test, use questions from quizzes you’ve already taken as well as review sections located in textbook chapters. You can also use online platforms like Complete Test Preparation to find practice tests for math, science, reading comprehension, and more.
5. Compare with Friends
We’ve all had that one classmate who always seems to have the right answer and aces every test without even trying. Rather than seeing them as your biggest competition, use them as your greatest resource. Gather a group of your most prodigious classmates to do a weekly review of the lessons that’ll be on the test. Studying together helps you discover where you can improve, while you share your strengths to help others improve. This way, you’ll all become better students together!
6. List Your Distractions
Do you ever get distracted when you need to study? Not only by Netflix and phone notifications, but by chores too? Chores that your parents are harping about because they needed to get done yesterday? When other important tasks are competing with your studying duties, don’t ignore them. Instead, write them down and choose a time when you’ll be available to complete them. Set a timer that requires you to put in one hour of intense studying. When it goes off, allow yourself 10-20 minutes to get these chores done.
Let’s be honest—many distractions, like texting your significant other, are far less imperative than chores. Many of us are tempted to check Instagram likes on our latest post or scroll through news stories on Twitter, when we should be focusing on studying for a final. This can lead us to take constant mini-breaks that grow into all-day distractions. Putting off our work all day can lead to feelings of guilt or stress as we run over schedule and fall behind on studies.
The solution is to not deprive ourselves of study breaks. Instead, we can reward ourselves for an hour’s worth of intense studying with 10 minutes of free time. This way, we give our minds a break and can indulge in our favorite pastimes, guilt-free.
7. Study Offline
While we highly recommend using online platforms for study tips, time away from the computer allows you to purely focus on studying and not get distracted by the internet. Find a screen-free environment to study in, like the kitchen table, a comfy chair, or outdoors. This’ll give you a nice change of scenery and your eyes a break from the screen.
There’s also plenty of online tools you can use without internet access like Desmos, which is a website that provides a variety of calculators and graphing tools. Use these tools while your computer is in offline mode. That way you’ll have access to all the helpful resources Desmos offers without being distracted by email or social media alerts.
8. Leave Your Friends on Read
With instant messaging, friends are just a text away. But are group chats more important than grades? If you struggle to avoid text messages and Snapchats when you’re supposed to be studying, hold your friends accountable. Let them know that you have a big test to study for and won’t be reachable for the next few hours. If they know how important this test is, they won’t create unnecessary distractions to prevent you from succeeding. If they’re still hitting you up during studying sessions, put your phone on “Do not Disturb” and update your messaging settings so only emergency contacts can reach you while your studies are in session.
9. Ask Your Teacher
It’s good practice for students to regularly ask questions during class. It not only helps you better understand a subject but can provide clarity to other students who have the same questions. However, asking too lengthy of questions can monopolize your teacher’s ability to help other students, and can make you look inconsiderate of those who want to move on to the next lesson. Instead of disrupting other students’ time, pull your teacher aside after class and ask when they’ll have free time to help you with tougher subjects.
Oftentimes teachers’ have office hours where you can get one-on-one help. Going to office hours demonstrates your intentions to improve your schoolwork and shows that you don’t want to take away from their in-class time. Plus it puts you on their good side—they might even be more willing to boost you to an A- when your end of semester grade is 89.8%.
…And if that Doesn’t Help
Every good teacher should be willing to provide extra help to students that need it. However, you won’t always have the privilege of teachers who are willing to help us during their off-time. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to seek tutoring in subjects that aren’t your strong suit. Here at Tutor Portland, we provide in-home and online tutoring sessions with first-class tutors throughout the Portland area. Each of our hand-selected tutors will provide you with the specialized attention you need to raise your grades, pass your tests, and get accepted to your dream school. Start your free online introductory session today!
December 15, 2020
So your child has completed their college apps and they’ve started to narrow down their higher education choices. Whether they want to attend a junior college, attend school part-time, or are taking the plunge into a four-year university, their big decision will help shape their future. You’ll want to be sure that they’re as prepared as they can be.
Before they even step foot in a classroom, their skills will need to be tested. Math placement tests are a required examination prior to enrolling in specific classes. If they’re worried about what lies ahead for them when it comes to math placement tests and scheduling math classes, there’s no need to worry.
We have the ultimate guide right here for parents and students like you to better understand what math placement tests are all about.
What is a Math Placement Test?
A math placement test is designed to measure a student’s math skills and gauge the most appropriate math classes they should take for the upcoming semester. Before starting college or university, students must complete a math placement test at home. This happens after a student has been admitted to a school and is a normal part of the enrollment process.
There is no passing or failing a math placement test. The point of these exams is to see how competent the student is in the subject. They are more of an assessment of personal skills rather than an analysis of mastery. A math placement test is not a measure of intelligence, but a measurement of personal experience and how well a student demonstrates that experience.
After the test, the school will tailor a choice of math class to the student’s best strengths. If a student is a top scorer, they’ll be rightly placed in advanced classes that will properly challenge them. If they score lower on the math placement test, then they will be placed in less intense math courses.
What to Expect on a Math Placement Test
Although all schools require students to take a math placement test, there is no universal standard they adhere to. Each university or college will create their own tests that best measure math skills according to their own set of standards.
However, there will be some similarities across the board. Questions will be pulled from a wide variety of math topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and some precalculus and calculus, but the questions will not dive deeply into each subject. The range of questions will be wide, not deep.
The wide-range of questions about basic concepts is followed by longer word problems. These word problems focus on the application of concepts. Students will apply the previously mentioned concepts to help solve longer story problems. Further, the test will ask students to provide written analysis to test if they can fully understand and demonstrate mathematical concepts.
These tests usually do not have a time limit and are mostly multiple choice. The point of the exam is to measure skill, not speed. They’re usually administered online too, so there is no need to travel to a testing location. The tests are often completed from the comfort of a student’s own home.
What’s The Deal with High Placement Scores?
Preparing for math placement tests can save students and parents time and money down the road. If your university requires payment for classes by the unit, students can save money by testing out of classes that would otherwise be required for their degree.
By scoring well, students can bypass entry-level courses and qualify for more challenging (and more interesting!) math classes. By scoring poorly, the school may place students in lower intensity remedial courses and take time away from more enriching classes.
If a student plans to enter a field that is less math-intensive, they can bypass math classes altogether if they score high enough. By testing out of basic math classes, they free their schedule to take other classes that are more relevant to their field of study. This will save time and money as students will skip a few steps on their way to complete their degree.
How to Prepare for a Math Placement Test
Before taking a placement test, I encourage students to brush up on basic mathematical concepts. A math placement test will have questions about basic arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, proportions, averages, decimals, and integers. It sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing students haven’t mastered before!
Here are our tips to maximize your studying habits!
However, it’s important not to put too much weight on the outcome of the test. There is a downside of over-preparing. If students prepare for the test in anticipation to score “well” or “ace” the exam, then they could be setting themselves up for a difficult situation. By studying for hours to ace the exam, students may earn placement in an advanced level math course they are not ready for. They might become overwhelmed by the higher level material because of their inflated placement score.
Remember, there is no passing or failing these placement tests, so over-preparing won’t always pay off. Ending up in a less intense math course might be the perfect situation for a student who isn’t as mathematically gifted as their peers.
Conversely, if a student enters the math placement test completely unprepared, then they could be placed in a math course that is far below their skill set. These students might get stuck paying for a class that is repetitive, boring, and ultimately a waste of their time because they did not demonstrate higher level math skills on the placement test.
Final Thoughts on Math Placement Tests
If a higher education institution accepts you or your child into their program and requires you to take math placement tests, look into hiring a tutor. When you hire a tutor to work one-on-one, you can focus on reviewing the areas that are the best use of your time. Meeting with a tutor to hone math skills could make a positive difference for your future in higher education.
Experts from Tutor Portland or Zoom Tutor can assist in tailoring a plan for you or your child. Having a tutor that understands how the math placement test works will make a huge difference in your educational experience. By fortifying math experience, you will be ready to take a math placement test and best serve your educational career.
November 3, 2020
School can be intense, especially during exam season. You find yourself spending all your free time studying, working on projects, reviewing assignments, pouring over practice tests, and doing everything you can to prepare yourself. But have you really tried everything? What do you listen to when you study––a favorite playlist, a babbling brook, nothing at all? A wealth of scientific research has found a new way for you to boost your academic performance: listening to classical music for studying!
This simple practice can boost your grades and help you retain information, so give classical music a try and see if it becomes a helpful habit for life! You might find that you finally get the exam scores you’ve been craving, and feel healthier and happier in the process. Here’s why classical music for studying works for so many people:
Scientifically Significant Study Benefits
You may be familiar with the rumored brainpower phenomenon called the “Mozart Effect.” A 1993 linked the effects of listening to Mozart with an increase in IQ, spurring an increase in the popularity of classical music for studying. The study demonstrated that participants who listened to Mozart tended to score higher on subsequent IQ tests. While this specific research is now widely discredited, it has been replaced by a plethora of well-respected studies demonstrating that there are definite academic effects derived from listening to classical music for studying.
Research conducted in a French university found that when students listened to classical music for studying, their academic performance improved. In this study, two groups of students watched a lecture, one with classical music in the background and one without. The students who listened to the music scored higher on a lecture quiz than the other group.
Another study suggests that students are able to focus better and study longer with classical music playing in the background, leading them to perform up to 12% better on exams than their peers. The absence of words in classical music might decrease distractions and could account for the improved focus amongst listeners.
Classical music for studying can boost academic performance in creative classes as well because it increases divergent thinking. Divergent thinking, or the ability to come up with new and innovative concepts, is the backbone of creativity. A 2017 study from Goethe-Universitat in Frankfurt, Germany, tied listening to “happy music” to enhanced divergent thinking, meaning happy music makes you more creative. Classical music is commonly considered both positive and energetic, and thus encourages creativity. Working on a final project for an art or film class? Trying to find a new way to approach a complex calculus question? Or just feeling stuck in general? Find a classical playlist. Classical music for studying gets your creative juices flowing and puts you in a mindset open to innovation and discovery.
Turn on some Mozart, because studying with classical music has also been shown to increase productivity. A UK-based experiment paired a classical radio station with a psychologist to see if British office workers would be more productive while listening to artists such as Beethoven and Bach. They found a 15% increase in productivity when participants completed a task listening to classical music, versus working in silence. By blocking out noises and distractions, classical music can increase your focus, leading to improved productivity. Apply these findings to your own study habits and get more done in less time!
Plus if you find yourself losing sleep due to exam stress, listen to this. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that classical music can combat insomnia and improve sleep. With 60% of college students habitually getting less than 7 hours of sleep, finding ways to improve sleep quality is of paramount importance. Improving sleep quality is a tried and true strategy to increase cognitive performance, paving the way for better understanding of school subjects.
A study conducted by Baylor University found evidence that listening to classical music for studying both during lectures and while sleeping can trigger targeted memory reactivation (TMR). During this process, the music triggers the brain to move the concepts learned during studying to more permanent memory storage. The students exposed to classical music for studying both during lecture and sleep performed 18% better on the test than the control group. So try turning on classical music to help you study and sleep! But that’s not all, listening to classical music for studying offers a number of physical and emotional health benefits too!
When you listen to classical music, it improves your overall health quality by reducing stress. Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute found that blood pressure actually decreases as individuals enjoy music. However, this effect was only observed in participants who listened to classical music, not jazz, pop, or other genres tested in this study. So, if you like to read with the music in the background, but feel it hasn’t helped you improve exam scores or relax, you may want to try switching to calming classical music for studying.
Music with too many dynamic changes, unpredictable rhythms, lyrics, or jarring instruments will serve to distract rather than calm, so be intentional in your music choices. Classical music has been found to reduce stress as a result of its specific, unique musical qualities: the slow, rhythmic tempo of classical music is similar to the natural pace of the human heartbeat, encouraging your body to calm down, lower your heart rate, and de-stress. Its patterns and textures allow your brain to expand as you listen, without over exciting your body.
Not only do these physical benefits help you study better, but decreased blood pressure and lowered anxiety contribute to a healthier lifestyle for years to come. Making classical music a part of your daily routine, even on the days you take a break from studying, will certainly pay off in the long run.
Listening to classical music for studying produces a wealth of emotional benefits on top of the physical benefits. When the “Mozart Effect” was debunked, researchers replaced it with a new theory. They determined that while listening to Mozart didn’t necessarily cause increases in IQ, it did improve mood. Listening to Mozart’s music causes the brain to release more dopamine, a hormone known for improving mood and producing a ‘feel-good’ effect. These increased dopamine levels were tied to improved feelings of happiness among listeners. Happier participants tended to perform better on evaluations.
Increased dopamine also makes classical music a tool for fighting the symptoms of depression. If you tend to feel discouraged while tackling a difficult class, classical music for studying can help improve your mood and keep you on track for success. And not only that: by improving your emotional state, classical music actually makes your brain more receptive to new information. By getting you into a good headspace, classical music for studying prepares you to tackle any academic challenge.
Ready to pop in your headphones and play some classical music for studying? There is an endless variety of classical music playlists online to choose from! From hours long YouTube videos to specially curated Spotify playlists, your options are inexhaustible. Taking a bit of time to find the perfect blend for you is definitely worth it.
A good general rule to follow is: skip the big orchestral selections! Pieces with huge dynamic changes that range from whispers to crashes are too busy and distracting for your purposes. The 1812 Overture, for instance, will probably have the opposite of the intended effect and increase your heart rate and anxiety.
Try to stick with simple pieces to avoid inadvertently distracting yourself. Classical radio station producer Alan Chapman recommends solo piano pieces by Mozart, Poulenc, Debussy, or Fauré, gentle guitar music, Bach lute suites, and Elizabethan consort music written in the 16th century.
To help you get started, here’s a list of classical pieces to study to that we recommend:
- Goldberg Variations, by Johann Sebastian Bach
- The Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi
- Für Elise, by Beethoven
- Canon in D, by Johann Pachelbel
- Clair De Lune, by Claude Debussy
- Piano Concerto No. 23, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Salzburg Symphony No. 1 (‘Divertimento in D major’), by Mozart
- Gymnopédie No. 1, by Erik Satie
- Academic Festival Overture, by Johannes Brahms
- Etudes, by Frédéric Chopin
- The Hours, by Philip Glass
- Moonlight Sonata (I), by Beethoven
- Organ Concertos, by George Frideric Handel
- The Blue Danube Waltz, by Johann Strauss II
Exam season is challenging, exhausting, and stressful, but now you have another tool to get through it. Listening to classical music for studying has been proven to have a wealth of benefits on your mental, physical, and emotional health. It decreases your stress and anxiety, brings down your heart rate and blood pressure, and helps your retention skills by enhancing memory capabilities. Further, it releases dopamine to improve your mood and fight depression, increases your creative capacity, and improves productivity. The scientific studies point to classical music as the perfect study companion, so crack open that textbook and turn up the Bach!
October 1, 2018
Human beings are driven by emotions. We experience feelings of joy, anger, sadness, and relief with changing scenarios. Getting anxious is also an integral part of our behavior. One of the leading types of anxieties is exam anxiety. It’s a universal problem and almost all of us face it at some point in our lives. It’s a trait that can have negative effects on our personality and future success.
Exams rattle us all. High school students seem to face exam anxiety most often. It can be stressful because it makes you lose focus for prolonged periods of time. As a responsible parent, you should take the following steps to help your child manage exam anxiety.
The process of dealing with exam anxiety is a series of rational steps which include observing the symptoms in your child, finding the causes behind them, and helping your child overcome those issues. If you don’t prepare your child for dealing with exam anxiety, she might be left behind compared to other children.
In this article, our top tutors have created a process of dealing with exam anxiety, and structured it into bite size components so that you can help your child manage their stress on test day.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The foremost thing in fighting anxiety is to learn about the symptoms associated with it. The symptoms help you reach the base of the problem. As a parent, you must be able to read the symptoms emerging in your child. It requires you to engage thoroughly with your child during his learning years.
Physical symptoms are associated with the personality of your child. These symptoms appear whenever your kid engages in demanding activities. Increased release of sweat from your body is the first sign associated with physical symptoms.
Apart from sweating, your kid might face shortness of breath as a result of anxiety. This is due to increased tension and associated increase in heartbeat. This is a serious issue which needs to be dealt with in the early stages otherwise it could lead to severe problems for your child in the future.
Lack of concentration is another physical symptom which is associated with exam anxiety. Due to increased levels of stress, your child loses concentration and doesn’t take any interest in things happening around him. He could lose focus in his family and social life, which can have other negative impacts on his health and well-being.
Exam anxiety changes your child not only at the physical level but at the mental level as well. The mental capacity of your kid could be greatly affected come test time; making your child appear as if she isn’t as smart as she truly is. As a parent, you should help your child reduce the levels of stress and anxiety otherwise, she might begin to doubt her own abilities.
Rapid mood swings, rage, and anger coupled with excessive emotional behavior are some of the mental symptoms associated with exam anxiety.
Negative thinking, yelling at family and friends, and poor memory are behavioral symptoms that students facing exam anxiety often experience.
Causes of Exam Anxiety
Fear of Failure
Fear is the biggest enemy of all of us. It keeps us from taking brave steps. If we have fear of a certain thing then we will be unable to perform our best at that particular thing. Your kid might be having a fear of failure which is leading to anxiety.
Lack of Confidence
Lacking confidence when taking on a task can often negatively impact our performance. This trait is often found in children going to school. If your kid is not having enough confidence in his personality then he will not be able to express himself properly which will result in lack of creativity. Once you’re short on creativity and confidence, your anxiety can grow exponentially.
Fear of Repeating Past Mistakes
There might be a time when your daughter used to be confident in her abilities. But then, a failure led to the loss of confidence and promoted fear of failing again. This is a common problem seen in many children. It’s natural that your kid doesn’t want to fail. So to avoid failure, she might be avoiding truly trying and giving her best effort. Her brain rationalizes that if she doesn’t fully try, she can’t be accurately evaluated. “You can’t find my true potential,” her actions seem to say.
The solution? Teach your child to have a “growth mindset” about life and learning.
Tips to help your Child
Once you have studied the prevailing symptoms and associated causes, the next phase is dealing with the core of the problem. It requires you to engage with your kid and help him out. This all starts with giving proper time to your child on a daily basis. There are no shortcuts to help your child out of this problem. It is a long process that takes time and consistent effort and support. Students and children need to know that someone is there for them: that they have someone they can count on (and someone who is counting on them).
There are many ways to which you can help your child avoid exam anxiety. The following is a list that our top Portland educators and tutors have created:
Assist In Studying For The Test
The most basic thing which promotes anxiety is the difficulty which your kid might be facing in preparing for his test. There could be problems which he is not able to understand, or there might be a proportion of syllabus he hasn’t covered.
As a responsible parent, you need to assist your kid with the his studying. You can help him cover topics and sit down with him to study. This will be a huge boost to your child’s confidence. He will be more comfortable in dealing with the problems which he previously found daunting.
The bottom line is: someone needs to be engaging with your child, 1 on 1, on a consistent basis.
Ask Her To Prepare Her Own Notes
When you write something down, research shows that you are much more likely to remember it. You can interpret it in your own style, and practice writing it in your own words. This is helpful practice come exam time. Ask your daughter to prepare and write notes and even explain them to others if she can. This will help her listen to other student’s views and thus increase her levels of understanding. This will be a huge boost of confidence.
Teach Her To Be Expressive
You need to be expressive to perform well in your exams. If you’re not able to express your thoughts and ideas on paper or through speech, your teacher won’t be able to accurately grade what you truly know.
Ask your kid to be fearless while sitting in the exam hall and to be expressive about her thoughts and ideas. This is not easy. As a parent, you can help your child learn how to be more expressive and resilient towards sharing ideas.
Talk To His Teachers
When it comes to learning, teachers can be very helpful. If your child is going through an exam anxiety situation, then his mentors should aware of it. (He does have a strong mentor and / or role model, right?) They are usually extremely useful in helping with exam anxiety and other issues.
Ask the teacher what is going on. Your teacher has hundreds of hours observing your child in class. She normally knows what is happening. If not, you can ask her to pay special attention to how your child is doing on exam day. If problems persist, our tutors recommend meeting with a teacher regularly.
Get Help From Professionals
A professional who has been dealing with similar issues for years can help your child out of the situation. A psychologist or a therapist can help your kid relieve stress and tension through interactive activities. Apart from activities, a professional can help your kid control his brain in a much better way. Controlling your brain is important to get control over your emotions. If your kid is able to manage his emotions then he will be able to manage exam stress as well.
Go Hiking, Or Spend Time In Nature
It is necessary to take breaks from your regular routine as it helps you relieve stress and maintain focus. A refreshed mind helps you be more creative and thoughtful.
You can arrange intermittent breaks from your child’s education and take him to a hill, lake, park, or somewhere refreshing. This will bring him closer to nature. Research shows that nature improves the functioning of our brain and reduces stress. It is important you schedule time for your child to have inner reflection. If your child understands herself better, she will become more confident and better able to solve her own problems and cure her own exam anxiety.
Indulge In Stress Relieving Exercises or Sports
Sports and exercise are great ways to reduce stress. First of all, exercise has been proven to improve your mood. Students often stop studying or don’t study because they aren’t feeling good. When students take time to exercise, they actually end up feeling better and getting more done.
Exercise releases endorphins.
Ask Him To Change His Habits
Your kid’s eating and sleeping patterns greatly impact his mental behavior. If he has sleeping issues or bad diet problems, then you should get to work immediately and help him recover from these bad-habits. If not properly addressed, these could lead to serious health issues, bad behavior, and exam anxiety.
Set a daily routine for your child, one which includes his sleeping and waking up times. Cook him better food. Ask him to eat his vegetables and fruit. Try to have him cut down on his refined sugars and processed foods.
Here is an article about how to cook healthy foods for your children.
Exam Anxiety: This Too, Shall Pass
Life gives you a new opportunity at each turn. Your child must learn this if he wants to be successful in life. Tell your child that a failure is not the end. (It’s simply an opportunity to learn, grow, and start working harder and smarter.)
Teach your child that failure is a one time event, it’s not a person or character trait. We might fail at certain things, but that doesn’t mean we are “failures.”
A supportive attitude from those around him will help him reduce exam anxiety at a much faster rate. Tell your child that you believe in him. Tell him that you love him no matter what happens.
Every Time You Fail You Learn Something
Your child is currently going through a phase of learning. Remind her that learning should be fun.
Tell her that when you fail, you don’t actually fail but learn something new. If she builds this attitude, she will lose her anxiety problems and will be more confident going into exams.
Children who have been suffering from exam anxiety problems can recover to normal conditions if their issues are properly dealt with. It is the responsibility of the parents, and to a large extent of the teachers, to help children make their way to confident test taking skills.
Parents can learn from the topics we’ve discussed here, and the links to other great articles that our tutors have provided. If these therapies are properly applied, then your child will perform better as a result.
If your child continues to struggle with her learning, you should seek professional support. A mentor, psychologist, or tutor can often help your child improve her mindset and grades. Please contact us if you have any questions about the future success of your child.
September 1, 2018
This is a guide on how to find and select the best high school courses for your teenager.
High school carries a lot of importance in the educational career of your child. It develops the base of your child’s future. As a student (and parent) you will come across multiple subjects in high school which you might have to go through and struggle with. In high school there are a few limitations and specifications over what you can study. However, our tutors have developed a list of the best high school courses to take.
Your high school courses will directly affect your college admission. For instance, if you want to go to MIT, then you must have a good grip over science and technology, and if you want to go to Harvard Medical School, then you not only need to have good knowledge of the medical subjects (for instance, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) but you also need hands-on experience of processes related to the field.
Expanding Fields Of Study, More Opportunity (But Also, More Tough Choices)
In recent times, high school education has spread out its reach to many fields of study. For instance, in the past people used to have a specific choice over what they will be studying in high school and then at the college level. However, in contemporary times, you have a range of subjects which you can opt from and pursue a career in. These days, there are not many limitations over your future career. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. And we know from experience: you can learn anything.
What courses to go for? The Following Are The Best High School Courses You Can Select:
Our top tutors have devised a list of subjects which a high school student, who wishes to pursue his educational goals at college and graduate levels, can choose from. This will prove to be a guideline which he can work on and use to follow his career dreams.
Literature is the branch of study which deals with the study of the books and scriptures written by great writers of the past. In the field of literature, you can study subjects which will blow your mind away. The vast knowledge and the contexts of different writers will help you expand your spectrum of thinking. You will grow in rationality and everything will have a reason to you.
Literature is a very good career choice; if your child feels interested then you should allow him to study literature in his high school and help him get admission in a college which has a strong degree program for literature or education.
Literature has many further sub-branches giving you freedom of choice over which particular part of the subject you want to master:
Philosophy deals with the study of work of great philosophers of the past. You learn their writings and develop opinions over their findings. This helps you contemplate and grow in levels of logic.
In the subject of history, you study about cultures, wars, and legends of the past. The field finds huge applications in modern day international relations and similar studies. The subject has huge career growth opportunities if you go on and become a historian or professor.
This field sheds light on different religions of the world allowing you to dig deep and find more about the relation between man and God. It is a mesmerizing field of education if you’re religiously inclined or curious about different faiths and belief structures.
This field of study deals with the study of languages; you learn about their origin and proper use. It is a relatively new field of study, it found huge recognition after the 1950s. Many people chose linguistics to pursue their careers in. This field has amazing career options as you can go on to become expert in computational linguistics, dialect, or socio-linguistics.
Math is regarded as the mother of all knowledge. It is considered to be that field of education which takes us closest to God, The Universe, or a Higher Power. Through its binary system of calculations, we have been able to explore a lot of new horizons in our earth and the worlds beyond.
There are countless branches into which the field of mathematics has been dispersed. However, the three most notable (and important!) ones are:
Algebra is the mathematical study of operations. It involves problems solving ranging from simple equations to complex terms, which has helped mankind evolve and is the foundation for chemistry, physics, and much of modern medicine.
Geometry is the mathematical study of shapes. In the field of geometry, you come across many shapes which exist in the real world around us. This portion of math has vast application in the field of astronomy as it helps you in studying heavenly bodies.
Calculus is the mathematical study of change. It helps us find out gradual changes in different mechanisms. For examples, many scientific and technological studies include the services of calculus to calculate the change associated with the natural phenomenon of our everyday world. Calculus is a requirement of many medical schools (however, not in Oregon!).
If you want to be an engineer, architect, astronaut, technician, doctor, or any similar professional then science is the field of education you should be choosing in high school, college, and beyond.
Science has a very diverse range of fields as it includes many different branches of education: biology, chemistry, and physics are the top three.
If you want to be professional with technical knowledge of different processes, or want to pursue a career in production industry or research sector, then you should study one of the following branches of science.
Biology is the study of living things. It relates to deep-rooted knowledge of animals, plants, their properties, and associated characters. If you want to pursue a career as a doctor then you should study biology and pass it with great grades. Apart from being a doctor, you can become an expert on the subjects of botany or zoology which include detailed studies of plants and animals, respectively.
Chemistry is one of the most interesting and diverse fields of education. It involves the chemistry of all the processes happening around us. You can study organic chemistry, physical chemistry, or one from the many of its sub-branches. A chemistry graduate finds huge demand in the industries, so it is a good career option. It’s best to start learning chemistry in high school. This will give you a solid foundation, preparing you for more advanced study in college.
Physics is the study of natural phenomena happening around us are studied as physics. It is a diverse field of study which finds applications in the study of matter, the study of astronomical bodies, and many more. It is one of the most interesting fields of education which sees novelty at each turn.
If you want your child to have a good career then ask him to study physics in high school, and pursue a specialization in it at the college level, too.
Geology includes deep studies about the earth. You undergo detailed study about the metals and their properties. As a geologist, you can learn how to extract different minerals from the earth, and become an expert in your field.
In the recent times, especially after the Two Great Wars, the study of social sciences emerged to the fore. It includes in-depth knowledge of war, peace, and human rights. When you study social sciences, you not only promise yourself a good career but also become a voice of the underprivileged. Some of the famous sub-fields of social science are discussed below:
International relations studies the relationship between different countries. It studies the times of conflict and peace. When you study the subject, you become aware of the process through which states interact with each other. It is a very diverse field in itself.
Political science helps you learn about the politics of a region and the factors which govern that region. It is an interesting branch of political science with amazing career opportunities in government, journalism, and more.
This branch of social sciences studies human rights and what it means to be human. You can become the CEO of a non-profit, start one yourself, and find another way to help the public. But humanities can also prepare you for a field in Law or Medicine.
The study of law is one of the oldest fields of education in the world. You can become a lawyer, a judge, or a legal adviser to international organizations if you choose to pursue a career in the field of law. (Join your school’s speech and debate team in high school and college!) (Our founder, Eric, debated at Portland State University, The University of Oregon, and Cleveland High School.)
Psychology is the study of human behavior. With the change of time, the human mind undergoes transitions, which is followed by changes in behavior. A psychologist studies mental illness, as well as the activities in life that make us thrive and live meaningful, happy lives (positive psychology). It is a rapidly growing career option as more and more students are getting enrolled in the subject every year.
Studying foreign languages is a good career option. As a high school student, you can enroll in a specific language (Spanish is always a great option). Learning a language helps you learn about the culture and people of its place of origin. You can easily get a job in a multinational firm or a government office if you have strong fluency in a foreign language. The two most-spoken languages in the world are:
English is the most spoken language in the world. Deemed as the global language (yep! we’re lucky to speak it), it provides a common medium for nearly everyone in the world to communicate.
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world. It is particularly important to Americans because Latin America is so close, and more and more Latinos are coming to live and work in the U.S.
Art means creativity. So, if you feel you have that spark which can push you to become a promising artist, you should continue with studying art in high school. (Research shows art is also good for our brains!) With your skills, you can pursue a successful career as an interior designer, fashion designer, painter, musician, and more!
If you child wants to be an athlete then he should go for sports sciences. Sports sciences include an in-depth study of the processes involved with different games which can help you learn about your favorite sport. You can develop your abilities in a particular game and then continue a career as a professional in it. Sports science has a lot of promises to offer to young students these days (as an athlete, marketer, or physical therapist).
A career in medical sciences is extremely different from those which involve industries. However, the subjects which a student needs to learn during his high school, for a career in medical, aren’t any different from the ones required to study for a career in industry.
An young person who wants to make it to medical college after completing high school should do the following:
- Take four years to study math, science, and psychology.
- Choose a health-related project in school.
- Volunteer at a local health clinic.
- Participate in pre-health enrichment programs.
It is important to have a good firsthand knowledge of the procedures involved in medicine. You’ll need to take time away from your regular studies to volunteer in hospitals and clinics and get a feel and understanding of medical care. This will paradoxically help you earn better grades, assist you during your college interview, and strengthen your interest in the subject.
These are a few of the many subjects which you can choose from during your time in high school. These subjects can all have promising futures. (It’s what you make of the field that counts.)
Other Things To Consider When Looking For The Best High School Courses Around:
Apart from choosing a course in high school, there are other things which affect your college application as much as the choice of your subjects.
- Good Grades: Apart from choosing the proper high school subjects which will promise you a good future, getting good grades in those subjects is often even more important. Since there is a lot of market saturation due to increasing numbers of students every year, only the ones who are the most competitive and have the best grades are considered by the top U.S. colleges.
- Guidance: You should have good knowledge of the subjects which you think inspire you. A great tutor, teacher, or mentor at the high school level is important because at that age students are often not very aware of the pros and cons affiliated with certain subjects. It is better to ask for guidance and help.
Your choice of subject could have diverse effects on your personality and your future, too. So if you want to enjoy a successful future, with a good job which you’d enjoy doing, then you should consider carefully before choosing your subjects in high school.
Add balance to your Personality
A good career choice can add much-needed balance to your personality. If you choose a field of education which suits best your interests then you will be able to perform better in it, both at college and professional levels. It is said that if you love your job then you never work a day in your life. So, if you want to have fun while working, choose the field of study very carefully. Seek counsel from professionals to help you out with the process.
Define your Context
Your career choice helps you develop a context for yourself which will assist you with your professional life.
There are multiple subjects which are being taught at college and university levels. All these subjects have their own significance and application. No particular subject is superior to another, in any context. Each has its own value. It all comes down to you how you see them (and use them!). The ones which you find most interesting and fascinating, you should go on and develop a professional career in them.
As a parent, it is extremely important to give your child the liberty to choose her high school courses. You can assist her choosing the right ones but you should respect her choices also. Allow her to pursue her studies in the subjects which she finds most intriguing and interesting.
It is important to maintain interest in your education. If you love what you’re studying then you will able to perform at your best levels.
Follow our website for more useful information. With the counsel of our experts, you can find out your educational preferences and choose subjects, in high school, which will define your career in near future.