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February 15, 2022

Best Books To Get Middle Schoolers Into Reading

Lots of middle schoolers say that reading simply isn’t for them. School is partly to blame for this, as reading often gets turned into a chore rather than something for enjoyment (though many teachers do try their best to make it fun–some successfully, others not so much.) But that doesn’t mean reading can’t turn back into something enjoyable. It’s simply a matter of finding the right book. This is just a shortlist of recommendations covering various genres and styles. If one of these sounds interesting, there’s a good chance there are more books by either the same author or similar ones that you’ll love too. Not to mention most of these have a movie or tv show adaption to watch after (or before, I won’t judge!) 

    • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card 
      • Ender’s Game is a book that every sci-fi should read and enjoy. It has everything: aliens, video games, adventure, and an extraordinary but complicated protagonist. Written in the 1980s but set in the very distant future, Ender Wiggins is a child genius selected to study in an elite school to train to fight the Buggers, the aliens that Earth is locked in war with. It’s a bit of a longer book at over 300 pages, but it’s packed with intense fight scenes set in zero gravity and interesting plots as Ender tries to figure out his place in the school–and in the war. Ender’s Game also got made into a movie starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in 2013. Orson Scott Card also wrote lots of spin-offs and sequels, so if you fall in love with the world and history, there’s plenty more to read!
    • Holes by Louis Sachar
      • This is a classic coming-of-age book (and also one of my favorite movies) that’s about friendship, cruelty, and good ol’ karma. It follows Stanley Yelnats, who is seemingly cursed with bad luck and gets falsely accused of stealing a pair of famous shoes that were donated to a homeless shelter. As punishment, he is sent out to Camp Green Lake (which isn’t green or a lake at all) and is forced to dig holes all day in the heat. There, he meets unlikely friends like Zero, another kid at the camp, and some enemies, such as the cruel Warden who has rattlesnake poison in her nail polish. The book is full of twists and keeps you hooked till the very last word. 
    • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
      • Now, I’m going to be honest–this book is a tear-jerker. My 6th-grade teacher Mrs. Bodenmiller read this to us during class sometimes and I never remember a classroom full of tweens being so quiet and attentive before (except for when Bill Nye was on.) Wonder is about a young boy named August Pullman starting his first day at middle school. That’s scary enough for any typical 10 year old, but August isn’t exactly normal; he was born with a facial deformity and needed several surgeries throughout his life, leading him to be homeschooled and to constantly wear an astronaut’s helmet on his head. While it’s clear this story is a sad one, it’s also a funny and profound one about love and humanity. And, like many great books, it got made into a Julia Roberts movie in 2017.
    • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
      • This is a classic book that your parents probably read in middle school. Lots of schools even assign it, but that doesn’t mean it’s just some boring old book. The Outsiders is about a group of greasers living in Oklahoma and if you enjoyed Grease or West Side Story, this is the book for you. The main character is Ponyboy, the youngest in the little gang he is in with his brothers and his friends, and it follows their misadventures and interactions with the kids from the other side of the tracks. At less than 200 pages, it’s a short but action-packed novel that proves why teens still read it 55 years later. The 1983 movie adaptation is also a star-studded masterpiece for fans of classic 80s movies. 
    • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
      • This book is kinda like the Inception of books and it’s every bit as cool as its movie counterpart. This contemporary fantasy adventure novel is about a young girl and her father who is able to have things come out of books simply by reading it out loud. But there is a price to pay for this great power–something must go into the book in return. One day, Maggie’s father Mo is captured by strange people and she must go on an adventure to get him back. This book is critically acclaimed for a reason and got made into a movie starring Brendan Fraiser in 2008. With themes about family and pride, and great references to other famous books, this book is a great fit for anybody (especially if you find someone to read it out loud for you!) Not to mention, it’s also the first of a trilogy.
    • The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
      • This is by far the biggest book, and biggest series, on this list but it’s a great one for fans of fantasy, romance, and action. With six books in the series, a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, a movie, and a tv show, this franchise has enough content to rival Star Wars. But once you get sucked into this world of shadowhunters, Nephilim, demons, warlocks, and angels, it’s hard to get out of it. Clarissa Frey is our main character (of the main series, at least) and it chronicles her journey in discovering her family history and heritage that was kept hidden from her all her life. With lots of action, sarcasm, and romance, it’s a great middle school read (and worth a lot of AR points too!)
    • Mysterious Benedict Society  by Trenton Lee Stewart 
      • This quartet of books is perfect for those who are naturally curious and feel a bit like outsiders. This spy/mystery/adventure book follows for exceptionally gifted children under the tutelage of the mysterious Nicholas Benedict who need their help to save the world from his evil twin sister. It’s on par with the classic Jame Bond spy movies (and I mean the Sean Connery ones, not the new ones.) Disney even made a tv series based on the books in 2021 with the hilarious Tony Hale.
    • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
      • This is another one of those books that’s important for any teenager to read in America (and not surprisingly, it’s been banned in a lot of schools too.) Set in 1930s Mississippi, 9-year-old Cassie Logan tries to navigate the difficult and racist life of the Jim Crow south. It’s a powerful book about power, not just with people but with land too.  The 1978 movie is also definitely worth watching too, with Morgan Freeman playing Uncle Hammer. It’s one of timeless and brutal African-American fiction books. And its descriptions of deep southern living make its 250+ page count feel too short. 


    • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
      • I’m going to level with you here—this is the only book on this list I haven’t read. It was recommended by a friend while I was doing research for this article. But after doing a little digging, I can see why. In a perfect future with no misery, no war, and no disease, this perfect utopia comes at a deadly price; select few called Scythes are chosen to kill others to keep the population and world in order. Crazy, right? Two teens, Citra and Rowan are chosen to be apprentices and learn about this deadly underside to their world. While this is the only one on the list without a silver screen adaption, it is rumored to be in the works.  It’s one of the few YA books that’s made my to-read list and I hope it will make yours too. 


    • Anything by John Green
      • I know this isn’t exactly a conventional entry is a list of books to read, but trust me on this: all John Green books are worth the read. My godfather actually got me all of his books in 7th grade (after asking his AP Literature class for help) and I finished all of them within 2 weeks. Out of all his books, the one I would recommend the most is Paper Towns, as I think it’s a book that every teen will relate to at some point in their lives. And for the rebels out there, Green’s book Looking for Alaska actually got banned in many schools and libraries.  I’m not going to give any summaries, unlike the other books, because I think these are best experienced going in blind. Just maybe have a few tissue boxes on hand.
February 1, 2022

This Portland Neighborhood May Be The Suburbia Oasis You’re Looking For

Ever wondered if Portland could be a home for you? Well, with their increasing popularity and diverse personality, there’s a fit for everyone!

America is home to so many cities with an individual energy like no others. Of course you know the infamous NYC and Los Angeles, maybe you’ve been to Chicago or took a trip to Denver. All of them have something refreshing to offer their residents just as much as their visitors. It’s super incredible to be able to absorb the wonderful communities + cultures that fortified the flourishing of these cities.

Of course, there are some that have ascended to be up and coming places to reside. With the constant evolution of humanity and its expanding experience, cities take on the personalities of those who enliven it with their own interests and values. A city to have become extremely popular within the last few years is located in the Pacific Northwest, a green haven for many.

It’s Portland, Oregon!


About Portland

Portland is quite a distinct city known for a variety of compelling characteristics such as their ecofriendliness, progressive demographic, and vast amount of outdoorsy outlets. 

It’s home to an assortment of fabulous storefronts, cuisine, live music, and microbreweries that appeal to many of its inhabitants. If you’re looking for things to do outside eating and shopping, there’s an assortment of art museums, luscious parks, and many MANY bicycle routes! Both outdoor and indoor enthusiasts can find something they’ll enjoy in Portland. For such a big city, it embodies a very tight knit, small town atmosphere to it.

Oregon’s largest city is home to quite a few special spots. Did you know that Portland is home to one of the largest urban forests in the United States? That’s right- Forest Park sits at 5200 acres and is THE place to enjoy nature if you’re visiting or residing in the city! And if nature isn’t your thing, no worries; the largest independent bookstore, Powell Books, is found right in the heart of the bustling metropolis!

An appealing living aspect of Portland is its comparably low living expenses; it’s one of the most inexpensive places to live on the West Coast! And because of Oregon’s state mandates, there’s no sales tax either! As for transportation, you do NOT necessarily need a car in Portland to enjoy what it has to offer! It’s one of the most bicycle friendly places in the world, and it also offers public transportation as well!

Regardless if you’re just passing through or making it your newest home, Portland is for sure able to accommodate your every need and satisfy every passion!


One of Portland’s GEM Neighborhoods

Like all major cities, Portland has a copious amount of neighborhoods. The city is split into five major regions dependent upon their cardinal placement, each containing unique neighborhoods. All of them possess specific perks; they vary depending upon your own demographic and what you’re looking for! 

If you’re a young professional looking for a great social life and freedom to explore on foot, you may enjoy a more central or downtown area compared to more family-oriented individuals! It’s always advised to do your research when finding your home in Portland!

Of course, there are some happy mediums that converge quiet with lively. One of the best places to live is the neighborhood known as Eastmoreland- not only is it a top ranked place to live in Portland, but also in the state of Oregon as a WHOLE!

Located in what many categorize as the southeast region of the city, Eastmoreland attracts many different people. It’s a mostly liberal demographic, home to young professionals AND families which constitutes a community that is both engaging and reliable.

As for living situations and options, most residents own their homes; HOWEVER, some rent, but it’s an almost entirely residential area. This neighborhood has its fair share of high-end residencies; if you drive down the winding roads of Eastmoreland, especially near its golf course, you’ll lay eyes on beautiful homes and fine greenery!

If you’re someone raising or starting a family, Eastmoreland definitely has some lovely schooling options! With 26 amazing options for public schooling, Some of these institutions include Le Monde French Immersion Public Charter School, Emerson School, and Winterhaven School. If you want a private school, you’ve got well over 100 options! Northwest Academy, St. Mary’s, and Central Catholic High School are just to name a few!

Outside of the more permanent long-term amenities, there’s so much fun to do, too! The Woodstock Farmer’s Market is open from June to November with bountiful yummy food! More year round activities include the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Oaks Amusement Park, Studio One Theaters, even Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Luckily, the public transportation can also help you out when exploring these enthralling experiences!


What Are You Waiting For?

If you’re thinking about relocating to somewhere exciting and new, look no further! Do your own research on the city of Portland; you can check out this city guide and informational site to learn more!

January 1, 2022

How To Get Into One of the Best Schools in the Portland Are

What makes Catlin Gabel School so incredible as an academic institution- and what it takes to be admitted as a student!


Education has proven essential to many states and their instituted curriculums. All grades of varying levels and parameters all have their important place in the greater cultivation of a comprehensive learned knowledge. More importantly, school curriculums also make for a wonderful opportunity to broaden and exercise crucial life skills.

A very particular, exemplary location that emphasizes education is located in Oregon- Portland, specifically. Within Portland is a school that rises above many others with progressive measures to ensure their student body experiences the same caliber of transformational growth. This school is known as the Catlin Gabel School!


About Catlin Gabel School In Portland, OR

Catlin Gabel school is a private institution; they educate all grades from Preschool (PreK) up through the 12th grade. The grades themselves are separated into three distinct schools: Beginning & Lower School (PreK-5th), Middle School (6th-8th), and finally Upper School (9th-12th). Although the various levels of education are categorized based upon closeness in age & maturity, Catlin Gabel has a strong, tight-knit community fueled by consistent efforts of ethical and academic value.

This school has a very humanistic, enlightened approach to their schooling; they refer to it as “student-centered education”. According to their website, student-centered education was designed so that students “are encouraged to pursue their interests and exercise their natural curiosity”. By placing the student’s passions and skills at the center, they are able to “become active learners… to discover the pleasures and rewards of education and develop into adults for whom learning is a lifelong pursuit”.

What does this entail? Well, it’s an education dedicated to supporting original thinking skills, which overall strengthens self-awareness for real life scenarios. This fortifies the student body’s responsibility to take action in their communities, helps them with problem solving and creates space to “foster a curiosity” about life. Catlin Gabel teaches the WHOLE student, which means they develop learning modalities to best embrace the growth of their entire self. 

Educators have a BIG role to play in the deliverance of this powerful mission. Their communication with students is very responsive yet differentiated to reaffirm every individual’s own style of learning. Not only that, but educators inhabit a professional curiosity about the wholeness of the students; for instance, they don’t just focus on their academic skills but their interpersonal, physical, emotional, and ethical sense of selves. 

An empowering approach to Catlin Gabel’s education is their prioritization of discourse about power and privilege. This aids in the embodiment of diversity and inclusion within the curriculum and sees all backgrounds of the students as valid!


How To Get Into This Reputable School

Because Catlin Gabel School is an independent and private institution, admission is entirely based on a selection process. However, Catlin Gabel has provided an integrative application process combining forms with events.

First, there’s an official Admission Inquiry Form for the family of the prospective student to complete; this gains them access to an important admissions portal. Then, they are granted the steps to learn more about the parameters of the admissions and school in its entire entity.

Access to the online portal is integral, being that it’s where you can register for events and complete the official Catlin Gabel application. There are admissions events, both in-person and virtual, for the applicants interested in attending the coming school year. 

Now, there are a few different kinds of admissions events, depending upon the school you’re applying to. There are general information sessions, which are a GREAT chance to speak to Catlin Gable faculty. By creating an opportunity for educators to speak about the Catlin Gabel experience, families will  effectively learn about important school aspects such as curriculum, scheduling, extracurriculars, grading, resources, even financial assistance!

The earlier grades have a slightly more individualized session. There are drop in Q&As for specifically the beginning and Lower School. Being that this school offers education for much younger ages, there’s an opportunity for those who have particular questions to ask the personnel working at the school to answer them transparently. 

Once the events are attended, all the families have to do is complete an actual application. This encompasses varying assessments such as confidential teacher evaluations, prompted questions for both students AND their parents, school records, notes about the student’s visit. Catlin has a web page designed to share the detailed answers to common questions about the enrollment process

Catlin Gabel makes it quite easy to schedule a convenient visit to the school so the families are impassioned by the school’s environment to know they’re making the right choice. The careful consideration of the families also delves deep into processes that occur after the initial enrollment; financial assistance is one of them. More than a quarter of the student body receives need-based tuition as well as merit scholarships as forms of financial assistance (given a qualified application for it).



All in all, Catlin Gabel conducts a personable experience from the moment a family peaks interest in them. They sure live up to the tedious application process with great community engagement and consistent performance as a whole. If you’d like to learn more about this school or make a call to visit, check out their website.

December 26, 2021

The Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering

Portland’s Passion for Specialized Education: The Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering


An especially rigorous and specialized academy located in the greater Portland area, the opportunities they provide, and what it takes to get in

It’s no secret the past couple of years have been WONDROUSLY revolutionary in Portland’s education system. They’ve taken measures in revitalizing their take on education by unlearning ideologies that hinder the future of our society from breaching the societal confines of race & ethnicity to instill unity. 

Portland has received quite the amount of attention for taking a progressive stance on converging ethnic studies within schooling. They believe that EVERY and all students of varying backgrounds deserve an unbiased chance at pursuing their passions and achieving great success. 

A prominent example of this motif is the wide acceptance and enthusiasm some of Portland’s niche schools inhabit. A great example lies in Hillsboro, OR; in the Beaverton school district is a school known as the Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering (BASE).


What is BASE?

Ranked as both Niche’s TOP public AND magnet high school in the entire state of Oregon, BASE strives to provide diversified community opportunities to succeed in innovative and collaborative work so they’re best prepared for the world beyond secondary education.

The BASE is a magnet program rooted in math, technology, and life science. It’s a learning option for grades 9 through 12, however, they do have a middle school curriculum for grades 6 through 8. Their middle school program was crafted to introduce many of the topics offered in the high school; they formulated a nine-week rotational system for the sixth and seventh-grade students to explore Computer Science, Engineering, Biomedical Studies, and Art. Eighth grade is when they start to partake in semester-long classes so they have a more solidified idea about their passions to fully embark on in high school.

In the high school program, there are three pathway options: Biomedical Studies, Engineering, or Computer Science. All in all, despite the chosen pathway, the institution has an Expeditionary Learning (EL) approach. This means students “experience expeditions (real-world, in-depth studies both inside and outside the classroom), share their learning and achievements with authentic audiences through public exhibitions, and belong to a Crew (EL’s advisory vehicle for fostering relationships and the habits of scholarship that every student needs to be successful)”.

The BASE does have quite intensive educational avenues. Aside from their foundational pathways of learning and core curriculum, coursework such as Advanced Placement and AVID are offered to align with the specialty of their magnet program. They even have intensive summer programs for those who want to move at a quicker pace and prepare for the next course!

The school’s emphasis on academic intensity requires quite an amount of academic integrity to support it. They encompass the importance of understanding plagiarism and how it negatively affects one’s education both in and out of the classroom. Not only that, they do require a certain level of dedication and consistency in attendance; the coursework is so accelerated compared to traditional education, a student’s presence is key to maintaining optimal learning retention.

But not to worry, BASE has loads of resources for students like academic support & counseling to ensure they receive all they can for success. Upperclassmen have the luxury of being offered College & Career based counseling so they feel validated and encouraged to make the decisions best for themselves and their future.

Outside of their academic life, BASE is a very tight-knit community. There’s an assortment of student clubs & organizations to allot time for extracurricular interests! Because this is a magnet school, there are no athletic teams for the students to join. Instead, they are allowed to try out and/or join their neighborhood teams! They must contact or research their neighborhood school’s athletic department for more information on how they can participate in sports.

Contrary to popular belief, this school does have an artistic side. There’s a program known as BASE Productions where students can explore their curiosity in art and film production! Celebrating and applying their creative skills serves as a great outlet to strengthen their communication as well. The film aspect of this program ties into the focus of technology at BASE, too!

If you want to explore everything BASE offers, check out their website..


How to Enroll in BASE

Due to the competitive nature of being a magnet program, BASE encourages all prospective students to go through their application process.

The application process is only open for a certain amount of time and involves different due dates for parts of the application.

A selection committee requires information and exemplification of the well-roundedness and the prospective student has to offer. They aim to make this just as beneficial of a match for the school as they do for the student themselves. 

To apply, a student must provide previous transcripts, grades, basic information, and answer a series of questions. There is also a possibility of requiring letters of recommendation from educators who interact with the student candidly and constantly.

It’s beneficial to attend, or in the case of COVID-19, watch the open house BASE offers to fully encompass their mission and who they are as a school. They also have a virtual tour of the school grounds to get a sense of what the future of the prospective student may hold!

If you have particular questions about BASE, you can contact them!

December 10, 2021

A Universe of Education

The Top Public AND Private Institutions in the Portland, OR Area

Amidst the years of educational evolution, the Pacific Northwest has become a centralized hub of wealthy knowledge and activism for a revolutionized approach to schooling. One of their more popular focal locations exemplary of this movement is Portland, Oregon!

Portland has proven to be more on the progressive side. They prioritize a positive relationship with nature, the people, and most importantly the deep understanding of diversity to establish comprehensive inclusion efforts. Historically, Portland has become a home for a multitude of unique schools that signify this mission.

There are private, public, boarding, and even religious institutions that all strive to give their student body the best resources and learning possible for a fulfilled life.

Who are some of these outstanding schools? Well, take a look!

Ten of the BEST Schools in the Portland Area

Catlin Gabel School: Catlin Gabel is an exceptional, nationally recognized, progressive, independent day school; it was declared as Niche’s 2022 Top School in Oregon! They defy the traditional academic standard by utilizing an inquiry based style of learning, which means they foster creative thinking through the deliverance of experiential learning. They do this through They claim that they “educate for democracy” and incorporate discussions about power and privilege into their classwork.

Oregon Episcopal School: Much like Catlin Gabel, OES offers an inquiry-based education to “prepare students for lifelong learning”. As a K-12 school located in Southwest Portland, they’re very much a “learning-by-doing” institution; they believe action is the best way to retain knowledge! With small-sized classes and year-long research projects, OES cultivates a seamless and connected education for their pupils.

Jesuit High School: This is a nonprofit coed college prep school a part of a 450-year Jesuit educational tradition! They combine their holistic view of learning with educational philosophy focusing on the WHOLE of the student rather than just their intellectual talent. They do use the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching as well as the Four  Universal Apostolic Preferences to guide their devout Jesuit work.

Beaverton Academy of Science and Engineering: BASE is a specialized academy passionate about creating a collaborative learning environment for real-life innovation. They’re focused on biomedical, engineering, and computer science education for future expertise! They craft pathways for each of the subjects taught to ensure the student receives the most integrative education possible so they enter their desired fields with profound life skills and advanced knowledge!

Northwest Academy: NWA is also ranked as a Niche 2022 Top School in Oregon! They emphasize the cultural impact of various influences, particularly their urban location AND expression through the arts. They have an entire corridor dedicated to showcasing Portland’s cultural resources! The school also exemplifies a passion for performing and visual arts; their academics consistently incorporate artistic disciplines to nourish more balanced and creative thinkers.

St. Mary’s Academy: St. Mary’s is Oregon’s oldest continuously operating secondary educational institution! It’s a Catholic all-girls college prep school in the hub of Portland that nurtures both the spiritual and cultural development of every student. Because of their close proximity to a number of popular locations in the city, including Portland State University, the young ladies are encouraged to utilize their surroundings to apply their education grounded in the Catholic faith.

Valley Catholic School: This is another, more religious option for schooling within the greater Portland area! They offer education from PreK through grade 12, but begin college preparatory efforts beginning in the middle school grades. A particularly interesting and unique education Valley Catholic offers is a music school! They offer private lessons for both children and adult amidst the school year!

International School of Beaverton- High School: ISB centers their education our intercultural respect as well as intellectual rigor for the most prepared of pupils for their future lives. They are recognized by the International Baccalaureate Organization as an IB World School, which means they have a worldwide curriculum able to cater to all diverse backgrounds. They offer both Middle School (grades 6-10) and High School (grades 11-12) programs.

Central Catholic High School: Integrating a Catholic worldview with an arduous education creates a strong community for learning and faith. Aside from their 14 honors courses and 13 AP courses, theology is deeply ingrained into the experience. Students partake in courses such as Scripture, Church History, Sacraments, Liturgy & Prayer, Moral Theology, Social Justice, and Christian Relationships.

Lakeridge High School: Ranked in the Top 5 PUBLIC High Schools near Portland, Lakeridge is a comprehensive four-year secondary academy crafted to strengthen and nurture college-bound students. They have an alternating schedule with lengthy allotments for fewer courses in a day to give them the attention and rigor necessary for optimal retainment! They do provide extracurriculars and subjects beyond the norm to ensure all passions of the student body are recognized and validated.

May 13, 2021

Summer Academy

Welcome to the Tutor Portland Summer Academy. The Summer Academy is a program which allows our members and new clients to enroll in private courses over the summer. For example, we offer courses such as Algebra 1 and Geometry. Your student will work privately with a tutor. With this one-on-one instruction, your student will move through the course material very rapidly. This is a great idea for students who are struggling with a subject or simply want to get ahead. For example, we offer families the ability to enroll in an Algebra 1 course over the summer as a way to prepare them for the next year. Imagine that. Picture having Algebra 1 in the fall, after already having taken the entire course in the summer! Of course you are going to do well in the course, likely even ace it. 

This strategy is actually something I used myself in my own learning. In college one year I had to study organic chemistry. Organic chemistry is widely considered to be the most difficult course offered to undergraduate students. I was a little worried about my ability to do well in the course because “o-chem” was so hyped. I really wanted to do well in the course. One day I happened to read through the course catalog at Portland State University. I discovered that they offered a rapid – full year of organic chemistry – over the summer months. It was divided into three terms, each four weeks in length. I told myself I was going to sit in on those lectures, learn some o-chem, and get a head start on next year. My goal was to sit through the entire course, to even take the exams if possible. I wanted to do the homework. I was going to simulate taking the course, to practice before the scores started to really count. 

I showed up in the summer and started taking o-chem. It went fast. But I started picking a lot of things up. For some reason, I was a bit busier than I had expected and so I didn’t quite live up to my entire goal. I didn’t complete the homework. I just showed up to class – which was about three hours per day – and took notes. I ended up learning an incredible amount from this. I knew what organic chemistry was about. I had a solid framework in my mind for exactly what we were going to study. It was like I had this giant picture of the material in my mind. 

The strategy worked very well for me. When fall rolled around – even though I hadn’t made it through the full three terms in the summer – I was very ready. I was so confident because I knew exactly what they were going to be teaching us that first term. I knew the direction we were headed. I knew about arrow pushing and electron movement. Other people had no idea this was coming. I remember sitting in class and looking all around me. They have no idea what we are about to learn, I thought. When the lectures started, some students began asking questions. I was quickly able to pick out which questions were irrelevant or lacked importance. Since these students didn’t know where the overall course was headed, they were getting bogged down in the details and asking questions about things that weren’t relevant to the core of the course.