CASE STUDY #12: University Level Big Plan

CASE STUDY #12: University Level Big Plan

Jackie had been a student at mAke the grAde throughout high school, so she was familiar with many of the study techniques, which we had learned over time.  However, she didn’t use all of them as effectively as she could because, frankly, she could handle the workload in high school fairly easily.  Later, she went on to become a pre-med student a large university, which had a much more rigorous and demanding course load – both in terms of the time needed and the complexity of the material.

She found several things helped her in college.  First of all, recording each one of her lectures, (parenthetically, many colleges and universities do this now, but at this point in time they did not), so she bought a small voice recorder and recorded all of the lectures, and then she would transcribe them later.  She also made many flowcharts and concept maps because much of the information was visual, although it was taught in a text style.  To prepare for tests and quizzes, and there were many of them, she studied every day for 30-45 minutes per course, to bring herself up to date on the details of each.

This study technique is called chunking or blocking, which we will talk about more in the next section.  She ended up starting with somewhere between three and four hours of study time each day, which may sound like a lot, but compared to her peers, who often studied twice that amount, it was manageable.  Also, and more importantly, her workflow was actually easier because she was always up to date and was able to go to the classes and lectures ready to take in any new material.

In the end, she reported that she felt that learning the skills when the pressure was off (that is to say in high school when she was able to utilize them without a lot of pressure and without a heavy overload of work) really helped her to master them. So when college time came, and it was game time, she was able to utilize many of the Maximum Education strategies in a coordinated way.  As she told me, “It’s so much easier when I have a system. The strategies do take some time to master, so it’s better to learn them when you have the time to do it.”

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CASE STUDY #11: High School Big Plan

CASE STUDY #11: High School Big Plan

Charlie was a high school junior in the middle of a very, very busy stretch in his academic life during the spring of his junior year. On top of this, he was planning to take college entrance exams (SATs), and he participated in sports in the spring and winter seasons.  This all but insured that he did not have a lot of free time.  He was taking AP world history and honors English, and the rest of his courses were college prep level courses. (This issue was a little bit like Sarah’s, as they simply didn’t have enough hours in the day.)

Again, the solution was multifaceted.  We implemented several strategies all at once, combining outlining, note-taking, and test prep techniques, as well as chunking, blocking and time management protocols, and homework tracking and time prioritization. Charlie got the whole buffet of services!  The main thing that helped him tremendously was breaking up his work into daily, manageable chunks that he was able to keep up with.  The mentality was to prepare as if he was prepping for a test the next day, based on the information to date with his subjects. If he didn’t have a test for six or seven days, he would study about 1/6 of that material as well as all the material up to date to that point he found this extremely helpfulbut .  Not only was it helpful, but it was also actually more efficient. He was able to spend less time studying than he had before because he was able to use his time more effectively. Later he confided that he felt the time management calendaring was most useful because he basically understood the topics, he just wasn’t able to plan things out so that things didn’t start overlapping with each other and become confusing and overwhelming.

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CASE STUDY #10: Middle School Big Plan

CASE STUDY #10:  Middle School Big Plan

Sarah was an eighth grade student when we began working together.   She had inconsistent grades, and she complained that she was overwhelmed by her schedule and her workload.  Part of this issue was the reality that she had periods of high levels of work, with some weeks having multiple tests or quizzes and other weeks having a relatively light work load.   During the heavier workload periods, she was unable to keep up with the work and struggled, which resulted in sub-par grades.

She had what amounted to a grade yo-yo effect.   The solution for Sarah, which is detailed in this chapter, was to break up larger projects into small daily exercises, which could be done every day.   For example, knowing that she would have a history test the following week, she would study all of her history material up to that date every day (as if she had a history test the next day). The same system was utilized for each class: science, math, English, etc.  Basically she took larger projects like reports and papers and studying for tests and broke them into smaller daily activities that she found easier to complete.

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CASE STUDY #9: University-Level Note-Taking

CASE STUDY #9: University-Level Note-Taking

Melanie was a university student taking business classes.  She found that many of her classes were a combination of lecture information, classroom examples and what the instructor would put on the board, and practice problems that she had to do in class, typically on a worksheet. The challenge was to integrate this information into a single flowchart that enabled her to understand the important concepts.  Our solution was to utilize technology to gather and sort information.  Melanie was able to use her phone to take pictures of worked out problems the teacher had done in front of the room on the board.  Once she had these pictures, she copied them into Evernote and added her written class notes as well as pictures or scans all of her worksheets and worked out problems. This use of different technologies enabled Melanie to gather, organize, and store the information in one place, which, in the past, had been separated, if recorded at all.

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CASE STUDY #8: High School Note-Taking

CASE STUDY #8: High School Note-Taking

I worked with a student named Tony who had an interesting combination of classes. He was taking two AP classes and one honors class, along with an art class and a media class. The advanced classes were often based on discussions and group projects, with less lecturing and notes given by the teacher. However, when it came time for tests and exams, a great deal of these evaluations included questions based on the discussions. Tony had the challenge of keeping track of information during the class while remaining engaged in these discussions or small group projects.  We implemented a system using a combination of styles on the same outlining page that was essentially a flowchart system to cover main ideas and main topics, along with an indentation-based system that was used within many of the flowchart boxes and subdivisions. The system worked well because many of the discussions had a free-form structure to them, so the notes were not necessarily linear in the way that they were organized. However, Tony found that this combination enabled him to record the essential information in these advanced classes.

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CASE STUDY #7: Middle School Note-Taking

CASE STUDY #7: Middle School Note-Taking

When I first began working with Jennifer, a seventh grader, she was overwhelmed by the sheer load of information in all of her classes. The teachers in some classes gave a high volume of notes, while teachers in other classes relied more on handouts and PowerPoints for conveying information. Because of this inconsistency in how information was delivered, Jennifer had not developed a consistent method of cataloging and collecting information.  Our solution, and one of the techniques you will see in this chapter, was to use a combination of note taking styles, primarily visual styles like flowcharts and concept maps in the classes with more information from the teacher and more two-stage note taking techniques, like the Cornell system, in classes where teachers relied on handouts and PowerPoints.  Jennifer found that the combination of systems was most effective for her. She had, in the past, only had one style of note taking or outlining that she was able to use.  With the addition of multiple styles and strategies, her recordkeeping became much stronger and was much easier for her to accomplish.

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How to find the perfect tutor – What is a typical tutoring lesson like?

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