Archive for category: Powerhouse

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.”

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.

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.

CASE STUDY #6: University Level Outline

 

By the time a student gets to college they are hopefully developed a strong enough skill set to process information needed at this advanced level but they also need to be able to work independently and to manage time effectively.  A longtime student of mine, Dan, went off to college and quickly found that the volume of information was a challenge for him.  He had learned some outlining techniques working with me during high school but he hadn’t though of them as organizational tools (more so a smaller scale information management usage).  He connected with me asking for ways to combine with the note taking techniques that he had learned with the outline skills that he has as well.

“I found that each of the different types of outlines like flow charting and circle outlining where most effective because the information – especially in the sciences and history – tended to flow and organize in that way.”

He went back and redid most of his class information this way and within a week he told me that his workload was easier to handle and that he felt more control of things.  He also found that the outlines not only helped the him to learn the material but they also made it much easier to review and to study the material when needed.

“It was a great help.  I knew putting the time into the outlines would reward itself multiple times because I kept coming back to them when I reviewed.  And I actually enjoy making them since it  makes information more visual which helps me.”