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CASE STUDY #5: High School Outline 

Organizing a term paper can be a daunting process for any high school student.  Amy had to write a 16 to 20 page term paper for history class comparing the rules and regulations of various monarchies of Europe.  “Collecting and researching this information alone was a big process, but organizing it and making it useful was even harder.   I was able to make different outlines for each source while my friends were using little 3×5 cards.  I used a few different outline types but mostly the indent type and the concept maps.”  Amy received a 97 on her term paper and she reported that the actual writing was the easy part because her research and other needed information is so accessible.

It’s that time of the year.  Finals.  What is your plan?  It is busy, hectic, stressful but also a very important time for solidifying your grades for this school year.

pageThere are hundreds of tips for how to study and prepare for finals in Maximum Education but here are a few that should help you –

Plan Ahead – Create a Calendar and Plan ahead.  Block out time for each subject.

Prioritize – what is the most important?

What do you need to learn? – use the ABC chart to organize

Need to schedule time to review.  Did you know that you can schedule right www.makethegrade.net/schedule

AaronHenry1So you may be asking:  What does this have to do with education or Math or SATs or test taking or study skills?  And it’s a fair question.

What are you willing to do to reach your academic goals? 

The answer: This is about a high quality sustained effort over time, which is exactly the same type of plan and focus and execution that a student needs to achieve greatness and reach their goals academically.

As a High School student, getting into the college of your choice, for example, is a 3 or more year process including taking challenging course work, and getting high grades, scoring high enough scores on exams like the SAT and ACT which requires preparation and practice, participating in leadership roles in extracurricular activities like clubs and sports and community service, writing provocative admissions essays,  and finally, putting all this together in a timely manner with your application.

No easy task.  Not easy to sustain over the long term. There will likely be times when youaaron715cover2 strike out, or come up short, but in the end, your goal should be the same… to hit your own ‘home run’ and move on to the university level.

Hank Aaron didn’t have the easiest path to greatness as you will read in the article.  He overcame racism and even death threats.  But he persisted and he overcame these challenges.

What are you willing to do to reach your academic goals? 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-  Original Article on History.com =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing. However, as Aaron was an African American who had received death threats and racist hate mail during his pursuit of one of baseball’s most distinguished records, the achievement was bittersweet.

Henry Louis Aaron Jr., born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 5, 1934, made his Major League debut in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves, just eight years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the majors. Aaron, known as hard working and quiet, was the last Negro league player to also compete in the Major Leagues. In 1957, with characteristically little fanfare, Aaron, who primarily played right field, was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player as the Milwaukee Braves won the pennant. A few weeks later, his three home runs in the World Series helped his team triumph over the heavily favored New York Yankees. Although “Hammerin’ Hank” specialized in home runs, he was also an extremely dependable batter, and by the end of his career he held baseball’s career record for most runs batted in: 2,297.

Aaron’s playing career spanned three teams and 23 years. He was with the Milwaukee Braves from 1954 to 1965, the Atlanta Braves from 1966 to 1974 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1975 to 1976. He hung up his cleats in 1976 with 755 career home runs and went on to become one of baseball’s first African-American executives, with the Atlanta Braves, and a leading spokesperson for minority hiring. Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.



It’s finals time.  Some students love this time of year (school is almost over) and some dread it.  These year end, culminating exams are often intimidating and overwhelming for students. The key is preparation and being ready to take the test.

The first step is to keep up with your classes all along.  Cramming is never a best option.  So if you have planned ahead and kept up with your work then you are in a much better situation to begin with.

There are many study techniques in Maximum Education, but one area covers how to prepare for finals (or any larger summary exam like midterms etc).   One key is to organize your information in a way that simplifies the process and at the same time organizes material in a way that makes it easier for you to learn / review it.

Here are some basic suggestions on how you can organize your information. There are many more in Maximum Education.

Think about what information the teacher has given you about the test:

– How long is the test?
– How many questions are there going to be?
– What is going to be stressed on the test?
– Are there any special cases that you have to be concerned about?
– Have you been given an essay question ahead of time?
– Do you know what types of math problems are going to be asked?
– Are there usually multiple choice questions about important dates in history?

I would love your feedback. What is your FAVORITE study trick or finals prep idea.

Put your idea in the comments and you have a chance to win a copy of Maximum Education!


Making and outline…. sounds pretty simple.  You take the main ideas and put them on the left and then get the supporting information and indent it.  A tried and true way to organize information.  A classic.

From Maximum Education, my soon to be released book which will help you with all levels of academics… “The purpose of an outline is to condense the essential information from a large source into a smaller, more direct, and useful format.”


But, did you know that there are many other ways to make an outline?  In fact, in Maximum Education, you will learn 6 other ways to outline and to organize information.

Which begs the question: Why would I need 7 ways to outline..

Answer: because different types of information should be organized in different ways.

History class is generally factual information.  Maybe a timeline would help.  Or a way to sort people and their contributions to history.

Science class often has topical information and formulas.  A flow chart and examples work better.

Here is just one example of an ‘alternative’ type of outline. This is called a Spoke. The main idea is in the center and the supporting ideas are spokes around the main idea.

spoke outline

To learn more about Maximum Education visit the mAke the grAde community Facebook back or www.makethegrade.net

Organizing Information.

This is a challenge at all levels.  Middle School. High School. University. Job. Career. Home.


1. There is simply a lot of information that you have to manage
2. There are so many ways that you can get (or be bombarded) with information.
3. It isn’t just about volume, it is also about prioritization.

I did an experiment for 2 days last week which I suggest that you try as well.

Day 1 – I dealt with all forms of incoming information as swiftly as I could.  I mean every text, email, tweet, phone call, fax (do you still get them?), read feed, and whatever else came my way.  By about noon, I’d lost count at about 900 items that I’d dealt with.  Mostly emails and texts but a combination of just about all of them.  And to be fair, some were responses to emails and texts that I had sent (I was trying to be productiveafter all!).  By about 2 I just felt Intellectually sluggish.  It wasn’t so much that I was overloaded, as I think we are all capable of handling this volume, but I felt that I wasn’t making progress somehow.   In the name of science I stuck with it and by about 10pm when I closed up shop for the day I had estimated about 2000 pieces of info back and forth.  Maybe digitized between the emails and web clips in Evernote and social media and so on.

Day 2 – the goal was simple.  I have a goal for today (in this case to finish a particular chapter of my soon to be released book – Maximum Education.)   I was going to only deal with incoming information that helped me to accomplish this goal.  By 9am I had 190 emails in the inbox, but I’d only read 3.. 2 from editors and 1 from the publisher.  I have 11 texts that all were thus far unanswered.  Not even counting social media as a just ignored Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin… By noon when I broke for lunch, 371 emails and 19 texts. I had answered 7 total.  The phone did ring 3 times.. all potential clients … so of course I took those calls… By 3pm.. chapter done, edits done and feeling accomplished.  Tally: 752 emails, 28 text, 4216 tweets in the feed, indefinite facebook posts still ignored.

The ‘moral’ here is obvious.  You get a lot more done when you focus on what you want to get done.   I didn’t have to go whole hog in either direction to do that, and in this day and age, anyone who markets and thrives on the internet can’t go cold turkey for any length of time, but it is clear that not dealing with the background information and collateral and non-essential information is will increase productivity.

In the next post, I will present some hands on techniques to channel and funnel essential information to keep all of us productive and sane.

More tips at makethegrade

This was originally posted in:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/information-management-challenge-all-levels-steven-greene

Need a boost prepping for the PSAT/SAT/ACT exams?

Join Dr Steven Greene for a weekly online Q/A.  This session is free and open to all. Space is limited.  Email sgreene@makethegrade.net for details.

Sessions meet Wednesday evenings 9-10pm Eastern time.