Mindfulness

Hey Friends,

I can't believe we're one week away from May. Where did the time go? Between AP and IB exams, midterms, and SAT's, there is so much to prepare and study for. Regardless what your schedule looks like, I do want to encourage you all to do one simple task: pay attention to the world around you, and appreciate the present moment for what it is. This is called mindlfulness, and can be defined as the following:

Mindfulness means paying attention with the senses, in the body—feeling, touching, seeing, hearing, and tasting. Sensing always happens within the body and in the present moment (you can’t feel something in your thoughts, or in the past or future), so this tuning in to sensing helps to bring us into the reality of here and now. Sensing mindfully thus creates a space where we can experience what is happening, rather than what we think should happen or what has already happened. It’s a chance to practice resting the analytical mind that habitually searches for solutions, even when none is available.

Practicing mindfulness as simple as watching your breath. Another great way to practice mindfulness is to be fully present as you pour a cup of tea- this article will guide you step by step on how to practice this small act of self-care. In addition to mindful breathing there are several tools out there to help us promote self-care. Remember that these techniques can be personalized to help us become mindful life-long learners.

What do you do to practice self care?

Best,
Xander

Image Source: https://static.pexels.com/photos/227670/pexels-photo-227670.jpeg

FORD Conversation Method

Claremont Tutoring Test Preparation

Hi everyone,

We're one day into Spring (hooray!) Life around these parts have been pretty eventful- this weekend, I visited the Pie Festival in Claremont and had a ball visiting all the booths and exhibits. My dog, Sophie, particularly loved meeting all the other pups of Claremont.

After the festival, I grabbed lunch with a friend and had a great conversation about how to have conversations. My friend, as lovely as she is, struggles a little bit to come up with things to talk about. To assist, I introduced her to the FORD Conversation Method. It works like this- if you're unsure what to talk about, default to any of these four topics to discuss:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams

What I like about this method is that these topics are universally safe. Plus, talking about these items allows you to find meaningful connections with the person you're talking to. Win!

Do you have any tips to share regarding conversation? Let me know in the comments below :) 

Best,

Xander

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5937348/use-the-ford-technique-to-make-small-talk-easier

Bloom

Link Educational Institute Claremont Tutoring

Hey folks, 

One of my favorite things about Spring is the new energy that seems to come about this time of year. The flowers are blooming, there is an extra pep in peoples' steps, and the weather is just beautiful.

Spring is also an opportunity to finish strong in school- here are a few tips from US News about how to own Spring Semester/Quater:

1. Know where you stand: Last year, one of my friends went into finals week having gotten an A on every test that year. Feeling good about her grade, she didn't study for the final and bombed it, ending up with a B in the class.

Final exams often make up a sizable portion of your grade, sometimes equal to two or three other tests taken throughout the semester. Make sure you understand how your score on a final exam or project will affect your grade, and what you need to earn in order to achieve the grade you want.

2. Communicate with your teacher: This is good advice for nearly every area of academics. Whenever you have an issue with a class, my greatest advice is to communicate with your teacher. Make sure you're open with them about where you stand, as well as any difficulties you're having.

3. Avoid distractions: In the last few weeks before going home for winter break, there are plenty of things you'd rather be doing than schoolwork. Last year during finals week, at any given time my friends were watching Christmas movies, sledding, or going out to eat, while I tried to focus on those last few essays and tests.

Best of luck everyone, finish strong!

Xander

Source: https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/twice-the-college-advice/2011/11/29/5-ways-to-finish-the-semester-strong

Top 10 Tips for Better Note Taking to Help You Ace Your Exams (and will help you in College!)

Everyone may think taking notes is just dotting down everything the teacher is saying and you’re pretty much guaranteed a good grade. The truth is there are tips and tricks to get the most of your note taking that will set up you up for success in your exams and will prepare you for college at the same time.

 

Here are our top 10 tips for better note taking:

 

1.     Be orderly. Invest in a 3-ring binder with pocket dividers. This way you can add and organize handouts or other material in the pockets.  Pockets also ensure your handouts will be kept safe. Binders are better than spiral notebooks for note taking as you cannot reshuffle or add documents securely in regular notebooks.

 

2.     Organization is key! Keep notes from each class separate! This also helps you from losing any important notes or loose papers.

 

3.     First thing’s first: Add the date! It’s important to always date your notes to avoid mishandling or losing them. It also makes studying a lot easier when you know what day a particular lesson was on.

Bonus tip: Always identify your lecture notes by writing the name of the lesson or chapter, etc. This way you can breeze back through your notes and better clarify what you should be studying.

 

4.     Develop a trusty color system. Highlighters are your best friends when it comes to note taking. Highlight any words you may not understand, key important facts, or everything your teacher exclaims, “This WILL be on the test!” It’s really important to develop a consistent color system and stick to it. For example, highlight all important information in yellow, words you do not understand in orange, or those super important facts that are guaranteed to be on the test in pink! Using different color sticky notes, page markers and other colorful methods are another great way to indicate level of importance in your notes.

 

5.     Paraphrasing will take you far. You can lose a lot of time copying overhead lecture slides in class word-for-word. It’s best to paraphrase long slides as this will save you a lot of time! In college your professor will move pretty quickly through these and may not always go back to review something. Start getting preparing yourself for this by teaching yourself how to paraphrase and using your best judgment when it comes down to jotting important information. Which brings us to:

 

6.     Improve your listening skills. If you follow tip #5, you have more time to actively listen to your instructor and write important facts not written on the slides. Doing this will you also help you improve your focusing skills.

 

7.     Strategically leave space. Leave some blank areas in notes if you are missing information from the class lecture. You can always ask a classmate for their notes or the instructor to clarify after class.

 

8.     Find what works best for you and stick to it. Develop your own system of enumerating, bullet listing style, and indenting and stick with it! It will help you take notes more quickly and reading it will be a breeze later. Remember to use symbols such as asterisks for emphasis!

 

9.     Use the buddy system. Establish a study buddy with a fellow classmate in case you ever miss class. Use your best judgment, as some students are better at note taking than others.

 

10.  Disconnect yourself. The truth is, it is very difficult to multitask. By putting your phone away and not worrying about other classes or people around you, will ensure you are set up for successful note taking. Take this moment to focus on this class and this lecture. Everything else can wait until after class is over.

 

 

Great note taking is all about repetition. With lots of practice and by being consistent, your note taking abilities will improve in the years to come. Most importantly find your own style and have fun! What are some note taking tips that have really helped you? Share with us!