Posts Tagged ‘study’

myndology

The Myndology flash cards are my favorite flash cards. I used them exclusively for my college classes. Why do I like them so much? They are especially great if you are frequently on the move, if you have to memorize a lot of facts or vocabulary words, and if you like to have an easy way to study during short breaks throughout the day.

  • The ring on each set, keeps the cards all together, which makes them extremely portable, even when you are truly on the move! I kept all of my current cards in my purse, which allowed me to pull them out and study whenever I found myself with a few spare minutes. When I was taking Spanish classes, I used them to help me memorize vocabulary and verb conjugation charts, and I took them with me when I took my daily walks. I also used them at the gym when walking on the treadmill or using the stationary bike. Because of the rings, I didn’t have to worry that I would drop the cards and have them blow away, jam up the treadmill or get mixed up.
  • The cards also lend themselves well to organizing by color or sections. The Muse card sets have both white and accent colors. The Ergo style cards are white and include two colored cards that you can use as dividers. The Neon card set has five different colors of cards in each set. When I was memorizing Spanish vocabulary, I used the colors to group together different types of words. When memorizing Historical Geology terms I color coded them with these cards, as well.
  • The cards can be secured with the cover. This keeps them from sprawling out in my backpack or purse, which prevents them from getting bent up, and also keeps my bag neater. When I am finished with a set of cards, I can write a description of the contents on the spine, and thenstore them neatly in a small storage box I keep on my desk. If I need the cards again for review or for a comprehensive exam, I have them handy and well-organized due to the neatly closed packaging these card sets provide.

These little cards worked so well for me, I earned “A’s” in my classes. They come in different sizes, so if I’m learning something that doesn’t take much space, like vocabulary words, I can use the 1″ X 3″ cards. If I need to put something larger on the cards, like verb conjugation charts, I can use one of the larger sizes.

Myndology Flash Cards

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Are you struggling to do something that doesn’t come easy to you?

Last year, my husband died after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.  This year, when I heard that there was going to be a 5K fundraiser for brain tumor research, I knew immeidately that I wanted to do it. I could have signed up to participate as a walker, but I had a strong urge to sign up to RUN the 5K. To some of you, that may not seem like a big deal. However, the thing is…. I am not a runner. I am 47-years old and the last time I ran was in high school. Even at that, I was a sprinter and rarely ran more than a half mile. So, when I went on line and registered as a runner, it was probably kind of ridiculous. Still, I really wanted to do this in memory of my husband and honor his heroic battle with cancer. 

I am now in my 5th week of training and am getting closer and closer to being able to jog the three miles. I hope that by June 30, I can run the whole thing. Do you know what has got me this far?:

I want it. I want it bad.

I work with a lot of failing students whose main problem in college is a lack of motivation. They halfway do things, they give up before they’ve even really tried, and they have not made school a priority. I’ve started asking students, “How bad do you want it?” The answer is often very revealing, and one that can be indicative as to which students will do well and which students will continue to fail or drop out.

I think that question can be applied to a lot of things in life. What are you striving towards right now? How bad do you want it? Please…. Watch this video!!! It is inspiring!

ipodWhile I was in college full-time, I was working about 30 hours a week, and I was also a single mother.  It was busy, but I tried to work out every day to stay fit and to relieve stress! Last week, I ran across a list of ideas on the web for combining exercise with studying, and I thought I’d share the gist of each idea from the list and agument it with my own experiences.
1) Be prepared: Always have a notebook, textbook, or flashcards with you. I just take my school bag with me everywhere I go, so that I’m prepared to study when I have time. Many different types of exercise equipment have a book stand, so you can read or study while feeling the burn!
2) Become a multi-tasker: Audio books can be a painless way to do this. My degree is in English, and there was a semester when I had to read about 3 novels a week. I didn’t want to give up my exercise routine, so I started to download audio books to my iPod, and then listen while driving, walking, jogging, or working out. I did have to monitor myself carefully, because I would occasionally tune out. I fixed that by rewinding periodically. I also found it helpful to read a summary of the chapter before I started listening, which made it easier me to follow the audio.
3) Team Up: Do you have a study partner you can take to the gym? If so, quiz each other while working out, and let there be consequences for wrong answers. (Really? 20 Crunches for not knowing the definition of hypothalamus?)
4) Sound Off! You might also be able to memorize material while running, using the cadence of your steps to help you memorize. I can testify that this works well. When I was taking Spanish class, I probably memorized 90% of my vocabulary and verb conjugation charts this way. I used the myndology flash cards so that I didn’t have to worry about losing or dropping the cards. This of course, can also be done while working out on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationery bike.myndology pink
5) Suffer the Consequences: Quiz yourself while on a stationary bike or treadmill and every time you get something wrong, do a 30-second sprint.
Exercise improves your fitness and well-being; college can be stressful, and exercise has some powerful stress-busting benefits, and the suggestions above are incredibly healthy for you both mentally and physically.
If you have any experience with combining exercise and study, please comment below. I’d love to hear what you have tried and how it worked for you.

curve of forgetting“The Curve of Forgetting” is something I speak to all of my students about early in the semester. It is a powerful piece of information and it’s application can make a huge difference in grades. This chart is a visual representation of what happens to a person’s memory when they listen to a lecture. As they listen, the curve steadily increases until it reaches 100% of whatever he or she will know, however well they will know it. As you can see, after the lecture the curve takes a rapid and steady decline when the student does nothing to try to retain it. By day 2, if the information has not been revisited in any way, 50-80% will be lost!  After 30 days, only 2-3% of the original information is still hanging on. This may coincide with an exam date, and the student has to relearn almost 100% of the information that could have simply been retained with a little effort.

The reason this happens has to do with the instability of our short-term memory. This part of our memory is limited to just five to nine items, so our brains are constantly tossing items out to prevent the short term memory from getting too full. Therefore, if you want to keep a memory, you need to convert it to a long term memory. How does that happen? Quite simply, through repetition. Long term memory is created when chemical messages in the brain create a “neural network.”  The more these connections are used, the stronger the network becomes.  The author of a book titled The Brain in Action equates it with being similar to creating a path in the woods. “The first time you create a path, it is rough and overgrown. The next time you use it, it’s easier to travel because you have previously walked over the weeds and moved the obstacles. Each time thereafter, it gets smoother and smoother. In a similar fashion, the neural networks get more efficient, and messages travel more swiftly” (2). In other words, the more time you give “memory making” the easier it will be for you to access that memory.

If we apply this understanding to the lecture represented in the graph, we know that we must immediately begin giving our brains a hint that we want to retain that information. As you can see from the yellow line on the graph, a brief review within the first 24 hours gives your memory a fantastic boost, almost up to that 100% again. A week later, it only takes 5 minutes to reactivate the information and bump up the curve. If you continue to repeat regular reviews, you have worn a smoother path and given your brain plenty of hints that the information should be kept.

If you don’t do this, you will spend about an hour relearning each hour worth of lecture material. Therefore, it is actually a great use of your time to spend a few minutes reviewing material regularly. Another advantage is that this method decreases test anxiety because the information is in the long term memory, rather than the unstable short term memory.

Do yourself a favor and try this for a couple of weeks and then, do me a favor in return…. let me know what you think!