Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category

The Critical 21st Century Skills Every Student Needs and Why

  • From Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

can you meet the challenges of the 21st century.  Check out this article written from a world wide perspective.

 

The Critical 21st Century Skills Every Student Needs and Why

 

Top 5 Resources for Healthcare Students

Top Five Resources for Healthcare Students

Kenneth Oms

Being a student majoring in the healthcare field can be stressful for a variety of reasons. It can range from finding the right kind of study resources, to managing and adapting to student life, and preparing for future employment. I’m not ashamed to admit that during my time at Valencia Community College I made a lot of terrible mistakes when it came to studying, and it led to me flunking out of a medical degree program, because I simply could not retain all of the information. Different people learn in different ways, and the resources available to me at the time just weren’t cutting it.

While it’s really important to buy the required course books and manuals to keep up with your instructor’s lectures, sometimes the information can be too overwhelming, and a more condensed version is easier to remember. Whether it be apps, search engines, or databases, the advancement of technology has made it easier to get tips, information, and guides from past students and teachers. Whether you are studying medical assisting, nursing, or any of the many healthcare programs available, here are some of the resources I wish I had in order to improve memory, help retain information, and that offer some strong interactive visual examples for more hands-on learners.

 

  1. Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D – My biggest struggle as a healthcare major was anatomy. There were just too many bones, muscles, and actions for me to remember, and other than a few diagrams in the book I had no way to associate the terms to their physical counterpart.
    Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D is hands down one of the best apps I have seen for healthcare students who have to learn the anatomy of the human body. The app is designed to give users an in-depth look at the human body through a virtual 3D model. You can rotate the body around with a swipe of your finger, and dive into the different layers of the body – the skeletal and muscular systems, for example. Click on a body part, muscle, or bone and a tab will pop up demonstrating the action, origin, corresponding nerve, or helpful fact about what you’ve selected.
    Overall, the app has great value for the resources and features it offers. If you learn anything from my experience taking and failing anatomy, it is to use a tool like this one for relating and retaining the wealth of information.
  2. Brainscape – This web and mobile app is used by teachers and students to create digital flash cards on any subject, and it allows users to share with anyone on the web. It’s pretty handy whether you are studying alone or with a group of classmates, and you don’t have to be in the same room to share your flashcards.
    This is another app that helps in moving information from the passive side of your brain to the active side, and it has a cool tool that allows users to rate flashcards based on how confident they feel about the information on it. In other words, if you got the answer wrong, you’d rate your confidence at a low level so that the card comes up more frequently.
  3. Medical Mnemonics (app) – One of the more nifty apps out there for students, Medical mnemonics is all about helping users expand their memory and retain medical terminology from anatomy all the way to urology and more. Whether it’s through rhymes or its flashcard feature, Medical Mnemonics makes it so that students can learn and memorize terminology with ease and convenience.
  4. MedCalX (app) – MedcalcX is a helpful app for those who have a hard time with numbers, particularly measurements. The app has a lot of the different medical formulas and conversions medical students/professionals use/need to memorize for their day-to-day rounds. Every formula comes with an explanation and some practice exercises so you can learn how to take measurements without having to rely on the app.
  5. MedicalStudent (website) – Probably one of the most helpful websites out there, MedicalStudent offers a comprehensive list linking to different textbooks, diagrams, and other resources – most of which are free. They are listed by practice/field of study to make it easy to find a text reference for the field you are studying for.

Bonus App

  1. Prognosis (app) – This fun little app is a game that has a lot to teach. It’s designed for those students who learn by applying the information that they have read to some sort of visual guide.

Hopefully, this blog post has given some of you med and non-med students out there some resources to use when studying. They are easy to access by phone so you can get some studying in on the go. The most important part is that you make time to study. No matter if it’s on your break at work, or even while waiting to catch the bus home – study!

 

Study Productivity – Getting the Results You Want

Great infographic to get you started for the New Year.Study-Smart-An-InfographicSubmitted by Aris Grigoriou

http://www.studymedicineeurope.com/study-dentistry-europe

 

Student adds tips on how to read a Math Textbook

After reading the handout on how to read a Math Textbook http://cc.pima.edu/~carem/Mathtext.html I find the most important steps here to be 4, 5, and 8. Though most of these steps are are fairly self-evident, it is always a good reminder that it is important to slow down, pay attention to diagrams, and write a few things down. I would add a few extra tips:

  • There’s a very useful glossary at the end of every book.
  • Use the table of contents as a checklist of topics you’ve mastered.
  • Make a master list of all the formulas you need for each chapter and stick it in the book like a bookmark so you can glance over it every class (I cannot stress this enough)
  • If you really can’t stand books, look for an online video tutorial and make a Word document where you save your video links.

Mariah Mier, San Mateo County Community College, California

Tutor Tips on Anatomy and Physiology

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By Vidya Balakrishnan

Sierra College, Rocklin, CA.

I chose to read the Resource under Biology titled Tips for Study of Anatomy & Physiology since they are the two subjects I tutor most often (especially Physiology). I found it helpful that first and foremost, the article addresses the most challenging aspects of the classes that I have also found my tutees to bring up during our sessions. The reasons the class is so hard is: (1) it covers a ton of information with excruciating detail, (2) much of the terminology in A&P requires intensive knowledge of Latin and Greek roots, (3) the Lab portions of both class are taught at the same level of detail as the lecture and typically must be taken concurrently though they may not perfectly align in timing with the corresponding lecture.

 

The article hit the nail on the head with great tips to overcome these 3 difficulties and I found that many of these were the same ones I used when I took the courses two years ago myself and received A’s. For example, encouraging students to preview new material by reading the textbook before class so they are not overwhelmed first seeing it in lecture. It also suggested reviewing lecture material soon after and devoting 2-3 hours per day to review material. It is absolutely true with this class that the hardest part is keeping up with the material in the time crunch of 16 weeks, so reviewing material as it is learned it very important. So I will definitely pass that tip to my tutees.

 

Another tip I really liked was encouraging students to learn together. This was helpful because I only can fit in 4 limited hours In-the Center due to my hectic schedule where I can tutor; since many of my tutees are learning the same topics with the same professors I have encouraged them to get together privately too and study more if their Learning Center time isn’t enough. I have also found that working in groups is helpful since students can practice teaching to each other to reinforce subjects and boost their own confidence.

 

Finally, the article suggested students use flashcards for topics with many subparts such as learning the cranial nerves or muscle groups. Many of my tutees are visual learners and already do this, but if they don’t I will pass this on to them especially!

Coach’s Corner: How to study PE/Athletics

Tommy Romano

My name is Tommy Romano, the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. On top of coaching, I also teach a PE class, Basketball 101. I realize that when college comes around, a great way to boost GPA and also exercise during a hectic day is to enroll in a PE class, which can cover all sports. Every class is different, and each instructor will have different expectations. However, one thing is certain, and just like in any other class, there are certain ways to separate yourself from your peers and obtain the highest grade possible. My blog is to cover some of those main points, both from the instructor side, and as a student (from my PE courses when I attended the University of Oregon from 2007-2011.)

 

1: Attendance is a very important not only in school but also in life. Most people think of attendance and think they just need to show up and everything will be fine. There is so much more to your approach and how your teacher will see your efforts. First off, always try and be early to class, no matter the subject. As an instructor, I am looking for the students that are early. To me, this shows they are interested, and WANT to be at class, not merely showing up because they have too. This seems basic, but showing up 5 minutes early everyday will get you noticed in a very positive light. Apply this to daily life; 5 minutes early is ON TIME.

Ask your teacher questions. What can I do to go over the top? Most teachers will be very blunt with their expectations, and my class is no different even though it is PE.

 

  1. Attention to detail: In PE classes, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking this class is not important and just a GPA class. GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HEAD! It is still a college level class, and you need to approach it that way. There is always something to learn and something to improve on. Also, your physical health is important to your overall well being. Take class seriously, be a sponge, and ask questions. That 60-minute session may be the difference in having an OK day and having a GREAT day. With that being said, academics come first. You may have a test the day of or day after your PE Class, so use that time appropriately. If you need to study for another course, get to class early and express it to your teacher. Most will understand that your math test is more important than a PE class. However, don’t get in the habit of doing this all the time. You are still a student now signed up for a class, and need to attend as often as you can. Emergencies happen, but don’t use class time making up study hours that you put off the night before.

 

  1. Find a study buddy! I can’t tell you how many study partners I found while attending PE classes at U of O. Students in these classes may have similar interests outside of school as you do, so get to know your classmates. You may have similar courses as other students, so ask your peers about their classes and how they study. Just because it is a PE class, doesn’t mean you can’t find a study buddy or learn new ways to approach school!

 

  1. Have fun! These classes are designed to take a break throughout a hectic day. Exercising is a great stress relief, and will motivate you to get back to work. Take class seriously, try and improve at the designed PE course, and apply these lessons to everyday life; Being on time, working hard, having fun, and improving. College goes by fast; so don’t get caught up in the future! Live in the now, and enjoy your experience!

 Tommy Romano

Tromano1@pima.edu

(512) 750-1934

How I stopped failing my Accounting Exams

Accounting

 

How I stopped failing my accounting exams and went from having a failing grade in my Intermediate Accounting class to scoring an A on the final

By Steven Zawila

I was dejected when I received my first Intermediate Accounting exam back and saw my failing score. Several thoughts found their way into my head.

  •         “Am I going to be a bad accountant?”
  •         “Will I still be able to find a job?”
  •         “Am I wasting my time studying accounting?”
  •         “How can I pass the CPA exam?”

To say that I felt discouraged was an understatement. I studied like crazy for this exam. I spent many long nights in the library and drank multiple cups of coffee in the span of a single night. Maybe I didn’t study hard enough? Maybe I just needed to study harder?

That’s what I tried to do. When my second Intermediate Accounting exam rolled around, I tried to study “harder.” I spent even more hours and longer nights in the library, often staying long enough to watch the sun come up. I stressed myself out even more over my notes. I substituted my coffee with Red Bull and drank even more caffeine. After studying this hard, there was no way I would fail, right?

I took my second exam. I failed. I got an even worse grade than my first exam.

What was I doing wrong?

At this point, I started to resign myself to the fact that I just wasn’t as intelligent as my classmates. It wasn’t fair that I could spend all night studying and still fail while my friends get high marks and never stay late in the library! But hey, life’s not fair, right?

Maybe I just wasn’t capable of acing my exams like they were. Maybe I was just destined never to reach the same heights that they could. Maybe I should learn to be happy with where I was and just accept that.

One night a classmate—one of the top students in the class—and I were hanging out and we casually discussed the exams.

“They’re tough, aren’t they?” I asked. “Yeah, I really had to study hard for this one” she replied.

Wait, what? She was never in the library as late as I was!

And here she was, telling me that she really studied hard? What did she mean?

It turns out that she knew something I didn’t. What she knew going into the exam was that I could study as hard as I could until hell froze over, but if I was not studying in a way that let my brain absorb the information effectively, then I might as well have not studied at all.

I had no clearly defined study plan and, as the saying goes, my failing to plan was planning to fail. Instead, I simply studied haphazardly until right before the exam, at which point I realized that I was in trouble and tried to cram several chapters into my head in the span of a single night. Unfortunately, our brains don’t work that way. By staying up all night, I was just spinning my wheels rather than actually absorbing the material.

What got me here wasn’t going to get me there. My study routine needed an overhaul.

Ultimately, I turned my class performance around by learning how to study smarter, not harder. I created a study plan that allowed me to gain more out of the class lectures and helped me focus on my weak areas before I walked into the exam.

The next exam rolled around. When I started taking it, I immediately felt the difference. No longer was I desperately looking for questions that I knew the answers to. Instead, I was able to answer most questions confidently and make an educated guess on everything that I did not know.

Later, I got my exam back: A. I had nailed it.

The best students are not necessarily gifted or luckier than the rest of us. They simply know how to study smarter rather than harder. Even though I had studied harder and routinely stayed up much later than my friend going over the material, her study habits allowed her to both master the course material more effectively and in less time than mine did.

Success in your toughest accounting courses does not have to be reserved for the naturally gifted students. I’ll show you how to use a study strategy that will prepare you for your exam efficiently and give you enough time to have a good night’s rest before exam day.

1) Preview the class material before each lecture:

Before each class, go through the assigned reading and focus on understanding the material conceptually. Then, make an honest but modest attempt at doing the homework problems.

When working on homework problems, you should be able to honestly say to yourself that, yes, you attempted to solve it. If you can completely solve all of the assigned homework problems based on the reading, great!

However, don’t sweat it if you’re not getting it 100% correct at this point. Also, don’t spend an overly excessive amount of time on the homework for one class.

At this point, the goal is to acquaint yourself with the class material well enough so that you will be able to follow along with your professor’s upcoming class lecture. If there’s any course material that you didn’t fully grasp yet or any homework problems that you may have missed, then you can gain a better understanding when the professor goes over the problem in class.

In my experience, many accounting professors don’t grade your homework on correctness. Even if they do, you made an honest attempt and your homework grade will not make-or-break your class grade. Your exam grades will.

Back when I was a little less wise, I never read anything before class. In my freshman year of college, I never looked at any of the assigned readings. I mean, the professor would just tell you everything that you were supposed to have understood anyway, right?

That didn’t work so well in accounting. If I skipped doing the readings, I would come to class and have no idea what the professor what talking about. Then I would have to spend even more time going back doing the reading I was supposed to have already done just to catch up with the rest of the class.

Not an enviable position to be in.

This is a fairly straightforward concept, but it can be a game changer. When I started doing this, no longer did I sit in lecture wondering what the professor was talking about. Instead, I was able to follow along with the class discussion and actually benefit from coming to class.

2) Focus on what you don’t understand during and after class:

During class, pay attention to the professor’s explanation of the homework problems. If your answers didn’t match the homework solutions, make note of why that was the case. For example, I always scribbled notes such as “Needed to dr. instead of cr. the Inventory account” on the homework problems that I got wrong.

In addition, pay attention to any concepts that you did not fully understand from your reading or anything the professor discussed that was not included in the notes. Don’t be shy to ask questions on areas that you don’t understand! It sounds cliché but it’s true that if you did not understand something, there is probably at least one other person who had trouble with it as well.

Many professors will either explicitly tell you or at least allude to what types of questions you can expect on your exam. For example, my Corporate Tax professor would drop hints such as “You know, this would make a good exam problem” or “I would know how to do this for the exam.”

Translation: “This type of problem will definitely be tested so you need to know how to do this.”

Make sure you ask questions in class or during office hours on areas that you still feel confused. By definition, you can only review what you already know how to do. When you can look at the homework solutions and follow them from beginning to end, you are on the right track.

3) Review before the exam

Periodically review your class notes and revisit the homework problems that you did not answer correctly. Look over the notes on why your first answer was not correct, and then try to answer the problems that you got wrong again. If your answer still is not matching up to the solution, make note of why your answer is different.

Again, you do not need to be a perfectionist here. I got the same homework problems for leases and bond amortization wrong several times while studying for the exam! Sometimes I even made the same mistakes multiple times in a row!

Yes, it sucked. And yes, it was discouraging. But it’s better to make mistakes at this point than it is to make them on the exam. Every mistake I made during my review was a mistake that I was less likely to make on the exam.

I have found the adage “treat your brain like a muscle” to be truthful. If you are trying to work out, you would not go to the gym and lift weights for 10 hours straight, right? In the same way, going to the library the night before the exam and studying until the sun comes up does not allow your brain to effectively absorb the information (when I tried this, I felt like crap the next day and still bombed the exam). I have found more success with shorter, spaced out review sessions then I have with a lengthy cram right before exam day.

Finally, make sure that you’re not just memorizing the answers to the problems that you review. This is a tough pitfall to avoid, since memorization often happens unconsciously—I often never realized that I was doing it!

When you are able to work through all of the homework problems with little to no errors, you are in good shape for the exam!

Becoming a successful accounting student!

I wanted to share my experiences with you to help you realize that if your grades are not where you would like them to be, there is something you can do about it. The solution is not necessarily to study “harder” either.

Accounting is a tough major, no doubt about it! There’s no reason to make it more difficult than it already is by trying to study in a way that’s not effective. In fact, the right study habits can make all the difference.

About the Author:

Steven Zawila is an accountant who aims to make studying accounting more accessible to students. If you liked this approach, I’ll be sharing even more at my website acingaccounting.com. Sign up for more study hacks as well as intuitive explanations of the toughest accounting concepts such as pensions, bond amortizations, and dollar-value LIFO (yes, all of those can be explained intuitively) that will help you ace your accounting classes.

How to use Active Recall to become a Problem-Solving Machine

150124-flickr.com-Bryan-OpticsFinal

Don’t confuse recognizing information with being able to recall it.”
~ Adam Robinson, author of What Smart Students Know

What are some things we typically do when we “learn” or “study” during the semester?

  • Listen to your professor’s logical, organized explanation of a new concept and thinking, “oh ok, got it”
  • Read through your lecture notes while nodding and murmuring, “makes sense”
  • Do problem sets with the textbook open to the example problems, and plug-and-chug until the correct answer pops out

These things may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but the truth is, these things are embarrassingly ineffective when it comes time to put pencil to paper on an exam.

And tragically, they end up convincing you that you understand everything, until you show up to the test, where it feels like you’re seeing the material for the first time again.

Why?

Because all of these things are PASSIVE.

Passive vs. Active Learning

Think of what we typically do in lecture.

We like to think of ourselves like sponges: we’ll somehow absorb what the professor is saying as it washes over us like a warm bath.

But remember: the brain will always conserve energy when possible, so unless there is a specific problem for it to solve, unnecessary information is quickly discarded.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, and what top students embrace and practice on a daily basis, is what we call “active learning” (or more specifically the technique of Active Recall).

Active learning is just as it sounds. In order to truly learn a new piece of information, you need to somehow trick your brain into working on it, activating new neural pathways and building new connections.

If you put in short bursts of hard work doing active recall (solving problems from scratch), you can save yourself hours and hours of wasted time mulling over useless material.

Active Recall: How do we do it?

Step 1: Start with a question

This can be conceptual or an actual practice problem.

Do NOT look at your notes.

And do NOT review any problem solutions. (*Note: you will need the solution in step 3 though so have it on hand, hidden away.)

Step 2: The struggle

Struggle with it.

This is going to be tough, especially if this is the first time you’re trying to solve a particular type of problem from scratch.

Try your best, and guess if you have to. But again, no peeking at your notes or the solution.

Once you’ve given it your best effort, then comes…

Step 3: Check yourself

Bust out your problem solution and see how your answer lines up with it.

Don’t skimp here! You want to catch any gaps in your understanding and address them as soon as possible.

So find your mistakes, and go back and correct them.

Remember: finding your mistakes and fixing them NOW means that you won’t make those mistakes LATER on the exam when it counts. So the more mistakes you find, the better!

Step 4: Repeat at different time intervals

Studies show that the most effective spacing for performing this type of practice is…

#1 – Right after you’ve learned something

and then…

#2 – 2-3 days after you’ve first been introduced to the material

So for you that means the following:

After class for the day, immediately test yourself using active recall, when you’re still uncomfortable with the material. This is where you get the biggest bang for your buck, because you’re really forcing your brain to work hard.

Then, do it again ~2 days later.
So get out there, and start ACTIVELY learning your course material, and watch as your grades and understanding skyrockets.

(Feature Photo Credit:  Bryan)


Tom Miller is an engineer and physics tutor, obsessed with independent learning. He writes about unconventional study methods at WTF Professor, aimed at simplifying the learning process for engineers and technical students.