Better Grades: Four Myths and the Reality

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Better Grades: Four Myths and the Reality

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Brain research is showing us ways to improve student learning and help them succeed on tests and in school.  But there are also a lot of myths around that deserve to be busted.  Here are four myths and the reality, based on solid research, that can help students perform better in school.

MYTH 1:        Students will learn better with more time on task.

REALITY:      Simply repeating information or reviewing it over and over doesn’t connect it to other things we know. Working with the information is essential to get it connected to what we already know and into memory. 

Your student can do this by making stories, pictures or other visual presentations of information that has to be learned.  Songs, rhymes and raps are another option.  Or have him/her teach it to you, a sibling, or even the family dog — one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else.

MYTH 2:        The best way to study for a test is to review all of the material multiple times.

REALITY:      Simply reviewing notes or reading over material can be a waste of time. The best way to prepare for a test is to take a test.     

If there is knowledge your student needs to know, you or a sibling can test them on it (unfortunately this is not a good job for the family dog.) Or they can test themselves by writing a list of items or questions down the left side of a piece of paper with the answers on the right. Fold over the right side so the answers are hidden or cover them up with another piece of paper and then have them write down the answers. Instead of restudying everything, they should study only the ones they got wrong.  Test again and repeat.  It is the effort of retrieving the information that helps it become learned.  If you do this over a few days (not cramming the night before or the morning of the test), it will be even more effective.

MYTH 3:        Test anxiety is “all in their heads.” They just need to learn to live with it.

REALITY:      Text anxiety is real and does have an impact on performance.  It helps to express one’s feelings, not bury them.

New research shows that test anxiety can be addressed by journaling about one’s feelings. Simply getting them out on paper prior to the test can free up your child’s mind to focus on retrieving information during the test rather than fretting about the experience. Too young for journaling? Just let them talk about it (to you, a sib, a friend … or the family dog).

MYTH 4:        Some students just don’t have what it takes to succeed in school.  They are limited by their innate intelligence and can’t really get any better at learning than the skills they came into the world with.

REALITY:      We can learn to learn. In fact, that is what our brains were designed to do!

Many students don’t do as well in school as they could because they haven’t yet developed their cognitive skills to their potential.  Cognitive skills are the mental processes that the brain uses to take in, understand, apply, store and retrieve information — things like attention, memory, visual and auditory processing. Tutoring or spending more time on homework won’t develop cognitive skills — that requires just the right kind of training.

BrainWare Safari has been shown in published research to improve students’ cognitive skills by an average of over 4 year in just 12 weeks.  Once your child’s cognitive capacity has been build up, school work (and many other things) become easier and more enjoyable.