Category Archives: Psychology

Happy New Year! The fresh canvas of a new year inspires most of us to select some (possibly most) areas in our lives to improve in specific ways. We at Chariot Learning certainly do. Deliberate improvement over time is something I think a lot about. Here at the intersection of education and performance, we see lots of students looking for better grades and test scores. Obviously, we want the same for them along with greater proficiency in our ability to support our students. Our most recent and sixth consecutive Best Of Rochester award for tutoring makes for a nice picture, but best is just a moment. Better is a process. Better does not come easy. Becoming better than you were in any dimension of your life may be a worthy goal. Staying better–being able to cast aside bad habits and develop new, more adaptive ones–is another thing entirely. How do…

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Meet Rory, a bright, motivated high school junior who can definitely see himself as a doctor (or lawyer or professor or CEO…) someday. Rory, a three-sport athlete and AP student, has made the most of his school experience so far in an effort to present as an outstanding applicant to any college. Aware of the considerable benefits of prepping for the SAT & ACT early in junior year, Rory and his family begin tutoring in September with an eye on the December exams… Junior year these days demands far more of teenagers than most adults realize. Ambitious students don’t just take on advanced classes but also juggle a slew of activities in which they must show commitment, leadership, and excellence. Extracurriculars can be particularly stressful during pressure points in a season, especially when coaches demand absolute acquiescence to uncertain practice schedules. While Rory was excited about preparing for the SAT…

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Optimal performance in sports depends on a carefully-calibrated regimen of skills training, conditioning, nutrition, rest, and coaching. Why should optimal performance in academics and tests be any different? Protein is a powerful driver of peak cognitive function, in large part because neurotransmitter activity in the brain runs on amino acids, which come from protein. The better the fuel, the more efficient our brains operate. In addition, good protein boosts energy, mental clarity, and mood, while helping to manage both pain and stress. Of course, these benefits accrue from good sources of protein. So rather than packing Big Macs and Buffalo wings on test day, be more strategic in your selections. For example, nuts are chock full of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Researchers seem to uncover new benefits to eating nuts every year, from low blood pressure to weight control to longevity. Experts agree that walnuts are particular…

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Imagine if the only way you were allowed to learn something was to first hear it in a lecture and then study it on your own. Sounds restrictive, doesn’t it? Obviously, lectures prove perfect for certain educational endeavors, but then again, so do lab work, flipped classrooms, independent research, and a host of other multimodal approaches. And yet, no matter how a student is initially taught something, he’s expected to master that information alone, usually by sitting at a desk for hours reviewing notes. Here’s a revelation: maybe self-study isn’t the best path to content mastery for every student… maybe even not for you! One surprisingly effective strategy to learning is devilishly simple: teach it. The infamous Learning Pyramid, based loosely on the work of educator Edgar Dale, touts teaching as the most effective route to knowledge retention. More recent research helps provide the evidence this idea has needed. For…

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Author James Clear offers pithy and prolific insights into many aspects of life. His wisdom hits home quite often the realms of productivity and success. I’m partial to this statement about mastery: “Mastery requires both impatience and patience. The impatience to have a bias toward action, to not waste time, and to work with a sense of urgency each day. The patience to delay gratification, to wait for your actions to accumulate, and to trust the process.” Test prep is all about reaching for mastery, attaining mastery for a moment, and displaying mastery when called upon. Be impatient to earn your best test scores: embrace a bias toward action and get to work. Be patient to prove your best test scores: Create a clear plan for success and work that plan. Leverage spaced repetition and the testing effect to improve over time, ideally under the tutelage of an expert coach.…

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Muhammad Ali is remembered as one of the greatest boxers of his era or any other, and he never tired of reminding the world of his greatness. His enduring fame as an Olympic gold medalist, heavyweight champion, and civil rights leader afforded him a platform from which he shared more than just poetic boasts. Ali communicated the cost of greatness to the world in both words and deeds. Anyone preparing to pit themselves against a tremendous challenge or competitor can learn from his insights… He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. It’s not bragging if you can back it up. Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is…

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