Category Archives: Psychology

“Exercise in repeatedly recalling a thing strengthens the memory.”   Do you despise testing? Perhaps you’d feel more open to the tremendous value of testing if you knew that one of humanity’s great philosophers and scientists fully endorsed the practice. Aristole saw the connection between repeatedly recalling a thing (testing) and remembering a thing (learning). The testing effect, as it is called, powers academic performance in a way that mere reading never can. All those students who adopt reading and rereading texts as their primary study strategy miss out on the educational impact of active recall of targeted information. Psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and Jeffrey D. Karpicke contributed much to our understanding of the testing effect in their review of a century of research into learning. They also conducted their own insightful research into the subject. Considering that the title of their findings was Test-Enhanced Learning: Taking Memory Tests…

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Is calming down really the best way to achieve peak performance? Alison Wood Brooks, Ph.D. doesn’t think so: Individuals often feel anxious in anticipation of tasks such as speaking in public or meeting with a boss. I find that an overwhelming majority of people believe trying to calm down is the best way to cope with pre-performance anxiety. However, across several studies involving karaoke singing, public speaking, and math performance, I investigate an alternative strategy: reappraising anxiety as excitement. The studies Brooks refers to suggest that getting excited rather than relaxed is a more effective way to reduce performance anxiety. In one experiment that many high school students can relate to, 188 participants were given difficult math problems after they read “try to get excited” or “try to remain calm.” As a comparison, a control group didn’t read any statement. Participants in the excited group scored 8 percent higher on…

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As we enter the strangest holiday season in recent memory, we’re seeing many of our cherished traditions and travel plans fall away. But are sacrifices made in the spirit of helping others through responsible social distancing really something to regret? In a sense, a crisis like a national pandemic forces us to pay attention to what truly matters… Nobody can tell you what really matters to you, but setting clear, unassailable priorities is the path to both success and happiness on your terms. When it comes to test prep, coaching matters. In college admissions, what matters is mostly what you’d expect. But what matters most in your life? That’s up to you to decide…

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of basketball will recognize the name of Michael Jordan, widely considered one of the best–if not the very best–players of all time. Jordan combined ferocious physical and mental strength with incomparable skill and an indefatigable will to win. However, he attributes his legendary success to one train above all others: My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge and aggressive to learn. What does “coachable” mean? Have you ever met someone who seems sure he or she knows it all, someone who has no interest or perhaps even ability to learn from others? How about someone who crumbles under even constructive criticism, externalizing failure or blame? Those are definitely NOT examples of coachability. Instead, consider the traits someone who is coachable shows consistently: Interested in becoming better, even if that requires hard work Willing to listen and learn Eager to…

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Happy Halloween! As we’ve learned so dearly in 2020, some years are scarier than others. But we must not let fear be the reason we fail. So how do you handle the terror of a big test, an important task, or the first step on a journey that will change your life? 1. Don’t let stress make you N.U.T.S. 2. Take a deep breath. 3. Just begin!

This past year has been stressful for all of us, especially high school students. If you’re not sure how hard the COVID era has hit teens, just ask your school counselor how much social and emotional distress increased starting in the spring of 2020. Our support networks and coping strategies have had to adjust to account for social distancing and distance learning. During this current health crisis, mental health needs to be treated with the same urgency as physical health among adolescents: 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Teens need healthy outlets for stress so they can grow into resilient adults. New York State Mental Health Resources and Training Center shares essential information, current practices, and guidance on mental health from the NYS Education Department. Here are some valuable tips for families: Talk openly about mental health. When we…

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