Tag Archives: performance

Everyone thinks they can accomplish more by doing more at once. Unfortunately, almost everyone is wrong. Multitasking has been proven time and time again to kill productivity. Basically, switching focus to even a mundane task can double your error rate and lower your measurable IQ. So next time you’re studying for that big test, turn off the music, computer, phone, etc. etc. But if you’ve been insisting all these years that you’re different, you may be right. Studies support the idea that some lucky souls may actually be supertaskers, capable of juggling parallel tasks effectively. According to the research described in On supertaskers and the neural basis of efficient multitasking, some brains manage cognitive load more efficiently than others: Multitasking is mentally taxing and, therefore, should recruit the prefrontal cortex to maintain task goals when coordinating attentional control and managing the cognitive load. To investigate this possibility, we used functional…

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Success–particularly massive success over incredible obstacles–is understandably difficult to achieve in any field. If you accept the wisdom of the bell curve, you see that any sufficiently large group of people ranked in any complex skill like fencing or juggling will naturally huddle within one standard deviation of the mean with both highest and lowest performers charting an increasingly sloping path to either elite performance or utter uselessness. True success eludes those not fully dedicated to earning it. This lesson plays out time and again in business, which is why an insight first shared in 1940 still resonates today. That is when insurance professional Albert E. N. Gray identified the common denominator of success in a memorable speech at the annual convention of the National Association of Life Underwriters. He may have been speaking about selling insurance but his words should hit home with anyone seeking success in any field…

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Like most test prep professionals, I’ve become a relentless proponent of perfect practice, meaning the kind of practice that drives the highest levels of success. My friend and colleague Brett Etheridge of Dominate Test Prep shares the same commitment to perfect practice, which comes out in a detailed discussion we had on his podcast: Proven Principles of Perfect Practice with Mike Bergin Among other things, we covered the following fundamentals of practice: The 4 Steps of Deliberate Practice; The distinction between “studying” and “practice” and the role that each should play in your test preparation The danger of taking too many practice tests; How often you should take practice tests, and things you should do to ensure that they replicate the actual test-day experience; Why some students perform worse on the real exam than on their practice tests, and what you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen for you;…

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You’re studying for the BIG TEST: brushing up on grammar rules and math formulas, taking practice tests. But you’ve heard horror stories of test-day breakdowns, and you fear it will happen to you once you sign in and enter that big classroom. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Put on your armor, and all will be well! HELMET: The right mindset. We are not born with the right test-day mindset. In fact, big-stakes tests naturally lead to a heavy dollop of performance anxiety for many students. Don’t wait until test day to start tackling the nerves. Instead, face your test day anxiety ahead of time by practicing healthy stress reduction techniques. Attend our seminar on Overcoming Test Anxiety to learn how to tackle the demons on the mind and going into battle armed with a calm, clear, and positive mindset. In a recent Tests and the Rest Online Summit…

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Everybody knows how nerve-wracking high stakes tests can be. Less widely known are all the effective ways to combat and ultimately overcome test anxiety. Spend an hour to learn insights that can relieve a lifetime of stress. What causes test anxiety? Why is a certain amount of anxiety helpful in critical situations? What strategies help manage response to stress in the moment? What strategies help manage response to stress in advance?    Our Overcoming Test Anxiety seminar explains test anxiety comes from, why it’s not always a bad thing, and what you can do about it. Learn the fundamentals of stress and success from a veteran educator with a background in counseling and performance management.   The fee for this one-hour online group seminar is $30 . This training can also be arranged for individuals at our tutoring rate.   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify either the Overcoming…

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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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