Tag Archives: performance

Most of what we commonly refer to as test anxiety is simply a function of unfamiliarity with a test and lack of confidence in performance. Sometimes, the terms also refers to a strong negative response to stress in a moment. Whatever its cause, test anxiety represents a serious obstacle to those who suffer from it, one that can almost always be overcome with the right strategies and practice. However, in some individuals, the source of test anxiety lies much deeper than basic nerves and negative self-talk. Sometimes, anxiety is genetic: A functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (rs4680) is a gene variant that has been shown to predict the ability to maintain cognitive agility during combat and competition. Critically, COMT Met (low-activity; high dopamine) allele carriers outperform Val (high-activity; low dopamine) homozygotes on a variety of cognitive tasks. However, the relationship between genotype and cognitive performance appears…

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We’ve long promoted the necessity of sleep for teens and analyzed the causes and remedies for test anxiety. Yet, the recent research uncovering a connection between the two still came as a surprise. Researchers from the University of Kansas wanted a better understanding of the relationship between sleep, anxiety, and test performance, particularly how their mutual interactions unfold over time: “(Nancy) Hamilton and graduate student co-authors Ronald Freche and Ian Carroll and undergraduates Yichi Zhang and Gabriella Zeller surveyed the sleep quality, anxiety levels and test scores for 167 students enrolled in a statistics class at KU. Participants completed an electronic battery of measures and filled out Sleep Mood Study Diaries during the mornings in the days before a statistics exam. Instructors confirmed exam scores. “The study showed ‘sleep and anxiety feed one another’ and can hurt academic performance predictably.” Was reported test anxiety a valid predictor of academic underperformance?…

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“You can only climb as hard as you rest.” Jared Leto shared that kernel of rock climbing wisdom to explain his prodigious productivity. Even a moment’s thought assures us that this concept makes perfect sense. Now consider the average high school student, so buried under so many academic, extracurricular, and social commitments that he can’t even get a good night’s sleep. This avalanche of activities might seem like the only path to success, but overwork all too often impedes real achievement. Not only do people, particularly teens, require lots of sleep for optimal performance, but even breaks make a difference. Margaret L. Schlichting and Alison R. Preston of The University of Texas at Austin found that reflection boosts learning. Their research subjects who used time between learning tasks to reflect on what they had learned previously scored better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads…

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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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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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