Letter from Mara

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While December is synonymous with holiday cheer and a well deserved holiday break, it also marks the end of a semester, which means one thing - finals! With that in mind, this month’s blog posts are dedicated to study strategies and project planning, two big ideas that are front and center in just about all of our middle school and high school tutoring sessions at the moment. Central to both is the question of what it means to learn.

For many students, the ability to recite definitions for a given set of terms is synonymous with being prepared for an assessment. However, if that same student has to identify a synonym for a vocabulary word, explain why a single event is important within a revolution, or illustrate the importance of a specific organelle to a cell, he is often at a loss. That is because there is a difference between memorizing and understanding, and effective learning is arguably a hybrid of both. If a student works to truly understands the material he is working with, he will also be able to remember important terms, names, and dates without explicitly focusing on memorizing those isolated details. I would argue that any good assessment will challenge a student to demonstrate their understanding of the material through a variety of different exercises, which is why it is so important for students to take a thoughtful and active approach to studying for assessments.

With this in mind, this month’s posts include a discussion of how to develop an effective study plan, strategies for effective project management, and suggestions for how to avoid cramming by engaging in meaningful learning throughout the semester, rather than in the weeks before finals. Hopefully these articles will help you help your child navigate the stresses of summative assessments this semester, and if you need additional support, our team of excellent tutors is always just a phone call away.

Happy holidays and good luck!