The Trick to Studying: Categories!

By Azure’Rea Hike

When I was a kid I used to play a pool game called ‘Categories’. The game went a little something like this:
-One person is ‘it’. This person has to pick a broad category. A category is defined as “groups of objects that belong to the same class of objects” (Goldstein). These classes are created by similarities of characteristics. Some examples could be favorite food, nickelodeon shows, Characters from a specific T.V. show, etc. The goal is to make the broad category as narrow as possible.

-The other players have to pick something that falls under the category. For example, if the category is favorite food someone might say pizza.
-The player that is ‘it’ has to turn his or her back to the other players and stand in the center of a pool wall. They have to guess which item in the category that the other players pick.
-If the player that is ‘it’ calls your item, you have to swim across the diameter of the pool and hope not to get tagged.

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Do Yourself a Favor and Sleep–Your GPA Will Thank You

By David Cale

Welcome to college! From making new friends, binge watching Netflix, and late-night Taco Bell runs, college is possibly the best way to make memories that will last forever. Since classes are during the day, most people reserve their evenings for these memory making occasions.
While a few late nights every now and then may not have any significant impacts on your day-to-day lifestyle, making a habit of staying up late can be incredibly detrimental to your ability to think, react, work, learn, and get along with others (1).
Not only does a poor sleep schedule make you susceptible to chronic health problems, it will also hind your brain’s ability to perform in class. Let’s go over the importance of sleep and a few tips to help you maximize your college experience.

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Solving Problems With Problems

By Kali George

Picture this: You’re in your first abnormal psychology class learning about endless psychological disorders, and possible diagnoses. Your brain is cluttered with new information and you’re not sure how you’re going to recall it for your first test. Come time for test day you’re struggling to remember examples of obsessive compulsive behaviors, but sure enough you remember a prime example that your professor had given you on the famous show, Hoarders. Without a doubt you are able to use the analogy in order to remember the original concept discussed in class.

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I Can Only Imagine—Using Visual Imagery to Get That A

By Michelle Knepp

Congratulations! You’ve made it to college!  A whole new adventure stretches in front of you.  New friends, fun times, and oh yeah, that dreaded word, TESTS.  You have probably developed some system of studying while in high school.  Maybe that has worked well for you, OR maybe it hasn’t.  One of the challenges new college students face is the AMOUNT of information they are asked to learn in a short time.  How are you going to learn all that information and RETAIN it for the test?  Researchers have learned that HOW information is learned and put into our long-term memory is very important!  This is called ENCODING.  Using VISUAL IMAGES to get information into our long-term memory can be a real benefit when trying to RETRIEVE that information later.  When we retrieve information, we are taking it out of our long-term memory and putting it into our working memory (1).  This can is very helpful at test time! Continue reading “I Can Only Imagine—Using Visual Imagery to Get That A”

Cell Phone Nation

By Angela Watson

The modern debate of how much cell phones distract us from everyday responsibilities can be settled by cognitive psychology. Researchers found that the average person only studies for approximately six minutes before moving on to a new task, which was primarily linked to cell phone and media usage (1). The prefrontal cortex is designed to only focus on a single item, leaving us to “swap focus” between items at a rapid pace when we multitask (2).

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Stop, Drop and Roll Your Way Into a 4.0 GPA

By Kyle Oakes

Have you ever left class and wondered why you can barely remember a thing? I want you to try to remember what you were doing in that class. If you are like most college students, you probably snuck in a text message during the class, or maybe you clicked on that Facebook notification that popped up. Maybe you just dozed off. All of these could be affecting your grade drastically. In order to help your grade, you want to set those notifications, and ringer, on silent for the duration of the course, and stop dividing your attention to the wrong thing.

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What Does That Mean?!

By Drew Carter

In the field of psychology, there are multiple ways to encode something into long term-memory. While the process of committing information from stimuli to memory is important, what is arguably more important is what types of information causes individuals to be more attentive. To go a step further, what is also of interest is how the meaning of the stimulus can affect the difficulty of committing that stimulus to long-term memory. This pertains to the Levels of Processing Theory. However, before we get to discussing how the levels of processing affects us, I would like to take a moment to explain encoding, as it is crucial to this whole topic.

Encoding is the process of converting stimuli, whether it be visual (light stimuli, perceived by the eyes), acoustic (sound stimuli, perceived by the ears), or semantic (sensory stimuli that has a particular meaning to the individual) stimuli, into memory1. When the different senses, for the different types of stimuli, are activated, neurons in the brain fire to the area of the brain that recognizes the information. For instance, if the eyes perceive that light is reflecting a face, different areas of the brain will be activated then if you saw a pretty sunset2. While this description may not be incredibly enlightening, you just need to understand the basics, so we can move on to how the meanings of words can affect your ability to encode them to memory. Continue reading “What Does That Mean?!”

Illusion of Learning: It’s Not Just You!

By Sandy Baker

Illusion of learning, also known as illusion of competence is when an individual incorrectly gauges how much they know about certain information. Picture this, you’re sitting in a statistics class and you’re taking notes, like the good noodle you are. Your professor is flying over what the assumptions are for an ANOVA and you think you’ve got it. You’re asking questions and you are answering question the professor is asking you. Then, you go to work on homework and you stare at the question blankly and think to yourself “what the heck is this?”. That, my friends, is illusion of learning. I think we can all agree that this has got to be one of the worst things a student can face in education (minus all-nighters featuring Red Bull binges). You end up getting upset with yourself because “I just went over this how can I not do it?” but remind yourself this, you cannot recall what you didn’t learn.

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How to wisely spend your time in college to do well in classes

By Brady Thomas

When many people get out of high school, they normally believe that they are prepared for anything that college will throw at them. They think that what they learned in high school gave them the proper knowledge to study and learn properly. However, students typically and very quickly find that college is much more different and difficult than what they encountered in high school.

When students begin college, they believe that it will be easier because they  do not have class all day, five days a week, like they did in high school. This extra time should be used to complete school-related tasks such as studying, reading course material, or even working on homework. However, most students do not do that. Many college freshmen become caught up in playing video games, watching Netflix, or the ever popular, taking naps. These conflicts of interest can be dangerous because it is typically expected that college students should spend two to three hours outside of class working on course material for every hour they spend in class.

However, because coursework can be difficult and stressful, one tends to avoid it and participate in more activities that they find fun and relaxing. By spending more time away from their assignments, students do not complete them in a timely manner and their coursework accumulates. When this occurs, students begin to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and may feel like their brain cannot store or remember any more information because they are trying to take in so much at one time. This is where working memory comes in to play.

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Interfere with Interference

By Mecayela Monroe

It’s your senior year and you have one last final to take before you say goodbye to those high school halls and hello to a brand new school, town, and group of people. It is the toughest one yet; 100 multiple choice questions! You studied those flashcards last night and looked over them one more time at lunch. There is an overwhelming feeling of confidence. The test finally gets over and you happily acknowledge you had almost every answer memorized. Now that that’s over, it’s time to throw those flashcards away and enjoy summer.

I have bad news though. That method of memorization solely for the test won’t get you far in college. College curriculums are based on retention, not regurgitation. It is education for your career so short-term memorization isn’t going to cut it. High school provides students with a lot of skills but, generally speaking, high-level analytical thinking is not one of them. In order to succeed, college students must understand, retain, and apply information which requires more than just flashcards with definitions. My hope with this post, from one college student to another, is to provide you with the awareness necessary to recognize and overcome the interference problem that occurs when new education is presented.

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