Monthly Archives: September 2011

SAT/ACT Coach's Lament: "Do it!"

Follow your coach's direction

I’m in NY for a conference organized by the NY Times on “Schools for Tomorrow.” I met yesterday with Alexandra Zabriskie, a top-notch NY tutor for the SAT and ACT (and school subjects too).  Alex talked about coaching her students to take practice tests under the practice conditions, in other words, when it’s possible, to take at least one practice test  Read more ›

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"How do you become confident remembering a great deal of material?"

I did it!

Why is this such an often-asked question?  Because many people experience the same thing: feeling not-too-confident about remembering lots of information as test-time comes approaches.  The answer to “How do you become confident….”  is simple You become confident in anything by taking small, manageable steps. Think about how a baby learns to walk. She doesn’t drop out of the womb and run  across the room. Not a chance. She lays on her back, turns over, gets up on all fours, crawls, slowly lifts herself up holding onto something (or someone), takes tentative steps, falls, gets up, takes a few more steps, falls again.  And this takes months and months. All this is on the way to having confidence.  Confidence is not just a mental action or a feeling, it’s a direct result of what you do, the consistent, directed actions you take.   Read more ›

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Your question: "How to get rid of anxiety before an exam?"

You need some energy to perform well

With this post I’d like to address the questions that come across my desk– by email from readers of my book, and at the talks that I give to various audiences (parents, students, teachers, etc).



Today’s question is:  How do I get rid of my anxiety before an exam?

Answer: You don’t get “rid” of anxiety. A little bit of anxiety has been shown (in over a hundred years of research) to be a good thing. Remember the “Yerkes-Dodson curve” (see illustration).  Yerkes and Dodson were two psychologists who showed, at the beginning of the 20th century, that there’s a direct relationship between stress and performance. Too much or too little stress and performance suffers. You Read more ›

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