exams

5 Solid Songs to Study To

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Need to spice up your studying? Who doesn't. We're not normally a fan of distractions, but music can actually help you get into the study groove...IF you choose the right song. Try listening to music! Although listening to music can be extremely beneficial to some, for others it proves to be quite the distraction. If you want to experiment, we've got a few songs that might float your study boat. Check 'em! 1. Skinny Love, Bon Iver

Whether you’re having a freak-out about schoolwork and need to calm down or you’re simply looking to chill out while studying, Bon Iver’s Skinny Love is the perfect song to add to your study playlist. Soft and whimsical Indie folk, Skinny Love is a TMG favourite.

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2. Four Seasons, Vivaldi

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is a CLASSIC. Get it? It’s old-school classical music. Ready to put you in the study zone, this lyricless masterpiece will help you crank up your concentration.

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3. Starboy, The Weekend

Need a bit of encouragement while you study? A little pep talk maybe? Get a pump-up pep talk from The Weekend by listening to the smash-hit Starboy. Worried you might get distracted by The Weekend’s lyrics? Don’t worry, you can barely understand what they are so you’ll most likely be paying attention to the background beat.

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4. Closer, The Chainsmokers

The light and airy beat of The Chainsmoker’s Closer will make you want to shimmy in your seat while studying. If you’re looking to make studying fun, The Chainsmoker’s Closer is one that will totally give you good vibes while hitting the books.

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5. Let it Go, James Bay

James Bay’s beautifully smooth voice will make you want to listen to this song on repeat. Feeling like getting a little cozy with your math textbook? This song is DEFINITELY the song to do that to!

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Now it’s time to download these songs (legally, please), grab your headphones and hit the books! Good luck everyone!

New Year… New You?

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HELLO 2017 HOW MAY I HELP YOU (MYSELF)?!  With an entire year ahead of you, it's the perfect time to dust off those ambitions and bring them to centre stage. An opportunity to start fresh, a new year means new goals, new habits, and...well, a new you! However, even though you may be super into achieving your goals, it not necessarily an easy feat – how often do we write down New Year’s resolutions and simply NOT stick to them? To help you achieve your goals and make 2017 the best year yet, this week’s TMG blog post is all about the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting model. Let's DO THIS. S – Specific 

When setting your goals, be specific. The more specific you are with your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. To make a goal specific, try and answer the following questions: who, what, when, where and why? To give you a better idea of what we mean, an example of a vague goal is: improve my performance in school. A specific goal is: increase my mark in each course by 5%.

M – Measurable

To create a measurable goal, establish exactly what you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. By doing this, you're breaking your goal into measurable elements which can actually be quantified. Like, you can actually TELL if you've accomplished them. To help figure out whether or not your goal is measurable, ask yourself: how will I know when my goal is accomplished? If you actually have an answer, it's measurable:)

A – Attainable

Do you have the resources to make this goal attainable? Do you have enough time, money or talent to make this goal part of your reality? Ask yourself whether or not you’re setting the bar just a bit too high – what’s realistic for you? So in terms of school, saying "I'm going to do 10 hours of math a day," while ADMIRABLE, is totally unrealistic...since you probably want to eat. And sleep. And like, have a life.

R – Relevant

Before proceeding, it is important to ask yourself whether or not this goal is important to you – do you really care about running a marathon? If your goal is not something that you truly and deeply care about, the chances of you achieving it are much less. Pick a goal that’s important to you, that way you are more likely to stick with it!

T – Timely

The year is long and there is a ton of time within it to achieve your goals. However, if you don't set deadlines for your goals, there more likely you are to NOT achieve them. No matter how small, deadlines give you something to work towards by helping you to keep up your momentum. Break down your goals into small chunks and actually put deadlines IN a physical calendar so that you can see them approaching! If your goal is to raise your mark by 10%, set a deadline for the first 5%, and another for the remaining 5%. That way you won't feel like you have to do EVERYTHING at once!

Most importantly, try and stay positive when working towards your goals. A strong-willed and positive outlook will get you much further than you can even imagine. And remember - most people are capable of WAY more than they give themselves credit for. How are YOU going to blow your OWN mind this year?

How to Beat the (Procrastination) Blues!

We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. We’ve ALL procrastinated at one time or another. But that was then and this is NOW. Now is the time to change, to put the past in the past. Today you can start establishing new and healthy study habits that maximize productivity and decrease procrastination. Sounds impossible, right? Think again! With these five quick and easy tips to beat your old habits, you will be establishing effective routines in no time! Feeling like there’s absolutely NO WAY you can master the information that is about to come your way? Well, that’s because you’re not meant to “master” it all! What we’re asking you to do is read over these tips and try your BEST to implement only SOME of them. At the very least TRY to put some of the tips into place because you want to SUCCEED in school during what can be THE busiest time of the year. So, without any further introduction, presenting to you on this week’s blog: How to Beat the (Procrastination) Blues!

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  1. Make a schedule

A sure way to help you combat your procrastination habits is to make yourself a study schedule. When making yourself a schedule, be specific! Commit to working in an environment that you know is effective for you (more on this later) and write down the set amount of time that you will be studying for each subject. By writing down a schedule with set instructions on WHERE to study, WHEN to study, and WHAT to study for, studying becomes hard to avoid!

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  1. Hide all electronic distractions

Just do it. I know we’re all addicted to our phones, computers and the social media that comes with these devices BUT the sure fire way to be effective and get work done is to POWER DOWN. Commit to putting your devices away and out of sight for JUST 30 MINUTES! Crazy, right?! TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. If you turn your phone off and put it out of plain sight, you will be able to get SO much more work done! Just TRY it!

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  1. Make studying fun!

Hate the quiet in the library? Go to a buzzing coffee shop! Hate studying alone? Make a study group! Studying doesn’t always have to consist of you sitting alone in a library. No! Studying can be fun times spent with friends outside of school. Need someone to quiz your for your upcoming test? Make a game using flash cards to help you prepare. Studying doesn’t need to be as dry as your textbook. Get creative, have fun – studying CAN be good times.  

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  1. Know yourself

OK, I know I just told you to have fun while studying and I sincerely mean it. But come on, we can’t have SO much fun that NO work gets done. It’s important to strike a BALANCE when working so that you are PRODUCTIVE. This is where “knowing yourself” really comes into play. If you don’t study well with friends, don’t do it. Instead, make plans to meet up with your friends after you’re done studying alone. Can’t focus when there’s too much background noise? Find a quiet environment that allows you to pay attention to what you’re working on. Don’t know what works for you yet? Don’t worry. Figuring out what kinds of studying techniques are right for you takes time, be PATIENT!

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  1. Be kind to yourself

Being patient with yourself brings me to my final piece of advice. At TMG we believe it’s most important to be KIND to yourself. It’s really easy to beat yourself up over your schoolwork. Thoughts and feelings about not doing enough and needing to do more are likely to pass through your brain. Rather than thinking about what you NEED to do and what you HAVEN’T done, think about how much you have already checked off your to do list. Studying and creating effective study habits take time, but trust me, they will come and so will the marks!

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Keep Calm and Carry On: How to Keep Your Math Anxiety Under Control

It’s that time of the year again. Classes have started to pick up, the first tests have already happened, and you may or may not be freaking out over your work and/or test results. Instead of worrying yourself silly over your future work and test results, let’s focus on building the skills that you need to keep calm and carry on in math class. stressedstudentgirl

  1. Stay on top of your work

As difficult as it may be to write down the information given in class, understand it, and do your homework, staying on top of all the assigned work can and will help you “ace” your math class. This way, once that test comes around, you won’t be freaking out over what information you didn’t cover—instead, you will be in the know. To help you take down as much course information as possible in an efficient and effective manner, check out our blog post on “The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess”.

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  1. Learn breathing techniques

When you get into a test and just don’t know what’s going on, take a few, repeated, big “belly breaths” to help ease your anxiety. There are many different types of effective breathing techniques developed but it’s important to find the one that works best for you. A popular breathing technique is called “box breathing” and involves visualizing a box as you breathe in and out, using your diaphragm, for four counts of four. To learn more about this technique and many others, check out one of our fave how-to articles thanks to Livestrong!

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  1. Ask questions

A key to succeeding in math class (and any class for that matter), is to ask questions when you require clarification on certain concepts. This can be an intimidating experience but chances are other classmates of yours have similar if not the same questions. Think of yourself as doing everyone a favour–especially since asking questions can oftentimes lead the teacher to give out hints regarding what kind of material is going to be on the next evaluation.

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  1. Be aware of negative self-talk

More often than not we can speak extremely negatively towards ourselves without even noticing. We all have the tendency to give ourselves small put-downs every now and again. If constantly repeated, these put downs can become automatic thoughts and part of our subjective reality. The best defence against this type of negative, self-sabotaging thinking, is to catch yourself saying these negative thoughts to yourself. Once you take note of your thoughts you will realize that you are not “completely doomed to fail” your next math test and are, in fact, “fairly well prepared”.

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  1. Slow and steady wins the race

A sure way to ease your anxiety around test taking is to slow down and take your time when reading through a test. The more you rush through a test, the higher the chances that you will miss an important piece of information and make a careless mistake. When taking one’s time to read instructions, it is often helpful to highlight or underline key terms in the questions in order to signal important information. For example, highlighting the words “show all your work” will ensure that you do, in fact, show all your work - ALL the time!

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In short, if you follow these small and simple techniques to combat your work and subsequent anxiety around test-taking, you should not only be more prepared for your upcoming evaluation but more at ease throughout this process. Test taking time can be THE time to show off everything you know! Don't let anxiety get in the way of boasting those brains!

Math & Memes & Talk Shows, OH MY!

It’s the second week of June and we know that can only mean one of two things - you are either in the thick of exams or soooo close to the finish line you can almost taste it. There are of course a couple of you lucky ducks that are already out for the summer and (whom we are totally jealous of). Whatever your current situation, we thought we’d brighten your Thursday with some math related (but totally awesome) content.    If you’re one of those people who thinks that math and science are reserved strictly for textbooks and classrooms, think again! We’ve scoured the internet to find you some of the most hilarious articles and videos that combine our favourite things: academics and pop culture.

 

  1. This article from U.K. Complex that worked out how Reddit used calculated how much money Joey owes Chandler (plus many more pop culture math problems). 

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2. These videos from Jimmy Fallon where he explains “popular mathematics”. Definitely not the most accurate source for educational resources, but we give Jimmy credit shining a spotlight on the concept of math, and giving the subject a prime time TV spot! (We’ve linked two of them below, but Jimmy’s made several of them!)

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3. This math meme ft. Lady Gaga that will totally help you remember how to deal with polynomials. BEST.

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4. The PBS Math Club just about knocks our socks off. This collection of Youtube videos riffs off of well-known movies to explain mathematical concepts. Videos range from a Wes Anderson style satire that explains how to multiply positive and negative numbers to a Mean Girls/Darth Vader collab that lays out adding negative numbers. We’re OBSESSED.                        

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Top 5 Study Break Ideas (that don't involve stress eating!)

Last week on the blog, we featured 5 awesome recipes to fuel you during your study sessions. While we highlighted the importance of food for energy and nourishment, for many, it’s easy to over do it on the snacking. Instead of stress eating, try these five different activities during your study break. Not only will they make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, but they will prevent that bloated and uncomfortable feeling you might get when you eat too much and then have to sit back down to study. http://

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Meditate

Yes, there’s a reason that our logo happens to be a woman sitting in the classical “Lotus” (or “meditating”) pose with beautiful mathematical symbols emanating from her hands. Meditation is a great way to relax and slow your heart rate down, something you’ll find especially helpful if you’re feeling hyped up and anxious over a certain set of problems. Find a space to sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. If you aren’t sure where to begin, try using an app. We love Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think.

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Phone a Friend

Sometimes, there’s nothing more isolating than sitting alone in a room for 3+ hours on end. Rather than sending texts and distracting yourself throughout your study session, save the chatting for a break and have a #realtalk over the phone with one of your besties. It will get your mind off of the books, and make you feel less lonely!

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Stretch

We all know that sitting in the same position for a long time is horrible for our bodies, especially if that position is being hunched over a desk. Take a few minutes here and there to get up and give your body a decent stretch. We recommend focusing on exercises that open your chest, to counteract all that screen time. Small movements like rolling your shoulders, clasping your hands above your head, or a runner’s calf stretch will also have you feeling energized! http://

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Get Some Fresh Air (and Up Your Step Count)

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air! If you’re feeling trapped and claustrophobic at your desk or in the library, take 20 minutes to go for a walk. Fresh air can reinvigorate you and there are countless studies that have shown that being in nature stimulates the brain, increases immune function and has a calming effect on our bodies. Use a pedometer to track your steps, and set a step goal for yourself to make sure you’re moving enough even during exam time. If you have a dog, do double duty by crossing a chore off your to-do list, while also taking care of your mind, body and soul!

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Have a Dance Party

You know it’s never a dull moment here at The Math Guru, so why not incorporate some of the crazy into your own private studying sessions? If you’re feeling fatigued and unmotivated, put the books away for a couple minutes and blast your favourite tunes. Be sure to get out of your chair and dance around to them, since frequent movement is key to surviving long periods of studying. Don’t worry no one will judge you based on your music choices OR dance moves, so go all out and get those endorphins pumping!

The Top 5 Study Snacks For Exam Time

If you’ve ever been to one of the Math Guru’s EXAM JAMS (a.k.a. exam review sessions that are kind of like a house party but way cooler) than you’ll know that we are all about having plenty of snacks. Not only is having a snack the perfect excuse to take a quick study break, but getting the right nutrients is essential for ensuring you are powering your brain with the fuel it needs! Below, we’ve listed some easy peasy recipes you can make and munch on while you’re studying! Heirloom-Tomatoes-Burrata-Basil

Avocado Toast

Probably the most intagrammed food ever, there’s a reason this food is so popular. It’s super easy to make, and is a more filling option that’s perfect for lunch. Avocados are high in healthy fats that lower blood pressure, and promote good blood flow. A healthy blood flow in turn contributes to healthy brain function. This article from Pop Sugar gives tons of ideas on how to prepare it, but if you want to keep it simple we suggest: a slice of multigrain bread, half an avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and some garlic salt!  

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Energy Balls

We’ve featured these before, but energy balls are one of the easiest and most delicious things to whip up. Not only can you make a bunch at once to have on hand while you study, but this recipe has chocolate chips, and will seriously satisfy your sweet tooth. Pack your energy balls with nuts and seeds to really reap some brain power benefits. They are high in Vitamin E, which is known to boost cognitive abilities.

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Smoothies

We know it can suck that final exams happen right when the weather gets warm. Beat the heat with a refreshing smoothie that will also recharge and rejuvenate you with all the energy you’ll need to finish those practice questions! This Buzzfeed article lists eight different recipes that all use only 3 ingredients each - showing you just how simple it is to create endless varieties that taste amazing!! Pro tip: We recommend #7 (Blue Magic) since it uses Almond Butter (nuts = Vitamin E) and Blueberries (which are thought to improve learning capacity!).

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Overnight Oats

Oats are a great way to get your glucose, which is the primary fuel your brain uses to power itself. Glucose comes from carbohydrates, (*spoiler alert: the right carbs aren’t bad for you!!) and oats are made up of carbs. But the carbs in whole-grain foods like oats get broken down by the body at a very slow pace, so it helps keep you full and focused for much longer than a something like a piece of white bread. Make these oats the night before a long day at the library, and bring them with you to eat if hunger strikes.

2015-06-01-Sweet-Tea-Recipe-17Freshly Brewed Tea

It’s no secret that over TMG we have a slight obsession (ok fine, a HUGE obsession). Although most wouldn’t technically consider it a “snack”, a cup of tea can sometimes be all you need for a little pick me up! Plus it’s great to have with you since you can sip away while studying and stay focused. Tea has less caffeine than coffee, so a cup won’t leave you feeling jittery, but will still stimulate your brain and boost your energy. What’s more, a cup of tea has lots of antioxidants, which are also known to improve blood flow.

SUPER Study Spaces

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With exam season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about strategies you can implement into your study routine to help you ace those finals. Sometimes a lot more is needed than just a desk with some pencils and paper. Being in a space that is comfortable, but conducive to studying will help you work more efficiently, while also keeping you chilled out and focused. Below we’ve listed some key things you should look for in a good study space. IMG_0696

1. Good Lighting

How are you going to study if you can’t read your textbook?! A well-lit space is so important if you want to avoid straining your eyes. Not only is it bad for them, but it’s usually the cause of that horrible study headache we’ve all experienced. If you’re studying at your desk, make sure you have a good desk lamp and position it in the top left corner so the light falls in the same direction that you read. If you’re at a coffee shop or library try to snag a spot next to a window so you can take in as much natural daylight as possible!

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2. Comfy Chair

As far as we know, no one’s ever studied on a stool and lasted more than 20 minutes. Comfort is key when studying and you want to make sure your back is being well supported so you don’t get any painful aches! However, if you’re sitting on something too plushy, like a couch, you might find yourself fighting the urge to doze off. Try and find a chair that keeps you upright, has a comfortable seat and a solid backrest.

IMG_07003. Minimal Noise

This one may be controversial, but we do recommend you don’t try and memorize your biology terminology with hard core hip hop blasting. Although lots of students find that studying with music in the background helps them focus, make sure you aren’t getting distracted by singing along. Instrumental music sometimes actually helps - try electro, or even some classical. Although coffee shops are great places to study, sometimes they can be a little too noisy. Try and scope out spots where you know the music and the atmosphere are chilled out enough that you’ll be able to focus.

IMG_07014. Brain Food

Nothing builds up an appetite like a long study sesh. If you find your energy has started to dip but you’re determined to finish that last problem set, grabbing a quick (and HEALTHY) snack will re-energize you so you can push on. Nuts and granola are a great option, as are crackers with hummus or cheese. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try out these healthy energy balls that are packed with protein but have a hint of chocolate. We are of course also in favour of sitting down with a soothing cup of tea, and replenishing as often as you like!unnamed5. No Distractions

GUYS. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will not disappear forever if you don’t check them every 10 minutes. Put your phone out of sight - we suggest leaving it in a different room altogether, preferably one in which you have to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to ;) You know even if you tell yourself you’ll only scroll for 5 minutes, it’s easy to get wrapped into a cyber vortex and waste half an hour without even realizing it. If you really need your laptop or phone with you, download an app like Forest. It grows a virtual tree while you leave the work-related app you’re using open, but kills it once you leave - don’t be a tree killer!!