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How to re-create our vibes at home

It's totally undeniable that the space at TMG has a unique and special vibe. Making you feel right at home with plush sofas and colourful throw pillows, it's almost impossible not to feel super comfy at TMG. From the twinkly lights to the yummy aromatic teas and candles, the vibe at TMG helps students chill out during what can be stressful times. So, my question to you is this: don’t you want these super cool vibes to ALWAYS be surrounding you when doing your homework? If your answer to this question was “YES”, let us take you through the 5 steps needed to re-create TMG's sweet sweet vibes, anytime, anywhere.

  1. Tea

Warming you up from the inside out, tea is a staple at TMG. You don’t need TMG’s crazy tea selection to steep your very own cuppa - although, hey, variety IS the spice of life. We recommend a good chai, a solid flavoured black tea (vanilla, caramel, chocolate...something decadent), a soothing herbal tea (think ginger or lemongrass), and a zen green tea blend. Ask anyone who's savoured our selection, and they'll tell you that the FOAM is what makes the tea. Trust us. Invest in a good frother or go cheap and grab a handheld one!

  1. Candles

Helping to create a cozy atmosphere and making any room smell AMAZING, candles are a TMG signature. Watching a candle burn can be incredibly peaceful and help get you into that super focused study zone. Our fave? The amazingly almost-edible selection found at Bath & Body Works. EVERY season they switch it up so that you can be surrounded by yummy warm scents in the winter, and vibrant tropical scents when the weather gets hot hot hot. So, nestle up with your textbook, light a candle, and get in the zone!

  1. Fairy Lights

Who said that fairy lights HAD to be a seasonal thing? Totally disagree! Making every room both comfortable and bright, fairy lights at TMG are found all-year-round. Ambient lighting can set the mood while avoiding the eyesore that comes with awkward reading lamps and sharp yellow light. Sorry if we’re breaking any classic décor rules but for the purposes of getting in the mood to study in style, this tip RULES.

  1. TMG Apparel

Making you feel like good-luck is always with you, why wouldn’t you want to rock TMG apparel? Comfy, cozy, chic – check, check and check. With items ranging from sweatpants to t-shirts, to necklaces and more, there’s a little TMG for everyone to wear. Oh, and bonus: you get to spread the math-love to anyone and everyone cool enough to notice that you're actually making math math trendy. Go you!

  1. A Positive Attitude

Have you ever noticed that our tutors are ALWAYS looking on the bright side? Whether it’s encouraging you to try your best on a test or re-assuring you that success is just around the corner, we're always trying to lift your spirits and help you gain confidence. So whether you’re at home studying for your next evaluation, or freaking out in class in confusion, try to channel TMG's positive vibes – a little bit of sunshine goes a long way!

To get more inspiration from TMG, see more photos, and get more ideas, check out our Instagram page!

 

 

 

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!

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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The Spooookiest Time Of The Year: Report Card Time!!!

It’s that magical time of the year again – no, not Christmas time – report card time. Report card time truly IS magical because it’s the perfect moment to gauge your progress both inside and outside the classroom. Report cards allow you to receive feedback from both your teachers and parents, helping to motivate you to keep up your current work ethic. In addition to receiving feedback from others, report cards provide time for self-reflection, the opportunity to see if you have achieved or are close to achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Divided into three EASY steps, this week’s blog post is a guide on how to act before, during and after you have received your report card. The purpose of this blog post is to help you realize that getting an 89% instead of a 90% is not something to cry about. I mean, really – both marks are AWESOME and you should be PROUD of receiving either one. Instead of crying over perceived failures, TMG wants you to learn ­how to SMILE about the successes that you have had so far and be MOTIVATED to continue putting forth hard-work in order to continue succeeding! After all, the school year is a long journey that has its many twists and turns; as my Dad would say: “school is not a sprint, it’s a marathon”.report-card1. Before: Self-Reflect

Although report cards are amazing pieces of information that straight-up tell you how you’re doing, I’m sure you already have an idea of your marks and what your teachers think about you BEFORE receiving your report card. So, instead of relying on what the teacher actually writes about you on paper, take a moment to think about how you’ve been doing in class. Ask yourself whether you’ve been completing your homework, handing in assignments on time, and putting forth your best effort? Do you truly, and I mean truly, come to class every day ready to learn? If not, then what can you do to improve? Take a moment to think about all of these questions BEFORE your teacher just hands you the answers. You might be pleasantly surprised and wonderfully relieved to see that you and your teacher are on the same page.

homer2. During: Keep Calm

I never liked reading my report card the second it was given to me, it really freaked me out to be reading it in front of my peers, I didn’t want anyone asking me my marks and comparing grades – it wasn’t their business, it was mine. So, whether you like to read your report card in front of others or want to go to a more secluded environment to look through your marks AND comments, the ONE piece of advice that I want you to have in mind is to KEEP CALM. Read through everything SLOWLY and THOROUGHLY. Teachers take their time to write comments, give marks on not only your school work but on other EQUALLY IMPORTANT categories like class participation and homework completion. Do not RUSH through your report card because it can tell you SO much about how you’re doing and can give you very important clues on how to help you progress throughout the rest of the school year.keep-calm-and-carry-on-crown-wallpaper-13. After: Discuss

After reading through your report card, don’t bottle up your thoughts and feelings about the feedback you have received. Discuss your findings with someone who you can trust, someone who will listen to you without judgment. Once you have discussed your report card with someone else, you can (with or without them), start to reflect on what you have read. Do you agree with what your teachers have said, are their comments fair? What did you do well on, what did you do not so well on, what are the areas that you can improve upon? After reflecting with the help of someone else, you can now create a game-plan on how to attack the rest of the school year and be, like we at TMG have said you can be, a TOTAL BOSS.icon_3373

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!

The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess

One major #KeytoSuccess in school and beyond is taking effective notes. Sounds like a simple task, right? Wrong. Oftentimes our teachers and professors speak too quickly, making it a challenge to take down everything they’re saying. Other times they provide us with information that is actually unnecessary for the purpose of succeeding in the course but we write it down anyway. So, how do we strike the perfect balance between writing down everything and writing down nothing at all? This blog post will let you know how to beat this common pitfall and help you learn much more about effective note taking! Here’s to crushing school with TMG (again)!

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  1. The Beginning Stages

Every note is the opportunity for a new, beautiful beginning. Each page is the chance to perfect your skills while simultaneously making the page dazzle with new information. Step one to taking effective notes is to start off every note on a new page with the date and page number. Keeping track of your notes via the date will help you know the chronological order of course content so that when it comes time for that test you know exactly where to look for the material.

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2. Highlight, highlight, highlight

The best thing to highlight first on your page is the title of your note. Doing so signals to you what the subject of the note is and helps you to begin to organize the other information on the page. By writing down and highlighting the title of your note you will get a sense of what information you should and should not include on the rest of your page, you will begin to ask yourself: is this information relevant to the subject’s title? Pro tip: don’t think that the only thing you should highlight is the title—key terms, relevant problems and quotations are also fair game.

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3. Rewrite Your Notes

The best way to retain information is to re-write your notes (preferably by hand), after class. Rewriting your notes in your own words is also a plus–you are synthesizing the information given to you by someone else and translating it in a way that allows YOU to BEST understand it. This strategy to note taking also helps to prepare you for any future evaluations because you will have already studied for an upcoming test while perfecting the scribbles that you may have written down in class.

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4. Create Your Own Code

Teachers and professors can often speak quickly and provide you with too much information to write down. Creating your own short forms will help you take notes in a faster, shorter and condensed manner that will not compromise the note’s quality. You can even have some FUN while making your own shorthand by creating a language that is unique to you—stars, arrows, abbreviations and more are all elements of solid short form creation.

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5. Don’t Stress!

Just because the teacher or professor is talking, doesn’t mean that you have to be writing. Rather than copying down all information given, taking note of definitions, facts, enumerated lists, charts and information repeated or written on the chalkboard can be considered useful. Don’t get too hung up over your note-taking abilities—effective note taking is a skill that, like anything, will develop over time. For now, focus on following TMG’s tips to help get you started taking effective notes.

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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.

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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.