ACT/SAT words. From Extol to Panegyric

 ACT/SAT coming up?  Calm your nerves by learning these words.

Extol; v. To praise highly. 

They extolled me when I returned after receiving my bachelor’s degree with honors.

Kudos; n. Praise; a compliment.

Kudos to whoever came up with the brilliant idea of sliced bread.

Laudable; adj. worthy of praise and/or recognition.

She did a laudable deed and because of this, she was very much loved in the community.

Meritorious; adj. deserving of award, merit, or praise.

I admired his meritorious behavior of attempting to save the child.

Panegyric; n. A formal public compliment or elaborate praise.

After all chaos politician had caused, there was much panegyric when he resigned from his place of office.

Praiseworthy; adj. Meriting praise and high commendation.

Everything he did was praiseworthy and that’s why I so easily loved him.

Abominate; v. To detest thoroughly.

He was an abominable person who was so forceful and mean.

Admonitory; adj. Mildly cautionary, reproving, or scolding.

The teacher’s admonitory tone made me know I was close to getting on her last nerve.

Berate; v. To scold angrily and at length.

She berated her daughter for coming home long after curfew.

Blameworthy; adj. Worthy of blame or reproof; guilty; deserving punishment.

Everything she did was blameworthy. She put behind every act her rebelliousness.

Castigate; v. To criticize thoroughly, even to punish for an infraction.

After I got in a physical fight at school, I was castigated by my father and grounded for two months.

Censurable; adj. Deserving of censure or blame.

This material is censurable and needs to be blocked.

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SAT Essential Words and Definitions–know your stuff!

SAT coming up?  Quickly come to know these words  below:

Acclaim; v, n. 

Verb: to applaud or congratulate with much enthusiasm; to strongly approve.

My tennis coach always acclaimed us for our good work.

Noun: enthusiastic applause or recognition.

I was met with much acclaim when I returned home.

Admirable; adj. worthy of being admired or respected.

His attention to me on our date was so admirable it made me like him even more.

Applaud; v. To express approval, often by the clapping of hands.

They all applauded me as I walked into the stadium.

Approbation; n. Expression of approval, often official in nature.

The President’s approbation for the new law was not received well.

Celebrate; v. To praise or make widely known or creditable.

We celebrated the proposal of Mike to Shauna.

Citation; n. Official commendation or recognition.

She received a citation for her terrible parking.

Creditable; adj. deserving of often limited praise or accommodation.

The performance I gave wasn’t the best but it was creditable.

Another definition: Deserving of commercial credit or reputation.

The article was not creditable and it misled many people.

Encomium; n. Warm, deserving praise; a tribute.

I gave the boy an encomium for all the wonderful things he did for the community.

Esteem; n. Favorable respect or regard.

I have high self-esteem because I love myself.

Eulogy; n. A laudatory speech written in praise of a person, usually after his or her death.

At her funeral, so many people gave amazing eulogies that brought me to tears.

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General Test-Preparation Strategies

Getting ready for testing time? Cramming to study for finals?

In general, you should:

-Start early. Be sure that you have completed your assigned reading at least several days before the test. Remember that reading and studying are not the same thing. All of your reading should be completed before you begin studying.

-Get organized. Organize all of your studying tools and strategies-notes, annotations, study strategies-so that you can dig right in.

-Distribute your time. Rather than trying to cram all of your studying into 1 and 2 days, distribute your time over several days. Spending a total of 6 hours studying spread over 5 days is much more effective than trying to spend 6 hours studying the day before, or even 3 hours a day for 2 days before the test.

-Break up the work. If you begin studying several days in advance, you will be able to break up the information you have to study into chunks of major concepts. In other words, don’t sit down to study with the idea in mind that you will study every chapter and every page of notes. Study groups of information that seem to fit together, or at least identify which concepts you want to learn in a particular study session. This helps you stay more focused on the task at hand.

-Stay healthy. Eat properly and get enough sleep. Try to remain in a studying routine rather than staying up all night cramming. Eat regular meals and exercise if that is part of your normal routine. As part of staying healthy, it’s also important to monitor your emotional health by evaluating your stress level. When you get too stressed out, it influences other aspects of your performance and becomes a vicious cycle.

-Self-test. It’s important to have a firm understanding of what you know and what you don’t know. Remember that self-testing involves asking yourself questions about the material, saying the information to yourself or to someone else, and then checking to see whether you are correct.

-Study with a classmate. Studying with another serious-minded student has great benefits regardless of what kind of test you will have. One of the most successful models for studying with another is for individuals to study in their own and then to get together to ask each other questions a day or two before the exam. Both parties can then find out which concepts they know very well and which ones they need to spend more time in.

-Look at old exams. Talk to others who have previously taken the class. Finding out as much information about the test as possible, whether it’s from looking at old exams or by talking to others, is simply a smart thing to do. It’s not cheating; it’s being an informed consumer, so to speak. If professors permit students to keep their exams, you can fairly certain that they will not be giving that same test again. But it’s probably also a safe bet that the kinds of questions asked will be similar. When talking with students who have already taken the class and the professor, it’s a good rule of thumb to find out specifics about the level of questions and grading.

Many of these general tips are common sense. But they are tips that students often overlook as they get caught up in exam preparation. In the next section, we will focus more specifically on preparation for and taking objective exams.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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How to Read Faster

Are you a slow reader? Would you like to increase your reading speed? Check out these helpful tips.

-Choose high-interest material. It is best to push yourself to read faster with material that you are familiar with and enjoy. For example, if you like to read mystery novels, choose one to use for pushed reading.

-Practice every day. To increase your reading rate, you will need to push yourself to read faster every day for 10 to 15 minutes. Use your local or school newspaper or anything that will sustain your interest for that amount of time. You might want to choose three or four brief articles and take a short break after each one.

-Read at slightly-faster-than-comfortable-speeds. As you read, push yourself to read slightly faster than you usually do. You should feel a little uncomfortable reading at this speed and feel that you would prefer to slow down, but you should also sense that you understand what you are reading.

-Check your comprehension. Increasing your reading rate while losing comprehension provides no benefit. Therefore, you need to check your comprehension of the material you are reading. However, because you are changing a habit, it is ok to have comprehension of only 70 to 80 percent of what you read during pushed reading. In fact, if you are having 100 percent comprehension you can probably push yourself to read faster. To check your comprehension, try to summarize the information. Did you identify all the key ideas? What about important details and examples? If you find that you are not comprehending the information, slow down a bit.

-Try to read at the same time each day. Finding 15 minutes to read every day should not be much of a problem, but in order to keep an accurate record of your improvement you should try to find the time when you are most alert and try to read at that same time every day.

-Don’t give up. Improving your reading rate is a slow but steady process. You may make some great improvements one week then see little change the next. Don’t worry about the fluctuations in your rate, as long as you are seeing an overall increase. However, if you find that you have gone several weeks without any improvement, make a conscious effort to push yourself even faster when you read.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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Forming Study Groups

Study groups can be very helpful. In fact, one of the best ways to review is by forming study groups. Some students will form study groups that meet on a weekly basis to talk about and review what went on in class that week. Other students like to use study groups just before an exam as a way of reviewing and perhaps even getting a new or different perspective on what they have learned. Either way, study groups have big advantages if they are done right.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of being part of a study group is that it allows you to listen to information on another person’s voice, which can provide insights that you may not have considered. In a traditional course, you listen to your professor’s interpretation of the information during lectures, you read the text for another interpretation, and through these two sources, you come up with your own interpretation or meaning. You have listened, read, and written down material, so you have used several if your senses. All of this interaction should help you gain a greater degree of understanding of the material. It stands to reason, then, that by listening to and interacting with others who are also trying to understand the course information, you would gain a deeper understanding, be able to remember the concepts better, and subsequently do better on the exams.
It’s important to think about the characteristics of good study groups. Just meeting with people in the same course does not necessarily make a study group. Good study groups have the following characteristics:

-Everyone comes prepared. Study groups do not replace studying on your own. Everyone should come to the group prepared to review the information, pose and answer possible test questions, and voice questions about material they don’t understand. If the study group members have to spend all their time trying to teach a large portion of the course material to someone who didn’t even attempt to learn it on her own, most members will not benefit.

-Everyone can talk through a difficult idea with the group. It helps everyone in the group if you choose something that is giving you a bit of trouble or something that you may have some questions about. As you are reviewing your understanding of the concept, others who may understand it better than you should be encouraged to offer additional explanation. Don’t shy away from discussing information that you don’t know very well; it defeats the purpose of the group.

-Members of the study group should be classmates, but not necessarily friends. Everyone knows what can happen when friends get together to study: everything goes fine for the first few minutes, but it’s easy to get off track. It’s much better to have serious students, who all have the goal of doing well, in your study group rather than just recruiting your friends. That’s not to say that studying with friends will never work; it’s simply harder to study with friends than it is with classmates working toward a common goal.

-Meet at a place that is conducive to studying. Campus libraries often have study rooms set aside for just this purpose. Such rooms are generally small and sound proof so that normal conversation an discussion can be carried out with ease. If your library doesn’t have study rooms, dorms often have common areas equipped with study rooms. Empty classrooms can also work well if your only alternative is to study in someone’s room or at someone’s home or apartment, remind yourself what the purpose of the session is-to review the course material for a test, not to socialize.

-Have clear goals and structure. When you initially form a study group, you should have a more specific goal than to get together and study. Most groups meet at regular times. Groups that have a game plan in mind before they come together are generally the most successful.

Almost everyone can benefit from belonging to a study group at one time or another, but study groups work particularly well for students who learn better auditorily and through discussion and in courses they find problematic.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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Active Listening Skills

Listen. Really listen and you’ll learn a lot in your classes! Try not to daydream too much.

It’s not only important to know how you take and organize your notes, but also the kinds of information you should include. Of course, the kinds of information you should put in your notes vary from class to class. Listen for the following cues that your professor may give as a way of figuring out what is important to note:

-Lists. Lists of things begin with cues such as “There were three major reasons why President Johnson committed more troops to Vietnam.” “Short-term memory has five characteristics.” Anytime you hear a number followed by several factors, stages, characteristics, etc., make sure you write the number of things along with the explanation.

-Cause and effect. When you hear your professor discuss causes an effects, be sure to write it down. Cause/effect cues are common in history and political science. For example, there might be an event that caused a president to make a certain decision and this decision, in turn, had numerous effects on other events and decisions. In science, cause/effect can deal with concepts such as diseases or the good chain.

-Definitions. Perhaps one of the most frequent types if information your professor will give in a lecture is definitions. Your professor might cue you by saying something as basic as “covalent bond can be defined as….” It’s a good idea to get definitions written down in your notes precisely. If you only get down a portion of a definition or aren’t sure that you have it exactly right, check your text or with your professor as soon after class as possible.

-Examples. Definitions are quite frequently followed by examples. Yet often, students will see “example time” as an occasion to tune out. But examples discussed in class make for prime test questions. If you have to choose, we believe it’s actually more important to get examples in your notes than it is definitions (you can get the definitions from your textbook).

-Extended comments. When the professor spends a lot of time explaining something, you can be sure that it is important information. Try to stay connected with the lecturer during extended comments and take down as much of the information as possible. Essay, short answer, and higher-level multiple-choice items often come from these extended comments.

-Superlatives. Anytime a professor uses words such as “most important,” or “best explanation,” “least influential,” be sure to write it down. For example, there may be many explanations for how memory works, but your psychology professor might believe that one explanation is the “best.” There are the kinds of things professors love to ask about on exams.

-Voice or volume change. When professors think something is important or they want to stress it, they generally speak louder and slower. A change in the voice can be a clear indication that something important is being said.

-Process notes. Process notes consist of information the professor gives about tests, how to study, when study or review sessions are held, how to think about the information, or how he wants an essay structured. They can also include clues about what information might be on the exam. Process notes often come right at the beginning of class, before some students are ready to take notes, or at the end of class, when some students are packed up and ready to leave.

Becoming an active listener takes time, especially for classes in which you have little interest. It’s not too difficult to stay connected with the lecturer in classes that you like or in classes where you have a professor who is dynamic. It’s much more difficult in those courses that are, in some way, less appealing. But try to think about the bigger picture. If you are an active listener and take organized notes for the entire class period, studying and learning the course material will be a much easier task.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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Interacting With Professors

Some general tips about interacting with professors.

First impressions are important, and it’s important to make a good impression on your professor right from day one.

-Sit up front in class. When you are up front, you are more likely to stay alert and focused on the lecture, especially if you are in a class with lots of other students. If you can’t get a seat up front, at least try to sit in the professor’s line of vision.

-Ask questions. Professors may begin or end each class with a question and answer period. Others will tell students to raise their hands at any time during the lecture if they have a question. Ask well thought out questions.

-Ask for help sooner rather than later. Nothing makes a worse impression than waiting until the day before the test, or worst yet, five minutes before the test, to ask a question about course material that was presented a week earlier. As soon as you realize that you are having trouble, make an appointment to see your professor, a tutor, or some other person designated to provide assistance.

-Read the syllabus. The syllabus contains a wealth of information and should always be your first source when you have questions about grading, course pacing, or expectations. Therefore, it’s important not to waste time by asking questions whose answers are outlined on the syllabus.

-Know and follow the class rules. Most professors have pet peeves about something. It’s important for students to know what rules are in place and to follow them. Don’t be the student in the class that the professor uses as an example of inappropriate behavior.

-Talk with your professors via email.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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Reducing Academic Stress

Three important tips for reducing academic stress.

If you feel a lot of academic pressure, try these three important tips.

1. Don’t procrastinate. This sounds simple enough, but probably most of the academic stress students experience comes from waiting until the last minute to get their assignments done. You are much better off starting early and doing some work each night rather than letting it wait until it is due.

2. Don’t listen to other students cram right before the test. If your classmates are discussing something you have forgotten it will just make you more nervous. Simply take your seat, gather your thoughts, take a few deep breaths, and wait for the test to begin. Many students who experience academic stress madly rush through their notes as they are waiting for the exams to be passed out, but this too can make you more stressed if you find a topic that you don’t remember. It is much better to use the time before the exam to relax.

3. Lean to say no. Many students experience academic stress because they have too much to do. Don’t take on too much added responsibility beyond your classes. Even though you might be offered some interesting opportunities, if you wind up with too much to do, your grades and your health could suffer. Learn to say no to some things if you find you have too much to handle.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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Math Anxiety

Math is the worst for me. It is hard. So I definitely have gotten anxiety when it comes to getting a good grade in math and trying to understand what’s going on amidst the x’s and square roots. As with writing, some students feel stress when they encounter anything that has to do with numbers.

Students who experience math anxiety usually try to avoid taking math-related courses. For most students, math anxiety usually results from previous experiences in math classes. You may have had some trouble with a particular topic and have told yourself “I can’t do math” ever since. For some reason math anxiety seems to be the most traumatic and widespread.

However, just like any other type of stress, math anxiety is an overreaction to a situation and, therefore, you can change your response to mathematics. Let’s try these tricks for coping with mathematics anxiety.

-Face it head-on. Don’t wait until your senior year to take your math courses-take them early and overcome your fears.

-Take a class that is at your level. Don’t try to get into calculus if you have never had a pre-calculus course.

-Spend some time each day reading the textbook and doing the practice problems. Going to class is not enough, because you must be able to apply what you have learned to new situations.

-Talk the problems through. One of the best strategies for learning math is to solve problems with words. That is, explain in words how to solve the problem rather than just trying to plug in numbers.

-Get help early on. If you find that you are having trouble learning math concepts, see help as soon as you need it. Get help from a classmate or the instructor, and plan to work with a tutor weekly if necessary. In math classes, the information you are learning usually builds on itself so if you don’t understand what you learned in chapter 2, you will have even more trouble learning the material in chapter 6.

-Use positive talk. Don’t say, “I can’t” or “I’ll never” to yourself because these thoughts can be self-defeating. Instead, try to focus on the positives. Reward yourself for figuring out a tough problem and keep trying to do your best. Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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General Test Anxiety

Ya we know, tests can be scary.

Test anxiety is similar to writing and math anxiety except it is a feeling of stress when studying for or taking an exam, regardless of the subject. You might worry about the types of questions that will be on the test, forgetting about and missing the test, or studying the wrong material. Students who experience test anxiety are often paralyzed with fear when faced with a test situation and they end up missing questions they knew.

Many different experiences can lead to test anxiety. It might be caused by past test-taking experiences, such as blanking on answers, or failing an exam. It could also be caused by inadequate test preparation. If you know that you are not really prepared to take an exam, it’s natural to be anxious about it. Test anxiety can also be caused by competition with your friends or classmates. If you are focusing on how others are doing, you might cause yourself undue stress. In addition, test anxiety can be caused by a lack of confidence in yourself as a learner. When students feel that they are not good learners, they tend to scone more anxious about testing situations. If you find that you are talking negatively to yourself about you ability to learn, you may actually be causing yourself greater anxiety.

Coping with test anxiety. To cope with general test anxiety, try the following suggestions:

-Be prepared. If you monitor your learning to the point where you know which concepts you understand and which concepts are giving you problems, you will feel more confident. Allow enough time for studying, but also have all of the things you need ready for the test. Do you need a pencil, calculator,, notes, or anything else? You don’t want to be tracking these things down right before the test, so be ready to go the night before.

-Understand the task. Talk to the professor about what the exams will be like. Even better, try to look at some of the professor’ sold exams. Examining retired tests will give you an idea of what kinds of questions the professor asks and will also help you become familiar with the professor’s questioning style. It is also a good idea to talk to the professor or to students who have taken the class about the content and format of the exams.

-Arrive to take the test a bit early. Get organized and practice some deep breathing techniques to relax. Take a few deep breaths; think of something you find comforting-the sound of the ocean, a walk in the woods; concentrate on and relax each of your muscle groups.

-Have an approach in mind. If you find you blank out in exams, try to make jot lists as soon as you get the test. Read each question and just jot down everything you know about it in the margin of the test. Don’t look at any answers if it is a multiple-choice type test, just write everything you know before you blank out.

-Focus on you. Ignore other students who finish the exam before you. Just because they finish before you does not mean that they know more than you do. It might be that they are done so early because they don’t know the answers. But either way, don’t worry about what other students are doing.

-Get help controlling your anxiety. There are usually several resource areas on campus that can help you. You might need some tutoring in course content, or some counseling to deal with your anxiety, or you might be eligible for alternate testing situations such as increased time for tests.

-Visualize your success. Think about how well you will do before you walk into the test and remind yourself that you are well prepared and ready to go as the test is being handed out. The more positive you can be, the less anxiety you’ll feel.

Excerpt from College Success Strategies by Sherrie L. Nist and Jodi Patrick Holschuh.

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