Colorado has made many of the top ten lists this year thanks to our wonderful quality of life, among other attractive characteristics the state has to offer. Innovation in the state has also taken off, as a report by Dr. Greg Graff and myself will illustrate when released this fall. In the mean time, Dr. Stephan Weiler just released The 2014 Colorado Innovation Report, Keeping Colorado's Innovative Economy Dynamic, which if chalked full of interesting statistics and trends surrounding innovative activities in Colorado. Be sure to check it out or read the highlights in this CSU Source Article.
As a professor at CSU I have often found students in my office seeking help and study advice an hour (or less) before the exam, at which point I respond "go outside, take a walk, eat some food, and put your notes down at least 30 minutes before the exam". Upon hearing this most students laugh at me and head back to their study nook to cram until test time. That's not to say there aren't a few students who do take my advice (albeit not until the 2nd or 3rd time I give it), but most really don't believe me. Luckily, this week's Science Friday article, "To Master Test Material, Give Your Brain a Break", 'proves' exactly what I've been telling my students for years about good and bad study habits. The program discusses how important it is to get 6-7 hours of sleep, take a break when you've hit a wall, get outside and exercise, and many other helpful study tips. This is advice most of us have herd before, but don't often utilize as we hold a false belief that if we spend more time studying we will do better on the exam. However, in reality, studying smart can be much more effective as this Science Friday program explains.
When I was an undergraduate at Whitman College I was given the same advice I now give my students, don't study right up until an exam, but I never took that great advice and often studied until the professor walked in the room with the exams. However, I did learn early on that I score higher on an exam by walking in unprepared than forgoing sleep to study all night. Sleeping at least 6 hours and studying until the professor walked into the room worked for me at Whitman, and worked for a while at CSU too, until it came time to take my Ph.D. Qualifying Exams. Dr. Alexandra Bernasek warned us not to study the DAY before the exam because we should have studied for months, thus by the Sunday before exams we should just relax. I laughed at this advice thinking maybe I'd forgo studying the morning of the exam, but I'd be crazy not to study hard on Sunday....then I marginally failed the qualifier and hit several mental road blocks along the way. I then re-enineered my study strategy by doing several things:
1) I took every 5th day off to get outside and do something active, like a long hike.
2) I did practice exams in the same time period I'd have for the exam
3) I slept, exercised, and took breaks regularly
4) I didn't study the Sunday before the exam
5) I knew I'd pass
The result? I full passed both exams. Since then I've been trying to convince others to do the same, often with little luck, but thanks to this weeks Science Friday I've got experts to back up my study strategies. Thanks NPR!