Argosy University Blog

Foods That Strengthen Learning Abilities

In the academic quest to maintain a high GPA, many do not realize that there are a few things that you can do in addition to studying that can assist you with your goals, such as making sure your nutritional needs are met. There are a few particular foods that people can consume, which science shows may actually help to strengthen your cognitive abilities.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Choline
Both Omega-3 fatty acids and choline are found in fish, so get yourself to a local fish-fry festival! Okay, maybe not, since frying fish completely defeats the nutritional benefit. But it appears as if fish is one of the best brain foods that you can eat, as fish have high levels of both substances, both of which are directly linked to brain functionality.

Omega-3’s help your body to produce chemicals that it naturally needs, in particular, chemicals your brain uses. When you have less of these chemicals, your ability to think and retain information may be lower. With Omega-3's, your body can produce more of these vital chemicals easier, thereby improving your cognitive abilities.

Choline is a B-vitamin which has a positive effect on the hippocampus, your brain’s memory center. In tests where pregnant women were given choline, their children tested higher on IQ tests than those mothers whom did not ingest choline while pregnant. Choline is not only found in fish; it can also be found in eggs, beef, cauliflower, navy beans, almonds, and peanut butter.

Fewer Carbohydrates Mean More Focus
Recent studies have demonstrated that to stay focused for longer periods of time, you need to cut down on your carbohydrate consumption. While carbohydrates give us energy, too many carbohydrates can leave you feeling distracted and sleepy, making it virtually impossible to focus on anything. Foods notorious for bringing on these feelings are dense breads and pastas, “heavy” foods with very high caloric content from carbohydrates. The best way to go would be to eat more fruits and vegetables, which actually provide carbohydrates, but aren’t as dense. This way, you can get the energy that you need with out the sleepy feeling afterward.

Eating some of the foods listed above can help you power through a tough study session or class assignment, providing you with energy and essential nutrition.

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Research Reveals Traits of Successful Online Students

According to Reuters, the University of Missouri Columbia School of Health Professions has been able to determine some traits that successful online students tend to have. Clinical assistant professor Shawna Strickland performed a study regarding the demographics as well as personalities of individuals in online programs.

The study, titled "Understanding Successful Characteristics of Adult Learners," revealed that those introverted, quiet individuals were more likely to be comfortable taking classes online. Whereas such individuals tend to be withdrawn in the traditional class setting, online provides a way for these folks to complete work on their own and do so anonymously.

Also cited are additional research findings from Southampton University, which demonstrates that of the two learning styles – active and passive – active learners are actually more successful because they retain more information, demonstrate better cognitive processes, have a longer attention span and will interact more with classmates and professors. Passive learners however, may struggle with joining class discussions.

Online Education serves to work to the benefit of both types of learners, because the anonymous collaboration makes it easier for passive learners to engage with their professors & classmates. Strickland is quoted, saying: "Correlations between learning styles and success in distance education have shown to be inconclusive. However, one common theme reappears: the successful traits of a distance learner are similar to the successful traits of an adult learner in traditional educational settings."

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Study Your Way to Academic Success

Every student develops their own unique study habits to help them succeed, and some of these habits are more effective than others. Regardless of whether you’re starting a new program, wishing to improve your GPA, or looking for a way to better organize yourself, you may find some of the tips listed below helpful.

  • Know Your Learning Style. Auditory learners learn best through hearing; tactile learners do best with hands-on methods; visual learners excel when using visual aids. Determine which type of learner you are and proceed accordingly.
  • Take Thorough Notes That YOU Understand. If you’re the type that learns simply from reading, then you’ll most likely find that detailed, text-heavy notes are useful. If you’re a visually-oriented person however, try using symbols & doodles to assist you with note taking. Also, make note of any words or phrases that the teacher seems to place extra emphasis on.
  • Color Code Your Notes & Assignments. Use highlighters, markers, or multi-colored page tabs to color code your notes and assignments. This way, you’ll have a much easier time preparing for major tests and assignments.
  • Write Down All Assignments. This may seem like an obvious task, but far too many individuals do not complete assignments on time because they didn’t write them down and simply forgot about them. If you use a planner, it may be best for you to write your assignments there. If not, you may want to try writing the assignment on a post-it note and then placing it amongst your notes accordingly, or even saving it in your cell phone’s event planner.
  • Always Turn Your Assignments in On Time. When you’ve finished an assignment, why not post it to your online classroom immediately? If for some reason you’re not going to be able to complete or post an assignment on time, it’s important that you communicate with your professor.
  • Designate a Study Area at Home. Whether you need absolute silence with bright light or dim lights and soft music, designate an area at home that meets your needs and study in that area, making sure that you are uninterrupted.
  • Prepare Yourself Physically for Big Assignments.
  • In addition to studying for a test, you should always make sure that you eat properly and provide your body with the nutrition that it needs. A malnourished body generally will not do well on a test. Likewise, be sure to get enough sleep so that you’re fully alert and on your "A-game."
  • Don't Procrastinate. This is the one that gets even the best students at one point or another. It’s always easy to say, "this can wait until tomorrow," but once you’ve put off the task at hand for a few tomorrow’s, you might find yourself with a once-minor task that has grown into a seemingly insurmountable one. If you can do something today, why wait? Just get it finished so that you can move onto other projects.
  • Stay Positive. It's easy to fall into a pattern of negative thought, especially if the subject you’re studying is one that doesn’t particularly hold your interest. If you find yourself grumbling and groaning about doing class work for a subject that isn’t your favorite, try to remind yourself why you enrolled in class in the first place. Think ahead to the future, and remember that this is just a part of what needs to be done in order to reach your goals.
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