Know How to Study

Filed in Study Tip, Studying and Learning

When probed, many of my students report that they have never been guided on how to study. Here is a list of empirically based strategies for student learning.

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Letter to Incoming Students

Filed in Announcements

Read letter from Kevin Cummins

Opportunity for Presenting Your Research

Filed in Announcements

MRC poster2

For more information see:

If you want help setting up your posters, let me know.


Super sharp statistician was confused by statistics, at first

Filed in Uncategorized

When I first learned a little statistics, I felt confused, and others I spoke to confessed that they had similar feelings. Not because the mathematics was difficult-most of that was a lot easier than pure mathematics-but because I found it difficult to follow the logic by which inferences were arrived at from data. It sounded as if the statement that a null hypothesis was rejected at the 5% level meant that there was only a 5% chance of that hypothesis was true, and yet the books warned me that this was not a permissible interpretation. Similarly, the statement that a 95% confidence interval for an unknown parameter ran from -2 to +2 sounded as if the parameter lay in that interval with 95% probability and yet I was warned that all I could say was that if I carried out similar procedures time after time then the unknown parameters would lie in the confidence intervals I constructed 95% of the time. It appeared that the books I looked at were not answering the questions that would naturally occur to a beginner, and that instead they answered some rather recondite questions which no-one was likely to want to ask.

This quote was written by Peter M Lee, author of Bayesian Statistics: An Introduction.

Sleep and School

Filed in Studying and Learning

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Penny Lewis has a lot for us to learn about sleep science. Sleep deprivation reduces memory function. Those late night last minute study sessions can be an inefficient way to retain information. Caffeine can disrupt your natural sleep cycle for up to 12 hours. The effect on sleep is the same 6 hours after consumption as it is 30 minutes later. Good sleep hygiene is characteristic good students.

Follow the Brian Science Podcast on iTunes or here.



Final on Thrusday

Filed in Homework

By now you should have submitted your list of awards for the final (and your grade target), via email. If you have not done so, do so immediately.


Teaching and Learning

Filed in Studying and Learning


This is a very pivotal video series on teaching and learning in science classrooms. With standard approaches to teaching and assessment, students can fail to develop useful understanding of key concepts. Many students and their teachers don’t even realize misconceptions are held by even the brightest and highest achieving students.

Below: Harvard and MIT graduates are asked to light a bulb with wire and a battery. They say they can, but can’t. They are asked where plants get most of their mass. Atmosphere, soil, water? Some are certain plants get their mass from the soil or water… and it can’t be from carbon dioxide in the air.

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We all hold misconceptions. How can they be identified if we don’t express them?



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This unofficial website is maintained and owned by Kevin Cummins. Content provided does not reflect the views or opinions of the San Diego Community College District or San Diego Mesa College. Comments about the content on this site should be directed to the web site owner at: (which will forward to the official Mesa email address).
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