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Sruthi Swami

Sruthi is one of the Social Media interns at Brainscape and works with Twitter, YouTube and writes for the Brainscape blog among other things. A rising senior at Barnard College, she hails from the sunny land of California whose weather she misses dearly. Studying Psychology and French, she can often be found taking naps in parks, reading Harry Potter and eating cupcakes. Sruthi hopes to stay in New York after school is over doing something or the other. She's not sure what exactly though.

Sruthi Swami's Posts

Does the time of day affect our ability to learn?

By , 12/6/2011 at 8:39 am

flavor tripping, miracle fruit

I had always thought of myself as a morning person. When I got to college, I made sure to schedule all my classes to start as early as possible and to finish by about 3 in the afternoon. Therefore, I was quite irate when my schedule this semester worked out so that none of my classes started until 2:40 at the earliest! How was I going to get through the evening classes when I was sure I’d be exhausted by then?

More importantly, would my brain be less effective at absorbing the class’s information in the evening as opposed to the morning?
(more…)

How to Study in Groups

By , 11/14/2011 at 9:31 am

When I was in middle school, I was never allowed to go to study groups, the single reason being that my parents thought that I would not actually be able to get any studying accomplished. I found this to be true when during high school, my friends would invite me to study groups and instead of studying, we would procrastinate even more.

However, upon entering college, I have found that changing the way I study in study groups has not only led me to learn more, but there has also been a significant increase (as far as I can tell) in my grades as compared to when I study by myself. Why is this? (more…)

Does reading out loud cause you to remember things better?

By , 10/10/2011 at 7:38 am

We have previously written about how, when learning a new language, it is crucial to speak out loud in addition reading from a textbook. We have always emphasized reading, and even singing, as good tools for improving one’s accent and for general practice of the language. However, reading material out loud can also be an effective strategy to remember things. (more…)

Travel guidebooks as language instructors

By , 10/4/2011 at 8:00 am

When people voyage to foreign countries, many times they bring guidebooks with them not only to get an idea of what to see, but also for the little section that’s always present at the back of the book. Vocabulary in the country’s language. I recently found an Italian guidebook that my parents had bought over ten years ago, and, perusing it, I started thinking about what exactly the point was of having a language section. (more…)

Learning Spanish through yoga

By , 9/13/2011 at 8:27 am

If you love languages, you are always looking for new ways to keep learning more and more. Study books, interactive websites, conversation cafés, and immersion in a foreign country are only a few of the many ways that one can learn a language. Within these methods is another strategy that I recently “re-found”, a strategy whose effectiveness, I realized, is seriously downplayed. What is that strategy? Movement.

I recently stumbled upon an article in the Orange County Register news of an interview with yoga instructor Claire Nightingale. Nightingale, who has had experience as a high school English and Spanish teacher, talked about how she has seen many of her students get frustrated with their inability to understand certain aspects of the language. It was from that frustration that she conceived of the idea of teaching Spanish through yoga. (more…)

What’s in an Idiom?

By , 9/7/2011 at 7:29 am

One of the greatest challenges that many people face when learning a new language is that of learning idioms. What often happens is that we literally translate a phrase from our first language to the new language in an effort to stay true to the structure provided by our native language, which generally does not mean what we want it to.

For example, after a particularly long day playing volleyball, I told my French host family that I was feeling very sore. However since I did not know at the time how to say “sore”, I ended up saying something that in English translated to “my body is very hurt”, or “I have a tired body”. They understood what I was saying after a while and laughed, but kindly informed me that there was an idiom that more accurately conveyed what I was trying to say.

That being said, in English we have so many idiomatic expressions that we are not even aware of using simply because they are idiomatic, and thus very natural to our English language. Taken literally, many of these idioms do not make sense at all; however we know what they mean because we’ve grown up using them!

In a blog post adapted from How-to-study.com, the author lists some of the idioms very commonly used in the English language. Take a look at the list below! (more…)

The Power of Making Your Own Vlog

By , 8/15/2011 at 8:39 am

If you have been keeping up with the Brainscape blog for a while or have rifled through old blog posts, you may have noticed that a member of the Brainscape team, Amanda Moritz, used to have a video blog of herself trying to learn Spanish. Although she only has two videos up, the point is that she took action and decided to share her learning experience with other people.

Many language learners try to learn languages by themselves without any guidance or input from others. While that could work in the early learning stages, you will eventually have to come in contact with other people so that you can speak the language and put it into use in order to make sure that you are on the right track. (more…)

Weather and Memory

By , 8/9/2011 at 9:22 am

Have you ever noticed that the during a particularly bad weather day, your mood takes a turn for the worse? As the clouds thunder through the sky and rain pours down the street, you feel your mood growing darker and darker? Have you ever felt particularly happy on a bright sunny day? That you were in a very light mood and that nothing could go wrong?

Well, not only have there been studies that have shown that the weather affects one’s mood, but there have also been studies that have shown that weather, affecting one’s mood in turn affects one’s memory. (more…)

Does the time of day affect our ability to learn?

By , 8/3/2011 at 9:36 am

I had always thought of myself as a morning person. When I got to college, I made sure to schedule all my classes to start as early as possible and to finish by about 3 in the afternoon. Therefore, I was quite irate when my schedule this semester worked out so that none of my classes started until 2:40 at the earliest. How was I going to get through the day when I was sure that I would be sleeping through all my classes? Imagine my surprise when even without an alarm I started waking up by about 9 in the morning and was able to pay attention in class without any urge to sleep. It also came as a complete surprise when I found that my six-week grades were better this semester than they had ever been previously. What did this mean, aside from the fact that clearly I had been mistaken in thinking that I was a morning person?

I came to the conclusion that the change in my routine caused me to learn better in my afternoon/evening classes than in my morning classes, which translated to the afternoons and evenings being the “optimal time” of day for me to learn. But, is this actually true? Is there an optimal time in the day that is more productive for learning? (more…)

Contemplate and Reflect! : How to use Meditation to improve your Study Efficiency

By , 7/26/2011 at 10:28 am

meditations effects on learningMeditation can be a powerful tool both for your personal and academic life. It is very hard to underestimate the influence mindful meditation can exercise on your cognitive and studying abilities. But what exactly is it doing to enhance our studying? (more…)

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