The Final Push

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With finals around the corner, working out problems for classes is becoming something that students are dealing with on a daily basis to stay ahead. While this may be the case getting stuck on that "one" problem is a common occurrence that I am sure we have all experienced. I recently had one of these moments where I was working on a physics problem and no matter what I tried or read in the book I just could not figure out the problem. So instead of giving up and quitting, I took a "step back", relaxed, had a drink of water and attacked the problem once again. This time I focused my energy not on the problem but the bigger picture and by taking that "step back" I was able to focus on what really was important in the problem and complete the problem with ease. Looking back at this experience it seems to me that when I take a "step back", relax for a minute, or drink some water I am able to (almost all the time) solve the problem. By doing one of these activities I am able interrupt my focus on the unnecessary information that my brain is processing and re-focus on the other parts of the problem that I had been missing. While this approach may not work for everyone, I suggest taking that "step back" and making the final push on the problems that you don't understand. In the end it may just help you to solve that problem and save your grade.


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Interesting post, I also have found myself in similar situation, where time after time I fail and look online, check the back of the book, ask friends, and no one can seem to help. On those long study sessions we partake in, sometimes we tend to over-complicate problems, making life (and studying) a lot harder. By taking a step back, relaxing, maybe playing some xbox (just kidding), I have also found that with a clear mind i tend to revert back to a easier method, and find the solution quickly. This post reminds me of heuristics from back a couple chapters ago, and by taking a step back, our available heuristic may present itself and help guide us to understanding.

I agree with taking a step back. I use this strategy especially in math situations. My brain becomes so focused on one aspect of the problem that I can't wrap my mind around the gaps or the big picture. When I take a break and come back refreshed my mind is able to refocus and solve whatever is in front of me.

Great post! I'm sure many students, including myself, can relate to your frustration during this time of the year that school is coming to an end. I also at times have those moments where I think my brain is going to explode. I'm amazed at the capacity that the human brain can handle and the threshold of knowledge it can maintain. Amazing! What other techniques would you suggest to get yourself a "brain break"? How can this relate back to psychology concepts?

I''m curious if there is a certain amount of time it takes for the brain to "Recharge" and forget a mental set. Obviously I would think that the more time the better but part of me believes there are some situations in which it would be impossible for the brain to break the mental set it's in.

I totally agree with the whole "step back" method. It has definitely worked for me in the past and I plan to keep implementing this strategy on future problems I face. It is always a good idea to step back and reassess everything that is going on around you, take it in, and move past it with a new outlook on the problem. Great post! I think it's an interesting way to deal with things that does work most of the time.

I agree but sometimes it's not entirely the 'step back' you take but the time you take to look at problems in a different light or from a different point of view. I see this helping people in many different settings, tough/long calc and physics problems, when thinking about abstract ideas, and it will help a lot in the work place. Where ever we end up working in the future, being able to look at problems in different ways will help us go a lot further then if we didn't.

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This page contains a single entry by joh07961 published on March 25, 2012 11:58 PM.

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