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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO McGraw-Hill's LearnSmart is said to boost students' results by a full letter grade. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO McGraw-Hill's LearnSmart is said to boost students' results by a full letter grade.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by EMILY THIEL Special to The Press in Focus

LearnSmart, Tegrity Campus provide collegiate edge

Spring break is over for most. College students are back in class. The spring semester is full-speed ahead for those working on their higher education degrees.

A new year and new semester often leads students to create higher expectations and goals for themselves, but student slacking is prone to happen as the semester continues.

McGraw-Hill Education has created study tips and tools for college-level students intended to improve their grades, results and learning habits.

Area colleges and universities, including Cedar Crest College, Muhlenberg College, Lehigh University and Northampton Community, utilize McGraw-Hill education computer software programs.

"One of our key missions is to help students improve their results," says Sharon Loeb, Vice President of Marketing at McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

"We found over time there are things students can do to improve their performance and help them with their results," Loeb says.

To improve test scores, keep low stress levels and improve brain function. McGraw-Hill experts recommend that students eat well, stay physically active, use mnemonic devices, and chew gum while studying. Foods like dark chocolate and berries are full of antioxidants that help to improve memory and coordination.

"One of the things we found is that students have a tendency to prepare for exams by studying everything, instead of focusing in on the things they haven't mastered yet," Loeb says.

Reviewing information the student already knows can be a less efficient way of studying for tests and exams. While technology can sometimes be a distraction for students, McGraw-Hill has created technology to assist students and focus their studies.

McGraw-Hill's LearnSmart gives students options to learn more information and is said to boost their results by a full letter grade.

Of LearnSmart, Loeb says, "It helps students come to class more prepared. The product helps to narrow student studies and reinforce the information they are most likely to forget.

"By the time the exam comes around, they have had the opportunity to master the [most challenging topics] … as well as building on the knowledge they already have," Loeb says.

McGraw-Hill's Tegrity Campus is designed for students to refresh themselves about lectures professors have taught. According to its website, "Tegrity Campus makes class time available all the time by automatically capturing, storing and indexing every lecture."

Loeb refers to the products created at McGraw-Hill as "super-adaptive learning technologies." The company works with students and faculty in observing, chatting and interacting to find out what works in terms of success.

"[These] technologies allow students to be much more efficient and effective with their studies, which leaves them time to do other things. If they make responsible choices they can allocate that time to eat well and exercise during the semester," Loeb says.

"Skills that will make a student effective in higher education aren't always the same [as high school levels]," says Loeb.