Most letters spared postal rate hike
The Postal Service said Thursday that rates for most kinds of mail will increase April 17. The cost of sending the basic letter will remain the same. The 44-cent price of a first-class stamp won't change, but heavier letters will cost more. The basic rate is for the first ounce, and the price for each extra ounce will rise from 17 cents to 20 cents. The post office can raise rates as long as it doesn't exceed inflation, which would permit an increase of 1.7 percent averaged over all mail.
Other rate increases:
• Post cards will rise by a penny to 29 cents.
• Letters to Canada or Mexico increase to 80 cents, from 75 cents to Canada and 79 cents to Mexico.
• Letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents.
• Express Mail and Priority Mail prices are not affected.
• Prices will also rise for other services, including advertising mail, periodicals and packages.
The write way to beat test jitters
A simple writing exercise can relieve students of test anxiety and may help them get better scores than their less anxious classmates, a new study has found. The report in today's edition of the journal Science said students who spend 10 minutes before an exam writing about their thoughts and feelings can free up brainpower previously occupied by testing worries and do their best work. "We essentially got rid of this relationship between test anxiety and performance," said Sian Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study. Researchers found students improved their test grades by nearly one grade point — from a B-minus to a B-plus, for example — if they were given 10 minutes before an exam to write about their feelings.