Updated: Jan 9
I was never a "straight-A" student. If you read my second book, Study Skills for Success, you'll know that I learned something early in my life which had a detrimental effect on my approach to studying.
I never did homework in primary school, and that meant that I didn't learn any of the things I needed in high school to be able to study for exams.
The first skill that I could have developed, was planning. I had no idea how to use a diary, or how to divide and use my time.
The second skill, was the art of asking questions - including - asking for help. It never occurred to me that I could ask a teacher to explain a concept until I understood it (and could use it myself). And I never realised that I could ask a friend about their approaches to solving a problem.
Even if I'd managed just those two skills, I would have been a lot smarter and wiser. Imagine, being able to learn!
I would have been organised. I would have had a plan, and therefore a sense of direction. That would have given me confidence.
And when I couldn't work something out, I would have had some people to turn to for help. I would have had a support network.
But alas, I was totally unaware!
At one point, in Year 7, I had a friend who would call me at dinnertime to ask if I'd done my maths homework. She struggled, and needed my help. I hadn't even looked at it, so she got me to open up the books and go through it with her.
If only I had learned the great lesson from that experience! To teach, is to learn. That means, that when you have to explain something to someone else, it helps you to simplify the concept and to work through examples, so you understand it better.
That's why study groups work. They're not about quietly reading in the library with your classmates. You go away and work through a practice exam question, by yourself. Then, you come back to the group, and teach them how you solved the problem or answered the question. You include all the research and resources, as well as the step-by-step workings. Your study buddies can suggest other ways, until you all agree on the best approach.
Don't have a study group? Parents make great practice students, as do younger siblings. There are plenty of ways to find study buddies, but I strongly recommend a group of only 3 members, meeting weekly for an hour, at the same time. Like a business meeting, you have an agenda and responsibilities.
When I was an undergraduate at uni, I fumbled my way through my courses. But the courses in which I excelled, were the ones for which I applied at least one of the above suggestions.
I was more confident when I contributed to a healthy study group, and more successful, than at any other time.
Although being in a study group meant that I had to meet my obligations reliably, that didn't add to my stress levels. It actually reduced my stress. That's because of 3 important things.
Being reliable for my study group made me reliable for myself: I had a plan and I stuck to it. It gave me accountability.
I was actively working toward my goals, in a timely fashion.
It just felt great. I suppose, it made me feel successful, because each time I tried something, it worked!
What about you? What do you credit with your study and exam success?
One last tip ... I use housework for 4 important purposes.
Firstly, you need to break up your study periods - 20-30 minute blocks. If you sit in front of the books for too long, you will get too tired.
Secondly, you need to do something completely different, to allow what you've been studying to find its best place in your brain. It needs to find the other stuff in your brain, that is related, so you can find it more easily at exam time.
Thirdly, the housework always needs doing! If you live alone, who else will do it? If you live with someone else, you still need to pull your weight (we should never take our support networks for granted, and our family is the most important).
And lastly, believe it or not, housework can be incredibly therapeutic when you're studying. It shifts your mindset, relaxes you, and helps you find your Einstein Moments.
Now, I mentioned at the start, that I wrote a book. It gives you more insight and tips, and doesn't cost the earth. You can purchase it from the store, along with a great range of meditations, that help with all kinds of stress relief.
Also, I do study skills seminars, by negotiation. These sessions are designed for groups of up to 50 students, at school, with one parent each in attendance. The school principal and year coordinator should be there too. They are suitable for children from Year 6, onwards, and are tweaked to be age-appropriate. Just email me, and we'll get it started.
You probably know at least 3-4 people, who have come to mind while you've read this article. Why not buy them a gift certificate? It doesn't matter where they are, because coaching can be delivered over the phone just as well as in person (possibly even better over the phone).
But, what about you? Just ask yourself, "Do I want every aspect of my life to be a 10/10?" Well, it's never too late (unless my diary is full). All you need to do, to book in for your first coaching session, is choose! And there's the absolutely fantastic 8-Week Breakthrough Results Program, if you are really committed to living your most authentic life.
Now, maybe you need some other tools - such as books, meditations, meditation school, a tarot and oracle card reading, or to consider what kinds of strategies you need in your life (Ahem. I am Certified Results Coach, and you can book a free strategy session over the phone, anywhere in the world).
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