Tag Archive for: bettermarks

Stop me if this seems familiar…

You’ve been really focussed on your work and spending hours at your desk studying.

You’ve even made studying a priority, cutting back on work and your social life to hit the books.

All your friends think that you’ll be getting straight As with the amount of work you’ve been doing.

But your results just aren’t seeing any improvement!

How does that make you feel?

Like you’re wasting your time?

Like you should just give up?

Like you’re just not smart enough to succeed?

I get it. You’ve made all these sacrifices for no reason and the only thing that’s changed are your levels of exhaustion and frustration!

We know you have the best of intentions and you’re putting in the effort and doing ALL the things.  So, what’s going wrong?

‘I’m working really hard, but my marks still aren’t improving’.

Throughout my 32 years of working with High School students I’ve heard this complaint a lot of times.

Lucky for you, I’ve learned a thing or two about why students don’t always get the academic results they want.

Often it comes down to one of these 5 reasons.

(Pssst, if you want more tips on how to improve your study habits, be sure to connect with us on all our social platforms).

#1. You Compare Yourself to Others

You must have heard that comparison is the thief of joy, right? That’s exactly what’s happening when you measure your actions and results against those of another person.

Every person is different and every student is different. That means that what works for one student might not work for you.

Your family situation, your interests and goals, your external commitments and even your personality all come into play.

You might be a visual learner, while they’re verbal or kinaesthetic.

You’re a night owl and they’re a fowl who would prefer to work early in the morning.

While it might look like they have it easy, you never actually know what’s going on for them.

You can only see people from the outside, and in the modern world that is often a sanitised, manufactured persona. You don’t see the internal struggles, the sacrifices and the difficulties they faced in getting there. You just see the end product – their success.

The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you.

Make sure that each day you are doing just a little bit better than the day before.

Focus on your own journey. Set your own goals. Run your own race.

This link is a great insight into why we should never compare ourselves youtube stop comparing yourself to others 

#2. You Have a Tendency to Procrastinate

Hey, friends, this is a judgment-free zone, so you can level with me on this.

Do you have things that you need to do in order to improve, but you’re happily ignoring them?

Maybe they just seem too hard? Too boring? Or too time consuming?

I thought so. It’s time to rip off that bandaid and get stuck in.

Chances are, once you start addressing these tasks they probably won’t be as hard or time consuming as you feared and you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Never put off until tomorrow things that you could do today.

If procrastination is a real problem for you, we have a great workshop that will help you get on top of it Managing Procrastination

#3. You Don’t Understand Your Goals

In order to get top academic results, you have to get clear on your why.

Let’s face it, you’re going to have to make decisions and sacrifices along the way, and if you don’t have a definite reason for doing so, it will be all too easy just to give up when the going gets tough.

I like to map my goals out at the start of each year, and then again at the start of each term so that I am motivated to stick to my path no matter what obstacles may be thrown in my way.

If you haven’t already done so, here’s a quick activity for you.

  1. Write down all the things that for you signify success.
  2. Now put a circle around the ones that are most important for you in the next 10 weeks.
  3. Put these into your personal order of importance.
  4. Beside each goal, create an action plan of how you will go about achieving that success.

Do you need some help with this? We have a great workshop all about goal setting that will step you through the process. Click here to learn more

#4. You’re Not Working Smart Enough

Whoa, hold your horses there. I’m not saying you’re not working hard enough.

I know you’re putting in the hours and the effort.

But there’s a difference between working hard and working smart.

Can you think of an area within your study routine that could benefit from being a bit more focussed and streamlined?

I know that for a long time with my studying, it was really hard to move forward the way I needed to.

Even as a teacher I face the same issue.

If I had a batch of marking to do, I would sit at my desk knowing I would be there for a few hours and feeling as if I would never get through it all.

It wasn’t until I started implementing the Pomodoro Method that I managed to use my time more effectively – and remove the feeling of resentment and overwhelm.

Never heard of the Pomodoro Method?

Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and work in a totally focussed way until the timer goes off. Then you take a 10 minute break before settling down for another 25 minutes.

This way you break your work up into manageable chunks and never have that sense that you are drowning in work. You also get to reward yourself every 25 minutes for how much you have accomplished.

This is just one method you can apply to help you work smarter, not harder. But there are many more we could teach you.

So, try to step back, be objective, and look at ways you can improve your study methods to make them more effective and less overwhelming. Your future self will thank you!

#5. You’re Going It Alone

Do you insist on doing things your way – the way you’ve always done them.

And how’s that working out for you?

I’m guessing you just keep replicating the same habits and getting the same marks.

As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing things the same way over and over and expecting different results.”

Perhaps it’s time to reach out to the experts and get some new tips on how to study more effectively.

It’s not your fault. Schools rarely teach us how to study. It’s just sort of assumed that everyone knows how to do it.

But the truth is, they don’t.

But there is a solution. Working with study skills experts can teach you a whole lot of time saving tips and tricks to help you study smarter, not harder and start getting the results you really want.

Key Takeaways

You may have noticed that all of these reasons for not achieving success with your study habits have something in common – they are self created problems.

At first, that may make them seem impossible to fix.

But the great thing is, that means YOU can easily fix them.

Just a few simple tweaks to your study habits could help you see some marked improvement in your results – probably with less effort.

If you want to work on your study methods and learn to study smarter, not harder, you can contact us here and we can help you put together a course of action

Not ready to seek professional help?

Download our free guide Overcoming Procrastination today to help you study more efficiently and improve your results.

You can also follow us on all our social channels for more hints and tips.

 

“The tougher the setback, the better the comeback.”

Do these wise words by Bernard Osei Annang sound like something you need to hear right now?

If you received some disappointing results at the end of last term, then they may resonate more than you would like.

Or you might just dismiss them as platitudes that you don’t want to hear.

But the truth is, success without setbacks is impossible. While it might be nice to sail through school – and life in general – on a wave of success, the reality is, you will hit some rough seas.

The time has come to overcome the sense of failure.

Read on to learn how you can master disappointment and come back stronger than ever.

 

#1. Take Stock of Your Routine

Poor results do not appear out of thin air.

Life has a sense of humour and likes to kick us down when we are already struggling. It’s easy to put your poor results down to bad luck, or subjective marking. But chances are if you take stock of the way you used your time last term, I’m guessing you’ll see that the warning signs were always there.

Did you prioritise your schoolwork over other activities?

Did you create a study routine at the very start of the year, or did you wait until the assessment started rolling in?

Did you allow yourself to procrastinate or did you just swallow the frog and get stuck into it?

Hindsight is 20/20, but with a little bit of work, you can make sure your poor time management and prioritising of activities of the past do not influence future academic performance.

#2. Damage Control 

Is the disappointment of your results having a broader effect on your current performance? Are you finding it hard to put it behind you and move forward? Are constantly second guessing yourself and your abilities?

Don’t panic!

No, seriously, this is not the time to give up or stick your head in the sand and hope it will all go away. [Spoiler alert: it won’t!]

You can control the situation and come out stronger.

Take a look back and reflect on where you went wrong. Did you run out of time and leave your run too late? Did you study the wrong stuff? Or just not study at all?

Knowing where you stuffed up is the best way to raise your awareness and ensure you don’t do it again this term.

 

Top Tip: Take it from someone who has failed as much as she’s succeeded.

If you look at where you went wrong and adjust your future actions accordingly, you can get yourself back on track – and maybe even ahead. What have you got to lose?

#3. Accept Help

I know you like to be independent and go it alone, but this can just get you tied up in unnecessary knots and spiralling down a hole of disappointment and confusion.

Instead, if you accept help, you can easily overcome obstacles before they overcome you.

For example:

  • If you’re struggling with the content, you should always ask your teacher for clarification.
  • Why not tap into the vast range of Youtube clips and online learning platforms – especially for those of you who are visual learners.
  • How about studying in a group? Being able to ask for assistance from your peers can help you move forward quickly and easily. Plus, as an added bonus, having to answer a question or explain something to someone else requires in-depth knowledge that will push you further.

 

#4. Future Planning

Now that you’ve reflected on your poor results, it’s time to leave them behind you and create a plan to get you the results of the high performing student that you are!

Remember: Poor results are common, and you are not stupid, or hopeless just because it has happened to you. All you can control is how you deal with the disappointment and use it to fuel your determination to succeed.

Here are some tips to implement moving forward:

  • Create a study plan that ensures all subjects are covered equally throughout the term.
  • Prioritise your time so that you have clearly allocated slots of both study and play.
  • Use spaced revision throughout the term to avoid last minute cramming and you’re your brain transfer learning to your long term memory.
  • Create a study group.

 

#5. Act, Don’t React 

Did your teacher tell you that one, too? Don’t roll your eyes at me! You know we’re both right.

Action is the mother of improvement.

Reaction puts you back in the headspace of failure.

Rather than dwelling on the past and wallowing in disappointment, use it to put a fire in your belly that propels you to take positive and determined action.

You can’t change the past, but your actions can certainly change the future.

 

So, How Can Edvantage Australia Help?

Are you still flailing a little or want just a bit more help to get you back on your feet after your disappointing results?

No problem!

At Edvantage Australia, we pride ourselves on supporting students to achieve their full potential and get the results they need to follow their dreams.

That means you don’t have to flail around aimlessly wondering how to improve. That’s what we’re here for.

We have 28 Study Skills workshops designed to take any student from failing to flying. Unlike regular tutoring, we don’t focus on content, but on teaching you how to deal with the content so that you can improve your results and still have a life.

In short, our aim is to teach you how to study smarter not harder.

Our workshops include a range of tips and easy actions that you can implement right away to see a huge improvement in your results.

We can’t wait to work with you and help you get the results you want.

 

 

 

Like many others I always thought that multi-tasking was an efficient way to get things done.

Rather than just focusing on one task and letting the others slide, I deliberately ensured that I juggled all my tasks and did a bit of everything each day so that I could keep all my balls in the air.

But lately I have come to realise just how inefficient this actually is.

Because rather than staying on top of everything, I’ve all too frequently had all the balls come crashing down on me at once.

So, let’s have a look at why multi-tasking isn’t the answer – and most importantly at what you should be doing instead.

Multitasking and Me

So, why was I such a fan of multitasking in the first place?

It’s all to do with dreams.

I guess I’ve always had a low boredom threshold and have always had multiple activities on the go at any one time.

I have this recurring dream that I am cruising along happily crossing things off my to-do list and feeling pretty smug about my organisational skills, when I look back at my calendar and realise I have a Modern History research assignment due the next day that I haven’t even started!

Believe me, this is not a comforting dream to have at 2am.

And especially disconcerting when you consider that I haven’t actually studied Modern History since 1987!

So, to avoid that dream becoming a reality, I have developed a habit of multitasking – doing a little bit of everything each day so that I don’t forget any one thing altogether.

There’s just one problem.

Far from being more efficient, multitasking actually ensures that we actually don’t get ANY task completed effectively.

So, any time I was juggling multiple tasks, the final results were sub-standard, despite my best efforts.

But why is this the case?

Reason #1: It’s inefficient and time-wasting

Our brains are only designed to concentrate on one thing at a time (and no, that doesn’t just apply to males).

Women may be compelled to multi-task more often as they are more frequently responsible for little people who can’t perform tasks for themselves, but that does not make them efficient at it.

When we multi-task we don’t actually do two (or more) things at the one time. What actually happens is that we constantly shift our attention from one task and onto another. It’s just that we do it so rapidly we are often not aware of the process.

When we engage in an activity, we make a conscious decision to do so. Each activity has a set of ‘rules’ associated with it, that don’t necessarily apply to other activities. For example, the ‘rules’ required to cook dinner are very different from those required to text a friend. Trying to combine the two can make both tasks difficult.

When we swap from one activity to the other, our brains are forced to go through a process of goal shifting (deciding to focus on the different activity) and rule activation.

Each time we do this, we actually lose time. While it might only be a few seconds each time, if you spend your whole day shifting from one activity to another you can end up losing significant amounts of time.

Reason #2: Multi-tasking Causes Us to Make Mistakes

Those who frequently multi-task are seen to be more impulsive and therefore less cautious and methodical in their approach to tasks.

They are more easily distracted and often overlook key elements.

This can lead to careless errors (if not downright dangerous outcomes – ie texting and cooking).

Often work that is completed when multitasking will need to be done again, completely negating any time saving benefits.

Multitasking Infographic

 

Reason #3: My Brain Hurts

Multitasking definitely makes me feel exhausted – and it’s not just an age thing!

It’s actually quite mentally draining to have to focus intently on a number of different things at the one time.

Think about how hard it is to read 3 books at a time, or watch 3 television series at the same time – or even just to try to text while you’re carrying out a different conversation with someone face to face.

It’s really quite exhausting.

And an absolute invitation for something to go wrong (think texting your tutor ‘I love you’ when you meant to say that to your Mum!)

Plus, researchers at the University of Sussex have conducted brain MRIs that clearly show damage to the brains of those who frequently multi-task. The scans reveal less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.

Other studies show that frequent multitaskers experience a drop in their IQ of up to 15 points.

Any perceived benefits of multi-tasking get thrown out if it’s going to cause brain damage!

Reason #4: I’m Tired

When we force our brains to keep switching between multiple tasks, we overstimulate them.

The brain is not only coping with the information, but with the different types of media or stimuli; the different rules required to achieve the tasks; the different information that needs to be pulled to the forefront to have this new knowledge connected to it; and then storing it effectively.

All this takes a lot of energy and makes our brains go into overdrive.

It’s no wonder that by the end of the day we feel quite exhausted – the kind of tiredness that not even a good night’s rest can improve.

Allowing our brains to focus on only one activity at a time gives us greater clarity, better concentration and a sense that we have room to breathe.

This helps us to feel on top of things and far less overwhelmed, allowing our brains to shut down at night – a vital part of the learning and consolidating process.

Reason #5: It Stresses Me Out 

Research shows that people who multi-task have higher stress levels than those who don’t.

And frankly, I’m not surprised.

Working on multiple tasks sends our brains into overdrive. They respond by pumping out adrenaline and other stress hormones in order to keep up. These hormones provide us with a burst of energy, but it is often more distracting than helpful and it quickly dies off.

If we continue to practise multitasking, the constant stress can actually be dangerous to our health. These stress hormones can cause a number of medical issues such as headaches, stomach issues and sleeping problems. The increased sense of stress can cause issues in the workplace, home and relationships. It can also lead to chronic health issues such as insomnia, back pain, heart disease and depression.

What I Do Instead of Multi-Tasking

As you’ve probably guessed, now I avoid the temptation to multi-task. Instead, I make sure that I am only working on one task at a time.

This works better for me because:

  • I know that by focusing solely on one task at a time, I can complete it more efficiently and effectively, resulting in fewer errors and ultimately saving me time
  • I am protecting my brain by not overloading it and forcing it to work in ways for which it wasn’t designed.
  • I finish the day calmer, more relaxed and more satisfied. I can actually cross completed tasks off my to-do list rather than having done lots of bits of things, but nothing in its entirety.

However, I’m not just asking you to trust me on this. After completing our workshop on The Myth of Multi-tasking last week, my client Margaret wrote:

Student testimony

 

And, to address that Modern History nightmare, I make sure that I create a clear schedule that allocates blocks of time for every subject or activity I need to complete. That way I will never have the terrifying realisation that I have completely forgotten to do something important.

(For more ideas about why we all need to use planners, read my blog article Five Ways to Make a Calendar Work For You)

Do you have any more questions? Why not book an ATAR activation call so we can help you formulate a plan to improve your study habits. Or, we’re always happy to chat with you on our Social Media platforms, where you’ll find more helpful hints and tips.