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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.

 

 

 

You know what?

There’s a whole lot of misinformation about studying, which is why it’s easy to feel defeated when you’re doing everything “right” and still not getting results.

Before I learned how to overcome my limiting beliefs, I tried every guide and article I could find.

Expert #1 would say writing information out multiple times is the best way to learn it (it’s not).

Expert #2 would say reading over the content and highlighting key words is the way to go (another myth).

Expert #3 think the best way to get top marks is to study on your own as you have more control.  

No matter what I did, I still couldn’t find a study plan that worked for me.

I kept thinking there was some big secret I just didn’t know. That everyone else knew exactly what they were doing and I was the only one who didn’t.

But then I learned the truth.

The big secret that was blocking my success was that I had to trust myself and overcome my limiting beliefs.

Whatever you think about is what your brain focuses on.

So while I was focusing on all the things I was getting wrong, the more my brain kept going back to them and doing them more often.

Once I finally started turning it around and looking at my limiting beliefs as beneficial, things really fell into place.

You can do it too!

Read on for some sneaky limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from getting top results, and how to turn them into your superpowers.  

Limiting Belief #1: I Don’t Need Help

If you’re used to being self-sufficient and doing things on your own, you can probably relate to this. And it’s probably worked for you up until now. But the final years of high school can be quite challenging and having a support network around you can make a huge difference.

Many students find study groups a great motivator – it’s hard to avoid showing up and doing the work when others are counting on you.

Some like having the reassurance of a mentor – someone who always has your back and can pick you up when you’re feeling down.

Others like to have a kind of PA – someone in the background reminding them of when things are due and helping them to stay organised and on top of things.

How to turn it into your superpower

First, challenge your belief. After all, it’s just a belief and you have no proof that it’s reality (spoiler: it’s NOT!)

Ask yourself why you think you need to go it alone. Is it that you don’t want others to know your weaknesses (or steal from your strengths)?

Maybe it’s that you’ve always done it alone and assume that’s the only way?

Or perhaps you’re a deadliner and have never been organised enough to think of getting help until it’s too late.

Once you have the answers, think about what it would be like to do the opposite. What would it be like to have help? Would it make studying feel less isolating and boring? Would it give you more confidence to proceed?  Would it improve your time management and organisation, reducing the number of last minute cramming sessions?

You don’t have to take action now. Just let it sit with you and try to broaden your perspective. Keep challenging yourself. 

When you’re ready, try reaching out for help. We have a number of ways to support you in your studies. Here are a few resources available:

  • Our workshops will help you strengthen your skillset
  • Join the forum in our study skills group to interact with other students or to receive assistance
  • Ask for our study support team to send you SMS reminders of assessment dates and milestones

Limiting Belief #2: I just have to… 

“I’ll get to my studies as soon as I finish working out my study schedule”.

Sound familiar?

We all have a list of things we need to do, and in what order we want to do them.

But if you’ve been procrastinating on a specific task for weeks or months, it’s probably time to re-prioritise.

While it’s great to have a planner and know exactly what you’re doing, do you really need to have one set in stone before you can tackle your workload? Or is it that actually doing the work scares you? 

It’s common to put off things we’re not “ready” for

But you know what? You’re never actually going to find the right time when you feel totally ready.

Putting tasks off never makes them go away or helps them get any easier. In fact, the more you procrastinate the worse things will get. Your anxiety levels will rise and your time frame will reduce.

Besides, have you ever noticed that the things we dread doing aren’t actually that difficult or time consuming once we actually knuckle down and get them done?

How to turn it into your superpower

Believe it or not, procrastination can actually be used to your advantage.

Any time you hear yourself thinking “I just need to…”, count to 5 and make yourself do it. That way it is done and can no longer be used as an excuse. 

You’ll be amazed by how many tasks you manage to get out of the way if you adopt this attitude.

Plus, completing these smaller tasks will give you the motivation to keep going and get to work on those bigger tasks that you’ve been avoiding.

Many people don’t want to start things until they feel they have all the knowledge and ability to do them well. Taking small but imperfect action is always better than doing nothing at all.

Whatever you have to do today, do it with the confidence of a 4 year old in a superhero cape

Limiting Belief #3: I’m not clever enough

How many times have you put off studying for your exams because you tell yourself you’re not clever enough to succeed?

You’re not alone. This is another belief that comes from a place of fear, and we all have them.

When you’re about to try something new, you picture all the things that can go wrong.

This is especially true if you have experienced failure in the past.

The problem with this belief is that it can prevent more empowering beliefs from forming if you’re not aware of them.

If we focus on the things we can’t do, we end up in a negative spiral where we doubt ourselves to the extent that we question our ability to do even simple things.

As Henry Ford once said “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

Just because you once tried and failed does not mean that will happen again.

Imagine if when you were starting to walk you fell on your bottom once and decided you weren’t capable of walking!

How to turn it into your superpower

If you hear yourself thinking “I can’t do that”, add the word “yet”.

This simple trick will help you find the motivation to develop the skill you feel you’re lacking, rather than simply giving up in defeat. 

You absolutely CAN get the results you want!

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but the right attitude will certainly hep you get there. 

Here’s an activity that might help…

Think about all the things you couldn’t do once that you can now do without thinking. 

Write each skill on a post-it note and place them in a jar.

Now you have a visual representation of all the things you can do that once you couldn’t.

Rather than giving up, find solutions to the problem. What can you do to help you achieve this skill? Do you need to ask for help? Complete practice exams? Watch a Youtube lesson? 

Focusing on what you CAN do will help turn your limiting beliefs around and help you use them to drive your success.

Jar of skills

Limiting Belief #4:  I don’t have time

If you believe you have too much work to do and not enough time in which to do it you’ll find ways to keep yourself occupied with other activities rather than studying.

Saying you don’t have time is really saying it’s not a priority right now.

The truth is, as a full-time student, you have to make studying a priority!

How to turn it into a superpower

You don’t need huge blocks of time to study. You just have to do it with consistency. 

In fact, frequent short study sessions are far more effective than a few long ones.

Parkinson’s Law tells us that work expands to fit the time allocated. So having more time doesn’t help the situation – it just allows us to work less efficiently.

I always thought I worked effectively, but once I had my babies I became far more efficient as I had to squeeze my work into any little windows of opportunity throughout the day. 

As they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

Don’t be afraid to say no to things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Draw a line in the sand and make studying a priority, no matter what else you have going on

If you can carve out even one hour a day, you can revise everything you learned that day and re-visit at least one subject.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Step #1 Create a study schedule that includes all of your time commitments. This will help to give you a visual representation of how much time you have available.
  • Step #2 Prioritise your commitments. Do you really need to spend that number of hours at your part-time job? Even if you love the money and the freedom that brings you, is it the highest priority while you are a student?
  • Step #3 Find the self-discipline to make use of any gaps of time you have. Stop thinking of studying as being something that has to be done in long blocks of time. Use flashcards, quizzes and past papers to constantly self-test and revise learned work. 

You’re making great progress!

Your limiting beliefs can pose the biggest obstacles to your success. Identifying, acknowledging and understanding them helps you turn them into superpowers that boost your performance and your results.

It’s time to turn your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs! If you find yourself procrastinating over your studying, think about what may be holding you back. Write down 10 limiting beliefs, and don’t be afraid to see them on paper. 

We all have them, remember. It’s what you do with them that counts. 

Will you push through and keep going? You bet you will! 

Remember, you can always reach me here if you want some help with this. Let’s get you the results you really want!

One of the biggest challenges people face is finding the balance between their everyday “life” activities – sport, cultural activities, work, relaxing and socialising – and studying. So how – and when – can you find enough time for studying? Should you do it first thing in the morning? Lunchtime? Or later in the day?

Are you ready to get great results in your studies?

You may already think you have a great routine, but I hope to add a new perspective on what it takes to achieve top grades.

Many people believe that it takes hours and hours of studying to great results, but that may be exactly what’s holding you back.

If you’re struggling with finding that amount of time and still having the life you want, then this is the place for you.

Ready to dive into a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into achieving top academic results?

Study Smarter, Not Harder

If you’ve been finding yourself procrastinating in your studies because you don’t want to be chained to a desk, then you may want to re-evaluate the situation.

Ask yourself, why do I think successful studying requires hours and who benefits from that idea?

Other students at school might tell you that they have spent hours studying, but have they really? Sometimes they just say things like that to psyche you out and boost their own confidence at the same time.

Teachers might tell you that you need to be doing hours every night, but that’s because they need to provide a benchmark based on the average student and they want you to be aware not to leave things to the last minute.

But you’re not the average student.

Because you’ve learned how to study smarter, not harder.

You see, it’s not about the hours you spend at your desk, but about how efficiently you work while you’re there.

My Routine for Working Smarter, Not Harder

I’m happy to say that after many years of struggle I have finally achieved the art of working smarter, not harder, and my routine directly influences my ability to succeed.

A day in my life looks a little like this:

Morning: set my goals for the day, along with a clear to-do list so I don’t waste time having to think about what I should be doing
Afternoon: check my list and re-prioritise tasks if necessary so that I ensure I complete anything that absolutely has to be done today
Evening: tidy up any loose ends, do some small tasks to get me ahead for the next day and move any incomplete tasks to tomorrow’s list. Then I get to spend the rest of the night relaxing and recharging before the next day.

So how does it work?

Mornings

Starting the day with a clear to-do list helps me get my thoughts clear and organised. It also helps me to look for any time saving tricks. For example, if I need to return a book from the library and get new pens for my upcoming exams, I can put those two tasks beside each other and do them in the one trip.

Maybe I can get new books for a different subject while I’m at the library, saving me time on another day.

Knowing exactly what needs to be achieved during the day stops me from wasting time having to think about it. If I have any spare moments I can look at my list and see if I can squeeze anything into that time and get it crossed off my list.

Knowing what I need to do also helps to energise me. It’s much easier to make ourselves work if we’re striving to achieve a specific goal.

Without this, I would feel that I have an unending number of tasks to complete and feel too overwhelmed to actually start.

Afternoons

Before I sit down and get started on my afternoon tasks, I always go back and re-assess my list. Crossing off any achieved tasks provides a great sense of accomplishment and puts me in a positive headspace to keep going.

Sometimes I find that having completed certain tasks I no longer need to worry about others on my list, as they have indirectly been taken care of as well. This is a great boost as now I realise that I have more time than I thought.

If I have time I can systematically work through the rest of my list. If I feel that time is tight, I can re-prioritise the remaining tasks on my list to ensure that I complete those that are essential today.

For example, if I have Biology tomorrow, I will prioritise my Biology homework over my History homework as I don’t have History until the following day.

Evenings

In the evenings I set aside some time for new work and allocate time to revise everything I learned at school during the day.

This gives me an opportunity to consolidate my new learnings and to ensure that I really understand the content. Looking over the work the night you learn it means that you can ask your teacher to clarify anything you don’t understand the next day so you won’t continue to feel lost during the following lessons.

I then use my study planner to guide me on what revision or assignment tasks need to be prioritised.

Breaking any tasks or study down into just 45 minute sessions helps to prevent me feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Before I finish up for the night, I write myself a clear plan for the following night so that I know exactly where I got up to and what still needs to be done. In this way, I can hit the ground running the next night without having to think about where I was at.

So, how does my routine compare to yours?

How is your routine helping you to achieve the best possible results?

Don’t be afraid to change it up or to get rid of parts that don’t work for you.

Remember, I’ve had years to get this sorted. And that’s why I’m sharing it, so that you don’t have to go through the same amount of trial and error to be able to enjoy success.

Whatever works for you is what will work best for getting you the results you really want.

Never be fooled into thinking that the amount of time you spend at your desk is an indicator of how hard you are studying

Let’s be honest here. We’re not always working at our most effective levels when we’re ‘studying’.

It’s easy to get distracted. Suddenly you realise how much your desk needs to be cleaned. Or you turn your to-do list into a work of art rather than actually achieving any of the tasks written on it.

Maybe this looks a little too familiar:

Study Graph

We’ve all done it.

But it’s these bad habits that cause us to feel overwhelmed and resentful of the amount of time we spend not getting anywhere.

If you organise your day, you can achieve far more in far less time.

You Need Discipline to Succeed

Now, just because you’re not currently getting the results you want, doesn’t mean you can’t get those top grades.

But it does mean you that you need to take an honest look at how you spend your time before you can prioritise your tasks for manage your time efficiently. But I know you can do it and am here to support you every step of the way.

Let’s be specific in planning out your day:

  • Step #1 Start with a clear, prioritised to-do list so that you don’t forget any tasks
  • Step #2 Re-evaluate your list during the day to celebrate your progress and to see if any activities can be consolidated or deleted.
  • Step #3 Finish off as much of your to-do list as possible, and complete any revision of new learnings from the day. Think of something you can do to get ahead for the next day (eg read the next chapter in your textbook). Always finish by leaving yourself a clear outline of what you have achieved during the day, and where you need to pick up the next night.

Because I know how important daily organisation is, I put together this free (really free!) guide for you. Use it to organise your day and study smarter, not harder.

Click here to download The 5 Step Daily Planner

Wrapping it Up

Success doesn’t stem directly from the amount of time invested.

If you want to succeed as a student, the trick is to organise your day efficiently so that you can achieve more in less time.

Once you get this right, you will have plenty of time for all the other things you want to enjoy, and will no longer resent having to spend time studying.

So, what do you think? What tips could you adopt from this post to help you plan and organise your time more effectively?

You’re well on your way to getting the results you want by studying smarter, not harder.

Remember, you can download my 5 Step Daily Planner to help you study smarter, not harder right here.

Click here to download my 5 Step Daily Planner