Tag Archive for: Study tips

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!

Many students think that mock exams are a waste of time. They’re not ready for the exams yet, and these don’t count, so why bother really trying?

Well, the reason we use mock exams is that both you and your teachers need to see what you don’t know.

There are only a few weeks in the final term until you sit the actual external ATAR exams. Your teachers want to get a clear idea of what they need to focus on in this time.

And so should you.

So, let’s look at what you can learn from the mock exams and what study techniques you can implement from now on to get you the results you want.


When we revise our work, it is very tempting to just keep going over the stuff that we already know. It gives us a big confidence boost and lulls us into the false belief that we know everything and are ready for the exams. But this is a very ineffective study habit.

In fact, at this stage, we need to STOP revising the content we already know and focus on the work we haven’t yet mastered.

Granted, this won’t be as quick, or as much fun. And it probably won’t give us that same hit of dopamine that we score when we get things right.

But this is where our energy needs to be directed in the lead up to exams.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need in order to improve my understanding of this content?
  • Do I need to ask my teacher for further help?
  • Do I need to sit more practice exams?
  • Do I need to work through more examples?
  • Or (to be honest), do I just need to take the time and effort to learn this information in the first place?

 Time Management

Perhaps time management was a factor? You knew the answers to the questions, you just ran out of time to get them down onto the paper?

There’s an easy study habit that can help you here.

Make sure that when you test yourself at home you do so under exam conditions.

From your mock exams, you should gain a clear idea of how many minutes you can allocate to each mark on the paper.

When you work another example, be sure to set yourself this same time limit.

There is no point being able to nut out the answer in 45 minutes if you need to do so in 4 minutes in the exam!


Our next study tip is to make sure that you hand write any practice responses – many students struggle to write quickly (and legibly), especially under pressure.

Remember that your marker doesn’t know you and won’t be used to your handwriting. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to read what you have written. The clearer your handwriting the more likely they are to look for any extra information for which they might be able to give you marks.

Practising your writing will help you speed up, and get your hand more used to the process of writing. Use the same pen in revision that you plan to use in the exam. This way your finger will develop a small callous, making the pen more comfortable on the day and enabling you to write for an extended period of time.

Practising your handwriting also helps you determine how many words you can fit into a page This will help give you a visual understanding of how much you need to write in the exam in order to meet the length requirements

Specific vocabulary

Maybe you were pulled down for spelling or for not using subject specific terminology?

Maybe you misunderstood, or failed to acknowledge, the specified cognitive verb you needed to address. Make sure you know what each cognition requires. If a question asks you to ‘analyse’ and you simply ‘explain’, you can’t be awarded top marks no matter how accurate your response.

Now is a great opportunity to make yourself vocabulary lists and ensure that you know how to use and spell these specific words.

Flashcards are a great way to do quick and simple revision.

When you work through your flashcards, sort them into three piles – the content you can recall easily, the content you can recall with effort, and the content you really don’t know at all.

Put aside the cards containing the content you already know.

The cards with the content you can remember with effort can be revisited in every second study session.

It is the cards with information that you really don’t know that need to form the basis of your study moving forward.


Maybe stress and anxiety were your undoing?

If that was the case, you need to think carefully about what you can do to overcome this issue.

Let’s face it, the stress in the actual exams will be far more intense.

Have you tried meditation or relaxation techniques?

Can you develop a routine or ritual that might help calm your nerves before the exam?

Be wary of studying with friends, or talking to them too much about the exams. If they have prepared differently you may psyche yourself out and decide that their methods are right and yours are wrong. This will cause you to second guess yourself and the many hours of studying and revision that you have done will be wasted.

Now is the time to back yourself. You’ve done the work (I hope!) and now is your time to shine.

There are many different ways to respond to many questions – especially in the humanities subjects. You and your friend might approach it differently but that doesn’t mean that either approach is wrong.

Besides, maybe you’re the one who’s got it right. Why do we always assume that if our ideas are different we must be the one who is wrong?

Try to turn this around and smugly think this is at least one student who doesn’t know as much as you!

A lot of exam success is based on attitude and frame of mind.

Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you enter the exam room in a positive and determined frame of mind, ready to do your best.

So, what study techniques do you need to address in the leadup to exams?

Whatever it is that you need to work on, remember that you still have plenty of time and opportunity to do so. We offer plenty of help for students if you need a helping hand.

6 tips for students studying to change your focus of control.
You’ll see how can you shift your locus of control from external to an internal?
– Take control of your environment.
– Control your calendar
– Be self-disciplined
– Chunk your work
– Control your attitude
– Reward your success

Many students fail to take mock exams seriously or to really look at their results. But they can be a great learning tool, providing valuable insights into where you need to improve your study habits and techniques in the lead-up to exams in order to get the best possible results.

In an ideal world, you should have been studying and revising for ATAR exams all year. But if you have left things to the last minute, it’s no excuse to quit. There are still effective study techniques you can utilise to help you make the most of the time you still have in the lead-up to exams.

Sometimes it’s really hard to find the motivation to study. We might be feeling tired, unwell, or maybe just apathetic. But, whether we feel like it or not, the work still needs to get done. So, lets look at the most effective study techniques to help you boost your motivation.

If you or your child is in year 11 or 12, no doubt you will have heard of cognitive verbs and how important they are in the new syllabus. In order to respond to an assessment item, students need to have content knowledge. This is obviously subject specific and topic specific. The cognitive verb tells students how they are required to respond. So, what exactly is a cognitive verb and what role do they play?

Most of us know that we need to be better organised. We know that organisation can save us time and energy.
Many of us would write ‘get organised’ if asked to list our goals for the year.
But what does this actually mean and how do you actually do it?
For many of us, calendars and to-do lists lose their effectiveness as the year progresses and become a record of what we fail to achieve! Follow these 5 techniques to use calendars effectively and stay in control of your life.

One way to improve your marks in the English exam is to use words that make you sound like a literary academic. But it’s not enough just to throw around some big words. It’s important to understand the meanings of these words (and learn how to spell them) so that you are able to use them appropriately and in context.
Here’s a list of 75 words that will instantly help you sound more sophisticated and knowledgeable.
Try to pick out some keywords for each of the key areas of focus and use them in your essay.