217: Is Your Student Affected by the Rise of Vaping at School?

As a parent, teacher, mentor there are so many things we need to keep up with as we guide students.

One new development at schools in the last year is the rise of vaping amongst teens. Is your student affected by this new trend in tobacco and marijuana consumption?

In this episode Megan and Gretchen discuss:

  •  what vaping is and why it seems to be on the rise
  • how students tend to use it at schools, and how other students are affected even if they don’t vape themselves
  • how parents and teachers might inform themselves about the types of vaping devices that are used by students,
  • And more!

Listen in to see what Megan and Gretchen say about Vaping in Schools.

215: How to Choose the Right Calculator for High School

Having the right calculator can effect your math scores on the ACT and SAT, yet too many students have the wrong calculator with them.

Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

Tune in to explore:

  • Common mistakes students make when choosing calcultors
  • Whether you need to purchase an expensive calculator, or whether cheaper versions will do
  • What the requirements are for ACT and SAT approved calculators
  • Whether to buy or rent your calculators,
  • And more!

If you’d like some extra reading, here are the calculator policies for the ACT and the SAT.

Listen in as Megan walks you through how to get the right calculator ahead of time.

A Simple Way to Study with a Friend

Do you like to study with your friends, but you’re not sure how effective you are together? Or do you question how well your teen actually learns with studying with a friend?

Recently a client was preparing to study for his AP World History exam with a friend, and asked me how he might study more effectively during their study session.

Here is a super simple format that I taught him, based on the available study guide that their teacher gave him. Check it out and see if it’d work for you too!

Here are the steps involved that I share in the video:

An Overlooked Method for How to Quiz Yourself

I get super suspicious when I hear a student tell me, “There’s no possible way I can quiz myself on this material.” That’s exactly what I heard this morning when my client and I were discussing how he might study for his AP World History exam.

Although it was tempting for me to wag my finger at my client and blame him for being a lazy thinker, instead I realized that he had overlooked a super straightforward way of quizzing himself. He thought quizzing needs to be fancy, with flashcards and quizlet decks and questions with answers. But instead, there’s a simple way to “practice retrieval” (a fancy name for “quizzing”) while you’re reading.

It’s easier for me to tell you about it rather than write about it, so check out this video.

 

 

Here are some tips about how to quiz yourself that I talk about in the video:

213: How AP, IB and Dual Credit Can (And Can’t) Help You in College

Many families assume that AP, IB and Dual Credit Courses will help them get ahead and save money in college. However, this is not always the case.

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college. Specifically, she’ll walk you through:

  1. The limitations of taking AP, IB and Dual Credit courses, including what can transfer where and what scores are needed,
  2. Before taking these classes, how to establish your goals to you’re clear why you are taking them, and whether those reasons are realistic
  3.  How to research the credit by exam policies at the colleges on your list, so you know in advance which courses will count towards college credit and which won’t
  4. When to meet with an academic advisor to help determine which credits you should “cash in”, and
  5. The importance of remember these programs are part of a complete academic plan, and not the “be all and end all” of your college career.

Also note: It’s final exam time! If you need some help with studying for final exams, check out some of these episodes:

Listen in as Megan outlines how these higher level higher school classes in high school will — and won’t! — benefit you when you get to college.

211: Six Ways to Use Friends to Get Stuff Done

Did you know your friends can be a HUGE resource to help you get your homework done?

Too many students try to go it alone, but school is hard enough as it is! One of your most useful resources as a teenager is your friends, after all. Why not use them for good?

Listen in as Gretchen walks you through these six ways to use your friends to get stuff done and help you follow through on your academic responsibilities:

  1. Study Groups
  2. Co-working at school in between classes
  3. Co-working on skype, Facetime, or Zoom
  4. Bookending
  5. Co-working right before a fun night out (or in) with friends
  6. Typing while you talk

Listen in as Gretchen walks you through ways to use your friends to get stuff done and help you follow through on your academic responsibilities!

210: Take Your College Visits to the Next Level

College visits can get repetitive and boring, and the “official” tours offered by the school don’t always reveal the hidden details that help you make a decision about which school is best for you.

Let Megan school you on how to take your visits to the next level! She’ll cover:

  1. How early is too early to start taking college visits?
  2. How to go beyond the basic two-hour info session, with tips like eating in the actual cafeteria picking up the school newspaper
  3. How to use college visits to help make the “short list”

Click here and listen in and Megan will also share some notes from the road, observations based on the college visits her clients and her daughter have done.

209: How to Study When Given Essay Questions in Advance

Do your teachers ever give you the essay questions far in advance of the chapter test or final?

Many students don’t take advantage of this key resource.

Gretchen walks you through a few ways to use these advance questions to your advantage, including how to:

  • Identify which questions can be answered by reading which chapters and/or sections
  • “Chart” essay questions so you understand a) what information you are supposed to learn and b) what kind of thinking you’re being asked to practice
  • Give yourself a map of the chapter using the essay questions as a guide
  • Take notes using the essay question as a guide.
  • Run your charts and notes by your teacher as a way to “assess” your understanding before chapter tests and quizzes, and
  • Use your charts and notes to study for the actual exam

Listen in as Gretchen walks you through a few ways to use these advance questions to your advantage!

Do You Get Bored Reading? Try This Spark Notes Hack!

English teachers beware! You are NOT going to like my tip for the day.

A certain subset of my clients simply won’t read their English texts. They just won’t. No amount of cajoling, creative tips, and incremental steps will get them in the mood to tackle a hard text.

Today a client of mine WAS willing to practice reading a text as long as I didn’t expect her to read the whole text, and as long as we used a variety of online resources to support her.

In the following video, I walk you through the 5 step process that she and I came up with, and then I show you that process in action by sharing my screen.

I know the solution is not ideal, and ultimately we want students to have the stamina, attention and grit to sit with difficult intellectual material. However, especially students with learning differences, we also need to meet students where they are, acknowledge that they have had traumatic experiences with reading in the past, and offer them incremental doable steps on the road to tackling difficult academic tasks.

I’m excited that MY CLIENT is excited about this process, and I believe it’s a whole lot better than ignoring the reading completely. Let me know what YOU think, and I’ll keep y’all updated with how it goes with this student.

If you do not have the time to watch the video the image below describes some of what I talked about in the video to help you with assignments you are having trouble reading.

And if you feel you could use some help getting your homework done each week, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying.

 

A Surprising Benefit of Turning Off Notifications!

Do you get a ton of notifications on your phone 24/7?

If you’re an avid follower of my newsletter, you may have noticed that recently I’m working with more and more of my clients to turn off many of their notifications.

Not all of them take me up on it, but those who do notice some surprising results.

In the video below, I explain what one 15-year-old is discovering about her new life without as many notifications.

 

Everyone hates to study get my step by step system to getting the grades you want here!

A Trick for Managing Your Parents’ Anxiety

Parents these days are overcome with anxiety — anxiety about their kiddo’s achievement (or lack thereof), ability to get into college, ability to get a good job, etc etc.

For better or for worse, a significant amount of time in my coaching sessions with teens is spent helping them figure out how they can get ahead of their parents’ anxiety.

One tip I’ve been working on with several of my clients is how to initiate communication with their parents early on, before parents have time to nag.

Listen in to this video for the nitty gritty details of this simple trick.

If you do not have time to watch the video below is a great tip for you to use to help manage your parents’ anxiety about your school work.

 

3 Tips to Take Action on Hard Assignments!

One of my main tasks as an academic coach — other than to help students study more effectively — is to help teens with learning challenges figure out how to follow through on tasks that feel insurmountable.

This week a client of mine reported with such pride that she’d actually finished — and turned in on time! — two history assignments that have been torturous in the past.

I asked her what worked for her, and the tips that poured out of her mouth were so spot on, I couldn’t help but share them with you.

I’m consistently blown away in my work as a coach that, as I help build students’ self awareness, they are less reliant on my creative tips and more capable of finding their own processes. The tips in this video are a perfect illustration of this point:

If you do not have the time to watch the video here are the tips for you:

 

If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

208: How to Make Your Final College Decision

April 1 was the date by which all colleges should have notified students of acceptance; students have this month to make the final choices and notify schools of their decisions.

Tune in as Megan walks you through 10 factors to consider as you make this final decision, including:

  1. General impression / ranking from your visits
  2. Money– How much will you pay EACH YEAR?
  3. Choice of Major– Are you in? Can you change your mind?
  4. Required courses– what will you have to take at each
  5. AP or transfer credits?
  6. Activities, organizations, Greek life?
  7. Travel costs and issues
  8. Academic support
  9. Need for family connectedness
  10. Where will you feel supported and pushed to be your best?

Listen in to learn how to make your final decision on which college to choose.

Follow Through More Often With This Smart Phone Tweak!

Most of us have smart phones these days, and many of us depend on a number of different apps to keep us organized.

With a certain subset of my teen clients, however, I’ve noticed that they don’t have their time management apps organized in such a way that they are easily found.

Check out the video below to discover a simply tweak that every student should consider to make their most important time management apps more accessible.

 

I’ll also introduce you to the most important time management apps to prioritize when you reorganize your home page.

 

 

If you would like some study tips head on over to the College Prep Podcast site. I co-host a weekly podcast with Megan Dorsey and we discuss a wide range of academic topics, including things like “How to Make Your Final College Decision.” 

207: Give Your Time Management a Mid-Semester Makeover

By mid-semester students’ time management routines have often weakened or collapsed.

 

 

Consider these four questions when giving your routines a makeover so that you can make it to the end of the semester with your grades and self esteem intact:

  • First, do you have a weekly planning routine? This can be a helpful Sunday task to help you look ahead and plan for the week ahead.
  • Second, do you have a daily routine to do right before and after your homework? This can be helpful to make sure you are adjusting your weekly plan as needed, with every new assignment your teachers give.
  • Third, if the daily routine doesn’t work for you, are you doing a midweek check-in ritual? This enables you to check off items from your To Do list, add new items, and make a plan for the weekend, so that you take action rather than procrastinate during your “off” time.
  • Finally, do you have a plan for accountability? Who else besides you can know about your plans and help make sure you feel a low-grade pressure to follow through?

Listen in to learn how to revamp your time management skills.

206: Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension on SAT, ACT or AP Tests

Believe it or not — raising your reading comprehension scores on standardized tests is often not about improving your reading skills!

 

Tune in as Megan outlines surprising skills to improve if you want improved performance on this section of your tests. Specifically she covers how to:

  • Develop college-bound vocabulary
  • Practice reading challenging material (fiction, non-fiction, archaic rhetorical style, complex scientific, detailed, etc.
  • Learn to find details (open book skills)
  • Practice analysis skills, and
  • Understand that every word matters

Listen in as Megan outlines surprising skills to improve if you want improved performance on reading comprehension of your tests.

 

205: One Student’s Takeaways From a Semester of Coaching

How much can a student’s behavior truly change after a semester of coaching?

In today’s episode, Gretchen walks us through a sixteen year old’s reflections about how he has grown as a result of academic coaching.

The following eight ideas resulted from a brainstorm during this young man’s final coaching session, during which he and Gretchen reviewed what he has learned and what habits he would like to maintain:

1. The Set Up Routine
2. Doing Spanish hw first
3. All the different study tools from the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying
4. Self Advocacy.
5. Keeping a Planner.
6. Finishing homework by a reasonable hour
7. Take advantage of meds before they wear off.
8. Marking period supply clean out.

Tune in to the episode to hear more about each of these take aways!

204: AP or Not to AP: Controversy & Considerations

The national average of number of AP classes taken by students admitted to top universities is five to eight total. That’s a lot!

Deciding whether to take (or not take) Advanced Placement classes is more complicated that simply taking as many tests as possible.

In this episode we discuss in detail the following considerations:

  1. The importance of students choosing an appropriate level of challenge
  2. The fact that AP classes (and the AP exams) can push students to learn at a higher level, which is great prep for college!
  3. How to think through your priorities when considering AP
  4. What does your family hope to get out of an AP class– higher learning, AP credit, boost to school GPA / rank, better teachers, taking class with peers, etc.
  5. What are your alternatives?
  6. What will the student have to give up to take these classes?
  7. How to monitor appropriateness (grades, time spent studying, mental health)
  8. When to go for it, and how to step down if you realize it’s too much

Listen in about AP courses to see if it’s right for you!

How to Procrastinate Less on Weekends!

Do you ever struggle to take action on important school tasks on weekends? I certainly do, and I’m 44 years old! Imagine being 16!

Recently a client revealed that she’d had another weekend of just “laying around”. She knew she had work to do, but she just couldn’t do it.

We realized that one of the problems was that she hadn’t made a detailed enough plan for exactly what needed to get done.

Check out this video, where I compare the plan she had made with the plan she probably SHOULD have made.

Here are some quick notes from the white board in this video of tips on how to plan what you need to get done on the weekend:

If you need more study tips and ideas on how to plan your weekends and get things done for your school week ahead have a look at The Anti-Boring Approach!