A Thinking Hack to Help You Read More Effectively

Do you ever struggle to read difficult texts? I’ve had a few different videos on this topic lately because it’s such a buggaboo for many of my clients.

In today’s video we explore a way to THINK about reading that might shift your ability to understand what’s in the text.

This tip comes to you courtesy of a client of mine, who made a brilliant observation about her own reading process. I just LOVE IT when my clients try the techniques I give them, but then come back with an even more brilliant observation of what works for them.

Check out the video to learn a small little tweak my client has made in her thinking that has given her the grit to get through a difficult reading.

Remember this one take away from the video:

229: Answers to Your Questions About the SAT and Advanced Placement

Questions! Questions! We love questions!

Below are two questions about the SAT and Advanced Placement tests that we got recently from two moms:

(1) “I just heard someone talking about their 2nd child who took a gap year and delayed taking the SAT until after high school. For kids who just aren’t ready for college or who haven’t progressed to Pre-Calc by their junior or senior year, is there a benefit, or even an option, of taking the tests later?”

(2) “A fellow mom and I have been having a long conversation about what colleges can and can’t see from your college testing record. This includes your SAT scores, your SAT subject test scores, your AP scores. […] My question is – can you still list [a course] as an AP course, but not report your testing score (say you do great in the class, but not so great on the test or does that look like your school is weak?) Or do you only report the class as an AP course if you have a score that is worthy of reporting? Otherwise would you simply call it Honors?”

Click here to listen in for Megan’s answers!

228: Five Teacher Mistakes And What Students Can Do Instead

Well-meaning teachers make mistakes when it comes to setting students up to study effectively!

Listen in as Gretchen shares five mistakes teachers accidentally make, including tips for how both students and teachers about how to handle the fallout of these mistakes.

Here is the list of mistakes Gretchen covers; tune in to hear her explain WHY it’s a mistake, and what teachers and students can do instead.

  • Mistake #1 – We don’t teach them to study.
  • Mistake #2 – We teach our favorite strategies without explaining WHY they work. We give instructions that students do or don’t follow, but without teaching the bigger picture.
  • Mistake #3 – When we do teach studying, we often make it too complicated. Too many steps.
  • Mistake #4 – We teach learning styles as if that is the answer.
  • Mistake #5 – We don’t actively practice the tools we teach.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen shares five mistakes teachers accidentally make!

Where To Study and Why It Matters

Did you know that WHERE you study can make a difference in how well you get prepped for a test? More about that topic in a moment.

But first — wow!! We had over 180 educators (and parents!) sign up for the Study Cycle 101 Masterclass yesterday. I was particularly impressed at the countries that were represented: Peru, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Beirut-Lebanon, Canada, Australia, Canada, and more!!

It’s not too late to sign up if you’d like to watch the recording, and then participate in tomorrow’s Practice Labs! (Hint: During the masterclass I’m giving out a $100 discount code to my upcoming Art of Inspiring Students course, so if you’d like access to that, make sure to sign up. The discount is good through Friday evening).

But now — given it’s Wednesday! — I bet you’d like my weekly video tip. 🙂

P.S. If you’re curious to read the original article from the New York Times, here it is: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/health/views/07mind.html?

How One University Teaches Study Skills | Gretchen Wegner Interviews Indiana Wesleyan University

How One University Teaches Study Skills


I interviewed Melissa Sprock, Indiana Wesleyan University’s Learning Center Director. I recently trained their staff in my Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically toolbox. As a result of this training, the Learning Center has overhauled three key services they provide students — their peer-to-peer tutor training, a student success class for “Conditionally Admitted” university students, and academic coaching in the TRIO program. This experiment has been so successful that Melissa and I are starting to do presentations at conferences around the country. However, I thought it’d be fun to do a “sneak peek” special for you, the folks in my community!

Anyone was invited to attend, though the conversation is probably most relevant for high school teachers, college faculty, administrators, coaches — or anyone curious to see concrete examples of the Anti-Boring Approach™ tools in action.

For the first half hour I interviewed Melissa about the process of transforming her learning center. Then for the second half hour we will see if you have any questions and open it up for conversation about how to teach study skills on the university level.

225: Save Money on Testing with Fee Waivers

For many families, the costs of taking standardized tests like the ACT, SAT and AP’s are out reach. However, it is possible to receive fee waivers, and Megan breaks down exactly how.

 

Tune in to learn more about topics like:

  • The difference between reduced and waived fees
  • How to use the “free lunch waiver” as the first step in waiving testing fees
  • The costs of regular registration
  • How to use these processes for waiving university application fees as well.

This is a super important episode, and many families don’t realize the college-related reasons they should apply for the “free lunch waiver.”

Please spread the word among friends, local organizations, and those who work with students who may need assistance.

Click here to tune in to learn about waivers and how you can get them if ti applies for you.

Does the idea of keeping a calendar overwhelm you?

Do you, or a student you love, struggle to keep a calendar?

I’d like you to meet Sarah Weidman, one of my star Anti-Boring Approach™ Certified Coaches. It’s August, we’re all revving up for the new school year, AND I’m excited to show off the expertise of the coaches who now use my Anti-Boring Study Cycle model in their coaching (learn it for free here!).

Towards the end of the last school year, Sarah had a client who told her that she didn’t like keeping a calendar. She felt overwhelmed by all of the assignments and activities listed. Sarah totally understood where her client was coming from (that’s the sign of a good coach!) and worked with this young woman’s concerns.

Tune in to discover the steps they took to make calendaring less overhwhelming… and more useful.

Are you in need of expert academic coaching this school year? Sarah is available and you can find out more info here. She’s an awesome academic life coach based in San Francisco but available anywhere thanks to the miracle of the internet.

 

224: Anti-Boring Tool #4 – Quizzable Study Tools

The most important part of studying is retrieval practice (in other words, testing yourself)…

…but how do you test yourself in new and interesting ways so that you don’t bore yourself to tears?

Tune in for Part 4 of the Anti-Boring Summer Series, where Gretchen walks you through how to create quizzable study tools, so you have lots of choices for how to test yourself .

If this anti-boring tip delights you and you want more from where this came from:

Don’t forget to click here to hear Part 4 of the Anti-Boring Summer Series, where Gretchen walks you through how to create quizzable study tools!

How to Remember Your Assignments When Your School Goes Digital

Has your school gone digital, but you and your kiddo are at a loss on how to keep assignments straight?

I’d like you to meet Marni Pasch, one of my star Anti-Boring Approach™ Certified Coaches. It’s August, we’re all revving up for the new school year, AND I’m excited to show off the expertise of the coaches who’ve gone through my Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically training.

Towards the end of the last school year, Marni had a student who couldn’t keep track of their assignments because their school had gone digital! Keeping paper assignments organized has its own challenges for teenage students, but organizing digital assignments can also be quite a headache.

Marni’s student figured out a modern way to survive in a digital school system… and Marni shows off this simple but brilliant idea in the following video:

Are you in need of expert academic coaching? Marni is available and you can find out more info here. She’s an awesome academic life coach based in Florida but available anywhere thanks to the miracle of the internet.

223: How to Apply for Testing Accommodations for ACT & SAT

 

It’s possible to receive accommodations on the SAT & ACT for students with physical or learning differences. However (and this is a super important point for families of these kinds of students):  you need to apply in advance.

Both SAT & ACT have tried to make the process easier, but unfortunately not all families know this is an option.

 

Listen in as Megan breaks down common issues related to applying for accommodations on standardized testing.

 

 Then, for more information, check out an article she wrote on the topic!

Feel Confident Doing Math Even If You’re Not a Math Wiz!

Do you ever freeze up when you do math?  

I’m so excited to introduce you to Nicole de Picciotto, who is a wiz at coaching students and one of my brand new Anti-Boring Approach™ certified coaches. Now that it’s August, it’s time to start up with our study tips to get the school year started (don’t know if you noticed, but we took a little break in June and July). So let’s get started with a math tip!

Last school year Nicole had a client who would tense up whenever she encountered an unfamiliar math problem. As they brainstormed how to solve this, she and her client came up with three steps to help her relax. It turns out that the more she could relax when she worked, the more confident she’d feel, which led to her doing a better job at math! Go figure.

Check it out here:

 

 

Here are the tips we came up with to help her feel more confident and successful with math!

1) Get comfortable with not knowing what to do.  Take a deep breath. Relax and just start with what you know.

2) Remind yourself that it’s ok to be confused and not know how to proceed.

3) Let yourself be a curious explorer and discover what to do next rather than fixating on the right answer.

Want more of Nicole? She’s a GREAT academic life coach based in Portland Oregon, but available anywhere thanks to the miracle of the internet. Contact her For more information about Nicole de Picciotto and Academic Life Coaching, visit nicoledcoaching.com

 

222: Anti-Boring Tool #3 – Hone It Notes

Do you ever review your lecture notes after you take them?

Most people don’t… mostly because it seems like a lot of work and they don’t know how.

This simple note taking tip could change your entire ability to learn effectively. It’s not easy, but if you could get yourself to do it — you’d e so much more ready for every test and feel that much more confident as a learner

If this anti-boring tip delights you and you want more from where this came from:

Five Ways to Rest What’s Your Favorite?

How well do you rest? Are you a pro at taking deliberate down time, or do you struggle to keep up with all your responsibilities?

I try to be good at taking time to rest, but after reading this book I realize I haven’t been deliberate enough about my rest.

In this final post about the power of rest, based on the book Rest: How to Get More Done When You Work Less, , I say more about what it means to rest deliberately, and share five different ways to rest. Which ones are you good at? Which could you stand to improve?

I also do a little reflecting on how hard it is for high school students to rest effectively, given their tight schedules and mountains of work.

Check it out here:

As summer comes to an end, I recommend challenging yourself to rest in all five of these ways — and then see how many you can continue to do once the school year starts up again.

How to Take Notes on a Non Fiction Book, Part 3

Have you been following along with my three part series on how to take notes on nonfiction book?

I’m super excited because I finished my notes!!!

Today I probably should have titled the video “How to Fit An Entire Nonfiction Book Onto One Page of Notes”, because that’s exactly what I was able to do.

Sort of.

In today’s video I show you the completed note-taking chart that I created, and discuss the benefits and challenges to using this Charting Method.

Is this a note taking process you could see yourself using from time to time? Why or why not? I’m curious! Please reply and let me know.

Also, stay tuned next week when I start sharing some fun facts with you that I learned from the book Rest: How to Get More Done When You Work Less.

How to Take Notes on a Nonfiction Book, Part 1

Do you have a hard time remembering what you read? I have this trouble all the time — I read a super interesting nonfiction book, but when it’s time to tell a friend about it, I can’t remember a single interesting fact!

Today I want to share a way I have of taking notes that allows me to capture the most important points from the non fiction books that I read. See: it’s not just students that study skills are good for! 🙂

Check out this video in which I walk you through the “book charting” process that I learned from my mom back in the day.

 

In today’s video I show you how to set up the process, and in the next two videos I’ll show you how I fill it out. So tune in the next couple of weeks to get more information!

 

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.

How to Get Work done While You Travel

?Do you often intend to get school work done when you travel during breaks, but then can’t quite bring yourself to do it?

More and more of my clients these days have at least one, if not more, plane rides during the course of their school year.

These same clients are also the kind of students who often have late work they need to catch up on!

In this video, I talk about how one of my clients came up with a “Plane Plan” in advance of his trip, so that he could make better use of his time on the airplane. This plan was very successful in helping him follow through with his goals. Check out the video to find out how.?

Make sure you come up with your plan in advance so you have a solid idea and can stick to it!

216: Why Learning is Hard and How to Make It Easier

Too many students judge themselves as “stupid” because learning new things feels hard. Understanding this one brain fact goes a long way to helping students feel better about themselves as learners.

 

Tune in as Gretchen explains:

 

  • What a neuron is and how a neural pathway is created in the brain,
  • Why it’s totally normal if learning feels hard,
  • How to stick with a hard task for long enough so that it feels easier,
  • And more!

If you’d like to learn more tools and tricks to make learning easier, check out the  Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying online course; you might also like to book a few sessions with any of these certified Anti-Boring Approach Coaches.

How to Have a Productive and Fun Break

Summer is here for almost everyone! Which means relaxation and rest, right?

Hopefully for most of you that’s the case. But some students need to be productive, even over summer break thanks to classes at community college, rigorous summer assignments, internships and more.

Here’s a tip that might be helpful for those of you who want to maintain a sense of fun while also making sure you are responsible about being productive, too.

Listen in as I share a tip given to me by a 16 year old client who discovered a simple but powerful way to be productive over spring break! He was able to study for his AP tests AND have fun with his friends too.

I hope you all have a great Summer break!

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.