235: Is it Even Possible to Make School Work “Fun”?

At a recent speaking gig about how to tackle procrastination, students asked Gretchen how to make school work fun! They seemed incredulous that “fun” is even a worthwhile pursuit when it comes to school.

Listen in as Gretchen provides a few thoughts about how to take responsibility for making your learning by “anti-boring” no matter how bored you really feel, including:

  1. Two mindset tips, so you can change your THINKING about school work and fun
  2. Three practical actions to make your experience of class less boring.

234: Military Academies and How to Get Accepted

Military academies require a lot of extra work to apply to, but it can be worth it for the high quality free education they provide if you get in.

In this episode, Megan answers this listener question and details the steps it takes to apply and get accepted to these kinds of schools:

Dear Megan and Gretchen,

I have begun to listen to you at the end of this summer because I wanted to improve my act and sat score although I haven’t taken the sat. The start of this summer I’ve had the motivation to attempt and get into a military academy as in the naval academy and Air Force etc. I’ve found the basic requirements to get into those types of schools and have been working my way too achieve those.

I wanted to ask if there is anything you guys know that will help me have a better chance to get accepted. My current act score is a 24 but haven’t taken it in a while and am about to go into a class for it. My GPA is around a 3.7 but have a lot of upcoming AP classes and am determined to get all A’s. Lastly, I feel I have an edge up because by the end of high school I will have studied Chinese for 8 years with two AP Chinese classes.

I wanted to know what you guys think and I respect your drive to better students lives by providing them quality information. Thank you!!!

Braxton

Listen in as Megan answers a listener question on this topic!

What Yucky Thoughts Keep You From Taking Action?

Students, do you sometimes find that your brain is barraged with yucky thoughts? Thoughts that distract you from taking action on your academic responsibilities?

I’ve been paying more and more attention to the “self-talk” in my clients’ brains that keep them miserable when it comes to school… and life for that matter.

In our culture, we are given very few tools for how to handle those thoughts in a healthy way.

In this video, I share a story from a client last Spring who was really struggling with the debilitating thoughts that kept her from studying for her finals. The first step to transformation is awareness, and so I worked with her to help her be more aware of the thoughts that were getting in her own way.

Check it out!

 

 

The following are some yucky thoughts that I discussed in the video:

 

 

Take the appropriate steps that I discuss in the video to get these thoughts out of your head!

233: How One University Teaches Study Skills

Indiana Wesleyan University has revamped their Learning Center and peer tutoring programs to be more “Study Cycle” friendly.

Back in August Gretchen interviewed Melissa Sprock, Indiana Wesleyan University’s Learning Center Director, and opened up the interview for others to attend on Zoom.

Listen in as Melissa and Gretchen discuss the Learning Center staff’s recent training in the 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:

  1. their peer-to-peer tutor training,
  2. a student success class for “Conditionally Admitted” university students, and
  3. academic coaching in the TRIO program.

This experiment has been so successful that Melissa and Gretchen are starting to do presentations at conferences around the country. This episode of the podcast provides a “sneak peek” of their presentation.

Is Your Teacher As Bad an Explainer As You Think?

“My teacher doesn’t explain things well!” This is a common refrain in my coaching practice when I suggest that students seek their teachers out for extra tutoring outside of class.

Recently, I’d been watching as a client saw her chemistry grades plummeting and plummeting. When I asked her more about it, she kept on telling me how hard chemistry is and how she doesn’t understand the material. When I suggested she talk to the teacher after school, she insisted that there’s no way she’d be able to understand his explanations then, because they felt undecipherable in class.

Surprise! Surprise! This client reported in that she finally got the after school tutoring at the teacher’s insistence, and it went MUCH BETTER than she expected it would.

Listen in for an explanation of what my client discovered.

Tip from the video on how to do better on tests:

232: Colleges are Marketing To You

If you have a high school junior or senior, you’ve probably seen the college admissions marketing machine in action.

Colleges are spending about $1 million dollars each year to attract new students and there are some things you need to understand.

On today’s episode, Megan shares:

  • The reasons the college search process is dependent on marketing and branding
  • The different ways that colleges market to you, some obvious and some less obvious
  • The effects of these marketing strategies on your students’ self esteem and well being, and
  • Tips for how to deal with the onslaught if it becomes too much

If you want to read more about marketing in higher education, here is an interesting read.

Click here to listen as Megan discusses how colleges are marketing to you.

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?

227: Debunking Misinformation about the ACT’s Science Exam

Are you buying into some faulty information about ACT science?

Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about — and believe it or not! — it’s not science. Go figure.

Specifically, we discuss:

(1) What the ACT science portion actually tests, if it’s not your knowledge about science, and

(2) What your score on this section of the test does (and doesn’t) tell you about your aptitude for studying science in college and working in science related careers.

Listen in as Megan walks you through what this section of the standardized test is really about!

Do Adults Expect More from Teens Than We Do Of Ourselves?

Students, today you’re off the hook because I have a super hard question to ask your parents and teachers!

To all you grown ups — do you expect more of the teens in your life than you sometimes expect of yourself?

In today’s video — filmed “on location” on my parent’s front porch in Houston, Texas (I’m here for a high school friend’s wedding) — I share some reflections about a trend I’ve been noticing.

Over my 10+ years as an academic coach, I’ve been seeing an increase in adults expecting certain follow through from students that they don’t necessarily expect of themselves! I give two examples, one about teachers and another about parents. Please check out the video to hear more!

Also, if you’re ready to walk your talk, parents and educators, I highly encourage you to sign up for my FREE Masterclass: The Study Cycle Live! which will teach you how to actually get students to study effectively for tests and quizzes. Let’s learn how to apply the Study Cycle in our own lives AS WELL AS learn to teach it to students?

After all, we ALL would benefit from learning how to save time and energy by studying strategically.

226: A Simple Checklist for Helping Students Overcome Procrastination

How do you help a teen overcome their procrastination and take action on academic assignments they don’t want to do?

In today’s episode Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Tune in to find out more information about how to help students troubleshoot which of the following is  their weakest “time management” link:

  • Tools
  • Team
  • Routines, and
  • Self Talk

To go deeper with this checklist, or for more information about how to help students overcome procrastination, check out Gretchen’s upcoming course for educators The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.

Click here to listen in as Gretchen walks you through a checklist of four ways to help teens “get in gear” when they are procrastinating.

Why Schools Should Stop Teaching Learning Styles

?Do you teach students learning styles at your school, or in your classroom or coaching sessions? Do you assume — as many educators do — that knowing your learning style can help you study and learn more effectively?

Well, the research shows that this is not necessarily true! In this video I make the case for why we should all stop teaching learning styles — or at the very least, tweak the way we teach them.

If you agree that you’d like to teach a simpler, more research-based and brain-science-infused model for helping students learn to learn — I invite you to sign up for one of these FREE classes:

– Click here to take Study Cycle 101, (if you prefer to read all the lessons at your own pace),
– Click here to attend a live Master Class, if you prefer to learn it live from me, or
– If you watched the video and realize that we need EFFORT and VARIETY in order to learn, sign up for both! 🙂?

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.