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!

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!

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.

212: Is Your Student Vulnerable to the Cheating Epidemic?

Cheating is on the rise in high schools around the country!

Megan has been observing this in the reports coming from her clients’ and her daughters’ school.

Tune in as Megan and Gretchen explore this topic in more detail, including:

  • The reasons Megan observes for this epidemic, including the way the internet exacerbates the impulse to cheat
  • What the real harms are to students who succumb to temptation to cheat
  • Questions parents can ask their students to make sure that students have thought through impulses, consequences, and alternatives to cheating as a way to raise grades.

Tune in as Megan and Gretchen explore this topic in more detail!

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!