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:

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!

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 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!

 

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!

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!

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.

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.