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!

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.

How to Talk to a Grumpy Teacher About Grades

?Are you scared to talk to your teacher about your grades? I have a client who really wants to raise her Spanish grade, but she says her teacher is a “grumpy old lady” and fears the exchange will be very unpleasant.

I helped my client think through the possible outcomes of this conversation, and how to do it so that she can feel good about the exchange with her teacher.

Take a listen! I present two different ways of talking to your teacher. Maybe when you hear them both, it’ll be obvious why one way might make a teacher grumpy, and the other might make her grateful. ?

Here are some great ideas that we talked about to help you start a conversation with your teacher:

 

 

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.