Is it really as easy as just getting the skills of application on board in order to achieve study success?
Do we really want your teen's study to be easy?
(Answer: Yes AND no) ;)
Listen in to hear what I believe SHOULD be easy (and how to make it so!), so that your teen can focus on challenging themselves in the right ways with the right things, so they work at and achieve their true potential, without it being harder than it needs to be.
You’re listening to the Parents of Hardworking Teens Podcast, episode 37 - where we get into - is it really as easy as just getting the skills of application on board in order to achieve study success? So stay tuned!
Hello Very Important Parents - and a special welcome to you if you are a brand new listener. I know we’re getting more and more listeners each week these days and it’s all down to word of mouth. I don’t run any ads for the podcast and so all of the growth so far is down to parents sharing the benefits they’ve gotten from it, so if that’s you, then a big thank you.
I actually just spoke to a parent last week who told me they’ve literally listened to every single episode, which is just fantastic and so if that’s you as well, then a big high five from me - in a thank you way and in a ‘go you’ way. Because that’s excellent commitment and it’s exactly the reason why I aim to make every episode as helpful and useful as possible. And so if that’s not you, then firstly, if you’ve not listened to every episode - what?
Just joking, but I really would recommend listening to episodes 1- 3 to start with. Partly because in this episode I’m going to focus a lot on getting the skills of application, so if you aren’t familiar with the Study Success Formula - Knowledge plus application equals success, then that will be really helpful to get into first. And secondly, if you haven’t shared the podcast and you have any friends or family who you think might also enjoy it or find it helpful, please take a screenshot on your phone right now, or use the share link in whatever app you’re using and send it on to them. You’ll set up some good karma for yourself if nothing else, but you might just also make a huge difference to someone else’s life. Because I really do believe that this work can be life-changing.
I have a whole sub-folder in my inbox labelled ‘awesome emails’ full of updates or feedback from parents and students telling me they’ve gotten into their dream course at their top choice of uni, or how much less stressed or more confident they are. And even a student who was in, in the very early days of the 10WGT who was getting C’s and D’s in Y10 and needed straight C’s and above to get into their dream career with the Army. And ended up getting all As and Bs by the time they finished school and not only got in but I also have the email from their dad saying how much they were loving the army training another whole year later.
And there are also the emails from parents saying how much calmer their household is now without the last-minute assignment dramas or the meltdowns over exams. How their teen’s anxiety levels have decreased, how the relationship has become so much more positive. It’s a library of proof that this really can make all the difference.
So, today and next week, I want to share and expand on two questions I got asked recently by parents. These are both parents who just recently enrolled their teens into the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program after our Have Your Teen Nail Their New Year Group webinar. And so even though they’re on board with everything they were still kinda curious when we spoke.
Now, I’m going to cover the first question with you today, and then second one next week.
And the first question that I want to share with you, was this:
‘Is it really that easy? I mean, I’m still finding it difficult to believe that just getting these skills and techniques is the missing thing and will make so much difference.”
And what they meant by that, is ‘is it really as easy as just learning these techniques and strategies to increase grades and confidence?’.
I did of course give them my answer, but I wanted to share it with you and expand on it a bit more too. Because I know I often share the simple yet effective strategies in how students can uplevel their performance and increase their understanding of assessments, essays and exam questions. And show how it’s not that complicated once you know this stuff. And so I thought I’d dive a bit deeper into what’s really required -whether that’s from you as the parent or carer, from your teen - and actually in next week’s question and episode, from me.
So, I have a few different aspects to cover in my answer.
Firstly, I thought I’d actually look up the word easy in the dictionary.
It’s not the sort of word we’d usually look up in the dictionary is it? But I was curious to see what it said, because when I was thinking about this after the conversation, personally, I was thinking about easy being fast, or not taking much effort. And I wondered whether both of those things had to be true in order for something to actually be considered easy and if there was anything else I wasn’t considering.
So, according to my quick Google, the online dictionary said easy means:
achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
Or could be
of a period of time or way of life free from worries or problems.
And I actually really liked both of these.
Because when I thought about it, these are the main aims of the strategies and concepts I share.
I want to make study success achievable for students - with less of the stress and struggle - i.e. without great effort where there shouldn’t be and with fewer difficulties. AND for them and YOU as the parent, to make their life at school and life at home be as free from worries and problems as possible. At least, where I’m concerned, academically.
But, of course none of it is going to be 100% easy 100% of the time. And in fact, we don’t want it to be!
We don’t actually want your teen to find their study EASY. Because that would mean that they aren’t being given the right level of challenge. They aren’t working at their potential. You can hear me talk more about that in episode 34 where I talked about hard-working versus overworking.
We want your teen to develop a good work ethic and want them to feel the reward for hard work. That can’t be possible if we aren’t doing any hard work. BUT we don’t want them to be struggling more than they need to be, on things that aren’t supposed to be that difficult, or time consuming, or stressful. We want their hard work to be on the things that are going to pay off for them.
AND there’s also the consideration that I do stand by the idea that some stress can be good for us. It’s not true that we should never ever feel stress. I just don’t think that’s real life. And when it’s appropriate, and at a manageable level and time frame, then feeling some stress for exams or feeling nervous before giving a presentation for example can actually help us perform better.
I talked about this in episode 7 and I’ll link up these other episodes I’m mentioning in the show notes so you can easily go check those out if you want more on this.
So, I really want to make it clear, that I don’t want everything in their study to be EASY. But I do want to make things that are keeping them stuck, things that are preventing them from reaching their potential EASY to overcome or break through. - which in my experience these things are their missing skills of application - of being able to apply their subject knowledge to the way the question is asked and in the way the mark scheme demands. I don’t want them to have to endure unnecessary worry or put in way more effort than they could be. Not so that they can become lazy or have no drive or work ethic, but so that their effort can be channelled and used in the best ways for them. And so that it will be rewarded - in ways that will build their achievements and confidence.
SO I do want to make it as easy as possible for them to get the training and build their skills of application to make that a reality. But, remember, easy does not mean zero effort. That dictionary definition said achieved without GREAT effort. So let’s dig into that a bit.
Firstly for you as the parent, I like to think it’s easy to get this info and learn insights from me. As in, you can listen to this podcast on a walk or in the car. You can watch one of my webinars or participate in one of my free parent events from home, via the internet. You have to do something, go find the podcast, or register for the webinar, and if you’ve been to any of my free online parent events, I take lots of notes, AND I even get you to answer questions in the chat. But it’s not GREAT effort. It’s pretty easy.
And, to take it a step further, it’s easy to take about 30 seconds to enrol your teen into the 10WGT and then have everything else taken care of by me and our small but mighty team at Rock Solid Study. And in fact, in many ways your life will also then likely get easier. You don’t have to be trying to help them with their latest assignment. You don’t have to read their latest English novel so you can proofread their essay. You don’t have to worry anymore about burnout, exam stress or the how much - or little - sleep they’re getting when they stay up late trying to get that report finished.
But, your teen does have to actually complete the training. They have to engage with the training I deliver and then apply and action it in their own study.
Now, often this is easier than they think.
I’ve made sure that everything in the 10WGT is broken down step-by-step and delivered in the most effective ways. Everything is bite-sized with real life examples that we work through together. There isn’t any extra homework, but there are plenty of ways for them to practise and action everything in their OWN study.
And the concepts and strategies and techniques aren’t difficult to grasp or use.
These aren’t things that most students aren’t doing or using because they’re not smart enough to understand it or do it. It’s just that we don’t know what we don’t know.
But, there are some instances, some types of tasks or ways that questions might be worded that are set for your teen, by their teachers, in exams, in assignments that may be more challenging. In my webinars I always show a simple example of identifying command words in questions. How clear and simple it is when you know what to look for. But I also make sure I include a more complex example. Where it’s not so obvious what the command is and how students can actually dissect the wording and determine it. In fact, I’d say that my most recent webinar was the most complex one I’ve shared publicly. It was an NCEA exam essay question and it looked like an analyse command at first sight. But actually, once you know what the evaluate level of command really means - to give a judgement - it was clear that it was exactly that: an evaluate level essay question.
And that’s where the real magic comes in. When your teen gets these skills and builds them and practises and hones them until they’re not only proficient in them, can do everything accurately and quickly. But it actually becomes effortless and natural to take those steps, to naturally go straight to the command word for example, rather than concentrating on the topic of the question. And that does take some concentration and effort to start with. Just like learning to drive takes a concentration and effort in the beginning. But eventually we do everything proficiently AND NATURALLY and without effort. We have the brain space and capacity to then consider or add in other things. Which is then where students can really go to the next level.
Because here’s the best part. Once you’ve learned to drive, you have that skill and you can use it to take you anywhere.
It’s the same with the skills of application. The skills of effective note-taking, active revision, exam technique, identifying the focus, not just the topic of an essay question, mastering the 3 steps of analysis. These can be used across any subject and any type of task or assessment.
Learning them and becoming skilled in them does take some time and effort. But what these do is then make essays, exam prep, assignments, report writing, even things like writing and delivering oral presentations and of course, sitting exams, all a hell of a lot easier.
So, will your teen’s study ever be 100% easy? I hope not. Because that will mean that your teen’s not being challenged at the right level. But we want that challenge to be from the things that will move them forwards and upwards and have them build their confidence and achieve their full potential. Not from things like going off on the wrong track in their assignment, or having to cut a thousand words from their essay because they don’t really know how to answer the question, or staying up til the small hours to prep for an exam because they don’t have the 6 elements of exam technique nailed.
BUT, will having these skills and strategies make is easier to achieve their ultimate study success? Yes. Will it make everyday study and assessment feel easier and less stressful? Yes. And those can be easy to learn and build and hone.
Because I’ve worked for the past 8 years to make it as easy as possible for them to get them and it’s my mission to keep doing so. In the podcast, in my free events and resources, and of course in the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program. So, if you think this could be the key to making your teen’s study life easiER, not so that it requires no effort, but so that their effort pays off, they become more successful in their study and have these skills that will serve them forever, then have them come join us! Join us in the 10WGT!
Before I sign off, and between now and next week where I’ll share the second question I’ve had this week, I have a question for you! I’d love to know - What’s one thing that you or your teen have learnt from me - that has made their study feel easy. Drop me an email: email@example.com and let me know. I’d love to hear from you and until next week, I hope you have an easy, but not so easy it’s boring kinda week!