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3 Must-Have Study Skills To Change Even the Worst Studiers Into Over-Achievers. (Never Overlook #2)

  • By the end of this article you will know my top 3 unforgettable skills that I forged through the gauntlet of High School, Mechatronic Engineering and starting a private tutoring company

  • There are tutors out there that don't want you to know this - they would rather drip feed you technical knowledge rather than revolutionise students into self-studiers

  • These skills are how you LEARN. Full Stop. Apply them religiously to every new concept in life to blow your achievement out of the water.

Now first of all lets address the elephant in the room: Why am I giving away my best studying advice completely free in a blog post? I own a tutoring company, won't everyone just run off with my best secrets and make my business redundant?

No haha. Tutoring is light-years beyond a few study tips. Its motivation, accountability, advanced understanding, coaching and mentorship. On top of that, I could give you the sharpest sword on the planet but you still have to be the one to pick it up and learn how to use it, it just helps a lot if you have a mentor design a program to show you how.

More on that later, lets get into this:


Oh WOW! You thought I was going to say "Run into the woods, collect three lamb eggs, a snail shell and a tin of Milo." and that would brew a potion to do the work for you?

No, sorry. There are NO SHORTCUTS to learning.

The fact of the matter is that you aren’t born with ANY knowledge at all. No one was born with Pythagoras's theorem loaded into their brain. If we want to know something we must LEARN IT. That means: see it, understand it, apply it and extend it (more on that later).

Look at it this way:

Your Homework Progress = The Ceiling of Your Final Grade

If you only do 50% of the homework you are set, you can only get 50% on the final exam, MAXIMUM. Take a second to think about it... if you haven't seen the content before, how are you going to reproduce it on an exam? It doesn't make sense does it?

There is a reason this is my number one tip, its basically a law. Take this as the holy grail, and the thing you MUST start doing from this point forward.

Now you might be thinking:

"But Harry, I've got Cello practice 2 nights a week, state football training every other night and a gorgeous girlfriend who isn't going to take herself to the movies each weekend. Where on earth am I going to get the time to finish that mountain of homework that Ms. Andreatta sets each week?".

And I would say: "Yeah I get it.". The amount of homework that teacher's set is often monstrous, and they often don't take into account the fact that you have 4-5 other subjects all doing the same thing. But remember the golden rule:

Your Homework Progress = The Ceiling of Your Final Grade

I recommend you do all of those other things in your life, but if you aren't doing your homework, you are going to fail. Full stop.

Take it into account when planning your week, and use those events as rewards for getting the dirty work done. Protect the time you set aside for doing homework and soon enough the results start to come. (You also find that not going to the movies EVERY weekend makes it a bit more special 😉)

Moving on.

Study Skill #2: ASK QUESTIONS!

This is by ALL counts the most underrated skill of the 3, because it has a compounding effect. (For those a little younger, that means the benefits start small but over-time they become massive.)

Here's why:

Asking a question not only gets the answer that you need at that point in time, but it makes you think deeper about the topic, builds CONFIDENCE and builds a relationship with your teacher. All of this makes you more confident to ask questions, more excited to tackle harder problems and the effects just keep growing and growing and growing.

Let's look at an example:

The teacher is explaining a topic in physics, like the kinetic energy of a ball rolling down a hill. The teacher says:

"The ball as it rolls down the hill will get faster."

And you think to yourself, "Well ease up Turbo, why does that happen?... Why does it not stay at a constant speed?" And you can't think of a reason why, so you ask... "Hey sir, why does the ball go faster and not stay constant?"

And your teacher replies, "Well, because gravity is a force acting on all things on earth and a force causes an object to accelerate (meaning get faster over time)."

"Okay sweet."

The teacher's pet over in the corner has a bit of a giggle because he thinks he knows more than you, but whatever, you'll just smash him in handball later anyway, so you move on.

Then the teacher says, "But the ball will eventually reach a constant velocity, and that velocity is given by this equation: [insert gross equation here]."

But hang-on, you just learnt about gravity and the fact it makes things accelerate, so why on earth is its velocity constant now?

Bingo. Up shoots your hand and the teacher explains that its because air resistance applies an equal and opposing force, which cancels the force of gravity.

Ahhh, that makes sense now.

So not only have you learnt about gravity, the fact that forces cause acceleration and that air resistance applies its own force, THREE CRUCIAL UNDERSTANDINGS. But imagine if you had of kept quiet, and just tried to memorise all these facts, or spent all of your time stuck thinking about why balls get faster as they roll down a hill, you'd fall way behind and think Physics was "Just too hard".

Better yet, even Terry Two Shoes in the corner is quiet because even he didn't know about air resistance. So you're a winner on all fronts and now your teacher knows you're actively thinking and engaging in class; and trust me, that matters.

Study Skill #3: "See it. Understand it. Apply it. Extend it."

This last one sounds a bit like a Kanye West song but I promise you its probably 100x better.

I want you to have a think about something that you're really good at in life and maybe follow on with the example as I go.

I'm going to look at something we've probably all done before (I hope), and that's riding a bike.

What was the first thing that your parents did to teach you?

You bet your bottom dollar that they got on that tiny bike and pushed a couple of pedals, or maybe they showed you on their own bigger bike. That's the first and easiest step to learning. SEE IT.

Now while they would've been riding around, they say: "See you push the pedals like this and it moves the bike forward, then you use the handle bars to choose your direction.". You're standing there nodding like "Yep I got that." so you UNDERSTAND IT now.

Next, its time for you to give this bad-boy a whirl (with training wheels of course). You get on and pump a few pedals, do a couple of circles and you're feeling like Evel Knievel. APPLY IT.

Now for the moment of truth - getting rid of the training wheels. You jump on, wobble around and fall over a few times because its a pretty weird and uncomfortable feeling not having someone hold your hand, or not having the training wheels to stop you falling over. But finally, you're body and mind fully connect, and you understand exactly what needs to be done to keep the bike upright. From there you're off to the races. EXTEND IT.

Can you see the same pattern in something else you've learnt well before? Probably...

But STOP! I know what you're thinking, "Yeah cool I've already done this, so it must be something I do naturally." And you'd be correct. But you MUST and I mean MUST keep this in mind when learning new topics of any difficulty, because imagine if you stopped early at any of the stages above ^.

  • How confident would you be in riding a bike yourself?

  • How good would you be at teaching someone else to ride a bike?

  • How do you think you would go if someone laid out an obstacle course and told you to complete it?

Probably not very good right... EXACTLY. The same thing goes with Physics, Chemistry, English, etc. etc. See the concept, whether reading it in a textbook or being shown by your teacher. Understand the concept, re-read it, think about what its saying, does it make sense? Do you think you could apply it? Try some simple questions to apply what you understood in real-life. Once you get the hang of it, go to the back of the book and pick a few of the hardest questions to extend your understanding.

If you can nail the hard questions, you understand the topic and can move on. If you don't, refer to Study Skill #2 and remember there are NO shortcuts. If you miss one part of it you will have to do it later at some point or you risk losing the marks on the final exam. Trust me, its much, much easier to do things in one go when its fresh in your head.

So AVOID DELAYING, do it properly the first time and your progress will be slower but 10x deeper and that's the key to high achievement.

One Final Message From Harry

If you implement each of these skills, word for word as I've described them. I guarantee you, you will start achieving and learning out of your skin.

But I want you to notice one thing that all of these skills have in common...

No one else does them for you. Learning a skill is personal to you and you only. No one else can learn it for you and no one else gains the skill once you've learnt it. You get out of it what you put in, that's the hard and honest truth about it.

You might be starting from behind, with massive gaps in your knowledge. Maybe you've really struggled with school up until this point, and you've got a lot of catching up to do. Listen to me when I say, none of it matters. I don't care if it takes you 10 years to get through high school, I don't care if it takes you 7 years to complete your engineering degree. What matters is that you start doing things right from now on, every journey starts with the first step, and it will be the best decision you've ever made.

Thank you so much for reading this far. If you found this article valuable in anyway at all, give it some love and share it with others that might benefit as well.

If you or someone you know is struggling at school, get in touch with us and we'll point you in the right direction.

All the best,


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