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AndyCole,United Kingdom,Professional
Published Date:09-07-2017
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SCIENCE OF STUDENT ™ SUCCESS Final year DOUGLAS BARTON EDWARD SEUNG DORJEE SUN To our parents, our guiding lights, who inspired us to guide others. 1 Published by Elevate Education Pty Ltd Level 6, 90 Mount Street North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia First published 2002 © Copyright: Elevate Education Pty Ltd 2002 Designer: Jeremy Thomas Printed in Australia by Southwood Press National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data Barton, Douglas, 1979- . Science of student success : final year. ISBN 0 9581087 0 6. 1. Study skills. 2. Higher School Certificate Examination (N.S.W.). I. Seung, Edward, 1980- . II. Sun, Dorjee, 1977- . III. Elevate Education. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. CONTENTS 2 BEHIND THE SCIENCE OF STUDENT SUCCESS™ 6 Why? 6 How? 6 HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE? 7 What is Student Success? 7 INTRODUCTION TO YOUR JOURNEY 8 STEP 1: DECIDE TO GO 9 TECHNIQUE 1: BELIEVE IT AND GO FOR IT 9 EXCUSE 1: It’s just not possible 10 EXCUSE 2: I’m just not talented enough 11 EXCUSE 3: It’s too late 13 TECHNIQUE 2: Stop Saying "I Can’t…" 14 The Effects of the “I Can’t” Syndrome: 15 Eliminate the “I Cant’s” 16 STEP 2: DECIDE ON YOUR DESTINATION 17 TECHNIQUE 3: Set Yourself Goals 17 Why We Need Goals? 18 STEP 3: PACK THE ESSENTIALS 23 TECHNIQUE 4: Find the Best Places to Study 23 Turning Your Room into a Study Engine Room 24 Other Study Locations 26 Effective Use of Switching Study Locations 28 TECHNIQUE 5: Create a Support Team 28 A Study Buddy 28 Team Pursuit Study Buddies 29 Study Groups 29 Tutors 30 School Teachers 31 Family 31 TECHNIQUE 6: Studying Smart 32 It’s All About Self Management Not Time Management 32 Working to Results Not Time 33 Finding Your Zone of Effectiveness 33 Semester Planning 34 Weekly Planning 35 TECHNIQUE 7: Hard Work 35 Guides to Hard Work 1 No Short Cuts 1 Sacrifices 2 3 TECHNIQUE 8: Use Your Holidays to Get an Advantage 3 Summer Holidays 3 During Year 12 4 Finding What Suits You 6 Remember to Relax 6 STEP 4: GETTING AROUND 7 The Path to Becoming a Study Sensei 7 TECHNIQUE 9: Learn the Basics of a Subject 9 The Right Way to Take Notes 9 TECHNIQUE 10: Mastering the Subject 11 TECHNIQUE 11: Creating and Innovating in a Subject 15 The Steps to Becoming a Study Sensei 15 STEP 5: BLITZING THE HOTSPOTS 17 TECHNIQUE 12: Maximum Pre-Exam Preparation 17 Setting Goals for Exams 18 Using Your Time Effectively 19 Final Review of Your Notes 20 Do Past Papers 22 TECHNIQUE 13: Maximise Your Performance in the Exam Room 22 The Night Before 23 The Morning Of 23 Exam Fuel – A Decent Breakfast 24 Exam Routine 24 Starting the Exam 25 TECHNIQUE 14: Post- Exam Effectiveness 25 Leaving the Exam Room 26 Getting Your Exam Back 28 STEP 6: REST AND RELAXATION 30 TECHNIQUE 15: Monitor Your Stress 30 The Peak Stress Profile 30 TECHNIQUE 16: Lifestyle Management 32 Exercise 32 Socialise 33 Maintain a Healthy Diet 33 Time Management 34 Cultivate Inner Peace 34 Making it Count 35 TECHNIQUE 17: Mental Management 35 Don’t Make it Bigger Than it is 35 Identification and Clarification 36 Rehearsal and Visualisation 36 Imagining Relaxation 37 4 TECHNIQUE 18: Physical Management 38 Meditation and Yoga 38 Breathing Exercises 39 Movement 39 Power Naps 39 STEP 7: HAVE FUN & ENJOY THE JOURNEY 41 TECHNIQUE 19: Putting It All Into Perspective 41 5 Introduction to Your Journey The Student Journey to a Successful final year Behind the Science of Student Success™ So what is this thing called the Science of Student Success™? It all started with a question. A student from one of our seminars came up to us and said "I need a result over 95 to get into the course I want but I am not sure if what I am doing now will be enough to achieve my goal?" We asked her if she knew anybody who had achieved a result over 95 to which she replied "Yeah, my sister and four of her friends". We then told her to speak to every single one of these people to discover the answer to her question. At that moment it hit us If you want to find out exactly what you have to do to achieve a certain result who better to talk to than someone who has already achieved your goal. That’s why with our company Elevate Education we devoted a full year pioneering research into this thing called the Science of Student Success™. This research has allowed us to determine the key differences between students who get result’s between 50 – 89, 90 – 97 and those who get 98+. However more importantly through this research we have been able to determine the exact steps top students use to get top marks. Why? It is our firm belief that the quickest and most effective way to achieve any kind of success is to find someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and get them to show you how to do it. Sure, you can try and do it by yourself but this would require trial and error. Such a process takes time and time is a commodity which Final Year students don’t have. More importantly the process of trial and error assumes you will make mistakes and obviously Final Year students want to make as few mistakes as possible. Why not just remove the trial and error process and find out exactly what you need to do in order to achieve the success you want? It is a basic precept of this book that if you sow the same seeds you will reap the same rewards. This book aims to show students for the very first time what the top students did to achieve their top marks. It aims to show them a path which they can travel down whilst giving them the knowledge that this same path has already led literally hundreds of other students to success. How? Elevate Education has interviewed over 400 students who have completed the final year. Of those 400 students, 200 placed in the top 2% of students in the State (a TER / result of 98+). This has allowed us to determine two things: 1. Exactly what top students are doing from the start of the year to the end, from the way they set their goals, their study techniques to the way they sit their exams. 6 2. Exactly what it is that the top students are doing which other students are not? This research has allowed us to distil the very best study techniques and practices, and unlike other study guides, we don’t just think that these techniques are good, we actually know they are. These techniques, unlike other study skills and techniques are actually proven to work. These are the techniques that the top students used to get outstanding marks. HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE? This guide will help anyone. It will help the student who is already doing well as much as it will help the student who is struggling or who wants to do well but just can’t quite get the marks they want. This book is written as a travel guide to your high school journey. Look at it as a handbook. If you ever want to know how top students used their holidays simply flip to that section to get all the advice you need. If you want to know how the top students mastered a subject or aced an exam then turn to those sections. This book is like having 400 guides or tutors who will lead you wherever you want to go, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help If you have a question just flip to the relevant section. Any student named in this book or referred to as a top student achieved a mark which placed them in the top 2% of their State. These examples are not used to freak you out or intimidate you; they are used because they have proven that their practices lead to outstanding results. And yes, all of these stories are real life stories. We have used them to inspire you and to remind you that these are real people, ordinary people just like you, who achieved extraordinary results. Finally remember that everyone is diff e rent and no-one has the exact same personality. It is up to you to find the tips or techniques that best suit your personality and style. There is never just one way to do things. Often the top students went down different paths yet they still came to the same destination. So find the techniques that best suit you. What is Student Success? Before we set off toward "student success" there are a couple of important points to clarify. What is this "student success" we refer to throughout this book? 1. Success is about fulfillment and learning. It is about the journey not just the destination. Your success is not defined solely by your single aggregated mark at the very end 2. Student success is not only about getting 98+. Sure this text refers a lot to students who have all achieved marks of over 98+ but this is simply because we are teaching you the techniques used by the best. Sure if you stick to these guidelines you too can achieve 98+ but that alone is not what success is 3. Success is what ever you define it to be Success is based on what you want and what you define as being important to you 7 Don’t listen to anyone else. It is up to you to think about your own journey and your own destinations and decide what you want to achieve and what you deem to be success. We cannot stress this enough Every year there is a large number of students who achieved fantastic marks but who were not happy because they were trying to live up to someone else’s definition of success You must decide what success means to you. 4. Achieving success is not any easy process. You must extend yourself – take a gamble and push yourself, for it is only in risk that you will get reward. If you set goals that are too easy, then you never push yourself and never feel the real satisfaction of success. 5. Success happens while you are smiling too You don’t have to feel pain, discomfort or sacrifice to experience success. Have you ever noticed that the most successful people often seem to achieve success effortlessly? Success happens while you are smiling too Introduction to Your Journey Whether you are just about to start your Final Year or you are already well into it, we want you to see your Final Year as a journey. Although there may be times when it doesn’t feel like it, in reality there is very little difference between a journey and the Final Year of school. Think we’re crazy? Have a look: A journey requires a decision to go and a destination and so does your Final Year. A journey requires that you pack certain essentials or tools which you will need along the way and it also requires that you have a mode of transport or a way to get around, all of which you will need in your Final Year. To get your money’s worth on a journey or holiday you need to know how to make the most of every opportunity, how to see and do everything there is to see and do and similarly in your Final Year of school you will want to make the most of every opportunity and try and get every mark there is on offer. Finally you need to know how to enjoy your journey, just as you need to know how to enjoy your Final Year of school. So what we want you to do is to view your Final Year, and all the ups and downs that it entails as a journey, and we want you to view this book as your travel guide. This is a travel guide written with the help of over 400 past travellers. It is based upon their well-worn path. We have distilled their best tips and techniques into a book of 7 easy to follow steps that will help you get the most out of your high school life. This guide is designed to help you get the best results, have the most fun, with the least effort. It’s your guide to making the most of what should be an amazing year long journey. So, get ready, we are about to embark on this journey, and with commitment and luck we can get anywhere. 8 STEP 1: DECIDE TO GO It goes without saying that any journey or holiday requires a first step to be taken, and more precisely a decision to actually take that first step. If you ever ask a traveller what made them set out on their journey it is not uncommon to hear the response that they just decided to do it. Many of us will know of people who have great dreams about one day travelling and seeing the world but for most it only ever remains a dream. They would love to get up and go, but they always have a list of excuses, which holds them back. It may be that they can’t afford it, or that they don’t have the time. These people end up letting excuses kill their dreams. Those people who are travelling and having the time of their lives are doing so because of one thing. They didn’t let excuses kill their dream. They decided as the Nike advertising says to "Just Do It." The journey that you are about to undertake during your Final Year of school is no different. Like any traveller you are going to need to decide to go. Unfortunately there are many students who never embark on the journey because, like those who only dream of foreign lands, they are held back by excuses. Instead of stepping outside their comfort zone and embarking on a truly outstanding journey, they settle for second best. These people remain happy to just go through the motions, and dream what it might be like to get outstanding marks. Unfortunately they are left, just like the dreaming traveller, unfulfilled and conscious of the fact that they let a great opportunity slip by. Those students who receive the best marks do so because they decide to just do it. These students rid themselves of the excuses, they stop saying they can’t, and most importantly they believe that their journey is possible. The students who achieve the top marks, decide to go. TECHNIQUE 1: BELIEVE IT AND GO FOR IT Elevate Education has the great privilege and opportunity to conduct in-school seminars where we talk to students about the journey of their last year of school. Throughout this time we have many students come us to us with a few questions. Usually the conversation goes like this: "I understand everything you have said, and sure that is applicable to most people, but it doesn’t apply to me, because I just can’t do it." Then they will start to list all the reasons, or rather excuses, why they can’t get their goal. Here are the most common excuses we have heard: Excuse 1: It’s just not possible. Excuse 2: I’m just not talented enough. Excuse 3: It’s too late. These people aren’t alone. We’ve all probably been guilty of using these excuses at one time or another, but in reality how true are they? 9 EXCUSE 1: It’s just not possible Anything is possible In every group there is always a doubter who just doesn’t believe it is possible. These doubters and cynics will always exist, but do you think these are the people who are achieving their goals? I don’t think so. Do you think people like Christopher Columbus, Henry Ford or Walt Disney were doubters? Of course not. But just in case you think it is impossible for YOU to get a great mark check out these students’ stories. If you think you have it bad these stories may persuade you otherwise. Great success stories This story is about Aileen. When she woke up to go to her first day of Year 12, she wasn’t feeling too well, in fact she was running a fever. As the year wore on her illness became worse. She stopped going to school at the start of March and by the end of the month was admitted to hospital. All up Aileen missed the first 5 months of school. She couldn’t even sit in her bed and do any work, because her sickness sapped her of any mental strength so that she couldn’t even think straight let alone study. Can you imagine missing the first 5 months of school? Imagine trying to understand a subject when you haven’t even attended class. Naturally Aileen was advised by her teachers and family not to set her sights too high. There seemed to be sense in this advice after she crashed and burned in her trials. This became a turning point though. Aileen decided she would do whatever it took to get the marks she wanted. From the trials to the final year Aileen worked with heart and passion and gave it her all. She eventually got a result of 99.10. That is just phenomenal Aileen lost 78 days out of her school year and through sheer hard work, determination and guts got a mark better than most people would dream of, let alone a sick person who has missed half a year of school Nothing is impossible Another student named Lena had a setback on a scale close to Aileen. Lena, born in the Ukraine, came to Australia in Year 10. Two years later she found herself doing the final year. Imagine coming to Australia with little English and having to write essays, read difficult texts and decipher questions with only 2 years of speaking English under your belt. At the start of Year 12, Lena decided she wanted to study Law which would require a result of over 98. Many students believe that 98 is an impossible target. Imagine aiming for it with only 2 years experience at studying English. The odds were stacked against Lena, but in spite of this she worked her butt off and she ending up getting her goal. She got a result of 98.95 and was accepted into Law at Sydney University. Success starts with the mind Have you heard the story of Christopher Columbus? As we all know back in Chris’s day everyone believed that the world was flat. Everyone that is, but good old Chris. Chris rightly believed the world was round and therefore set out on an expedition to sail around it. Everyone thought he was a nut case. Those closest to him tried to him talk him out of his crazy plans. They tried their best to convince him he would be sailing to his death. They told him no-one else had sailed around the world and that this was sure proof that it was impossible. Do you know why no-one before Columbus had set out to sail around the world? The reason is they didn’t believe it was possible. Do you know why Columbus was the first person to sail around the world? Because he DID believe it was POSSIBLE. It is the exactly the same with the Final Year of school. Every year many students sell themselves short and decide to aim for a mark which is well below 10 what they are capable of getting. They sell themselves short because they simply don’t believe they can get the mark they want. They are left standing on the shores, believing it isn’t possible, while other students are setting out on journeys, just like Columbus, to fulfil their dreams. A great result is not impossible Getting the mark or rank that YOU want is not impossible. It only becomes impossible the moment you give up and stop trying. In life there are two kinds of people. There are those that tell everyone things are impossible and on the other hand there are those that are doing the impossible. As a man named Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, "The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by the person doing it." For centuries there have been people who have defied conventional wisdom and achieved the impossible. We have already talked about Columbus. He sailed around the world which was supposedly flat. Then there were the Wright Brothers who showed the world that it was possible to fly. Despite that achievement people then thought it would be impossible to fly to the moon. There used to be sayings "That’s as sure as happening as me flying to the moon" to suggest an event was impossible. Even the word "lunatic" refers to someone who thought it would be possible to fly to the moon These naysayers were proved wrong when Mr Armstrong took a great leap for mankind on the moon. Great success stories of our time like Henry Ford and Walt Disney were also told their dreams were impossible and yet they managed to triumph. What you need to realise now is that there is a major difference between hard and impossible. Is it hard to get really good marks? Yes, of course it is Getting good marks is like anything else worth achieving in life, it comes at a price, and that price is hard work. If it wasn’t hard everyone would be getting great marks. The Final Year of school is hard and going to get harder, but that doesn’t make it impossible. There is a major difference between hard and impossible. Is it hard to climb Mount Everest? Yes. Is it impossible? No way. There are scores of people who do it each year. If, like a good mountain climber you are willing to put in the hard work of making your way up the mountain, and scaling the obstacles that get in your way, you will find there are very few things in this life that are impossible, including getting your dream mark. Not even natural talent or lack thereof, or wasted years can hold you back should you decide what you want and be prepared to put the work in. EXCUSE 2: I’m just not talented enough You don’t need to be born a genius For some reason most people think than in order to be successful you also have to be naturally talented. If you are naturally talented then that’s all well and good but the good news for the rest of us who aren’t so talented is that natural talent is not all that important to success. Just in case you think you are not naturally talented we want to tell you a story which may change your mind. This story is about an American who at age 31 decided to open a business. This business ended in failure. He then decided to change track and go into politics, so at the age of 32 he ran in a local government election, which he ended up losing. After this failure he decided to give business another shot and ending up failing for a second time. After three pretty big failures he was only a matter of inches from going mad. The death of his sweetheart finally pushed him too far and 11 as a result at the age of 36 he had a nervous breakdown. The breakdown was just an obstacle which he soon got over and at age 38 he ran in another election. He ended up losing it. In his forties he lost 3 Congressional races. The first at age 43, the second at age 46 and the third aged 48. Still he didn’t quit, he kept on plugging away, and at age 55 ran in an election for the Senate, and he lost again Now, what happens when most of us fail? We usually give up or we go back to doing something easier. Not this guy He was made of sterner material than most so he simply kept persisting. In fact he kept raising his standards and trying harder because aged 56 he aimed to become the Vice-President of the United States and you can guess what happened….HE FAILED. Very few people would ever call this guy naturally talented. Maybe a naturally talented loser, or naturally talented failure, but most of us would agree he was far from being gifted. But, like all good stories, this one doesn’t finish there because at age 60 this man became the President of the United States of America. His name was Abraham Lincoln. That’s right, don’t look away in disbelief, this guy was Abraham Lincoln. One of the most successful and influential Presidents in American history. Lincoln was an icon who changed the course of history. That man was more successful than most of us can ever dream of being and yet he was definitely NOT naturally talented. Lincoln’s story is exactly the same as many other great success stories. The more you look, the more you will realise that natural talent ain’t all that important. This also applies to YOU because you don’t have to be naturally talented or naturally smart in order to do well in your Final Year of school. There are numerous stories of students who were about as naturally talented as Lincoln and who still achieved amazing results. For example one of the students we interviewed was as far away from being a talented Math’s student as possible. Ever since Year 7 this guy had been in the lowest Math’s classes in his school. Years of bad marks and little progress had convinced everyone around him that he just didn’t have what it took to be even a half-decent mathematician. By the time he reached Year 11 he was sitting in Math’s class 4 out of 5 and it was then that something weird happened. He just got sick of doing badly at Math’s. He decided to create a goal of moving up to the top Math’s class, and he set a deadline to achieve it by the end of the year. At that time this goal looked like an impossible dream. Despite this he set out on a quest to move his marks up. He went and got a tutor, started to ask his teachers more questions, and put in a lot more work. Obviously things didn’t change straight away. It took time, but after a while the cobwebs brushed off, and the cogs began to work and he gained momentum. Instead of just seeing Math’s as a never ending stream of numeric, drivelled rubbish and symbols running like diarrhea across his page, he started to actually enjoy it. Finally the moment of truth arrived when this student had to face an exam at the end of Year 11. To his absolute delight he ended up getting 98.5 out of 99 in the exam. The story doesn’t stop there though because 98.5 out of 99 equalled 99.5% and this was rounded up to 100%. This student had got 100% in a Math’s exam and topped the year. All this from his lowly position in Math’s class 4 out of 5 and an extremely long history of bad Math’s results. One of the most important things you can get out of this book is the realisation that you don’t have to be naturally talented or a genius to get the mark you want. We could write an entire book just on stories like this of students who did well and who were never considered naturally talented. 12 Realise right now that no school exam is an IQ test. It is not about how smart or how naturally talented you are. Stories about people like Abe Lincoln and our Math’s friend prove this. The question is not, can you do well or can you get the mark you want? The question is WILL you believe and WILL you do the work that the goal requires? EXCUSE 3: It’s too late By the time Year 12 swings around many students awaken to a rude shock. Initially they say something like this, "" which is then followed by the lines, "Where did all the time go? What am I meant to do now?" Sometimes when you have spent the last 5 years sitting outside the Principal’s office you can be forgiven for thinking that you don’t have enough time to turn things around. You could be forgiven for thinking that, but you would be wrong. There’s still time If you fit into this crowd there is always time to change. Sure you won’t get the mark you want if you continue Year 12 the way you spent the last 5 years. If you are prepared to make a change now, you still have time, and if you are reading this book, then we think you have what it takes. Just as there are heaps of stories about students who have done well without natural talent, there are a lot of stories about students who have done well despite being the bad boys and the bad girls of class. One great example is a guy called Andrew. Half way through Year 11 Andrew was taken aside by his parents who advised him to start seriously thinking about whether he wanted to leave school or not because he would only be wasting his time doing the final year. His record from Years 7 to 11 had shown that the only thing Andrew really excelled at was not turning up at school. One sentence Andrew’s mother said to him would stay with him for the next year and act as the greatest source of motivation. She said to him, "You won’t even get a result over 50" Andrew angrily replied to her, "I’ll get a result over 99.00" and he then walked off while his parents looked at him like he was crazy On that day his goal was born and he turned his study habits, his work habits and all his beliefs about school around. To his credit Andrew got a result of 99.45, proving his mother and everyone else wrong and proving in the process that there is always time to change. Another student named Michael was in a similar boat. Up to year 12 Michael could always be seen in school hours at the "hut" in the park across from the school. It was here that he used to waste away the hours smoking. In Year 12 though, Michael suddenly disappeared from the hut. Those that remained behind thought Michael was either sick or had decided to quit school. As it would turn out Michael was actually in class for a change. At the start of Year 12, having done little work since Year 7 Michael decided to set a goal of getting into Law. Michael managed to surprise even his closest friends with the marks he was able achieve throughout Year 12. By the end of the year Michael had achieved his goal and got into Law and got a TER of 99.05 at the same time Again, Michael did this even though he had wasted away 5 years of school. It’s not even too late half way through your Final Year. Remember the story of Aileen? She could only start working and studying in August, after she had recovered from illness and she still got a great mark. 13 So the second thing you need to realise is that as long as you are totally committed to changing your ways and doing the necessary hard work you can get the mark you want. It’s not too late. Believing in You Its time to start believing Stop for a minute then and think, what do all of these students we have just discussed have in common? The answer to that is, they all believed they could get the marks they wanted. They believed when other people didn’t believe in them, and often they believed in themselves when they had no evidence or proof that they could actually achieve what they wanted to. In spite of this, they all believed. What is belief? Belief is not just saying to yourself, "Well I hope that happens" or "wow it would be nice if this comes off". Belief is 100% certainty that you can achieve whatever it is you set out to achieve. This self-belief truly is the door to success. Obviously belief is not enough in itself. Sure you can believe you are going to get perfect marks, but if you don’t take the actions that are needed, you can rest assured that you won’t get your goal. So belief by itself is not enough, but it is a crucial first step. Success is kind of like a pyramid, and it is built on that first layer of stones called belief. To test this idea we researched a group of final year students who got a TER/result below 90 and students who got a TER/result above 98. What we found was that the students who got a TER/result of 98+ believed in themselves significantly more than students who got a TER/result below 90. As we mentioned before, belief by itself is not enough. However believing in yourself in the first step to final year success. We want to finish this chapter with some words from a man who says it a lot better than we can. The guy is called Napoleon Hill, a man who spent his life studying the most successful people there were. He summed up the power of success perfectly when he wrote these lines: "If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you like to win, but think you can’t It’s almost certain that you won’t. Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger woman or man, But sooner or later, those who win Are those who think they can." Napoleon Hill TECHNIQUE 2: Stop Saying "I Can’t…" The “I Can’t” Syndrome Over the course of what is a hard and sometimes frustrating year, many students get too caught up in what is going wrong. They become jaded and start to think negatively. Usually this attitude is summed up in two words, "I can’t". Often we don’t even realise what we are saying, or the power these words have. We have just been conditioned to say them. For example do you ever have this happen to you? You get your Math’s books out and sit down to do a bit of study. As you work through the 14 questions, you get stuck on this one tricky bugger, which you keep getting wrong. After a while you usually get so fed-up that you throw you book against the wall and storm out your room saying, "I can’t do Math’s." Sound familiar? If that doesn’t ring a bell then you might have had this happen before. You get an English essay back and you look at the mark and it is disappointing or lower than what you wanted. You say to yourself, "Doesn’t matter, I can’t do English" or "Doesn’t matter I can’t write essays." If that’s not you, just take a minute and think to yourself, is there anything you say "I can’t" to? In your head run through your subjects. Are there any subjects which you say you can’t do, or is there anything within a subject which you say you can’t do? Maybe you say to yourself that you can’t manage your time, or that you can’t sit down at your desk and work. Maybe you say you can’t do well in exams or maybe you just can’t get above a certain mark. Just think for a minute and try and recall anything you say you can’t do. The Effects of the “I Can’t” Syndrome: When someone says "I can’t" 2 things happen: 1. You Don’t Attempt. 2. You Sabotage Chances of Success. You Don’t Attempt When you say the words "I Can’t" you are expecting to fail and if you expect to fail there never seems to be much point in ever attempting. Let’s pretend for a minute that you are in one of those chase scenes that you see in movies where they run along jumping from one building to another. Imagine that you were running along and you had complete certainty that if you tried to jump across you wouldn’t make it and you knew that you would fall to your death. If you were convinced you would die would you jump? It is highly unlikely that you would. It’s exactly the same when you say you can’t do something at school. For example if you’re an "I can’t do Math’s" person then it is highly unlikely you will even attempt to top your class or get 90% in an exam. Instead of setting their sights as high as they can these people aim for something lower than what their true capabilities are or they aim for nothing at all, and you know what, people who aim for nothing usually have terrific success at hitting it The point is if you think you can’t, you don’t attempt and instead you settle for second best. You Sabotage Chances of Success Having said that there are a select few people, who despite not believing, actually set out and attempt to achieve something. What happens to these people is they end up sabotaging themselves. Pretend for a minute you going into a Math’s exam and as you walk in you keep saying to yourself "I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I am going to go crap." Now, if you are saying these things to yourself do you think you are going to perform well? There is no way on earth that you will perform well. Again, what you are doing is expecting to fail. Unlike most other people who don’t attempt, you have actually got out there to give it a go, but because you are expecting to fail you don’t put in 100%. Rather than putting in your full effort you hold back and it is almost impossible to succeed when you are holding back. There was an interview on TV, which really illustrated this point. It was an interview 15 with a well-known baseball player in the States. This guy used to play in the outfield and after a couple of nightmare games in which he dropped a few catches, his self-esteem and self-confidence began to plummet and after a while he created the belief that he couldn’t field. The "I can’t" syndrome took hold of him. He used to stand out there and pray that the ball wouldn’t be hit near him, in other words he was repeating to himself, "I can’t catch." Sure enough though the ball would be hit to him and because he was concentrating on dropping the ball, that’s exactly what happened Eliminate the “I Cant’s” If you are an "I can’t" person you need to take those words out of your vocabulary. This can be done by a process called re-framing. Re-framing is simply the process of positive thinking. So, how do you do it? Pretend you are at your desk doing your Math’s homework and you find yourself bogged down by problems. It is usually at this time that you would throw your book against the wall and let out the words, "I can’t do Math’s". Right before or after you say it, you need to automatically re-frame it by saying something like, "That’s rubbish, I can do this if I work hard enough." This sounds like a pretty corny thing to do but it actually works. As long as you say the word "can’t" you brain focuses on not being able to do it. However when you reframe the word "can’t" to "can" like in the example above, "I can do it if I work hard enough" your brain actually begins to focus on finding ways to do it. If you make this a habit, you will find that soon enough the words "I can’t" have disappeared from your vocabulary. 16 STEP 2: Decide on Your Destination So, you’ve now got all the excuses out of the way and you decide to go for it, you tell your friends and family and then you call a cab to the airport. But wait a moment, where are you traveling to? It is not good enough to simply say that you are going; you must have a destination in mind. No-one leaves home without deciding on their destination. Unfortunately so many students embark on their journey without ever deciding on a destination. That is they have no idea of the marks they want to achieve. In other words they just get on a random plane and wait to see where it takes them. The problem with this approach is that often the plane takes you somewhere where you don’t want to go A traveller doesn’t just know their destination though; they know precisely where they are going. They don’t just hop onto a plane to Europe; they get on a plane to Paris, France. Unfortunately whilst some students do have an idea of their destination, in many cases it turns out to be too general. By analogy they get on a plane heading to Europe and find themselves 5 countries away from where they want to be. Students need to know specifically what their destination is. What is your destination during the journey of the Final Year of school? Your destination is the marks or rank that you want to achieve and it is the university course which you want to get into. Deciding upon your destination means setting specific goals for these things. This is what the following chapter will cover. TECHNIQUE 3: Set Yourself Goals PAST STUDENTS AND THEIR GOALS Lena Lena sat the final year in 1998 and at the start of the year decided that she wanted to study Law at Sydney University. She worked out that she would need to get a rank over 98 and therefore set the goal of getting a result of 98.95. She then got a piece of paper and wrote her goal on it. She then worked out the marks she would need to get in each of her subjects in order to get her goal and wrote all these marks down on a piece of paper. She then put this paper in a bottle beside her bed, and would look at it regularly. Still Lena didn’t stop there. She then got a number of A4 pages and wrote 98.95 in big writing across the page and put these all over her room so that wherever she went or sat in her room she could not avoid seeing her goal. In the end Lena achieved her goal spot on, getting 98.95. Not just that though, she actually got the exact mark in 4 out of her 5 subjects Celia Celia followed a very similar system to Lena. As she started her Final Year she asked one of her sister’s friends who had done really well if he had any advice for her. His advice was simply pick a goal, write it down and then look at it from time to time. She took this simple advice and acted on it. She wrote down the mark she wanted which was 98.80 put it in her bedside draw and from time to time would get it out and have a look at it. At the end of the year she fell just short of the goal but got an amazing 98.7, which for all effects and purposes was just as good. 17 Kwang How many people do you think get 100 without ever aiming for that mark? Not very many. You don’t get a perfect result by fluke or accident. In order to get 100 you have to aim for it. This is exactly what Kwang did, and his is an excellent case study for the power of goal setting. Kwang didn’t wait until his Final Year to set his goal. He set it all the way back in Year 7. He decided right then that he wanted to get 100 in his final year. By the start of Year 12 he knew that it was possible to get 100. Other people had done it in the past so why couldn’t he? He also realised that if you were going to aim, then you may as well aim high, and 100 was pretty much as high as you could go. So by the start of the final year Kwang had his sights firmly set on getting 100, and to his credit he got it. Why We Need Goals? Imagine what it would be like to go to watch a game of soccer or hockey only to find out that the goals had been taken out of the pitch. What would you be watching? Probably a group of players running around, kicking or hitting a ball without aim or purpose. This is exactly what the Final Year of school or life in general is like if you don’t have a goal. Our research has shown that one of the key reasons students underachieve is that they don’t have a clearly defined goal or target for what they want to achieve. These people are left like the soccer players on a field without goals. They spend the year running around, studying, but without aim or purpose and as a result fail to get the marks they deserve. Goals serve two key purposes. These are: 1. Focus. 2. Reason. Focus Have you ever heard of the great French General and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte? Before Napoleon became a General, most armies used to spread their cannons all the way along the line of attack and try to blow up the entire opposing army. This was very hard because one cannon can’t do much on its own. Napoleon changed the course of war by instead of spreading his cannons out; he put all his cannons together and focused them onto one spot in the enemy’s line. By firing a hundred cannons on one spot, he was able to do much more damage than he could by firing one hundred cannons on a hundred different spots. By focusing the firepower on the one spot he would blow a hole through the line and then send his cavalry through that hole to win the battle. Napoleon did this because he understood the power of focus. He knew that your energies are far more powerful when they are concentrated than when they are spread across a range of things. That is all a goal is, it is a focus. Rather than attempting to do 20 different things with your time and spending energy on all 20 pursuits you can dedicate all that time to one thing. By channelling your time and energy on that one thing you are guaranteed to do a lot better at it. Reason Do you find that you are unmotivated at the moment? If you are, then it is most likely that you simply don’t have a reason to do any work, and that is completely natural. After all, if we had to choose between studying and lying at the beach, most of would take the beach any day. However there are people who spend the time studying. They don’t do it do it because they are insane, weird or because they necessarily 18 enjoy it. They do it because unlike everyone else they actually have a reason to do it. Let’s face it; no-one does anything in life without a reason. Take for example a champion swimmer who gets up at 4.30 every morning to swim hour upon hour of laps. They don’t do this because it is great fun. They do it because they have a reason or a goal, which is to one-day win a gold medal at the Olympics. One of the people we have had the great privilege to talk to is a man named Michael Groom, the first Australian to climb the 5 highest mountains in the world. In order to achieve this, one of the things he used to do was stepping on and off milk crates for hours on end to simulate the feeling of climbing. Now, do you think this is something he did just to pass the time or have fun? No way, the only reason that he did it is because he had the compelling goal of standing on the summit of Mount Everest. It takes a lot of hard work to do well in your Final Year. In a way it is like your own mini-Mount Everest. You can only do the hours of work that are needed if you have a compelling reason or a goal. If you don’t, you will find yourself giving up halfway through the year. Setting Your Goal Here is an easy 6-step process to set your goals. You may want to get a piece of paper and write it out on the paper as we go. Step 1: Identify Your Goal This is probably the hardest step of the lot, working out exactly what you want. An easy way to do it is to work out the university course which you would like to do. This is a very effective method, since most students are doing their Final Year of school in order to get into a university course rather than just to get a random mark or rank. If you don’t know what university course you would like to study then you should stop reading right now and set a goal to get some information on what university courses are on offer. Get some brochures from the university or speak to your school career adviser and see if there are any courses which may interest you. If at the moment you have a number of choices in mind but haven’t picked a particular one then write all the courses down. Once you have written the course or courses down, then find out what the highest entrance mark for that subject is. If you have a number of subjects find the highest entrance mark out of the lot. Set this as your goal, because even if you miss out on the highest mark you will keep doors open for yourself at other universities or for other courses. Then once you have worked out the highest mark, add on a little bit more, we suggest 0.5 to account for rising university entrance marks. Step 2: Write It Down Just in case you haven’t written it down, write it down now, because a goal is not a goal unless it is written down. If your goal is not written down it is just a dream. By writing it down it you are taking the first step in making it a reality. Step 3: Make It Specific If you followed the actions in step 1 your goal should be specific. Do not fall into the trap that many students fall into of setting an unspecific goal. For example a lot of students set a goal of getting in the 90s. In reality that goal means nothing, because the 90s means anything from 90 to 99.99 and that is a pretty big difference. Remember that we set a goal to have focus and when we set a vague goal like this we take away our focus. Students who set a goal of getting in the 90s usually get low 19

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