Achieving top grades is simple but not easy.
Answers to study tip requests on forums are almost always met with ‘just work harder and do past papers’.
In theory, to succeed in A-Levels, GCSEs or any others exam; we just need to get to the table and stay there consistently.
It’s 10% strategy and 90% execution. If you can stretch your attention span and find ways to stay engaged, achieving good grades becomes incidental.
As the no.1 best-selling author of How to ACE Your A-Levels & GCSEs, I’ll show you two strategies that will help you work consistently throughout the year and focus.
1. Gamify everything
You’re not going to enjoy learning everything your teacher gives you. How do you stay focused even when the content is boring? Find flow.
Have you ever been so absorbed in a task that you lost track of time? That’s flow. As scientists Hackman and Oldham state, reaching a state of ‘flow’ is the key to finding satisfaction in work.
It is also the key to learning efficiently and succeeding in exams.
Games are the most engaging activities invented by man. Have you ever played strategy games like Command and Conquer or Age of Empire? I used to forget to eat for the whole day when playing these.
What about theme park games? Who would have thought that chucking a ball into a bucket can be so addictive?
How do you gamify your learning process?
- Keep score
Track everything – attention span, time, questions attempted and pages completed. Write these down.
- Beat yesterday’s score
Try to get better each day and soon you’ll be competing with yourself.
When you find yourself pushing to do ‘1 more question’ or ‘1 more page’ just to get ahead, that’s when you’ve nailed it.
2. Create ‘Aha’ Moments
Have you ever heard a song on the radio which you liked the sound of, but when you returned home to search for it on Youtube you forgot the name? It’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t get hold of it. You keep trying to remember and wait, wait some more… then …POP!
The name appears out of nowhere and you experience that brief pointless moment of joy! Chances are that song name will be stuck in your memory from that point onwards.
Scientists call this phenomenon ‘perceptual insight’ and it is proven to help with memory. When scientists examined people experiencing ‘aha moments’, they found specific areas in the brain involved with emotion and memory lit up with activity. Perceptual insights are the glue that sticks information in your long term memory.
This means, during any study session, if you’re not ‘popping’ you’re not learning. There should be a continuous cycle of frustration with not ‘getting it’, followed by the euphoria of figuring it out.
That’s what learning should feel like. Casually glazing over a textbook while watching Netflix won’t work!
Do you gamify your revision or experience perceptual insights while studying? Got any questions? Leave a comment below.