Monthly Archive for September, 2008

How To Deal With “Flunking” An Exam

We’ve all been through times in our lives when we’ve studied and studied for an exam and still bombed out, due to nerves, distractions or some other reason right?

Maybe you’re dreaming of becoming a respected academic, but history and human nature dictate that you will still make mistakes on your way to that dream. You need to accept that you are imperfect, and take advantage of those mistakes instead of letting them get you down.

It’s not in times of success that we cross analyse and study where we went wrong, but in our times of failure, so you could go as far as to say that, as human beings, we need some failure so we can move closer to our success.

A baby doesn’t give up on learning to walk, it tries over and over again until it succeeds no matter what it takes!

Adults however often tend to give something only a few tries before abandoning hope.

Learn from mistakes, don’t be discouraged by them; you will succeed by putting thought into your efforts, and that ability can only come with experience. So in a way, you achieve success simply by making enough mistakes.

The more time you spend berating yourself, the lower your self-esteem sinks, and the less motivated you feel to work to solve the problem; beating yourself up creates a vicious cycle that fixes nothing. The solution is to remember that you should be disappointed in yourself not for failure, but for letting failure convince you to give in.

I call this the Vortex Of Mediocrity™. Don’t let it suck you in.

It’s a force more powerful than gravity and it surrounds you ALL THE TIME.

If you adjust your mindset so that you see everything as a success, you will never be short of optimism. Even if you put all your effort into reviewing for a test and fail it , it is important to remember that regardless of your grade the exam will be a learning experience, you did your best, and as a result you will do even better next time.

IF YOU LEARN THE LESSON – the LESSON OF WHAT DIDN’T WORK THIS TIME!

This way you never fail or truly bomb, because you’re in a space that allows you to win, even if you don’t have the IMMEDIATE results you desire.

Create mental rules that ensure you always win.  These rules will then regulate your path to success in whatever you do.

The times when you come undone mentally will be when you compare yourself to others who are better than you.

I’m here to tell you that there’s always someone, smarter, faster, more admired than you, but that doesn’t mean that you’re any less of any of that. You are you and unique in this world, the only competition you need to set is for yourself.

If you are dedicated to achieving a certain goal, you will find the way to attain it. Think back to an accomplishment that you recently strived for and had great success.

Did you doubt that you would succeed?

Isn’t it true, be honest, that in the past when you seem to have failed, it’s mostly because you didn’t really give it your all?

You have to understand that successes are only reflective of the amount of time and energy that you spend to achieve them. If you’re looking for someone to help you, but you lack the drive to help yourself, then you can expect that no successes will ever come your way.

Sometimes, even the most hard working people in the world can’t catch a break, but for them, that’s when persistence and determination come in. That is what defines real success. Like diamonds which have been formed from highly condensed carbon, true character and desired results come only from the way in which we strive to succeed under pressure.

Of course if you haven’t already done so, you could buy my study book and take the ‘easier way’ to “Get Better Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort“. Someone’s done all the hard yards for you.

Onward and upward!
Dr Marc Dussault

P.S.

My book comes with a money-back guarantee – re-direct your perseverance and hard work in a direction that produces IMMEDIATE results for you. There is no sense in taking the long hard road when the path of least resistance has been paved for you…

Your grades are worth a lot more than the cost of the book…

Believe it can help and it will.

Believe it can’t help and it won’t because you won’t have bought it and learnt the strategies for success.

How Your Friends Get Better Exam Scores Than You In Less Time

I bet you’ve just read the title of this article and are thinking that “it’s not possible to get better exam scores in less time!” After all you’ve always struggled, you’ve always been the one who’s had to study so hard just to make “average” grades, right?

However just me pointing out to you that it is possible has peaked your interest yes?

Then stay with me, because I’m going to reveal some very powerful secrets on how you can solve the mystery of how to study smart, with less effort and be more effective.

Others have been through what you are going through.  They have developed techniques that work.  They also know what doesn’t work.  By tapping into these resources you will save yourself a lot of time, effort and possible pain.

The key to success for you is to uncover the success study blueprint that others are successfully using, right now as you read this. Let me give you an example, you wouldn’t ask a computer programmer how to manufacture steel, any more than you’d ask a tennis coach to teach you snooker.

The trick is to understand those who are studying SUCCESSFULLY RIGHT NOW.

How that can be done?

Great question!

You can start by observing your classmates.  Find out who is the best student in each of your classes.  Ask them what they do to achieve those grades.  Chances are they’ll say something vague like “I study hard”.  But you need to go deeper, you need to go several layers below the surface of what “I study hard” means, here’s an example of a dialogue with a student to EXTRACT the DISTINCTIONS OF SUCCESS:

You: George, how do you get such good grades even in your weakest subjects?

George: I’m not sure. I just work hard and really put myself into it.

You: Just what does it mean to really put a lot of work into studying?

George: Well ya know I spend a lot of time studying.  Don’t you?

You: Yeah I do, but I’m not getting the results I’d like to get.  How many hours do you study in a typical week? You seem to study nowhere near as much as I do.

George: Probably around four hours a week. One hour a day on three days between Monday and Friday, and sometimes another hour on the weekend.

You: At what time do you do your homework?

George: I study as soon as I get home.  I can’t concentrate after dinner because I get too sleepy.  If I have an after-school activity, then I study about an hour after dinner.  I go and do a social activity with mates for an hour or so, this relaxes me and helps me to focus more.

You: If you don’t mind, can I ask where you study?

George: Your question is rather coincidental. In the past, I studied in my room because my parents were watching TV and I found it too difficult to concentrate. Now, I just go downstairs to the nice, quiet basement instead.

At this point, you must make sure you’re not “grilling” George.  Ask if he minds answering these questions.  You should tell him how much you appreciate this information, so he can value his contribution to you.

Don’t assume he knows this.

You: Once you’re sitting at your desk, then what do you do?

George: Before actually doing any work, I decide just what I want to get done. Then I work through all the problems. If the assignment was only even-numbered exercises, I’ll try the odd-numbered ones if I have extra time, and stop once I’m absolutely confident with that form of problem. On average I can get that confident after solving three problems or so. All the work I do is written in ink, so when I’m studying later on I can see my mistakes and the corrections I’ve made.

You: I really appreciate it, George. I think I’ll try some of that stuff tonight. I also wanted to let you know that using pens of different colors seems to help me visualize and recall the notes I take. You should consider trying that. I’ll be in touch with any other suggestions.

It’s important to let other people know you’re genuinely grateful when they’ve given you their time.

The best way to show gratitude, however, will differ from person to person. No matter how, though, you should let them know how much you appreciate them and make sure your gratitude is genuine, or else they may feel taken advantage of.

Your professors and teachers, parents, older siblings, or even your local librarians could serve as excellent resources as well. To find the best match, try to find a mentor that has already accomplished the same goals you’ve set for yourself.

Onward and upward!

Dr Marc Dussault

P.S.

Of course the BEST person to ask questions like this is… YOU!

Ask yourself these questions and watch what happens to your results as you start to do ONLY what works for YOU… Enjoy getting better grades with less effort!

How I Cut My Study Time From Days To Hours And Got Better Grades In The Process

Sometimes it seems like some people are just naturally smart. It seems like they get good grades while they are playing more than actually studying.

You probably think that their good grades come easily without studying or without any hard work involved, right?

I tried all kinds of tricks to improve my grades– studying at different times of the day, in different places, by different schedules. Each one made a difference.

I wasted countless hours doing things that didn’t work.  My frustration and anger at not being taught how to study drove me to systematizing the process so that success was repeatable and, more importantly, efficient.  Even though I love reading and learning, I hate to waste time – especially if I know I can read and learn more quickly.

Being perpetually curious, I started to look into just how my classmates were getting such astonishingly high grades when they seemed to spend all their time goofing off rather than studying.

Since some of my friends were among these straight A students, I asked them outright, and this is some of what they said:

  1. “We need to create adequate space in our lives for leisure and enjoyment. The human mind truly expands when engaged in an enjoyable experience, and understand what we study.”
  2. “Since life is more than constant studying, we’ve begun to tend towards laziness instead, so you have to figure out how to note the most important points and develop a way to remember them by association with something that you really relate to during the learning process, this will have what you learn “stick” in your mind, along with the pleasant and relaxing experience you have at that time.”
  3. “Split up the lessons into small focused ones so that you chunk stuff down. What this accomplishes is an improvement of your focus while increasing your memory recall.”

Anthony Robbins calls it “Mirroring the Masters”.

That’s what I started to do.

One step at a time, I created a SYSTEM that was repeatable – it became my book with the name that says it all – Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort.

I decided that I wanted to get that kind of free time as well. I had been wasting whole weekends reviewing for exams, when with what I ultimately learned I would have been able to do better with only two or three hours of study!

Yeah I know it sounds too good to be true – but y’know what? I got to the point where I was fed up with non-stop pressure and hour after hour of sitting at my desk trying to learn everything JUST TO GET BY.

I had enough and decided to see if this ‘stuff really did work’.

Y’know what?!?!

It did and it does – but only for those who learn the techniques, tools and strategies.

I eventually developed tips and tricks to help my friends and classmates ( the first draft of my book) and believe it or not, I was met with resistance. I hadn’t “proven” myself and because of that, I didn’t have the credibility. It was often too late for me to help those who needed it the most.

That has changed now. BUT it’s too late for my classmates of 20+ years ago…

I have accomplished things that are “public” or within people’s view and I now have credibility.

I am living proof that these strategies work.

I  also have an amazing number of success stories from students all over the globe who have put my advice to good use, and more of them are doing so every day. I’d love to count you among the successes I’ve chronicled in seminars and books!

Let me know by posting a comment on this blog!

I genuinely think that just about anyone can learn these fundamental principles and use them to improve their grades immensely– possibly from Ds all the way up to Bs and sometimes As– something many people only dream of.

But nothing happens unless you change something.

Make the decision now to stop wasting time studying and start to get better grades THIS SEMESTER.

Onward and upward!
Dr Marc Dussault

P.S.

When you flunk your next exam, test or quiz, come back to this blog and read the posts – there is enough content here to prevent that from happening again. My book has much more content than this blog and it’s the best investment you could make – it’s a fraction of the cost of an academic textbook, the price of a double music CD… Think about that for a second.

If you didn’t flunk, but you got stressed out of your mind – consider the option that you could get the SAME GRADES OR BETTER without the stress. Why put yourself through that?

For me, the STRESS and ANXIETY was the key driver to learning these strategies – I always get ‘pumped up’ for exams and quizzes, but more than that is no fun – I want the calm sense of confidence that I KNOW I can ACE an EXAM.

That total feeling of serenity is priceless ESPECIALLY when everyone else is fidgeting, twitching and sometimes getting sick in the bathroom before a final. That’s just not for me.

Reduce Exam Stress and Anxiety NOW

All too often in life, it seems that the times in which we felt most productive were times when we actually had the least amount of time to spend.

What do I mean?

Think about that looming deadline set by your boss or that all-too-rapidly approaching final exam.

Do you find yourself not doing the work you’re supposed to do, when you have plenty of time to complete it yet when you’re giving yourself a time table and short sharp bursts of urgent timelines you excel above and beyond what you ever expected?

In simple terms, when you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, YOU DO IT, when it’s not a must, you let it slide…

Are some examples of prioritizing:

Not important and not urgent. At the end of the semester you need to hand in a book report. It will probably take at least 10 to 20 hours to read the whole book (unless you speed read), and at least 4 or 5 hours to write the whole report. You have been given 3 months to complete it and it is worth at least 10% of your final grade.

You need to begin with it at the earliest momeny in order to avoid it becoming urgent.

You really want to avoid letting an important task become an “urgent and important” task. You can easily avoid this type of situation by psychologically giving yourself one-fourth of the time to complete the task, which will result in a faster completion time. Therefore, allowing extra time so that you can review and “polish” the final product into something truly amazing.

Not important but urgent. A quiz is scheduled for tomorrow, but you haven’t been to able to review anything. Although it’s only 5% of your total grade, you want to get the maximum mark you can.

You know perfectly well you could have done this sooner, and more easily, in between other tasks. Now, however, you need to worry about it unnecessarily.

Stop it!

Important but not urgent. You have a project that is worth 35% of your final mark.  It’s due in a month and you estimate it will take you 20-25 hours to complete.

On top of chunking it down into bite-size chunks you also need to give each bite-size chunk a deadline and timeline, so that you have a realistic expectation and understanding of your workload. This will take the pressure off you, so you can relax when you set time to relax and be very focused in the times you allot for each chunk to be done.

Important and urgent. Your final exam is in 2 days time and 70% of your final grade depends on it. You have not done enough till now. The amount of new material to be covered is so great that you are not sure where to begin. You start panicking.

This is not where you want to be spending your time.  You want to spend as much time as possible on important but not urgent issues.  Of course, this takes planning and preparation But you will find times when you need to manage important and urgent situations in your education, life and work.

The ideal coping method is to take a more objective look at the issue, and take the time to think it over calmly. There is no situation that can be best dealt with in haste; every difficulty needs some thought put into it, and every difficulty can be better overcome if you plan a little before diving into the situation.

Once you’ve worked out how to keep this balance, and how to take advantage of deadlines on the really urgent assignments, you’ll have developed a system that will help you successfully complete any task you’re assigned at school or work.

I cover these in much more detail with more detailed examples in my book. Get it now and reduce your exam stress today/tonight.

Onward and upward!
Dr Marc Dussault

P.S.

Successful students are NOT smarter than their classmates – they just DO things differently. Prioritization simply means putting in the SAME or LESS effort at a different point in time. Most students CRAM for exams with a LOT OF STRESS when in fact they could have done much better by studying the night before the night before the exam without duress.

That’s what I did when I was in the MBA program. I forced myself to study the night BEFORE the night BEFORE class on PURPOSE. So that I had the NIGHT BEFORE to review anything ‘else’ that I might have forgotten or had trouble with.

I was much less stressed than my classmates, slept better and YES got better grades. More importantly I enjoyed the process. Many of my classmates did not have fun learning – they were stressed, anxious, nervous and not much fun to be around. That was the case for the academic colleagues as well as family.

In some cases, it was almost the trigger to a divorce. In several, it meant they were not patient with their kids which is a terrible thing to see – WHEN IT’S TOTALLY PREVENTABLE…