Recently I’ve been working with school pupils to help them develop the skills they need to be able to do independent studying. Of course, the immediate goal is passing exams and achieving those BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) of university, career or dream job, but it’s about more than that. These are skills for the rest of life, especially your working life.

I think the whole study skills topic comes to life when you begin to realise that the skills you need to study are the same skills you need in the workplace. Here are a few:

I need to organise myself

For many teens this one is a killer. And it’s the same for adults in the workplace. As a self-employed writer and trainer how I prioritise my work is critical. I need to get organised. I need to make a plan and I need to be flexible to change and develop as work and deadlines change.

Secondary school pupils are being handed deadlines every day. Learning the skills to manage them and still feel in control of their lives is going to have massive benefits.

I need to motivate myself to get started

I came across a great Greek proverb the other day: “The beginning is a half of the whole”. Or you’ll find the same thought in: “Well begun is half done”. Having the energy, commitment and motivation to get started with a project is of huge importance. Procrastinating is our enemy. It won’t work when it comes to studying and it doesn’t deliver in the workplace either.

I have deadlines to meet

People often ask me how I manage to motivate myself to work from home and the answer’s easy. If I don’t, I won’t get paid! I can’t afford to miss deadlines. This is only part of the story of course, the other thing about meeting deadlines is that it’s about following through on a promise, delivering what you said, meeting expectations and above all, delighting your client.

Deadlines loom large for students, with essays, coursework, and the exams themselves on the horizon. Learning to deliver on the deadlines will make all the difference.

I have to make the grade

Once more this is a concept that is right there in your face when it comes to exams, but continues to be important into the world of work. Every day that I write content or deliver training it has to meet (and hopefully exceed!) my client’s expectations. I might not be given a grade, but unless I produce work to a high standard I’m unlikely to be invited back. My business depends on making the grade.

Sometimes I’m excited about the topic and the work just flows. It’s easy to communicate with passion and enthusiasm when it’s genuine. Young people generally have a favourite subject. Figuring out what it is so that you can focus on your passions in later life is always going to be worthwhile, but in the short (and longer) term a bit of slogging away is likely to be a necessary evil.

It’s worth learning how to learn

All of this makes me think that learning how to study for exams has genuine long term benefits. Students sometimes find it hard to understand why learning to study is worth the effort, but regardless of plans for the future, these skills are going to be relevant and useful.

What do pupils say?

“Very informative. Motivated me to study”

“The best thing for me was learning how to revise and the best ways of doing it.”

“I really enjoyed learning about how the brain memorises information and how to use it to our advantage.”

“T’was good. Informational and fun.”

Get in touch for more about our study skills events for secondary school pupils.