Home » Case Studies » Can You Really Go From Struggling To Pass To Top Of The Class?

Can You Really Go From Struggling To Pass To Top Of The Class?


For Bruce the answer was yes.

Let me be clear from the outset, I am no miracle worker, this doesn’t happen for all of my students.  Hopefully you can see in Bruce’s story some patterns that will help you achieve your goals.

Bruce’s case shows that with the right support and the right approach, your improvement can be nothing short of dramatic.  I’ve been  surprised by how often I’ve seen students improve out of sight like Bruce.

Bruce came to me in the second half of his first year at Uni worried that he’d fail.  He was studying civil engineering online as a mature age student through Open Universities, and the course was great except for one thing: maths!

Maths was never Bruce’s favorite subject and it had been about 10 years since he’d studied any maths at all.  He’d managed to scrape  a pass in the first semester and desperately wanted to pass the second semester.  Bruce lived more than an hour drive away, and every couple of weeks he would make the two hour round-trip in to Preston for a two-hour session with me.

I think because he had to sacrifice so much he was determined to get the maximum value out of our sessions together.  Bruce would come extremely well prepared with a detailed list of the worked problems and topics he had trouble with.  He worked hard and brought along all of his working out so we could see exactly where he had trouble.

One by one we’d knock down each of the issues he battled with and gradually over time his confidence grew.  Bruce’s hard work paid off and he managed to achieve a high distinction for maths in the second semester.

There are a couple of things that Bruce did that I see consistently with high achieving students:

  • He put a high value on the support he was getting – if it took that long to get there he didn’t want to waste a minute of the session.  He made sure that the work he did before the session was directed at getting the best out of our time together.
  • He attempted to make as much progress as he could without help before asking for help.  When Bruce did get help it had real lasting impact.
  • By being clear about where he had trouble and bringing his working out, we could get straight to the key issues without wasting time.

Anyone looking to maximise the benefit they receive from any of the study support they have would do well to follow Bruce’s lead. It doesn’t matter whether the support is a teacher, tutor, parent, or friend, following these suggestions will get the most out of your time together.

How about you?  Have you seen someone improve dramatically or have you improved dramatically?  What have you found works best?


1 Comment

  1. Sara Fazal says:

    This was inspirational to read and made me believe that hard work truly does pay off, thank you! 🙂

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