Home » General » The Seven Secrets of Academic Success (Part 2)

The Seven Secrets of Academic Success (Part 2)


Find a way to make hard questions easier and easy questions harder

Don’t: Jump straight to the full worked solution when you get stuck.

Do: Find a way to use part of the worked solution to make the question achievable.

The easiest way to make sure you are studying at the very edge of your understanding is choose what you work on.  Sometimes you don’t have a choice: usually because the questions suddenly get too hard.  In high school maths this often happens with worded questions: some students find them a breeze but for other students this where things get out of their depth very quickly and it is not easy to find a foothold.  This is where you need to find a way to make the hard questions easier.

Everybody knows you can make a question easier by using worked solutions, asking a teacher, friends or a tutor, but the key is to make sure you don’t just jump straight to the full solution.  Unless understanding the worked solution is itself a challenge you should take just a small peek to get a hint and work out the rest yourself.  Have a go at correctly identifying the technique that needs to be used for a question before looking up the solution, or having seen the correct technique, try working through the rest of the solution yourself.  One way or another break down the difficult problems into manageable chunks.  Another approach to make difficult problems easier is by trying a sequence of very similar problems, getting just enough help for each until they become comfortable without any help.  If you have a bank of questions to work with this can be very effective.  If you do end up needing the full worked solution, make sure you attempt the question again later without the worked solution and try again until you get it.

Maybe you are lucky enough to have opposite problem: you know the material so well that the questions are no challenge at all.  You could just cruise through on auto pilot.  If you’re smart you’ll find a way to make the questions challenging by setting a speed challenge or seeing how many questions you can correctly answer without any silly errors.  Try out little tactics that will help speed and accuracy.  Try recording just enough to make a double check quick and easy.




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