Grade Transformation Blog

Grade Transformation Blog

No.1 in Transforming Students’ Grades

Archive for June 2019

Simple trick to fit ANY writing to ANY type of task

When it comes to writing, students need to show they can craft their writing to the purpose of the assignment or to the audience they’re writing for.

So it’s essential that your teen’s skilled at adapting their style and vocabulary depending on the type of task.

That’s why I’m gonna share with you a quick and simple trick they can use to do this easily and instantly.
(Yep, really!)

I love this snappy little technique, because it’s super simple, really quick (no genius brain cells required) but also hugely effective.



I can tell you, from marking hundreds, actually it’s probably thousands, of creative and formal writing exams, that this ‘style’ or ‘appropriate to genre’ element is a critical part of the marking criteria for almost any task.

Now, there are LOTS of different types of formats, genres and forms of written tasks.
Some of the most obvious or common are narratives or short stories, persuasive speeches, inquiries, analytical essays, scientific reports, feature articles… and that’s just a few.

There are heaps more.

So I want to share with you one of the ways to make a clear distinction between these, and then a simple but effective way your teen can adapt their writing to fit it.

Right, STEP ONE:

Your teen needs to determine whether their task requires them to write formally or informally.

Examples of a formal assignment include:
– an analytical essay,
– a research report,
– a scientific investigation,
– a historical enquiry.

Examples requiring a less formal writing style include:
– a monologue,
– a narrative (AKA a short story),
– a blog article
or even
– a movie or book review,
– magazine column.


Of course these examples are not exhaustive and this is really a continuous scale.
After all, when it comes to a speech, an official speech from the Prime Minister would be quite different in style and formality compared to a speech at a wedding!

So that first step is to consider where the task lies on the scale from formal to casual.


Then, once they‘ve determined what level of formality their writing needs to take – they can think about…

Identifying the tools and techniques that are most appropriate and getting to work on incorporating them into their writing.

Wow, there are LOTS of different tools.

So I want to give you just one.

Because it’s one of the simplest and easiest, but super-effective tricks to make their writing instantly stand out as either formal or informal.


It’s using CONTRACTIONS – or – NOT using them.


Let’s take a quick flash back to English grammar lessons…
*cue floaty flashback music*

Contractions are where we join two words to make one with an apostrophe.

  • it is – becomes – it’s
  • where has my pen gone – becomes – where’s my pen gone?

And from that last example you can probably already see the effect this little change has.

Contractions make things more casual.
They’re great for using in direct speech for characters in a story.

— Oooh – there’s another one – see how I contracted they are to they’re 😉


Students should use contractions when they want to produce a less formal style of writing.
Perhaps for a script or a blog, or even a feature article.


And the opposite is true for formal writing.

Keeping all words complete and separate keeps writing sound a lot more serious and official.
Like this: They are good for science reports, essays and other formal style tasks.
See how that already sounds more official than ‘They’re good’?

Have your teen give it a go.

You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes and how it can boost their achievement in writing appropriately to the task, genre or specified audience.

Then, once you’ve seen what a difference such a tiny tweak can make,
go check out my Write Like an A-Grader online training9 short and powerful modules for creating writing that WOW’s the marker!

It’s packed with strategies, tips and techniques like this and much more sophisticated ones too, from coming up with A-Grade ideas and structuring them, to the final edit and proofread.

And if you know anyone else who’d benefit from this tip, then please feel free to forward them a link to this video or blog article and feel free to share it on your social media.

And until next week, let’s make this a fantastic week!

Katie 🙂

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My personal story and HOW it can help YOU

Flashback time…

I wanna share a moment in my life when I was a student.

There really was nothing stand-out, unusual or particularly special about it at all (which actually shows why it’s an issue for so many teens still today).

But now, looking back, I think it’s very telling why I remember it so clearly (and is the reason I’m sharing it!).

Here, I explain where I was going oh-so wrong!



Now, I shared this story just once or twice in the early days of Rock Solid Study.

But it’s occurred to me that most of the parents and students in our community NOW have probably never heard it.

There I was, 17 years old, sat in the study area of the library at Sixth Form College (that’s the equivalent stage in England of Year 11 and 12 here in Aus).

I was being the model, diligent student.

I’d heard more than once how good students needed to do ‘extra reading around the subject’ to get great results.

So I did just that.

Sat writing notes from a National Geographic article to add to my Geography work.

I can’t remember exactly what the article was about – something to do with rainforests I think. I can’t even remember exactly what the topic or unit was we were studying in Geography at the time. I think it might’ve been something to do with ecosystems? Or maybe it was sustainable resources, or even sustainable tourism.

But whatever it was, there I was sat writing out notes about some ‘case study example’ that had SOMEthing to do with the topic I was currently studying.

Now, that shows self-motivation, right?

No-one had made me do it.
No-one had set it for homework.
I was going over and above.
It shows independence and pro-active, positive steps to improving my results.


Well, no.

I’m afraid not.

Well, yes to the self-motivation, to being pro-active, to doing what I thought I had to, what I’d been TOLD I had to, to get my best possible grades.

But taking positive steps to improving my results?


Just… no!

And here is the interesting part – or at least it’s interesting to me now.

I genuinely remember feeling even at the time, sat there, blue pen in one hand,  red pen at the ready for key words, feeling like I didn’t really know how this was going to help me.

I figured that maybe I’d be able to mention it in an answer to an exam question.

I just blindly followed the very general advice.

I kinda questioned it in the sense that I wasn’t sure HOW it would help.

But I buried that uncertainty and just did it anyway!

The truth is, that advice of wider reading is one of the very LAST things students should or could do to improve their grades.

They don’t really need extra case studies. They’ll cover the ones they need within the syllabus and term planners – or at least they should be.

And they don’t need extra information beyond what’s in the syllabus dot points because it won’t and can’t be examined anyway. That’s a very strict rule of exam boards in how exams are written.

Plus, I could list a hundred other activities that would have a greater and more direct impact on building skills, knowledge and success academically.

I know them from over a decade in teaching, tutoring, exam marking and extrernal exam board training.

Which is why I’ve made it my mission to train students in the very best and most effective actions and skills in my programs, workshops and personal coaching, especially in my 10 Week Grade Transformation program.

So, my message is this:

If your teen’s doing something to extend themselves, but has no idea how it links to building their skills or performance against the syllabus criteria and exam technique elements,
then either they need to find out HOW it’s really going to help,
if there IS no clear link, then they need to stop doing it and find something a LOT more effective to put their time, energy and effort into.

So they aren’t working hard for little outcome or reward.

So they aren’t wasting time and effort.

But instead:

They study and build their knowledge and skills in a way that gets results.


even use the time to relax or enjoy some time with friends and family instead.

Just don’t let them work hard without knowing exactly how that work is going to help boost their results.

So if you’d like them to have the exact steps and guidance to do things that’ll actually pay off – that’ll give them the biggest bang for their buck – then go and checkout the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program so they can be led step by step through the most effective ways to make their foundations really solid, and do the things that will really catapult their grades and confidence.

I’d love to hear your take on this.

Are there any examples of work or practise that really has or totally hasn’t paid off for you in the past, or right now for your teen? Drop a comment below this video or send me an email, ––  and until next week, let’s make this a fantastic and USEFUL week!

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Asking quality Q’s = Getting quality help!

Ever had this conversation with your son or daughter?

They come to you with “I don’t really get it, I’m just not too sure what I’m meant to do”

And so you say: “Did you ask the teacher?”
They reply with “Yeah, but they weren’t really very helpful”

So how can your teen get better help when they need to ask for it at school?
How can they get *specific and *actionable answers?

Well, they need to… ASK BETTER Q’s.
And here’s exactly (like, word-for-word exact-ness) HOW.



Ever had this conversation with your son or daughter?

They come to you with “I don’t really get it, I’m just not too sure what I’m meant to do”

And so you say: “Did you ask the teacher?”
And they reply with “Yeah, but they weren’t really very helpful”

And then the confusion and frustration continues with whatever topic or task it is that they’re stuck on.

So how can your teen get better help when they need to ask for it at school?
How can they get *specific and *actionable answers?

Well, they need to… ASK BETTER Q’s!

I’m Katie Price, Grade Transformation Expert and I KNOW there are different types of teachers out there.

Some will happily sit down for ages with students who are stuck and discuss a task or topic until they’re all over it.

Other’s will be less likely to, and perhaps for valid reasons – they want students to be more independent or the task simply requires that,

OR perhaps a student just hasn’t caught them at a moment where they have the time.

So, here’s how your teen can ask QUALITY Q’s to get better QUALITY answers.

The key here is to turn basic, low quality statements into high quality, specific Qs.

Some examples of low use statements would be:

“I just don’t get it”. Or “I have no idea where to start”.

These give the teacher nothing to go on and no foundation to build on.


Even if your teen FEELS those statements are true for them, it’s unlikely that they’re true in reality.

They need to find elements (ANY elements) that they DO understand, and then consider the next step and why that’s got them stuck.

Like for a science inquiry:

“I’ve got my data and results, I’ve put them into tables and graphs, but how do I actually analyse them?

That positive start to the sentence shows the teacher they’ve made some progress by themselves (which will also increase that teacher’s willingness to help),

AND importantly, the student is following up with the exact skill they’re stuck on.

This gives the teacher a clear point for them to work from with the student and gives both the student AND teacher a clear success marker – because if your teen at the end of the chat understands how to analyse and has the skills or templates to go away and do so themselves, then they can make progress.

If they don’t have that then the Q hasn’t been answered.

But what if they haven’t made ANY progress?

What if they’re stuck just getting started? Well there’s still a positive progress statement that can be made AND a quality Q that can be asked.

Let’s say it’s an essay and they just don’t know where to start.

Well, if you’ve followed me for a while now, you’ll know I suggest students NEVER start with the intro – go check out my blog video ‘Write the Intro Last’ for that. And so, given that, then here’s what this scenario might sound like…

“I know that I need to find evidence that supports my argument or point for the essay” – it’s a basic requirement that everyone should know from Year 7 onwards (as evidence is one of the E’s of PEEL or TEEL paragraphs), so this is an easy way to give a positive statement. Then they could follow it with “ but I’m not sure what my argument or point IS”.

That tells the teacher that they know the basic structure they need to take to be able to start drafting the essay, but they need help deciphering the essay title or the thesis statement or the requirements of the response.

This is likely what they’re really stuck on if they don’t know where to start. And getting their focus and direction sorted and having a clear argument or point to prove is a key step in this.

A LOT of other elements can slot into place once those are clear.

Or, finally, if it’s more topic based, let’s say they’re stuck on how to solve quadratic equations in Maths, then they can change statements like “I just don’t get it” or “ I have no idea how to do any of this” to…

“I understand that quadratic equations have a squared value in them, but I don’t get why there are two solutions”.


“I’m okay with some basic algebra, like collecting like terms, but how do I actually solve equations?”

Again, we’re finding ANY thing they DO know or they CAN do and then specifying a clear step that they can’t or they’re not sure of.

So, if your teen wants quality help, then they need to stay away from the low quality sweeping statements like “I don’t know where to start” or “I just don’t get it”

and dig a little deeper themselves first, to come up with a positive progress statement followed by a QUALITY question.

If you’re enjoying these videos and tips then, then please give this a like or a thumbs-up, and if you know anyone else who could benefit from this, then please go ahead and share it with them. ….. And if you have a scenario that your teen just can’t find a positive starter statement or quality question for, then drop it in the comments or send me an email and I’ll dive in and help you out!– and until next week, let’s make this a fantastic week!

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Is THIS stopping your teen becoming GREAT?

Being good at something and being comfortable with it is certainly no bad thing.

However, being ‘good’ or being comfortable, can stop us from pushing ourselves and therefore prevents us from becoming GREAT. It means we won’t work harder or do more and we don’t therefore discover how brilliant we could be… How awesome things COULD be.



Being good at something can actually be the thing that stops us becoming great at something.
What on earth am I talking about? I’ll explain all in this video.

I’m Katie Price – Grade Transformation Expert, and as a student I was in the ‘good’ category pretty much across the board.

I got mostly As and Bs, in my subjects – not without a lot of work though. I was decent at sport – always made it into the B teams for the sports I played (and sometimes got a shot in the A teams – I was the one who’d get bumped up if an A team player was away) and socially, I would be the odd Vice-captain of something on the odd occasion. So generally good, never terrible, but never GREAT.  Mostly ,I blended in and was totally okay with ALL of that.

If this is anything like your teen, OR if they’re kinda cruising or staying happily in their comfort zone right now, then this message is definitely for you.

Being good at something and being comfortable with it is certainly no bad thing.

However, what I’ve noticed – ONLY once I’ve gotten older and experienced moments of growth as well as moments of struggle and major challenges – is that being ‘good’ or being comfortable –  can stop us from pushing ourselves and therefore prevents us from becoming GREAT.

It means we won’t work harder or do more and we don’t therefore discover how brilliant we could be. How awesome things COULD be.

Now – this isn’t any major revelation… it’s really a THING and so many coaches, authors and well, pretty much everyone who studies or teaches human behaviour and psychology in any way have laid this out clearly for years. But it’s something I’ve been hearing about more and more from parents, and like I said earlier, it’s something I can definitely relate to in my own life and decisions and in others around me.

Cruising means we’re not pushing ourselves. And I certainly wouldn’t say I was cruising as a student, but I did realise just how much more I could push myself when I once got a D in an exam…Argh!

It was my first major exam of A-Level Maths – the equivalent of Maths Methods or Advanced Mathematics depending on your state over here. And it was certainly a big jump from the GCSE level Maths I’d gotten an A in previously.

And that D freaked me out!

I started going to all the extra lunch time tutorials, did extra practise Qs for homework and basically levelled up my study. Because I was a little concerned that that could happen in my other subjects too. I pushed myself harder than I ever had before because I was suddenly uncomfortable.

And you may well have seen this happen in aspects of your own or your teen’s life. It takes something that makes us UNcomfortable to make us change or take action.

I bet you’ve had that situation in the car, where we experience a hairy moment or a near-miss when we’re driving, and suddenly we’re paying super-close attention to EVERY car, pedestrian and road sign for the rest of the journey. That dodgy moment made us uncomfortable and made us focus and concentrate harder straight afterwards.

My mum used to be a smoker and had tried giving up heaps of times, until her best friend – also a smoker – was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. One week later, my mum had given up smoking and hasn’t smoked a cigarette since.

If a situation isn’t GOOD – it FORCES us to take action, to work harder or to seek help or do something about it. To become great at whatever will help us overcome or avoid that situation.

Which is why many parents come to me or enrol their teen in my 10Wk Program, when they’re struggling in some way or with some aspect of their study and need to take action to get good or become great at the things that are holding them back.

AND it’s why I get especially excited for those students and parents who get on board when they’re NOT uncomfortable and they’re already doing pretty well – BUT they’re either keen to see how much better they could be. They know that they COULD be GREAT rather than GOOD if they just had some of the skills, techniques and know-how that I teach.

So if your teen’s currently a little uncomfortable or facing challenges in any aspect of their study – assignments, essay-writing, exams, note-taking, researching or just being organised, motivated and efficient….

OR if they’re doing ok but kinda cruising,

OR perhaps they’re going good but you wanna see if they can turn good into great – then drop me an email or check out my 10 Week Grade Transformation Program which is open for enrolment right now.

And until next week, let’s make this a GREAT 😉  week!

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