Grade Transformation Blog

Grade Transformation Blog

No.1 in Transforming Students’ Grades

Archive for December 2019

Do you want this too?

Can you believe we’re heading into 2020?!
It used to sound so futuristic and sci-fi! But hey, we’re about to get into it.
Each year now I have made it a bit of a habit to come up with one word
that will be my focus for the year ahead
and I’d love for you to share yours if you have one.
Mine came straight to me this time – That one word is…

I’m looking to get more results for more people in 2020.
That means I’m going to be offering more individual one-on-one private consults for parents and students.

I’m also revamping the whole 10 Week Grade Transformation Program.
We’re filming right now!
I’ve given myself so much to do over this holiday period
and I’m loving it because there’s just so much cool stuff happening.

Since we’re talking about cool stuff –
I’m also going to be working with more schools next year and it’s going to be amazing.
This means I’m going to be able to help so many more people get bigger and better results.

I’m also going to be sharing the best-of-the-best of my blog videos each week.
I’m going back through and figuring out the most useful, most popular topics
that helped so many parents and students this past year.
I’d love to hear your focus for the year ahead.

If you’d also like your friends or family to hear about all my tips, tricks and advice then direct them here: (for my free Parent Guide) and they can subscribe to my email list.
I’m really looking forward to the new year ahead
and can’t wait to share all the ways I’m going to help your teen get bigger and better results.
Let’s make this a fantastic year!

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Santa…Can I please have it all?!

Hey! And an early Merry Christmas!
I wanna talk about some early gifts that some students are getting this year.
Really I’m talking about getting what we want or wish for.
In other words: “having your cake and eating it!”
I totally get it’s not always possible BUT what’s been happening for so many of my students is they really are getting everything they totally wished for. And so are their parents! Let me explain how:

Let me give you specific examples:
Hannah is a student who has been working with me for some time and has been through the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program and is currently coached by me privately.

She got her Y12 OP result this past week and emailed it to me. She achieved an amazing result which I was super proud of and she was stoked (to put it in her own words!). Now, the sentence in her email that really stood out was:

“ I really appreciate everything you’ve helped me with over the years, it definitely made the last few years of High School a lot more smooth and enjoyable”.

So who would think you can actually catapult those results and grades
whilst also reducing the stress, strain, anxiety and pressure that students are under?

Another example was a message I received from Nathan’s mum Rachel who said:

“Nathan’s doing really well at the moment and his English especially. Only a few more weeks to go for the year but he is the happiest he has been in years!”

So as you can hear,
the fact that he’s regained confidence and is working in a smoother, more efficient and effective way
and is achieving results he can be proud of is a huge win.
Rachel even messaged me again later the same day and forwarded me a screen shot of a photo he’d sent her from school  saying: “ I got a high in English??!!”

It was the first time he’d got a result that categorised him at the high level for an English assignment.
So again, he’s getting brilliant results AND his happiness and confidence sky-rocketed as well.

And then there’s Tara.
Now Tara was already getting good grades but was putting herself under a lot of pressure and working super long hours on assignments, essays and prepping for exams.
I’ve been working with Tara for a few years now and she’s doing amazingly.
She was recently awarded DUX in Y11 and her grades have gone even higher
whilst crucially her work-life balance has improved and her enjoyment has also risen.

Maybe we can have everything we wish for when it comes to academic success, personal enjoyment along the way and all of the other things we wish for throughout High School.

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How to make things EASY (not an effort)

Following on from last week’s video,
I’m sharing the key to your teen actually
following through on the goals and plans they set for themselves.


If you didn’t catch Part 1 last week,
you can click here to access that first.

I was discussing the hurdles we all come across
when setting goals and tasks and that in the moment of ‘doing’
it’s very easy to tell ourselves that some of the smaller steps
aren’t going to make a difference
and it’s easy to talk ourselves out of doing them altogether!

Now, in the summer
there’s plenty of time so we can juggle things around
and absolutely stick to the things we’ve told ourselves we’re going to do.

And I wanna talk more about the practical nature
of setting students up for success over the summer.

It’s all about making it as easy as possible
to follow through and complete the tasks that have been set.

I remember reading about somebody who was really struggling to exercise
but really wanted to do it.
So she decided to go to bed in her gym/running gear
and put her running shoes right next to her bed!
So that in the morning it was actually more effort to get up and take all her gear off
and push aside her running shoes
than it was to just get on and get out there to go and do the session!

As amusing as this is,
it’s a good example of setting yourself up for success
and making it easy to follow through so there’s no excuses for not doing the task.

I gave the example of a student I’ve been working with
who’s been set the challenge of completing three maths questions per week over the summer.
This is so she can keep the momentum going with the success and results
she’s already seen
and really have something she can thank herself for in the future
in the lead up to her next exams.

So the steps that need to be taken for this could look like:

Pen/pencil and all other equipment needs to be close to hand and organised.
So no time is wasted searching through cupboards and drawers.
This is to avoid any excuses that get put on that mental list of thinking something is too hard.

Know exactly what questions are going to be attempted.
You don’t want to be flicking through text books aimlessly wondering what to do.
This can be flexible depending on feelings and motivation on any particular day.
Again, we want to minimise the opportunity to make excuses for not getting something done
and should instead be attempting to best set ourselves up for success.

Whatever your teen has set themselves
(and this is not just limited to their study),
take the actions at the time of setting the challenege
to put every little thing in place that can make completing that task as easy as possible.


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Let your teen’s future-self tell ‘em what to do

Does your teen have tasks to complete over the summer?
Or do they have no actual homework set
but are wondering what they should do?

Here’s my thoughts on a topic I get asked about (every year like clockwork)
before schools break up for the summer…

I know some students get set tasks,
especially if they’re in Y11 and going into Y12.

But for many students there’s nothing specific laid out over the summer.

For some, it’s a much-needed time to reset
and do nothing (which is absolutely necessary).

For others, they see it’s also an opportunity to get ahead
and set up for success in the new year
(and I absolutely agree with this also!).

It really depends what sort of student your teen is
and what sorts of aspirations and goals they have.

For many students I work with, it’s entirely appropriate
for them to complete some directed tasks
to get ahead of the pack, store up some confidence and ensure they don’t
lose some of the progress they’ve already made.
So they move into their new year group in a smooth and streamlined way
that has them hitting the ground running in Term 1.

So, for some students it’s going to be going through some of my online trainings over the summer.
And for others it could be more specific tasks,
personal to them and their subjects.

All of this is to help avoid the dreaded ‘summer slide’
where memories of content and info fade,
and study skills generally get a bit rusty.


If you’ve followed me for a while
and you’re familiar with what I do
you’ll know I’m a big advocate of “every little helps”.

This is especially true when it comes to students getting higher grades,
becoming more confident and less stressed.

Now, at some point during the summer,
for the students that have been set tasks (by me, themselves, or their teachers!)
they’re gonna have thoughts like:

“It doesn’t really matter if I don’t do them this week”


“Is this really going to help?”


Students need to know that these thoughts are going to pop up
(sometimes with warrior-level strength!)
and therefore, if they aren’t gonna succumb, then they need to be prepared for when they do!

One way to do this is for them to put themselves in the shoes of their ‘future-selves’.
It’s a bit like when you’re stressed out and wishing you had done more work earlier.
What will their future-self be thinking about this moment in 3, 6 or 12 months’ time?
If they asked their ‘future-self’, what would they tell them to do?

Another way of framing this is to consider actions now as gifts to your ‘future-self’.
What is your ‘future-self’ going to be sooooo grateful for you doing in this moment?

The thing you maybe don’t want to do,
but know will reap you rewards in the future.

Like putting the duvet cover back on the bedding as soon as it came off the line, and *isn’t* waiting in a heap as you go to get into bed that night.
Putting on the doona cover is one of my least-favourite household chores. But it’s MOST hated when it’s 10pm and I’m exhausted and forgot I’d left it ‘to do later’…. ?

Students HAVE to be mentally prepared
for when the little devil on the shoulder chirps up with negative/lazy/doubting thoughts. (Which it will!)

Otherwise, Netflix (or back in my day, re-ordering my CD collection) 😉
and that whispering devil will win… with ‘what-if’s rather than ‘wahoo’s!!!’ waiting for them in the future.




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When complicated becomes easy

Remember learning to drive?

Having to think about every little thing…
the clutch, the accelerator, the steering, the gear changes,
the mirrors, the road signs!

It’s amazing how, once we’ve practised,
and practised (and practised!) something,
with guidance and teaching and advice along the way,
that thing that once felt
– and genuinely WAS so complicated,
and took so much thought and concentration…
becomes almost effortless.

It’s pretty amazing when you really think about it.

Find out how this happens for students when they master exam technique
and the skills of strategic and effective study.


I just finished a quick journey
where I was following a learner driver for much of the time.

They were struggling a little bit at a junction
and as I’m pretty sympathetic with learner drivers,
I was sat behind them thinking about all the things they were trying to do in that moment.

The accelerator, the clutch, the steering,
looking both ways down the road as well as in the mirrors
and everything else!

And I had a bit of a double-whammy-thought-moment.

First, I started thinking about how there’s a parallel
with all of the strategic study and exam technique
that I train students in.

At first and for people outside of that training
when they hear me talking about it all,
it can sound pretty overwhelming and complicated.
It can feel like there’s a lot going on
(and just like if we had to break down and describe everything we have to do and have to think about when driving… there is a lot to know and do and think about!).

You might wonder… 

How’s that all going to fit together?

How does my teen put into action all those skills when they’re sat, under pressure, in the exam hall?

For example,
let’s just consider the 6 elements of exam technique.

And what about just ONE of those elements.

  • Command Words.

Well, there’s quite a bit involved just with that
(like there is with just pulling out of a junction,
never mind all the other scenarios and skills with driving).


  • IDENTIFYING the command word


  • Figuring out the LEVEL OF COGNITION


  • The TRIGGER WORDS they need to use in their response
    to alert the marker they really
    are answering exactly what the Q is asking.


Yep, no messing…
there IS indeed a lot to it.


Students who’ve had my training,
feedback and worked with me on practising and honing these skills
totally end up doing ALL of this naturally,
automatically and effortlessly.

They don’t have to be actively thinking about each and every element.

Just as, when we’ve been driving for years,
we don’t have to think about exactly what to do with our feet
and our hands every few seconds. 

And here’s the double-whammy moment I had.

As I sat there thinking:

Oooh, I should make a video about this’.

I realised I get quite a lot of my ideas when I’m driving.

And then I thought:

Well, isn’t that interesting!

That while I’m doing the thing that I used to have to think about,
with every little action and nitty-gritty detail,
I now not only don’t have to do that…
but in fact my brain is so free,
having mastered the skill to such an extent,
that it can actually think creatively and at an even higher level.

Now think about what that means for students!

When they have their exam technique and study skills nailed,
everything’s a lot smoother and more efficient,
then they can up-level themselves even more.

Because when their brain is free from having to think about those skills,
they can come up with even more creative language,
come up with better ideas,
be more able to draw on and convey higher level knowledge
they’ve worked so hard to learn in their subjects.

It creates the space and brain power to produce even better quality work and responses.







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