Grade Transformation Blog

Grade Transformation Blog

No.1 in Transforming Students’ Grades

Posts filed under About Us

How to select a great tutor (but do you even need one?)

If you’ve ever:
– Considered getting a tutor for your teen, but not sure how much it will help (there’s one question to ask yourself/your teen)

– Wanted to know what to look for in a tutor (I’ll give you 3 key qualities)

– Previously had a tutor for your teen, but didn’t get the outcomes or results you’d hoped for (the reason may well be simple – and fixable!) 

then this video is for you!


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Why are his grades dropping?

Has your teen ever done the same amount of work,
produced the same quality of work,
only to get a worse result?

Here’s why that might be:


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Updates and News for 2021

It’s finally time for me to reveal four
(okay, five) 😉
important updates that have been going on behind the scenes over the summer.
Here’s what’s in store for you and your teen!

This year for me, is gonna be all about giving my best ever training, outstanding levels of service and exceeding every student and parent’s expectations.I hope that I’ve done a lot of that already over the years, but we’ve made some significant upgrades and updates that’ll go even further to helping your teen achieve their best ever grades and confidence.

There are 4 important updates I want to tell you about personally. ONE –
is the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program-  the 10WGT.

Over the summer we’ve added upgrades from requests we’ve had, like subtitles on the training videos – the addition of closed captions means your teen now has an additional way to engage with the tutorials by reading as well as listening to my training.

Plus there are added ways to ensure students really get the most out of everything they have access to- like the start-up treasure hunt as a fun and fast way to get started,
direct links to related resources in the Study Vault (my separate mega resource library that all 10WGT students get access to) for deeper-dive training on specific skills or techniques.


This makes the 10WGT the best yet and of course, we STILL have my famous – double whammy guarantee.

Students are literally GUARANTEED success.
That’s how much I know this training works.

Update number TWO –
This is important for everyone to be aware of:
Instead of 10WGT enrolment being open all year round on the website, we are limiting enrolment to 4 strict enrolment times through the year.
I’ve selected the times that I’ve come to know from experience are the most effective for students.

Our first enrolment for 2021 will start on the evening of Tuesday 2nd Feb and enrolment will be open for one week.
So, mark your calendars if you’re keen to get your teen on board!
And if you’ve been considering it or wondering about it, then pay attention in a couple of weeks because I’ll be delivering free trainings, open Q&A and I’ll be giving plenty of information about the 10WGT and the special bonuses I’m also including.

Bonuses like – The Exam Mastery Workshop! Now included with all 10 Week Grade Transformation enrolments – awesome!


What that does mean though, is that the Exam Mastery Workshop and my other mini-training ‘Write Like an A-Grader’ are not available on their own. So I just want you to be aware of that.

Now, why have I made this change to the enrolment opening?
i.e. Only having specific open times for enrolment and not leaving it open for everyone at any time.

It’s so that you and your teen get the very best of me and our team of admin support and study coaches. It means I can best help those students during their time in the program and can best serve all parents and students not in the program at other times.

This ultimately means even more valuable free stuff from me AND even more coaching and training inside of my programs.

Keeping things restrained in this way means I can massively overdeliver (like including the Exam Mastery Workshop for every enrollee) 😉

Update THREE –
I am now – officially – Katie Jones, not good old Katie Price.

I actually got married two and a half years ago (which has absolutely flown by) but it has taken me all this time to gradually change all my name across everything!
Seriously, name changes are a nightmare, especially when it was a sneaky but super-awesome, low key elopement (which I TOTally recommend by the way! It was zero stress and beautiful) – but it took a while to process the overseas paperwork
– (though not 2 years admittedly) –
by which time, I’d kind of just got on with life without the name change.

Anyway – here we are… e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y.

Katie Jones – Known for being organised and on top of things in life, except my own name.
Which means no more katie.price@rocksolidstudy email…
which leads me nicely to our fourth update:

We have upgraded all of our online systems – our website, our email, the blog.

You’ll see the changes appear over the next week or two.
Some will be obvious. Some won’t look any different but how things operate will be smoother.

The new, beautiful and super user-friendly website will be up in a couple of weeks at:

And our email address is:
You can get admin support, questions answered, requests – everything at that one email address!

Oh – that reminds me!
(This can be the BONUS Final-final upgrade for today) 😉

Update number FIVE!

(And this is one of my favourites!)

As a special Term 1 boost, I’ll be taking and answering YOUR questions every week.
This is one of the new additions I’m loving the most!

Anything you’ve been wondering or would just like to ask, you can do so by emailing them to…
can you guess?…

I know that a lot of parents and students have a lot of questions at this time of year, and I want to give you and your teen as much support as I can.

Now, although I won’t be able to answer every single question, I’ll get to as many as possible, and I’ll pick out some of the most useful and most common, and will answer them with plenty of solutions, tips and tricks here in each of my weekly Sunday blog videos.

There’s no limit on how many questions you can send in so no matter how specific or how random your Q, go ahead and ask me!
Knowing what questions you have will also help me to plan and produce the most helpful future webinars and masterclasses for you 🙂

So – Not 4 but 5 new things – all making everything more streamlined and valuable, whether you’re a member, or on my VIP email list.

Quick summary!…

ONE – Upgrades and additions to the 10WGT to help students get the absolute most out of everything in the easiest ways possible.

TWO – Limited enrolment – only opening 4 times a year – first enrolment will be 2nd to the 8th Feb – with a huge week of free tips, a live masterclass, What Would Katie Say Q&A, enrolment bonuses and lots more. Put it in your diary – 2nd Feb.

THREE – New belated surname
Goodbye Katie Price. Hello Katie JONES.

FOUR – New website (coming soon to a screen near you!) and new email address you can use right away:

FIVE – Ask me anything you want throughout Term 1! Any questions from you or your teen, send them in:
I’ll be answering them in my weekly blog videos.

Can’t wait to see the impact of all these upgrades on your teen.
I’ll keep you posted on everything and see you back here next week!

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The second best time is NOW

If you feel like there’s not enough time to make a difference to your teen’s results, then THIS is for you.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist and planner (okay, a bit of a control-freak too) so I totally get it when you WISH an opportunity had come up at what felt like a better time.

However, even if you wish your teen could’ve mastered their exam technique and learnt how to revise strategically months or even years ago, does that mean that they can’t benefit from the opportunity to grab these skills right now?

Is ‘late’ better than never?

P.S. Here’s the other video I reference in this video!…
Is it too late?

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The ULTIMATE skill for nailing exams

What’s the ULTIMATE skill in nailing exams?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, as we get into exam season, and I’ve come up with what is, officially, my favourite exam skill.

Favourite in terms of the skill that gives biggest bang for buck.

And one that’s very specific.

Watch the video (or scroll down for the written version) to find out what it is and how your teen can get it!


Hopefully you know by now, if you’ve been following me for even a short while the ‘Not-So-Secret Secret’,  that there’s more to exams than just subject knowledge.

That even if your teen knows EVERYTHING there is to know about a topic, it (unfortunately) does not guarantee them a top grade in an exam.

In fact, I coached one of my Next Level students on exactly this, this week. 

He’d written an essay with heaps of great knowledge, vocabulary, examples. 

But he hadn’t fully identified the FOCUS of the essay question and therefore hadn’t tied his points to that focus clearly enough to get the result he’s capable of.

And I see this EVERY year as an examiner. 

Students who I can tell from their answers or essays, are obviously smart and have clearly revised and done everything they were told to.

BUT they haven’t been trained in exam technique. 

There are 6 elements of exam technique and the one skill that is my absolute favourite is a cross over of two of them.
Well, actually three of them.

Conquering command words and mastering mark schemes are the two main ones, and time management would be the third.


The skill I’m talking about is:
Being able to write the most succinct answer that gains maximum marks.
In other words, how to cover each criteria on the marking guide, with the least amount of words.

It’s rare to see them but when I do, I get SO excited.
It requires a solid understanding of command words – and the trigger words that go with them – and it’s massive help with time management.

I still remember one of the best examples I saw of this.
It was around 3 years ago probably now, but I still remember it.
It got full marks with about half the words of most other responses. 

I had to read it over 3 or 4 times to really check that I was definitely marking it correctly. That it really did satisfy all the criteria, and once I was certain it did, I was like – ‘Oh, that’s brilliant’.
I can’t recall the exact Q now, but it was a comparison, so had some very specific trigger words and this student had used them really well in their answer.

And if your teen can master the skill of giving the examiner exactly what they need to see and do it in the least words possible – or close to – then they’ll not only maximise their results, but also won’t run out of time in the exam. (Time being something that isn’t such an issue in the middle years, but is definitely an issue a lot of students have in Year 11 and 12).


That’s why I’ve already developed a ‘Most Marks, Least Words’ Challenge as a specific activity in the Exam Mastery Workshop and it’s why I train students in identifying and understanding command words, using trigger words AND the whole exam time management system in the 10  Week Grade Transformation Program.

Because ALL of these skills can be learned and actioned in your teen’s very next exam.
They aren’t talents you’re either born with or you aren’t.
They’re like driving a car.
We can all learn them, and once you’ve figured each thing out and how to do them, together, you’ve got the skill of nailing exams – and got it forever.



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7 Step Checklist – for parents with ATAR teens

With many students at least starting their Term 2 with online learning / alternative learning / (whatever your teen’s school is calling it!)  – I’ve created a 7 Step Checklist for Parents of ATAR teens, with specific and instantly actionable, strategies to help parents help their teens, withOUT needing any subject knowledge OR any nagging!

If you haven’t already got your free copy, go now to:

And THEN… share that link with any other parents who are also in this same position right now. 

I guarantee they’ll thank you for it 🙂

(And I will too – scroll down for your thank you gift that’s just waiting to be forwarded from my inbox to yours).


The 7 Step Parent checklist is a download I created to help parents, specifically of ATAR teens through out this time, but this will be super-helpful whatever high school year your teen is in. I even had a parent of a Year 7 student tell me they’d just picked TWO of the steps and they had got loads just out of those. 

It’s NOT about the general stuff everyone already knows – like ‘have them set up a quiet study space, or don’t be checking their phone every 5 minutes’

You don’t need me to tell you that. 

And it’s not about where to go and download a heap of printable worksheets. This isn’t like primary school – things are DIFFERENT for senior students. They don’t always want mum or dad helping and even if they did, YOU can’t suddenly become an expert on Y12 Chemistry or a ninja at essay writing. Not to mention figuring out the success criteria and marking rubrics. 

That why The 7steps are specific and instantly actionable, covering the the nitty-gritty details, like:

  • the TOPIC and FOCUS method for tackling essays
  • the missing key to taking efficient notes in a way that makes the information they’re learning go in and stay in their brains,

right through to:

  • the proven system to manage their time AND their focus, so that tasks don’t end up taking twice as long as they should because they’re getting distracted… or because they end up on the wrong track with the task 🙁

And I want to gift this to as many parents as possible because I KNOW this situation is a unique opportunity for students to get the skills, techniques and strategies they’ve likely been missing all this time, but didn’t realise because they were just too busy with everything in school, sport or work.

This situation is truly an opportunity for them to get ahead and achieve better than EVER before to actually become stronger, more confident and more effective as a student.

So head on over to and I’ll deliver these 7 steps straight to your inbox.


And then – share that link with any other parents who are also in this same position right now. 

I guarantee they’ll thank you for it 🙂

So much so that if you share this on your social media profile, then take a screenshot and send it to me – you can just reply to this email – and I’ll gift you my essay title swipe file for you and your teen.

1) Share the page where others can grab the 7 Steps Checklist:
on one (or more! 😍) of your social media pages/posts/profiles.

>> Optional!… Add a note/description. Feel free to use one of these if any feel right for you:
~ Downloaded this checklist recently and thought others might find it useful too.
~ Home-schooling teenagers?! Ummm… nope! I’ve got this up my sleeve – no subject knowledge (or nagging!) necessary!
~ Anyone else wondering how their teen’s gonna go with home-study-online-learning? Found this super-informative to keep things as smooth (and successful!) as possible 👍

2) Send me a screenshot of your shared post in an email (just click ‘reply’ to any of my emails or to:

3) I’ll email you back with the Essay Title Swipe File – wrapped up in a digi-bow 📝🎀



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It isn’t even that difficult

As we get ready to release the brand NEW 10 Week Grade Transformation Program (2. 0),
whilst a lot is new and has been upgraded and
even more amazing training added,
when I went back to the original info I wrote for students about the 10WGT almost 4 years ago there’s literally nothing I would change in that description!

I was expecting to cringe my way through it
(as you do when you go back and read something you thought was good way back when, but then later… well… not so much)
but when I read it, I was actually like “Wow, this is goooood!”.
It totally nails everything the 10WGT is and everything the 10WGT does.
Because of course, the key concepts and the core purpose of the program HAVEN’T changed at all – so I’m sharing my fave snippets of that description with you here:

Fact: You could easily raise your grades in any exam, essay or assignment if only you knew the untold secrets to exam success.

Did you know that most students will never get the marks they should in assessments, assignments and exams, even if they study hard?

(In fact it doesn’t matter how hard they studied, even if they worked harder and longer than anyone else).

Why? Because they are not fully skilled and confident in things like understanding command words, selecting and structuring content, and knowing what the markers are specifically looking for.

In my experience as an exam marker, national coursework assessor and award-winning high school teacher – and now – exam board scrutiny panel member and school workshop leader –  I’ve come to realise that it is NOT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU KNOW, it’s all about how well you put it down on paper. 

But: Teachers just don’t have the time to teach these skills along with all the content laid down in the curriculum they have to cover. Plus, most of them aren’t trained examiners or assessors and so don’t have this insider knowledge.

Pretty depressing, right?

But here is the good news – well in fact it is brilliant, awesome news… This ALL means… that

You Are Better Than You Think!

Your grades can be higher than you ever imagined.

You can have access to more career and life opportunities.

All with less stress.

Yes, it is possible to achieve fabulous results whilst feeling cool, confident and in control.

And the best bit is…

My online 10 Week Grade Transformation Program means you can easily discover all these secrets and master all of these skills. It isn’t even that difficult. In fact it’s a lot easier to perfect things like ‘exam technique’, structuring extended responses and giving examiners what they want, than it is to learn lots more subject content.

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work – this isn’t a magic fix that’ll happen overnight. But what it does mean is that you can become highly skilled in the strategies required for amazing results, and when you do, you’ll have these ‘super-powers’ forever!


The 10 Week Grade Transformation Program is for you if:

You Sometimes Feel:

  • Like you’re drowning in homework, notes, assignments or revision

  • That there are some subjects or topics that you just never seem to do well in

  • That you don’t know the best way to organise your time or tasks in order to get things done efficiently

  • Lacking confidence in some aspect of your academic abilities

  • That you don’t know exactly HOW to make your work better even after it’s been marked

  • Unsure if you’re ‘doing it right’ when answering exam questions or writing assignments

  • That you work hard but still wish your results were better?

And the 10WGT is for you if You Want:

  • Expert help and support to give you the skills to be confident, organised and motivated in your school work

  • To feel positive and in control of your study, your exams and life at school or college

  • To know exactly how to tackle different types of tasks and assignments

  • To know PRECISELY what ANY exam question is really asking 

  • And able to respond in a way that will earn you the MOST MARKS with the subject knowledge YOU have

  • To know exactly what ‘exam technique’ is and what ‘command’ and ‘trigger’ words are

  • To set goals beyond anything you ever thought possible, and actually achieve them!

My proven system has led hundreds of students to success already and it can work for you too.


So, if ANY of this sounds like your teen, then definitely go check out the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program 2.0,
and take advantage of this once-only opportunity to be able go through it in REAL TIME, with me checking in each week and all of our new students, as we all kick off together.

This time next week, we’ll be in it, doing it.
So let’s make this an amazing week, and I hope I get to meet you and your teen if you decide to join me inside the 10WGT 🙂


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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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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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