Ever find yourself up late at night cramming for a test that you should have started preparing for weeks ago? How about highlighting an entire chapter of a textbook or writing pages and pages of summary notes from your textbook, only to realize that you have just re-written the entire thing?

You are not alone! The good news is that becoming a savvy student is a learned behavior and it is within reach.

Last week, Devra D’Urzo, who runs a private tutoring business and is a supply teacher at the Upper Canada College and York School, came to teach to our GEMgirls how to study smarter.

Devra opened the workshop by sharing Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk on the concept of grit, which according to Duckwork means, “passion and perseverance.” She explained that the key to success is grit, not IQ, social intelligence, wealth, or good looks. (This is great news for those of us don’t have an IQ of 160).

“The ability to succeed is really about the amount of work that you put in.”

Here are some key lessons from Devra’s Workshop:

  • You are your own best teacher, get to know yourself and how you learn (tip: find out how you learn by taking a multiple intelligence test)
  • Merely listening to your teacher and completing assignments is never enough
  • Look out for better information sources and better ways to learn (tip: if your text book looks like it was written in the stone age – fine another one!)
  • Not everything you are assigned is equally important, focus on the most important tasks on your agenda
  • Prioritize and plan ahead by creating schedules and to-do lists
  • Realistically estimate the time you need to complete a task
  • Set aside a time and place to study each day
  • Plan study breaks – this simple tip really does help you study better
  • Unplug from the distractions around you (tip: turn off your cell phone, email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts while studying)
  • Failure isn’t a permanent condition (tips: that math test you did poorly on does not define you, simply learn from your mistakes and move on).

Remember learning does not end when the bell rings or when you get your diploma. It’s an ongoing process that takes practice, perseverance and GRIT.

Devra’s Must Read Resources:

Khan Academy (Website)

Crash Course (Youtube Channel)

SQ3R Reading Method (Youtube Video)

What Smart Students Know Adam Robinson (Book)

“The Key To Success? Grit” Angela Lee Duckworth (Youtube Video)

DevraDevra D’Urzo holds a Master of Teaching from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and has worked with students for the past ten years. She currently is a supply teacher Upper Canada College and the York School. In addition, she runs her own private tutoring business. The foundation of the work she does with her students is built upon solid study habits.  Her programs are designed to teach students the skills they need so they can experience the academic success they deserve.