Announcing the Successful Student Series

Here at the Wisdom of Learning Blog, we strive to help students improve their academic performance, confidence and joy of learning. We are starting a new series focused on specific “essential” learning skills. 

If you happen to be a friend or family member of a student who wants better grades and test scores or seems to “underperform” or “under enjoy”  in school, you may want to pass on the link to this page!

Student Success Made Easy

Information about “study skills” is everywhere on the internet, and many schools also provide resources of their own. Unfortunately, much of this information is not based on any evidence or research, and in some cases, can even be counter-productive to your study efforts. This series and our related webpage,, is focused on methods and skills that are easy to learn and amazingly effective in improving academic performance and enjoyment of learning.

We suggest you take a look at your learning skills to see if you can quickly improve a few things to make your school life easier and your future brighter. We have selected the most essential skills, simplified just what you need to know and offered it up in a multi media format. Click here for a brief evaluation of your skills!

Optimism and Confidence Can Determine Your Success!

From the classic book by the well-known researcher Daniel Goleman called Emotional Intelligence.

“As with hope, optimism predicts academic success. In a study of five hundred members of the incoming freshman class of 1984 at the University of Pennsylvania, the students’ scores on a test of optimism were a better predictor of their actual grades freshman year than were their SAT scores or their high-school grades” (Goleman, 1997, p. 88).

 I like repeating this amazing quote because it shows the importance of improving learning skills. We tend to think school success is all about IQ when the main event is LQ – learning skills!

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Test anxiety is a great destroyer of optimism and confidence for a student. Test Anxiety affects many more students that you might image and can really hurt grades and test scores. Students often do not know they have it. The skill of overcoming anxiety is well proven and can often be quickly learned. But if you don’t know this skill, or worse, if you don’t know test anxiety is hurting your grades, it can also hurt your academic future. (See our next blog post to learn more.)
WisdomOfLearning includes the Overcome Anxiety section to help you quickly get past fear and on to confident successful learning.

Become a Successful Student – learn, do, be…

There are many definitions and assumptions about what a “good student” is and what kind of skills he or she must possess. Our first step was to summarize our research and years of experience, identifying the three core areas most essential to improving academic performance – study skills, overcoming test anxiety and relaxation. We then divided each area into specific, yet simple, routines that can be applied directly in everyday situations.

Of course, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two very different challenges. That is why we focused on presenting these “essential success skills” in a way that makes it likely you will incorporate it into your life. The fundamentals listed below can help you  encourage yourself to do what other successful students do and enjoy the benefits of increased academic success.

  • Space learning over time.
  • Mix learning with real-life practices.
  • Present content for multiple learning styles: written, audio, video, and applied practice.
  • Keep it real: immediately apply learning to personal immediate goals.
  • Measure learning progress and give immediate, positive feedback.
  • Help with time management: prioritization, motivation, and procrastination issues.
  • Teach stress reduction as an aid to learning.
Note: We didn’t just make this stuff up! Sure, we have been observing and teaching these things for over 20 years, but our friends at the U.S. Department of Education published a great summary with many of the same suggestions from their research.

Have Your Best Semester Yet!

Throughout this series, we will delve into our findings, giving you a summary of the most essential and effective methods to speed and deepen your learning ability, save time, and improve grades and test scores. School can open doors and change your life and even the future of your family. Remember, success at school is determined more by how you approach school than how “smart” you are. So stick with us, learn how you learn, and how to quickly improve your skills. Oh, and enjoy the benefits!

But if you can’t wait, feel free to jump straight to our website and have a look yourself –


Pashler, H., Bain, P., Bottge, B., Graesser, A., Koedinger, K., McDaniel, M., and Metcalfe, J. (2007) Organizing instruction and study to improve student learning (NCER 2007-2004). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

Rohrer, D., &Pashler, H. (2007). Increasing retention without increasing study time. In Current directions in psychological science. Retrieved from


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