Perhaps it’s not about their study skills?

“I want my kids to study better… Ehmm… Or at least do some revision…”

The other day an anxious mother asked if I could help guiding her son to study better, to try harder for his upcoming exam.

And you know what, if you simply google it, there are so many websites out there telling you the best study habit, the top study skills, exam preparation tips, effective study methods, memory enhancing techniques, the essentials to pass exams, last minutes revision techniques etc etc.

Yes, sometimes they need some help and tips on how to stay focus and not get distracted, how to organise their time and notes perhaps. But quite often than not, they already know all of these, they just can’t make themselves doing it. They procrastinate, they avoid, they resist…


Have you ever asked them, “do you want to study?” “do you want to graduate from the college/school?” “do you want the certificate/diploma/degree?”

NO? Ok, how about quitting school now, if you have decided, and are quite sure that you will not regret? And, what’d you like to do?

YES? That’s great! So that’s what you want to do? For yourself? Not to please anyone else, not to fit in to the group/family/society. You recognise that it’s something you’re doing for yourself, your future? Not for your mum or dad or neighbour? Nobody forces you to study right?

Of course you can’t ask every student this directly, some might work, some you will have to adjust how you say it, skillfully. When done correctly, it almost always works, then it can be followed by motivation building and positive affirmation, and study techniques if needed. But it’s really important to guide them, to help them clarify that nobody ever forces them to study, they are free to decide. This initial step is crucial! And it’s especially true in teenagers and young adults, they become “resistant” when they feel they are being forced to do something.

There might also be time when they said they don’t want to study, but they want to graduate and get the certificate…. Yes of course, who don’t? I want my salary but I don’t want to wake up at 6am every day to go to work. I want to travel the world but I don’t want to get a job. I want to live long but don’t want to look after my health. I want to retire early but don’t want to save money ……….. Show them everyone in this world is doing the same, we are often working for delayed gratification. But still, if the ultimate purpose is what you are targeting for, you want to start working on it now. It’s for yourself, for your future, not anyone else.

When the motivation is there, also try getting the student to say out loud;

I want to study!


I must study!

See if they feel any difference…


“How to study better? How to motivate my child to study? How to stop procrastination from studying? How to help my child study better?”

So dear parents, you may try this out, or contact me if you need any help. And of course students, you may clarify this for yourselves too!

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