Mother arguing with her child in the dining room.

When you find your child hunched down at the dinner table, wrestling with an assignment and trying to absorb as much information as they can for upcoming exams… you try not to worry but you can’t help but wonder if it’s just the growing pains of another developmental stage in learning or something more… sinister.

And look, it’s natural to get stuck on things. We’ve all been there — it happens, you ask for help, you overcome things and you’re on your way again. But if you’re seeing the same picture each term, or your child doesn’t want to share their struggles with you then your parental instincts are signalling something bigger: Your child is struggling with poor study skills, which is affecting their learning experience more than you think.

Study effectiveness is not an inherent trait. Rather, it’s a skill that is cultivated and strengthened over time.

Directly related to your child’s unique learning profile, your child’s ability to be productive and focused on the task at hand is crucial to their overall success not just in the classroom but for so many other situations in university and the workplace. However, according to a recent OECD report, 37% of students admit that they get very tense when studying which in turn makes children more vulnerable to poor academic results that affect their confidence and lifelong outcomes.

If teenagers cannot align their study methods with their aspirations and strengths, excelling in school and obtaining better opportunities in the future becomes a much bigger challenge. It’s like running a race in the wrong-sized shoes— you’ll be running the race at a disadvantage, it’s going to hurt more than it needs to and the risk of injury is going to be high.

Now more than ever, parents play a very essential role in keeping an eye out for tell-tale signs of poor study skills and helping your child achieve maximum study effectiveness, especially for success in Years 11 and 12.

What Do Ineffective Study Skills Look Like?

Late-night, last-minute cramming sessions or poor motivation when it comes to schoolwork and assignments are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to preparing well for exams. It’s easy to brush things off when you see one or two of these things on occasion, but if you start to see a pattern of behaviour either intra-term (within term) or inter-term (between the terms) then it’s time to take a closer look at your child’s study regimen and whether it addresses the nutritional needs of their learning.

Boy having a hard time reading books.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs of poor study skills to watch out for:

  • Disorganisation: When you find a sea of textbooks, a cluttered workspace, bits and pieces of paper everywhere. If your child struggles to find resources on demand and plan out their work, that’s a giant red flag for poor study habits.
  • Procrastination (and leaving things to the last minute): If your child consistently pushes back their work, only to find themselves racing against the clock to complete their assignment or submitting half-baked projects — their study effectiveness is compromised and they won’t be achieving what they’re fully capable of.
  • Poor Exam Results: getting low marks even after watching them study for hours or being disappointed in a result are major signs of a mismatch between their understanding of the work that’s required, their expectations for themselves and what they’re willing to put in.
  • Poor Knowledge Comprehension: If your child struggles with grasping concepts or fails to make sense of the syllabus content, it’s important to help them understand, organise and process the information so they can easily retain and recall for better results in exam conditions.
  • Careless Mistakes: Careless mistakes happen when your child lacks the focus, they need to create quality work, which similarly affects the quality of their learning experience. Students who have effective study skills, assessment preparation and exam technique make little to no careless mistakes. This is because every effort has been made to inoculate and weed out the tendencies that lead to the drop in marks that can make the difference between a Band 5 and a Band 6 in the HSC.
  • Exam Anxiety: Children who aren’t equipped with strong study skills are less confident and more anxious to prepare and deal with upcoming exams. From being snippy in the car to sweaty palms, to ‘mind-blanks’ and full-blown panic attacks, each on their own are signs your child has not prepared properly for an exam. Students who are ready for exams are confident, focused, and eager to put everything on paper to hit the marking criteria to nail those marks.

It’s often so easy to see your child struggling with their studies and exams. It is much, much harder to approach them with compassion and not judgment. But once you have identified these signs, it can help transform the conversation from judgment into empathy, and providing the right kind of support becomes easier. Each child has their own experience and learning profile — specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Treasure that and approach conversations from a place of curiosity so you can encourage them to tailor a way to maximise their study effectiveness, and that’s where we can help you.

The Kalibrate-Ed Approach

At Kalibrate-Ed, we understand that each individual student has their own learning fingerprint. We call this their Unique Learning Profile or ULP, and just like a DNA fingerprint there are thousands of variables to getting this just right. But when you get it right and incorporate it into a tailored study strategy, you’ll see the change. Students who are taking advantage of their ULP are self-motivated, and confident and score consistent results across their subjects.

Two women discussing in the library

This kind of intervention in study technique can help boost your child’s chances for academic success. In fact, according to a 2021 University of Melbourne study, students who received study skills instruction scored an average of 12% higher on academic assessments than those who didn’t.

So, how do we transform and enhance your child’s study effectiveness?

It all starts with improving your child’s study skills. Study effectiveness is closely related to study skills development, and it includes various learning techniques, like notetaking and exam strategies, for your child to excel in school. Our goal is for them to yield superior results with less effort so their overall well-being remains healthy and they get to have a positive learning experience.

If you’re interested in addressing the different signs of your child’s poor study habits and improving their overall study effectiveness, creating a personalised roadmap for your child is a great way to kick things off. Our education strategists are experts in designing study strategies that are tailor-made to your child’s learning experience.

Book a call with us to learn more and get started: