Can’t Believe I Just Said That

“I can’t believe I just said that.”

Is this inner monologue familiar? I say it to myself all the time!

“Don’t hit your brother with salami.” Followed by, “I can’t believe I just said that.”

There are three HUGE skills that probably seem obvious to your parents (they can’t beleive the just said that), but I say these to countless students, who just need to be told directly that it applies to them. It applies to you too.

No homework is optional.

Yep, I know that’s what the teacher wrote on the board. Yep, I know it isn’t for a grade. But I also know that every chance to practice, review, reread and discuss is actually studying. So, if you aren’t doing all your homework as it is assigned, you could definitly be doing more to reach your goal. Notice the “as it is assigned.” That means you can’t save all the math homework for the week to do on Sunday night. If you don’t understand something, your chance to discuss it in class has passed. The argument of the work is not graded is not true. It is part of your test grade — doing the work will increase your test grades, not doing the work will either do nothing for you, or worse. If you need tips on math studying, check this out.


Take every opportunity to retest.

This is like opening a chocolate bar and finding a golden ticket. They’re rare, so don’t give away that golden ticket! If you didn’t make your goal for the first test, try again. Don’t forget to study for the retake! You can practice more because now you know what to expect. If your goal in the class is an A, and you have an opportunity to retake an 85, go for it! Resist the urge to settle. If your classmates are forming a virtual study session, go to it. If the teacher offers time to review your first test, take that offer. Would you like to think about that chocolate bar again? There you go, now you’re thinking about it.


Prioritize your assignments.

Let’s say you have an art project that’s super fun, but takes a long time and is due next week. You also have a chemistry test tomorrow, on something you don’t understand. You have an 81 in the class and you really can’t stand chemistry. How are you going to split your time on these assignments? Groans. Really though, with a grade on the border, you need to make sure you don’t lose that grade. The idea here isn’t that you start with your least favorite; it’s that you start with the most urgent. Classes with border-line grades need to be prioritized over classes with comfort grades (this is a grade that won’t change much, no matter what your test score, and you’re happy with your current grade). Assignments due tomorrow must be completed before you start working on things due next week. When you’re done studying for chemistry, go have some fun with the art project. If you started with the art project, you might have worked on it so long that you had no energy left to study chem.


I can’t believe I just said that. Just kidding, I teach students these skills all the time! Now you know them, so go get your goal grades!