How Performance Learning Helped Increase Luke’s Grade with a 5 Grade Jump

(He Got to an A After Being Predicted an E)

Want to increase your grades? In this case study we look at how Performance Learning has helped do just that – increase grades.

Before you can get any grades you need to do years of learning. 

Just take a moment to think about that process – learning and the process that we go through to reach the end goal of completing an exam. It’s something we all go through and I think we’ll agree that some of us manage it better than others.

The process starts at school where we are taught the content that a particular exam board want us to know. Then, after years of learning the specified content, we are tested through a handful of exams or coursework pieces to find out how much of that content we remember, how much of it we understand and our overall knowledge of the topic. A tried and tested method that we are all familiar with right.

At Performance Learning, we weren’t so sure that the steps taken in the lead up to an exam were right for everyone so took a deep dive into how learning actually works. What we found was revolutionary and has had a positive impact wellbeing as well as examination results of the individuals that we work with.

So how do we do it?

Luke’s priority was developing the skills to tackle process-based subjects like maths. So, firstly we helped him understand that progress is achieved not only through believing in yourself but through technical improvement – an athlete trains every aspect of their performance, and he had to do the same.

As a next step we helped Luke distinguish clearly the difference between linear, analytical style exams and heavier text and ‘language’ heavy exams. Often learners can struggle to move between the two with ease and synchronicity. Why? Because we use different parts of the brain for both subjects. For example, the left-brain is more geared towards linear, analytical type thinking whereas the right brain is more creative, ‘picture orientated’ type thinking.


Maths is a Process

If you are struggling in particular areas of maths it is because you have not learnt the process of that particular subject, not because you can’t do maths.

Turn the numbers & questions into 'English'

and breakdown into steps, written down the page not across the page. This will help you see the steps you need to learn.

Focus, Focus, Focus

on your positive state of mind and changing negative associations and feelings into positive, constructive emotions towards solving the question.

For Luke, we then provided a clear strategy for subjects that require more linear and analytical type thinking

Creating a link in your brain (sounds complex but it is dead easy and you will see) between ‘seeing’ an equation and ‘getting it’.
Not feeling intimidated because you haven’t solved the problem instantly.
Breaking it down into bite sized chunks and not unnecessarily complex, scary problems.
 Then we gave him the process to complete to breakdown and understand the content of his maths syllabus as well as to overcome any negative emotions that were hindering him from learning the content for his exams.
From a textbook or sample test, pick three questions that contain equations you need to solve.
Once you have picked the questions, write down how you feel when you look at them.
The purpose of writing the questions down was to detach Luke from his feelings towards the problem.

Internalising his response to the question can create physiological blocks to learning, which can cause things like stress.

This physiological block is an emotional response that kicks in before our brains have had a chance to take over. It’s seeing a hard question and saying you can’t do it, before you’ve let yourself try. By writing it out Luke took the first step to detaching himself from the physiological block.

Luke then looked at what he wanted to feel towards the questions he had written out and then wrote out the emotions such as calm that we wanted to feel.

Write down that emotion you want to feel (‘calmess’, ‘understanding’, ‘confidende’ and so on). 
Now spend a moment and think of a time when you felt that emotion on the past. Try and associate yourself with that time. You may wish to close your eyes as you remember this emotion.

When you begin to feel this emotion, rather than just remebering it, move onto the next step (4c).

Now focus on what you were telling yourself at the time you felt this emotion.
When the emotional blocker had been identified and the tools to overcome them learnt, Luke looked at the maths problem and put it into words.

Putting problems into words aids understanding. So when Luke was studying equations and formulas, he needed to put those into words, too.

Once the process was understood the final step was to bring it all together, to learn and understand the content of his maths syllabus. Luke began the process of going through his maths books and identifying the subjects that he felt he didn’t quite get yet. From the list he identified topics and dug deeper into their maths processes turning them into words, identifying his emotions and listing out their processes.

Turn it into English

List out the 'key questions/steps' down the page as Step1: / Step 2: / Step 3: and so on.


Write done 'ANX' next to any of the steps you feel anxious about or are unsure of what to do.

Using this process, Luke was able to work through the maths syllabus and learn the content in a calm and focussed way.

He had the tools now to know how to learn and applied himself to working through his text books. The results speak for themselves, Luke went from getting an E in maths to getting an A in his final exam and it is this Performance Learning process that helped him get there.