Learn to Eat the Frog

phase 1 study skills Sep 13, 2021

One of the most important skills a student can learn in high school is how to eat a frog.

Yep. You heard me right.

There are a couple of different quotes, attributed to Mark Twain (although more likely said by Nicolas Chamfort), which go something like this:

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day"


"If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."

Eww. Gross.

Okay, now that you've lost your appetite, let's get serious. Obviously we're not really encouraging you to go out and gorge yourself on a poor amphibian, but rather that you should tackle whatever sounds the least appealing first in your day. Getting that unpleasantry out of the way on the front end allows for things to be smoother as the day progresses because you've already got the most difficult part out of the way.

Academically speaking, this means you will use your prime energy time (usually mornings or when you first gets home from school, but it could be different depending upon your body clock and learning style) to tackle whatever school subject is the most challenging for you. The default for most of us to do the easy things first. This is common, most students aren't trained to do anything different (as most parents weren't either), but it leaves most efforts pretty ineffective.

The fact is, a lot of times when students are working for hours on homework or a project, it's often not so much a matter of laziness or a lack of understanding or intelligence, but rather a case of mismanaged energy. You tackled the easy things first while you were fresh, and then by the time that you got to the really challenging stuff you had already spent the best of your brainpower, leaving you tired and unfocused as you slog your way slowly through the assignments that are hardest for you. It's unproductive and discouraging.

Instead, work on identifying when you work best during the day, and put the assignments that are the most difficult for you during that time slot. Give yourself a set timeframe to complete the task in, and then when that time's up move on (so you don't get stuck).

Want to set your teen up for success with strategic study skills and academic action plans? Check out our Study Skills Course here!

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Are you avoiding eating the frog? Comment below to let us know what the frog is for you today!

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