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Recognizing Smart Students with Executive Function Deficiencies

Too often smart students don’t have the results to match their potential. The most frustrating students are often the most capable ones. Recognizing and helping these students is our mission at Staying Ahead of the Game. 

Do any of these quotes sound familiar?

1) “I don’t need to write it down. I’ll remember.”

Smart students often tell me how pointless using a planner is. They don’t need it. It’s a waste of time. They shouldn’t have to write things down. This is the way they have always done it. However, if you ask this student if their non-existent planning system works 100% of the time, the answer is no. These students often don’t realize that they are making their jobs harder. If you had ten tabs open on your computer, then you opened one more to watch Netflix, what will happen? Netflix runs really slowly. A student’s brain works the same way. The less the brain has to remember, the more operating power it has for other functions. 

2) “I can’t stand that teacher/ that subject!” 

Brilliant students without adequate self-management skills often concentrate on what they cannot control rather than what they can control. If they don’t like a teacher, they become stubborn and their class performance shows their discontent. In reality, by not doing their best in the class, are they hurting themselves or the teacher?

3) “I don’t need to take notes. That class is easy.”

Students pick up bad habits when their schoolwork is too easy. Note-taking is often the first skill to go, which is a dangerous proposition. If students don’t learn how to take helpful notes in middle school or high school, the next stage of their education will be much more difficult. Yes, notes are used for studying, but they also help keep students engaged in the class, they show the teacher that the student care about succeeding, and they serve as a record of what was covered in class that day. Taking notes is one of the most powerful impression management tools at a student’s disposal.

4) “I’ve got plenty of time to do homework. It’s only 8:45pm.”  

Time management is crucial for these students. When students lack the ability to estimate how long tasks will take, break larger tasks into manageable steps, or see the procrastination pitfalls all around them, their performances suffer. Time management is also the best way to manage stress. These students often put themselves under and immense amount of pressure by assuming they have enough time. 

Remember our pal, James? He said every one of these statements in some way, shape, or form. James’ problem isn’t his intelligence; it’s his systems

Great students are built not born. James can and will thrive in high school, college, and the working world if he can master Executive Function. Executive Function is what helps capable students perform at their potential. Being a student nowadays requires much more than raw intelligence. Students need to stay organized, manage their time well, learn how to learn, and remain aware the impressions they leave on others. 

Do you want to know the best part? A well-trained academic coach can teach these transformational EF skills.  

At Staying Ahead of the Game, we provide one-on-one academic coaching and tutoring services for students. We specialize in teaching students the critical EF skills that represent the foundations of success. Put simply, we know how to help students develop the proper systems for success, so their results match their potential. 

Does your child need help with Executive Function?

Reach out today to get started with our one-on-one Executive Function coaching program. 

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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