What makes our academic support different?

What makes our academic support different?

Academic Support

Many students need a type of academic support that fuses purely academic skills, such as revision and exam techniques, with personal development techniques such as how to get organised, feel motivated and be productive.

Many students have not been taught these skills and are learning them as they go along.
We provide a unique service which combines practical academic skills with self-development techniques and for students, this makes sense. The fact that they can quickly make changes is highly motivating to them. These changes may be in their understanding or it may be a new academic technique which saves them time. Whatever the change it needs to have a practical academic application which will motivate students to make the change and experiment with the results. This in turn will motivate them to work harder and a positive feedback loop begins.

All of these skills require a level of self-awareness and self-compassion and a willingness to experiment with new approaches and strategies. This combination of academic and personal development techniques is included in the academic support that we offer.

I have seen students Lee has supported make remarkable progress, academically and in terms of their well-being and mental health, in a matter of weeks. Those I have been extremely concerned about have gone on not only to secure a place at a top university (something unthinkable prior to his support) but to thrive there, equipped with resilience, independence and the confidence to ask for support when it was needed.

Dr Lucy Sweatman, Director, Cantab Education


Performing well in exams is one of the highest priorities for students and doing well in exams is a function of overall optimal performance. We all instinctively understand that athletes need to prepare for months in order to perform well on race day and that this includes getting the right food, sleep, rest and relaxation. Successful exam performance requires the same approach so that students arrive on exam day in optimal condition feeling relaxed, rested and ready to do their best.

Exam Technique

And success not only involves months of preparing efficiently but it requires effective performance and good exam technique on the day. Many students have not thought about the techniques that they use in exams but have focused instead on their knowledge and learning.

We explore effective techniques such as planning and decision-making, how to access knowledge even under stressful conditions and how best to put it down on paper. When students understand how to make the most of their efforts within an exam, they have a reliable plan and a sense of control which improves their confidence and as a result, their grades.

Exam Anxiety

Students also need a set of stress reduction techniques that are tailored specifically for them.
These techniques need be practiced in the run up to exams and can significantly change a students ability to think and problem-solve within exams. Many students complain of ‘going blank’ in exams and this is usually a response to stress rather than a lack of knowledge.

By understanding the mechanism of adrenalin and using it effectively, just as an athlete would use it to enhance their performance, students can deliver their best performances within exams using adrenalin as a performance enhancer to access their knowledge rather than inhibiting their knowledge.


Revision Techniques

Many students tell us that they have not been taught how to revise. They often describe using ineffective revision techniques that take up a lot of time but do not deliver a high level of learning for the amount of effort put in. We show students our revision cycle which combines a number of strategies, all of which save time and deliver a high level of impact in terms of learning. The revision cycle also has psychological benefits because it reduces the experience of overwhelm when revising which instantly improves motivation. The cycle also has easy routes into starting to revise when mood and motivation are low.

Revision Timetable

Planning a realistic and effective revision timetable is a core component of academic success. Many students create unrealistic timetables which they do not stick to and this immediately creates a sense of falling behind which undermines their confidence and motivation.

A good timetable is like a good budget – it needs to be manageable and realistic, helps make savings and yet still allows for some of life’s luxury’s. It needs to be something that students feel that they can stick to over a longer period of time. Some students avoid making a timetable to avoid feeling guilty if they cannot maintain their plan. We show students how to create a flexible revision timetable that supports their efforts to learn and builds up their self-confidence.

We embed into the timetable ways of managing their mood and motivation in order to help them to keep on track. We encourage students to maintain a good balance outside of their studies and to appreciate the value of rest and play in optimising their revision process. A good revision timetable has to have these aspects of psychological wellbeing built into it as well.

I have really noticed the difference Cambridge Academic Performance has made not only to my revision, but also to my attitude and general health. The biggest factor has been realising I should not be working very hard all the time! Now that my perspective has changed, I am kinder to myself and I feel calmer and in control. So – thank you!

Joy Phophicitra, Cambridge University TEDx Committee member

Time Management


Being organised and using time well is an important skill for all students. Often this is not taught in schools but it is fundamental to academic success. This skill does not come naturally to everyone and many students benefit from learning practical ways to get organised and stay organised. Some of these fundamentals include using a calendar effectively, making lists and planning deadlines and when to do the work ahead of schedule. This is fundamental to business planning but is rarely taught in education.

Improving organisational skills is not just about planning work ahead of schedule, it is also about attendance and arriving at classes and meetings on time. Regularly being late or missing deadlines is highly stressful and uses up a lot of additional time and energy. It can impact on a students performance and on their relationships with staff, parents and friends. Recognising the cost of poor time management on their lives and identifying how to make changes can motivate students to use new time management techniques.

Beliefs about time

Students often benefit from looking at their beliefs, not only about themselves, but also about time and productivity. They may have unquestioned beliefs such as ‘there is never enough time’ or that they are ‘running behind’ or ‘cannot catch up.’ Exploring these beliefs and assessing how accurate they may be and in what ways they are unhelpfully affecting behaviour is also a necessary component of time management. Recognising what is inaccurate and unhelpful and setting up alternative ways of working and organising can radically improve productivity whilst significantly lowering stress.


Procrastination is often the result of perfectionistic thinking or setting unrealistically high or harsh work expectations and goals. Many students procrastinate because they set themselves excessively long periods of work to carry out without plans to take breaks and rest. Excessive work schedules automatically create a resistance to starting work because when it does begin it will be so unpleasant. This is what causes procrastination in many cases.

Often students also believe that small amounts of regular work will not be effective. They believe that when they do work, they should work as long as they can, often to exhaustion. This is a negative feedback loop and helping students understand this and turn it around may take time but is very effective.

Recognising that it is their way of working that is causing them to procrastinate rather than the work itself is the beginning to reducing the habit of procrastination.


Being highly productive is the Holy Grail of all students academic lives. Students want to know how they can become more productive and avoid procrastination. Schools, colleges and universities often focus on the importance of gaining knowledge but rarely focus on teaching students what conditions best support them to gain that knowledge. Most students struggle with how they can set up the best conditions for themselves in which they will get into studying easily and quickly and in which they will be highly productive.

For each student it is different and this is part of the skill of helping each individual to learn what works best for them. We all have different environments and conditions that support our concentration and this can change depending on the work that we are carrying out.

For some students their best conditions are being in their room alone and for others, it is being with people who are studying such as in a library. For others still, they work best in a cafe with ambient noise surrounding them. There are so many variables which impact productivity and identifying these are using them to their advantage is highly motivating for students. We explore ideas such as Marginal Gains Theory and the use of the 80:20 Rule to identify which conditions can improve or detract from productivity.

We also discuss how to change state from not working into working effectively, what steps are needed to make this change, how to get ‘into the zone’ and how breaks can optimise productivity when used effectively. These discussions and the strategies that come out of them can change the way a student works for years to come, creating more balance, higher productivity and better self-care.

Lee also helped me analyse my own personal reasons and causes for procrastination, and some of his questions made me aware of ‘thinking traps’ which contribute to procrastination or other problems with my work performance.

Marie, Cambridge University Post-doc