Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a Cambridge University educated psychologist who researches the science of effective independent learning, collaborating with leading memory scholars around the world to decode the secrets to studying more efficiently for exams.
Ever since I achieved top 0.01% UK exam results as a teenager (ten A-star grades at GCSE and six A-grades at A-level), I have been passionate about discovering and sharing good study and learning practices ever since, helping students get higher grades and unleash their potential by studying smarter, not harder.
I have recently published my first book: Outsmart Your Exams.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Outsmart Your Exams” has been about 10 years in the making. I started writing it out of frustration, because I kept coming across so many good tactics that can really give students an edge in exam and test situations, coming out of fields as diverse as elite sport and the science of memory recall, and yet no-one was making them available to students. So I decided to change that, and wrote Outsmart Your Exams, to put the tools of exam success directly in the hands of students.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I love using the Pomodoro technique to focus when I’m having a slow day: I really find the ticking clock helps get the brain in gear!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The two books I keep closest to my desk are “Make It Stick” by Brown, Roediger and McDaniel, and “Understanding How We Learn”, by Yana Weinstein-Jones and Megan Sumeracki. Both are outstanding reviews of the science of learning.
In terms of stylistic inspiration, I love how Malcolm Gladwell weaves together human story and scientific evidence to craft his compelling narratives.
What are you working on now?
I’m taking some time out from book writing to focus on the podcast, Exam Study Expert, which is becoming a very popular way for students, parents and teachers to learn about the science of studying for and taking exams.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Be kind, and have fun.
What are you reading now?
Deep Work, by Cal Newport
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’d love to write a book called “The Student Brain: How To Tame It, And Get It Through School”, which covers a range of aspects of the neuroscience and psychology of learning and being a teenager: learning science, sleep cycles, seeing and hearing, rationalising, planning and risk-taking, all of which have an impact on a young person’s education.