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A school diary to track your progress

A school diary to track your progress – why? Are you struggling to make progress? Have you lost sight of your goals? Not seeing any gains? These are some of the reasons to start a school diary to track your progress!

No, this is not a protein powder advertisement, nor is it about the gym or weightlifting. We’re so used to hearing these phrases in the context of having an ‘active lifestyle’, we rarely consider them in terms of academic success or personal development. However, using the analogy of a student being like an athlete is very useful. Especially when it comes to improving your schoolwork or assignments. It’s all about recording, tracking and monitoring your progress. Every successful athlete will have a coach, a personal training programme and high-tech equipment which will record their heart rate and performance.

As a student, you too have the equivalents; a teacher, a timetable and grades. Athletes monitor, track and analyse their progress constantly in order to improve. You should do the same! It may sound like a lot of effort, but really it’s just a case of planning and being more organised with your time. Using a school diary is a good way to ease into this, and we’ve come up with a few ways that will help you get started.

Tracking your Goals

A school diary to track your progress will even help with your goals. Even at a young age, goals are a vital part of success. They motivate, encourage and drive our ambition. Ultimately only YOU can make a difference to your performance. For example; if your teacher says that you don’t write eloquently enough in your homework, what are YOU going to do about it? How can YOU fix it?

Divide up your goals into the categories: ‘short-term’ and ‘long-term’. This is a great task to help you track progress. This is also a more realistic and strategic way to plan out your targets. A short-term example would be- make sure I do the reading for Monday’s geography lesson. A long-term goal might sound something like ‘ I want to get a 6 in my English GCSE”. Make sure that you’re being honest, set yourself proper goals and outcomes. Not just ‘to do’ lists of what you want to achieve or unrealistic targets that are unreachable. You can also use this to track and set reminders to help you reach your goals.

Remember these should be your PERSONAL goals. They should be driven by YOU, not by anybody else. Write them down, as this will help you to visualise what you are trying to achieve, and will motivate you towards success. If we return to the athlete analogy… Athletes will constantly be thinking about what they can do to become faster, better and stronger. What are your goals as a student? How do you want to progress in school?

Setting Goals

Sunday is an ideal day to set goals for the next week and review your goals from the previous week. This will make you feel organised and prepared for doing things thoroughly and will help you determine your progress. Be sure to set realistic goals!

Remember to focus on the positive things that you’ve achieved, and be flexible. Sometimes our best plans get off track- either through circumstance or lack of motivation. So be patient with yourself, and get back on track as soon as you can. Or if you find yourself not progressing as well as you would like, reach out to your teacher. Talk to them about the progress you want to make and ask them to help you set your progress goals.


Write everything down as you progress

Planning is the key to success. Structuring and organising your time will ensure that you’re always in control of your learning. It may sound ridiculous, but writing down what you need to do will change the way you think. Writing down our goals is the first step towards making them a reality as it’s a visual reminder of what we want to achieve. It can also help us stay accountable throughout the school year. When you’ve outlined your goal in writing, display it somewhere you can see for an extra shot of motivation.

Using lists, planners and checklists will break down school assignments and homework into manageable pieces. Meaning that if you stick to it, you’ll be working more efficiently, and will be more likely to succeed in your goals. Writing a list of what you should be doing will constantly remind you of the work you need to do and the work you have done. It will act as a helpful reminder and crossing things off the list will feel like an achievement. This will help create a sense of progress, expand your possibilities and increase your productivity.

Write down what you learnt during the day at school (eg. what you enjoyed/ found difficult etc). Through using the planner, you’ll be constantly reminded of what you’ve done, what you are learning and what you should be doing. It will also mean that you’re exposing yourself to things you’ve learnt more frequently!

Feedback and recording your progress

After you get a test, essay or piece of work back, read what your teachers or the school staff have written as feedback. Then ask them for a verbal response. How are you doing in relation to your target grade? Are you scraping a 4 when you should be aiming for a 6? How are you progressing in relation to your goals? Do you feel like you’re rushing your homework or assignments or not reaching your full potential? Try using facts and figures – e.g. I got 56% in my history test, and I want to be getting 60% which is a 4% improvement.

Ask your teacher to help you set a plan for how you can go after that 4%? Is it a case of learning one particular topic in more depth? Or is it a matter of changing your style of writing? Set yourself a goal to achieve your outcome and make sure you track your progress!

Your teachers will be able to give you advice and help about specific things that you need to do in their subject. Or help you see what skills you need to get to the next level. Talking to your teacher for five minutes at the end of a lesson or sending them an email will help you endlessly. Remember, once you’ve done this, write down what they tell you to do, and think about how you can achieve it.


Treat these pieces of feedback as personal goals. A few weeks down the line, talk to the teacher again and compare the responses. This will give you a better indication of how you’re performing and whether you’ve been making progress or not. This is a great habit to get into and use throughout the school year. You can read more in the related article HERE

Remember that you are your only limit. You have to want it, and be hungry for success. Are you willing to put forth the effort to reach your goals? One extra degree of effort separates the good from the great. Are you ready to turn up the heat?

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