Education researchers and practitioners are rapidly bringing forth new, powerful ideas to students perform better in school and on tests.

For example, here is a short list of relatively new ideas about how to help students perform better in school:

  • Adopt (or encourage your child to adopt) a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset
  • Understand how to set goals and strategies within and across classes
  • Study via frequent “mini tests” vs. focusing on reading chapters and taking notes
  • Organize to-do lists around medium term objectives (like projects, etc.), not a list of daily tasks

However, the pure volume of books, web-sites, and suggestions offered by friends and family makes navigating the world of “education advice” difficult.

We’ve tried to cut through the clutter to highlight what we view as the most important books to read and ideas to try to implement in your own life.

Here you’ll find links to insight-packed, accessible, and entertaining (generally…) books on performance (focused on academic performance), organized around a four-part framework we’ve developed to help students and parents think about how to perform better in school and on standardized tests.

Section 1: Understanding the role of mindset, grit, talent, and practice in explaining performance

One of the most important ways students can begin to transform their academic lives is simply to realize that intelligence (even measured IQ) is not static and can grow over time, and genetics plays a far smaller role in academic performance than many people realize.  With the right mindset and focused-practice, any given student can get As in even the most daunting subjects, like calculus or physics. Truly accepting and believing the premise that you are in full control of your academic life and can build your intelligence steadily over time is a foundational step in improving performance in school. Books in this section explore this and related themes.

Section 2: Strategically navigating academics, test prep, and admissions to reach your goals

While hard work is important, the difference between more successful vs. less successful students and young professionals can often be explained by the use of strategies to reach specific goals. Successful students go about their academic life strategically.

Section 3: Applying the latest in “learning science” to study more effectively

Once the belief that academic success is in the control of the student is fully adopted, there are specific approaches to studying and best-practices that have been scientifically validated. Books in this section explore these ideas.

Section 4: Making plans and getting things done

Once you believe you have control over your academic life, you’ve developed a strategy for a specific class, and you have the latest tools in “learning science” at your disposal, it’s time to execute and get to work.