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  • Writer's pictureFrank Doogan

How well do you know your mental skills? Odds are, you don’t :)

Whether you look at articles on performance in the workplace, in exams, in business, or moments of extreme stress for athletes, you will find clear data-based evidence that your mental skills will have significant effect on what you achieve.

How do you respond to pressure?

In my experience tutoring students for very high-level exams, one of the very significant factors that has to be addressed to enable higher achievement is their attitude towards the exam. To what extent have they got the mental skills necessary to focus in an interview, to perform optimally in a professional exam, and to achieve optimally in a particular period of study?

Worldwide in academic, professional, business and athletic occupations we see an acceptance that practices like daily meditation, physical exercise, balancing your life relationships with your work, having an attitude focused on helping people, and most importantly self-awareness, contribute greatly to achieving your potential.

Emotional intelligence is your secret sauce

We do not see this in preparation for exams.

Consider this: if you were to get a new app or a new device and you could not accurately get a reply about what it could do, you would not buy it. Right? But, we are happy with ourselves even though very few of us are aware of what we can do: we do not know what our skills are and what our weak points are on an interpersonal level.

We know that self-awareness is an attribute most people (85%) claim they have, but the research evidence is that self-awareness is possessed by between 10 and 15% of people.

This means, according to Dr Tasha Eurich (1), that 80% of the time people are lying to themselves about what their capacities are, and what their weaknesses are.

It is okay, for a while...

We know that self-awareness is the central cog in the emotional intelligence skills which are critical to your success academically, in life and in business. Our specialist MyIT Master Tutor, Katie Jang, Master’s in Applied Psychology, reports (2)


Where do we see the effect of all this evidence and all this data in how we approach study for stressful exams like DSE or SAT or an MBA?

The vast majority of people go into an exam course or stressful academic situation without any mental skills preparation.

There are some substantial techniques which allow you as an individual to achieve where you might otherwise fail. One particular awareness, which has been defined and elaborated by Dr Ceri Evans, Forensic Psychiatrist, Mental Performance Skills Coach and member of Royal College of Psychiatrists,, is how you deal with impulses or responses.

Fire and ice - you need both in balance

Dr Evans describes these as Red Mind and Blue Mind. The mental skills are in the capacity of your Blue Mind to modify, reflect on, and direct your behaviour appropriately based on how your Red and Blue mind have interacted. There is a lot more to this technique than I have outlined here, but I will bring you more in a later blog.

We at MyIT, can give you detailed feedback on your target exam; highly detailed proprietary US-based analyses around emotional intelligence; mental performance skills; and recommendations for action, so that you can know yourself to become the better version of yourself.

A great thing to achieve for yourself, your family and your future.


Contact us if you would like to explore this further +852 92791395


1.       Dr Tasha Eurich, Harvard Business Review

2.       Adlaf EM, Gliksman L, Demers A, Newton-Taylor B. The prevalence of elevated psychological distress among Canadian undergraduates: Findings from the 1998 Canadian Campus Survey. J Am Coll Health. 2001;50:67–72

MacCann, C., Jiang, Y., Brown, L. E. R., Double, K. S., Bucich, M., & Minbashian, A. (2019, December 12). Emotional Intelligence Predicts Academic Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication.

Pfeiffer D. Academic and environmental stress among undergraduate and graduate college students: A literature review. Thesis. 2001. [Last accessed on 2009 Sep 11]. pp. 1–29. .

Poropat, A. E. (2009). A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2), 322-338.

Webb, T. L., Miles, E., & Sheeran, P. (2012). Dealing with feeling: a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of strategies derived from the process model of emotion regulation. Psychological Bulletin, 138(4), 775-338

Peña-Sarrionandia, A., Mikolajczak, M., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Integrating emotion regulation and emotional intelligence traditions: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 6,160.

Haines, S. J., Gleeson, J., Kuppens, P., Hollenstein, T., Ciarrochi, J., Labuschagne, I., ... & Koval, P. (2016). The wisdom to know the difference: Strategy-situation fit in emotion regulation in daily life is associated with well-being. Psychological Science, 27(12), 1651-1659.

Wentzel K. R. (2017). “Peer relationships, motivation, and academic performance at school” in Handbook of competence and motivation: Theory and application eds. A. J. Elliot, C. S. Dweck and D. S. Yeager (The Guilford Press; ), 586–603.

Wentzel K. R., Jablansky S., Scalise N. R. (2020). Peer social acceptance and academic achievement: a meta-analytic study. J. Educ. Psychol. 113, 157–180. doi: 10.1037/edu000046




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