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Fools rush in…  we’re not saying we’re angels, but we are REaLLY? keen to do everything we can to stop you looking, or feeling, foolish.  One of our central tenets is the need to just stop and think before rushing into anything.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but we do want you to consider what you are doing, why and how you can get the best results for the least amount of effort.

Enter… REaLLY? It’s an incredibly straightforward technique that reminds you to get your ducks in a row before you start. School work, homework, a personal project or a task at work will all benefit from this thoughtful approach.

R – Requirements. Think about what you’re being asked to do.  Whether it’s a question in a comprehension exercise, a maths problem or a business project, you need to be sure that you understand *exactly* what it is that you are being asked to do.  You can’t plan the best route to it if you don’t know where you are going.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential."
                                                Winston Churchill

E L – Essential Language. The roadmap to success and efficiency is strewn with signposts, if you only take the time to look.  Thinking about which keywords are most likely to help you find your way before you start actually looking for your answer will prime your brain so that your search is far more likely to be quicker, easier and more efficient.

L – Location. There’s no point checking out the Apennines if you’re actually looking for something in the Pennines.  Check whether there is a precise location for what you need to do or find, or where to look for the resources for your task. Don’t waste time looking in the wrong place!

Y – Check. Check.  And Check again.  Carried away with enthusiasm, it’s very easy to run down a blind alley.  You need to check first of all that you are extremely clear about what you’ve discovered in the first three elements of REaLLY? Are you sure you understand the requirements?  Have you thought about what Essential Language will help you most?  Is there a precise location or perimeter, within which you’ll find what you need?  Once you can tick this off, you can move on to your planning (?).  You should come back at the end of your plan – before you start doing the task or answering the question – to check that you have something that will meet all the requirements and you’ve found it in the right place.  If you have then it’s all systems go to complete the task or write down your answer.  But do return to this stage at the end to verify you have included everything you intended, that you haven’t made any silly mistakes and that your answer is the very best it can be.

? – Plan (?lan).  Assuming that your first check (Y) has been successful, you now have the go-ahead to plan your task or answer.  Use items from the Thinking Toolbox to help you devise the best possible answer or solution to your problem/task.  Taking the time to think about what you’re going to do, and how, before you start, will save you a lot of time in the long run. You’ll be able to get straight onto the motorway and put your foot down instead of getting lost in country lanes or stuck behind a metaphorical tractor.

REaLLY? – simple, straightforward, effective.  This technique should be a staple in your arsenal.  It will help you supercharge your efforts so that you can drive off into the sunset in the happy knowledge that you’ve done a fabulous job. 

You can read more about REaLLY? in our blog.  Alternatively, we have guidance for how to use it effectively at SATs level, with lots of practical examples, in our Emporium. You can find it here

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