Written by the 2021 Higher Education Psychology Teacher of The Year award winner, 'The Psychology of Effective Studying: How to Succeed in Your Degree' is the definitive guide on how to study effectively. In a friendly and engaging way, it explains how psychological research can help you:
Make studying more effective and enjoyable
Stop procrastination interfering with your studies
Achieve better grades in your coursework and examinations
Give engaging presentations
Work more effectively within a team
‘Imagine the ideal academic advisor, who knows all of the tricks of the trade and is happy to take the time to guide you. Now make that advisor not only deep and wise, but also very funny. If such an advisor exists, it is probably Dr. Penn. This book is a marvelous tutorial on how to succeed as a student and scholar ... I recommend it with enormous enthusiasm.’
Professor Stephen M. Kosslyn, President and CEO of Foundry College and former founding dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute.
I have spent my working life helping people to study and communicate more effectively. I hold a BSc (Hons) and a Ph.D. in Psychology in addition to a PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. I am a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS), member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology, Chartered Scientist (CSci) and a fellow (fHEA) of Advance HE (formerly known as the Higher Education Academy).
I maintain an active interest in both research on learning and teaching and the communication of psychology to the general public. In June of this year (2021) I won the Higher Education Psychology Teacher of the Year Award in recognition of my efforts to improve the communication of advice from psychology on effective studying to students in higher education and those who support them. If you are interested in learning more about my work, you can follow me on Twitter and also visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
‘One of psychology’s unsung gifts to the world is evidence-based advice on how to understand and remember material. Dr. Penn’s book is an excellent invitation to these fascinating and enormously practical discoveries.’
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of How the Mind Works and Enlightenment Now.
Work with me:
As an award winning lecturer with over 14 years’ experience of teaching in higher education and the author of 'The Psychology of Effective Studying: How to Succeed in Your Degree', I am uniquely well positioned to help you succeed in your studies. I have a very relaxed (often light-hearted) approach to supporting people on their journey to becoming a more effective learner. I firmly believe that studying should be enjoyed rather than endured!
My time is in high demand, but I have limited availability each month for bookable private work. Early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.
Individual tutorials (Students)
If you are a student who is struggling with your degree level studies, or not getting the marks you aspire to, I can offer one-to-one sessions in which we can explore how you can improve the way you approach studying and assessment preparation. These sessions can be booked individually or as a block. E-mail me to find out more.
Feedback on coursework (Students)
If you have completed a draft of a piece of coursework and would like feedback on it before submitting it for marking, I can help. I will provide you with feedback on your work and identify areas that would benefit from improvement. E-mail me to find out more.
Invited talks (Further/Higher education institutions and companies)
I am available to give invited talks on the application of psychology to learning, communication and collaboration. Talks can be tailored in terms of content and length to suit the specific requirements of the client. E-mail me to find out more.
Workshops (Further/Higher education institutions and companies)
Workshops involve a small group of individuals (between 2-10) working on supported practical exercises that facilitate the development of good practice in learning, communication and collaboration. E-mail me to find out more.
i) I only work with adults attending (or working) in further or higher education, aged 18 years old and over.
ii) I am not a specialist in learning disabilities and am not qualified to assess a client for conditions such as Dyslexia or Attentional Deficit Disorder (ADD). The British Psychological Society maintains a list of chartered educational psychologists who can provide such services.
iii) I am based in England, but can conduct most services online. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, at present, all sessions are conducted in this fashion via MS Teams or Zoom to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
iv) Under no circumstances will I compose assessed work on behalf of a client. Such a service would be immoral and undermine both the client's development and the integrity of the academic assessment concerned.