Masterclasses Study Skills 2023-2024

You spend a lot of time with your head buried in books. Or not... Sometimes you just can’t seem to focus. Or you postpone your studies till tomorrow (again).

If you could use an insightful boost, join the masterclasses by educational psychologist and motivational speaker dr. Martijn van der Spoel. In these inspirational talks, he will address common obstacles of studying and the skills and tools to overcome them.

More specific study skills

Do you want to learn more about specific study skills? You are welcome to join the masterclasses on ‘Motivation’, ‘Procrastination’, ‘Focus’, ‘Memory’, 'Growth Mindset', 'Target Setting' & Note-Taking.  

The talks are a follow-up on Van Der Spoels' masterclass “Studying Effectively” for 1st year BSc students at the start of the academic year. These masterclasses are open to all WUR students! Registering is recommended, but we do welcome last-minute walk-ins.

Masterclasses - dr. Martijn van der Spoel

  • The masterclasses will be scheduled in P2 and P4/P5 of the academic year.
  • We strive to organise 2 masterclasses on each topic per academic year.
  • On each date Martijn van der Spoel will give 3 masterclasses: during lunch, around 5 pm and at 7 pm
  • The masterclasses are given on the Campus and last approx. 75 minutes.
  • No recordings are made, and no presentations are shared: The added value lies in actively participating in the masterclass.
The next masterclasses will be scheduled 15 &16 April
Topic Date Time Location
Focus 15 April 2024 12:30-13:45h
Motivation 15 April 2024 17:00-18:15h
Memory 15 April 2024 19:00-20:15h
Procrastination 16 April 2024 12:30-13:45h
Growth Mindset 16 April 2024 17:00-18:15h
Note-Taking 16 April 2024 19:00-20:15h

Growth Mindset

The Growth Mindset is a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck. She explores how our thinking affects our ability to keep changing in new and challenging situations. How you view your skills and talents largely determines your development. She cites 'The Power of Yet' as an example: Can't you do something, or can't you do it yet? The former restricts, and the latter gives room for growth. This session looks at what she found and how you can apply this.


'How can I help myself remember more?'  Informed by research, we know that there are several techniques that will increase your memory.  This session will focus on these different techniques and evaluate ways to put them into practice.


'I will do this tomorrow'.  Are you interested in understanding better why people procrastinate, how this develops and what you can do to stop it?  This session focuses on the possible 'why's' of procrastination as well as on the 'how' you can train yourself to make different decisions and as a result become more effective with your time. 


You are not born with focus.  It is something that you develop and learn. In this session, we look at some of the reasons why someone finds it difficult to focus as well as what kind of techniques you can use to teach yourself to focus better.  


In my coaching sessions with students at WUR, I often get questions about motivation. Questions like: 'How can I increase my motivation?', 'I don't know why, but I feel less motivated, what should I do?' or 'Why is it so hard to get into the routine of my studies? This session looks at the big picture of motivation and how you can influence yourself to become more motivated.

Note taking

The notes you take during a lecture are key building blocks in the overall learning process of an 'Active Learner'. For instance, we see that note-takers are more focused during the lecture. Furthermore, your notes become an important foundation for future learning as you can go over them during your revision for an exam.

The clarity and structure of the notes highly influence their effectiveness. In this masterclass you will learn the techniques behind successful note-taking and how you can apply them during your lectures (and reading) at the WUR.

Target Setting

How intentional are you as a person and as a student at the WUR?  Targets don't just tell us what you are aiming for but also measure the distance by which you potentially still fall short and therefore the amount of work you still need to do. This session will examine the 'why' and 'how' of target techniques used by so many to help them realise their goals.