In recent years, the application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in educational settings has garnered significant attention. A noteworthy study published in Frontiers in Psychology delves into the effects of NLP on academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking among learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This article provides an overview of the study, discusses its findings in detail, and offers practical tips on how learners can apply these insights to enhance their study habits.

The Study

The study aimed to investigate how NLP strategies could affect EFL learners’ performance in three key areas: academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. Conducted by Xiuyun Zhang and Nikoo Davarpanah, the research involved a pretest-posttest design with a control group. A total of 50 advanced-level EFL students participated, divided equally into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received 12 sessions of 90-minute NLP-based training, while the control group did not receive any intervention.

The researchers employed a rigorous methodology to ensure the validity and reliability of their findings. Participants were selected through multistage cluster random sampling and their proficiency was verified using the Cambridge placement test. The experimental group underwent strategic training in NLP, which involved various techniques designed to improve communication, manage emotions, and enhance cognitive processes. Data were collected using validated scales for measuring academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. The results were analysed using ANCOVA to determine the impact of the NLP intervention.

The Results

The study yielded compelling results, indicating significant improvements in the experimental group’s performance across all three measured areas.

  1. Academic Achievement: The mean score for academic achievement in the experimental group increased from 155.02 ± 15.90 in the pretest to 171.70 ± 10.83 in the posttest. This improvement suggests that NLP strategies can effectively enhance learners’ academic performance by providing them with better tools for understanding and retaining new information.
  2. Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence saw a notable increase, with pretest scores rising from 96.51 ± 12.44 to 118.28 ± 6.18 in the post-test. NLP techniques such as anchoring and reframing likely contributed to better emotional regulation and self-awareness, enabling students to handle stress and anxiety more effectively.
  3. Critical Thinking: Critical thinking scores improved from 16.24 ± 2.59 in the pretest to 18.88 ± 2.77 in the post-test. The NLP training included exercises that fostered analytical skills and problem-solving abilities, which are essential components of critical thinking.

The control group, which did not receive any NLP intervention, showed no significant changes in these areas, reinforcing the effectiveness of NLP strategies.

The researchers concluded that NLP has a substantial positive impact on EFL learners’ academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. The study highlights the potential of NLP as a valuable tool in educational settings, particularly for language learners. By integrating NLP techniques into their teaching methods, educators can enhance students’ learning experiences and outcomes.

Learn NLP to Study More Effectively with an NLP course from TRAINFITNESS

Applying NLP to Study Habits

Based on the study’s findings, here are some practical tips for us to incorporate NLP strategies into our study patterns and habits:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your studies. NLP emphasises the importance of having clear objectives, which can help maintain focus and motivation.
  2. Use Visualisation Techniques: Visualise your success in exams or assignments. Imagine yourself confidently answering questions and achieving high scores. This mental rehearsal can boost confidence and reduce anxiety.
  3. Anchor Positive States: Identify a physical gesture (like squeezing your thumb and forefinger together) that you can associate with a positive, resourceful state. Practice this gesture while feeling calm and focused, so you can trigger the same state during stressful situations like exams.
  4. Reframe Negative Thoughts: Challenge and reframe any negative thoughts about your abilities. Instead of thinking “I can’t do this,” reframe it to “I am learning and improving every day.” This shift in perspective can enhance self-efficacy and resilience.
  5. Enhance Emotional Intelligence: Practice mindfulness and emotional regulation techniques to improve your emotional intelligence. Being aware of and managing your emotions can lead to better interpersonal interactions and reduce stress.
  6. Develop Critical Thinking Skills: Engage in activities that challenge your reasoning and analytical skills. Practice solving puzzles, debating, or analysing case studies to strengthen your critical thinking abilities.
  7. Create a Positive Learning Environment: Ensure your study environment is conducive to learning. Minimise distractions, organise your materials, and create a space that feels comfortable and motivating.
  8. Use Meta-Model Questions: The meta-model in NLP involves asking specific questions to clarify thoughts and beliefs. Use questions like “What specifically do I need to understand about this topic?” or “What assumptions am I making?” to deepen your understanding of the subject matter.

By incorporating these NLP-based strategies into our study routine, we can enhance our learning effectiveness and overall academic performance.

The study conducted by Xiuyun Zhang and Nikoo Davarpanah underscores the significant positive impact of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) on EFL learners’ academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. Through a rigorous experimental design, the researchers demonstrated that targeted NLP interventions could lead to substantial improvements in these critical areas of student performance. These findings align with the broader body of research suggesting that NLP can be a powerful tool in educational settings, enhancing both cognitive and emotional aspects of learning.

For us, this study offers practical insights into how NLP techniques can be integrated into our study routines to foster better outcomes. Setting clear goals, using visualisation and anchoring techniques, reframing negative thoughts, and enhancing emotional intelligence are all strategies that can help optimise our learning experiences. Moreover, developing critical thinking skills and creating a positive learning environment are essential components of an effective study regimen.

As educational methodologies continue to evolve, incorporating evidence-based practices like NLP can provide us with the tools we need to succeed in an increasingly complex world. The integration of NLP into educational frameworks not only supports academic achievement but also promotes holistic development, preparing us to navigate the challenges of the modern world with resilience and confidence.


  1. Zhang, X., & Davarpanah, N. (2022). The effect of neurolinguistic programming on academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking of EFL learners. Frontiers in Psychology. Click here to review the full research article
  2. Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3-31). New York: Basic Books. Click here to review the full research article
  3. Keezhatta, M. S., & Omar, M. H. (2019). The impact of NLP on improving speaking skills: A case study of engineering students in the UAE. Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, 32(3), 8-15. Click here to review the full research article
  4. Anjomshoaa, L., & Zarei, G. (2021). The effect of neurolinguistic programming on reducing foreign language anxiety among Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 12(2), 325-333. Click here to review the full research article
  5. Nazim, M., & Yousaf, A. (2021). NLP: An emerging trend in language learning. International Journal of English Linguistics, 11(4), 15-26. Click here to review the full research article
  6. Espinales, R., & Moreno, R. (2021). Enhancing motivation in the EFL classroom: The role of NLP techniques. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 10(2), 110-119. Click here to review the full research article
  7. El-Ashry, F. (2021). Multiple intelligences and NLP: A combined approach to EFL teaching. Asian EFL Journal, 23(3), 45-67. Click here to review the full research article
  8. Gehlbach, H., & Robinson, C. (2021). Leveraging NLP for better academic outcomes: A review of recent research. Educational Research Review, 34, 100391. Click here to review the full research article

Learn NLP to Study More Effectively

Enhance your study outcomes with the transformative power of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) through the comprehensive course offered by TRAIN.FITNESS. Based on recent research published in Frontiers in Psychology, NLP has been shown to significantly improve academic achievement, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking. By enrolling in our NLP course, you’ll gain a deep understanding of powerful techniques, enabling you to apply them effectively to your own studies. This course equips you with practical tools to manage emotions, set clear goals, and develop critical thinking skills, all of which are essential for academic success. Join us and unlock your potential to achieve remarkable improvements in your learning journey.

Neuro Linguistic Programming – Distance

Course Info

Get Started