Ace Your Exams: Study Tactics of the Successful Gentleman Scholar

by Brett & Kate McKay on January 3, 2012 · 146 comments

in Personal Development

When 160,000 undergraduates in the University of California system were asked to name the obstacles that impeded their academic success, the students listed things like work, stress, and depression. But the number one reason, which was given by 33% of the students, was that they simply didn’t know how to study.

When I first arrived at college, I was one of those 33 percenters who really didn’t know how to study. I was a stellar student in high school, but during during my first semester of college I nearly flunked Business Calculus, got a C- in Intro to Logic, and barely scratched by with a B in Spanish. I ended the semester with a 2.75 GPA.

Knowing that I was headed down the path of academic ruin if I didn’t change something, I threw myself into learning all I could about how to learn and study effectively. I read anything I could get my hands on. The effort paid off. After that initial semester, I earned straight A’s throughout the rest of my college career, even while working 20-30 hours a week. When I went on to law school, I managed to graduate ninth in my class while also working, starting the Art of Manliness, and writing a book during that time.

I share this not to brag, but to show that there’s a ton you can do to turn your academic career around, even if it’s had an inauspicious start.

Many of our readers will be heading back to school for the start of a new semester next week. So I thought it would be helpful to offer some friendly study advice for those young men who might find themselves among the 33% of students who don’t know how to study effectively and might be struggling like I did. Even if you have some solid study skills, you’ll hopefully get something out of this article too.

The advice I provide is based on my own experience in college and law school. Maybe it will work for you as well. Of course, if you already have a study system that works for you, then use it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Note: Fair warning. This post is long. Double the length of a normal article long. I thought about breaking it up into multiple posts, but then decided it would be more useful to create a one page, single resource article that would be an easy reference to return to. So take it slow–you don’t have to read the whole thing in one go–although doing so wouldn’t be bad practice for your studies!

Time & Energy Management

In high school, your schedule is pretty well set for you, and your parents are always around, looking over your shoulder.

Then you get to college and each day is an ocean of time that is all yours to decide what to do with.

This is both a wonderful, glorious freedom and a great challenge. But mastering that challenge by learning how to successfully manage your time will reap you great benefits not only in school, but for the rest of your life.

Following the advice below, it’s possible to excel in school, while working part-time, and while still having a social life.

Create a master weekly study schedule before every semester.  In his book, First Things First, Stephen Covey introduces the idea of “Big Rock” planning. The gist of it is that you should set aside time for your most important things first (your Big Rocks) and then plan everything else in your life around them. Watch this video to see Covey explain it.

When you’re young and in school, your biggest Big Rock is your education. You should (ideally) plan everything else around your schooling. To ensure that you actually make school a priority, block off the time during the week that you’ll devote to class and studying before the semester starts. During the semester, plan around these blocked off times. Here’s what I suggest blocking time off for:

1. Block off your class and lab times. The most important appointments of your week. Schedule everything else around your class time.

2. Block off reading time for each of your classes. If you have a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, you’ll probably want to block off an hour or two on Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday for reading.

3. Block off time for note review/outlining/homework for each class. You’ll want to set aside time so you can synthesize class notes, do some outlining, and complete any homework assignments you might have. I typically blocked off an hour right after each class for this. If a class was lecture heavy, like ancient Greek philosophy, I’d use that hour right after class to review my notes and update my class outline. If the class was heavy on problem sets, like calculus or symbolic logic, I used the hour to do that day’s assignment and any additional practice problems.

The amount of time you need for note review/outlining/homework will vary. I recommend setting aside at least one hour for each hour spent in class.  If you need more time, schedule it.

4. Other possible permanent time blocks. If your work schedule is the same throughout the semester, you might as well block it off on your master schedule. I also blocked off time for exercise on my master schedule.

Make these times re-occurring events in your calendar. You should only change or modify them in extreme cases. Treat them like doctor’s appointments. If a friend wants to get together during your reading time, tell them you have a prior engagement and suggest another time.

Plan weekly. Once you have your master weekly schedule set up, every week set aside time for planning out the week’s variables–those activities that change from week to week. Write down in your schedule when you have to work or the times for any extracurricular meetings. Remember, try to plan around your Big Rocks if possible.

Reverse engineer big projects and final exam prep. Throughout the semester, you’ll probably have big projects like term papers to turn in. One thing that helped me complete these tasks on time and with little stress was reverse engineering the task. As soon as I knew the due date for a paper, I marked it in my calendar. Working backwards from that due date, I established  mini-deadlines for myself. For example, a week before the actual due date, I might have a deadline to complete the rough draft. Two weeks before the actual due date the mini-deadline might be to write half of the paper. Three weeks before the actual due date, the mini-deadline might be to have the research complete. And so on.

I did this sort of reverse engineering for my law school finals as well. About mid-way through the semester, I sat down and planned out my finals prep for the subsequent six weeks, working backwards from the final exam and creating tasks for myself to complete as I got closer and closer to finals.

This takes some discipline, but this approach is much less stressful than waiting until the last minute to complete a project or study for a final.

Apply the 45/15 rule.  People can focus on something for a solid 45 minute block before their brains start getting pooped and antsy, and their mental performance starts to diminish. To keep your brain running on all six cylinders, implement the 45/15 rule, or Pomodoro Technique.  Under the 45/15 rule, you work nonstop for 45 minutes, and all your focus is on the task at hand for that block of time. When the 45 minutes is up, take a break for 15. Surf the web or get up and go for a quick stroll outside. As soon as the 15 minutes are over, get back to work. Just knowing that you always have a set break coming up can keep you on task. Check out these nine free online timers that help you implement the 45/15 rule easily.

Reading Assignments and Homework

Try to get ahead on reading. If your schedule permits, try to get ahead on your reading by reading the entire week’s assignments on the weekend. I did this in law school and it freed up a bunch of time for me during the week. On Saturdays and Sundays, I’d devote a couple of hours to completing all the reading assignments for the coming week. That allowed me to devote more time to outlining, memorization, and even working on The Art of Manliness and writing our first Art of Manliness book during the week.

Read actively. When you read, read actively. Highlight, underline, and write notes in the margins. This will ready you for any class discussion or questions from the professor. Also, actively reading simply helps you better retain the information.

Learn to speed read. Speed reading is a skill that I suggest all college students learn. It’s a huge help in getting through those 100 page reading assignments. As with any tool, you should use speed reading with discernment. Some class material might require slow, concentrated reading. My philosophy classes in college were like that. Other classes you can speed read right through the text and be in good shape.

Quickly skim your reading notes and highlights before class starts. Before class starts, take a few minutes to quickly scan over any notes and highlights you made in your book. You want to be ready to answer any questions that come your way.

Do all your homework (even if it’s not graded). Your professors assign homework for a reason: to help you learn the material so you can pass the final exam. One big difference between high school and college is that professors will often assign homework problems but won’t pick them up for grading. For many college freshmen, it’s tempting to just skip this homework altogether. Don’t do this.

I succumbed to this temptation my first semester of college. My calc class had homework problems assigned every class. As soon as I learned that the assignments weren’t graded, I pretty much stopped doing them. Result? My first (and, thankfully, only) D grade.

Make the Most of Class Time

Attend all your classes. Another temptation that new college students face is regularly skipping class. Unlike high school, you don’t have parents or truancy laws making sure your butt’s in a classroom desk every day at college. It’s completely up to you whether you go to class or not. My advice is to make it a goal to go to every class during the semester.

Learning requires constant reinforcement. Class time is part of that reinforcement process. More importantly, attending class simply saves you time. Every time I missed a class, I often spent double the amount of time studying to make up what I missed. If you want a life outside of studying, go to class.

Sit near the front. Yeah, it’s cliché, but it really works. You’re more likely to stay focused and pay attention to the professor when you’re sitting near the front.

Take notes. I remember seeing so many students come to class without bringing anything to take notes with. They just sat there expecting information to download to their brain like Neo from The Matrix. While you might have been able to do this in high school and still succeed, it’s harder to do so in college and graduate-level classes. Learning is an active process and note-taking is one of the steps in that process. Moreover, taking notes forces you to pay attention in class. Even in the most boring of classes, taking notes will keep you awake and alert.

How should you take notes? For advice on note-taking strategies, see this post.

Ask questions. As you’re doing your reading or working through problem sets, write down any questions that you have about the material. Bring these questions with you to class, but don’t ask them right away. You’ll pay more attention in class as you listen to see if the professor will answer your question during his prepared lecture. If he doesn’t answer your question, ask it. Don’t feel embarrassed. Chances are somebody else has the same question. If you’re still having trouble understanding a concept, show some respect for the professor’s and your classmates’ time by waiting until after class to ask for more clarification.

Participate in discussions. Many liberal arts classes focus on classroom discussion. Participate! Don’t be the guy who sits in the back with his arms folded and doesn’t say a word. Discussing in class engages you with the content and helps reinforce what you’ve read and heard. Also, more and more college professors are making participation in classroom discussion a part of your overall class grade. Don’t miss out on an easy 10% of your grade. Speak up.

Eliminate all digital distractions. Turn off your cellphone when you’re in class and put it in your backpack. If you’re using a computer to take notes, eliminate the temptation to surf the internet mindlessly while in class by disabling your computer’s wireless router.

Getting Extra Help

Go see your professor during office hours. Want to guarantee success in your class? Go talk to your professors during their office hours.  You won’t believe how much professors want to help students that they see making an effort to learn (and how often this effort is reflected in your final grade). To make your visit with your professor as efficient and as effective as possible, have a list of specific questions you need help with. Don’t just show up and say “I need help,” thus forcing the professor to spend 30 minutes figuring out what exactly you need help with.

Attend review sessions. As final exams draw near, many professors or teaching assistants will offer optional review sessions. Go to them! In my experience, the professor will pretty much tell you exactly what will be on the exam. Definitely worth the time.

Attend workshops and tutorials. Throughout the semester, departments offer workshops and tutorial sessions to provide students extra help. For example, my calculus class had a daily workshop manned by brainy math graduate students to help you with your homework. At the time, playing Call to Power 2 seemed much more important, so I didn’t go to these workshops, and it bit me in the butt.  Any chance you have to get free extra help, take it.

Create an Outline or Study Guide

Create your OWN outline and study guide throughout the semester. When I was in college, studying for finals simply involved looking over my hodgepodge of class notes. It worked fine, but it was inefficient. My notes weren’t very organized, so I spent a lot of time thumbing back and forth through them, trying to figure out how different sections of content related with each other.

When I arrived in law school, I learned about the power of outlining. And I wished someone had taught me this skill as an undergrad. Creating an outline for your class does a few things that help with learning. First, it helps you synthesize information and understand how everything fits together. Second, it keeps your content organized for easier studying later on in the semester. Sometimes professors give important insights about a concept you studied earlier in the semester towards the end of the semester. Those bits of information can be easy to lose if you don’t have a master outline you can plug them into.

It’s important that you create your OWN outline. Don’t rely on somebody else’s. The simple act of creating an outline for your class will do wonders in helping you learn the material for the exam.

Many students like to wait until the end of the semester to create their outline. If that works for you, do it. I preferred outlining throughout the semester so I could spend more time reviewing my outline and going over practice questions right before the exam instead of spending time creating my outline.

A Short Guide to Creating an Outline

Use the syllabus or textbook to create the backbone of the outline. Here’s the easiest way to create your outline. At the beginning of the semester, take a look at your textbook’s table of contents. Create the backbone of the outline using chapter titles. The teacher’s syllabus is also a good source for creating your outline’s backbone. In fact, the syllabus is often presented in the form of an outline.

Fill in with class notes. After every class, fill in your outline with your class notes. You’ll really have to think about how to organize your notes and what to put where, but the mental struggle means the info is anchoring deeper and deeper into your brain.

Supplement the outline with professor handouts and other students’ outlines. If your teacher provides any handouts, supplement your outline with that content. Also, feel free to supplement your outline with outlines prepared by other students or a publisher. Sometimes it helps to see how somebody else organized the information in order to understand a concept more fully.

Memorizing

Memorization is an important skill that you need to master in order to succeed academically. Because many exams are closed book, you’ll need to know everything backwards and forwards in order to answer the questions. Below, I provide some memorization techniques that I used during school to help me ace my exams.

Memorization is necessary, but not sufficient for academic success. One thing to keep in mind as you read through this section is that most college professors won’t simply test you to see if you can remember and regurgitate information to them. Sure, some do give those kinds of tests, but most actually want to see if you can apply your knowledge. So while memorizing facts, figures, ideas, formulas, and concepts is necessary for success on your exam, knowing how to synthesize and use that information is even more important.

Long-term memory should be the goal. Your goal for every class should be to commit the material to your long-term memory. Your brain’s short-term memory can only hold so much information at one time. Overloading it by cramming it full the night before will ensure that you’ll forget whatever it is you tried to memorize. Creating long-term memories takes time, so you should commit to memorizing information at the beginning of the semester.

Get a change of scenery. Traditional learning advice says you should study in the same quiet place every time you hit the books. But psychological research has found that just the opposite is true. In one study, college students who studied a list of vocab words in two different rooms performed much better on a vocab test than students who studied the words twice in the same room.

Researchers think that our brains make subtle associations between what we’re studying and what’s in the background while we’re studying. Those unconscious associations help you remember what you’re learning. For example, you might associate one fact with the leather chair in the student union and another fact with the smell of coffee in the cafe. By changing locations where you study on a regular basis, you’re giving your brain more material with which to create these associations.

Bottom line: mix up where you study for more effective memorization.

Space out review sessions. In 1885, German scientist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the spacing effect. In a nutshell, the spacing effect shows that humans remember facts and figures for longer periods of time when the information is reviewed in sessions strategically spaced out over time instead of crammed in one setting.

He also discovered that we all have a “forgetting curve.” The rate at which we forget things depends on several factors, but the amazing thing is that it’s actually possible to figure out how long it will take to forget something. Knowing how long it takes you to forget new information allows you to strategically plan your next review session for maximum information retention.

One really cool computer program that figures out your forgetting curve and when you should review content is SuperMemo. You create flashcards of stuff you want to memorize and work through them on your computer. SuperMemo then uses an algorithm to figure out when you should be presented with the material again after you review it. I used this badboy for all my foreign language classes in college and it’s kind of scary how well it worked.

Review and synthesize notes right after class. Remember, our goal is to transfer information from our short-term to long-term memory so that we can easily access it come finals time. One habit that will help kickstart the transfer is reviewing and synthesizing notes right after class. Many learning researchers suggest that you should do this initial review within 24 hours of first learning the new information. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the information will disappear from your short term-memory. After you do this initial review, take advantage of the spacing effect by reviewing this info a few days later.

Teach someone what you’re learning. I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to somebody else. I did this all the time in law school. If I was having trouble with a particular concept, I’d sit down with Kate and try to explain it to her. The effort to make the ideas clear to someone else ends up clarifying them for yourself as well.

Talk out loud. Studies show that talking out loud when you’re learning something aids in memorization. Called “the production effect,” it only works if you talk about some of the things you’re studying, while looking over other parts silently; that which you speak out loud gets stored in your memory because it becomes distinct in your mind from the rest of the material. So save this technique for the important bits that you’re really struggling with.

Take a nap after a study session.  Recent research shows that taking a nap after learning something can help strengthen memory retention. While in law school, I made it a habit to take a quick power nap after an intense study session. I don’t know how much my naps helped, but they certainly didn’t hurt my academic performance.

Brute Force Memorization. The above tactics require a long period of time to be truly effective. But sometimes you won’t have the luxury of having an entire semester to memorize something for class. If you’re short on time and need to memorize something fast, try my Brute Force Memorization technique.

Self-Testing: The Master Key to Academic Success

Take frequent practice tests. To really commit information to long-term memory, you need to test yourself on a regular basis. Research shows that tests are not only good for assessing how well you know something, they actually help you learn and retain information for the long-term. The process of retrieving information to answer a question fundamentally changes the way it’s stored in the brain. The more difficult it is to retrieve the answer, the more securely it will anchor in your mind.

Instead of just passively memorizing information, create practice tests for yourself throughout the semester. Your textbook usually has study questions at the end of each chapter. Answer them. And by answer them, I mean write out your answer just like you would for a real exam. To get the full benefit of this technique, you can’t just answer the questions “in your mind.”

Ask your professor if she has any old exams she’d be willing to share with you. Take those old exams under real test taking conditions. If they’re essay questions, write out the answers. See if your professor will take a look at your answers and offer any feedback.

Flash cards are another way you can quiz yourself.

Studies show that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, so make sure that after you complete any self-test, you go back and review your answers and find out why you got something wrong.

Practice tests. Do them.

Study Groups

Use study groups with care. I used study groups very sparingly while in college and law school. I found that most study groups were a waste of time because they lacked focus and direction. Instead of talking about the class material, we often ended up discussing Sooner football.

If you’re going to do a study group, follow these general guidelines:

Keep it focused. Every study group session should have a pre-determined purpose. Never show up to a study group without an agenda. Setting a time limit for your study group also helps keep people focused and on task.

Get the right kind of people. Study groups should be mutually beneficial. Everybody should contribute. If freeloaders infiltrate your study group, abandon ship.

Great Resources on Improving Your Study Skills

For more information on how to improve your study skills, check out the following resources:

Study Hacks. By far the best blog I’ve found on study skills. The author of the blog has also written two books on the subject. 

How to Study: A Brief Guide. Written by a college professor. No frills, practical advice.

SuperMemo’s Article Bank. Lots of great stuff here. You can spend hours reading through this material.

 What are the study tactics that have worked for you? Share your tips with us in the comments!

{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erik January 3, 2012 at 1:58 am

Really enjoyed the article! There are some tips in here that never even occurred to me and I’ll be trying soon. Would love to see an article on note taking as well.

2 Jesse Gibbs January 3, 2012 at 2:15 am

This article is a God-send. Thanks Brett.

P.S. That would be awesome if you did an article on note taking.

3 Francis January 3, 2012 at 2:23 am

Really enjoyed this. It is sound advice to be sure. I am also interested in the possible note taking post. It would be useful and beneficial to those students who are always seeking ways to improve themselves academically and professionally.

4 Vivek January 3, 2012 at 2:24 am

Your Information is so Informative.
seo

5 Seth January 3, 2012 at 2:40 am

This is very timely and much appreciated! I would be interested in a post on how to properly make outlines and take notes.

6 Tony January 3, 2012 at 4:16 am

Thank you for this!

Going back to school for the first ten in 10 years and I realise I am completely clueless when it comes to actually learning! This couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks!

And +1 for the note-taking article!

7 Dalton January 3, 2012 at 5:26 am

Wonderful article! Will definitely be putting this into practice this semester, and the note taking article sounds like a great idea.

8 Josh Knowles January 3, 2012 at 6:28 am

I can vouch for the fact this success in college has far more to do with the sort of tactics described here than with innate intelligence. A little intelligence combined with hard work will get you much better grades than superior intelligence without any effort. I saw guys who were far more intelligent than me fail out of college simply because they couldn’t be bothered to pay attention in class or because they didn’t manage their time well.

Now that I’m doing graduate studies I have found the reverse engineering strategy to be invaluable. I work backwards from deadlines and plan out how much reading needs to get done each day in order to complete everything. I do the same with papers: how many words to do I have to write each day to get a rough draft done by a certain time and so on.

Thanks for the post. I always enjoy how AOM has such a wide variety of practical articles to help with concrete skills as well as philosophical pieces to chew on.

9 Jonathan January 3, 2012 at 6:33 am

Perfect timing as always.

I finished my first term of medicine at Oxford and have exams in just over a week. I found that I haven’t been working very efficiently so thank you.

10 Sean G. January 3, 2012 at 7:05 am

I coach college lacrosse and the one thing I try to Impress upon the student athletes was if you think something is a priority, and you make it a priority, you will find time for it. Like say being a good boyfriend: you will find te to spend with her. Being a good employee: find time to improve your workplace. If you make getting a good grade a priority, you will find time for it.

11 Charlie Singer January 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

I am a high school senior, and am constantly that kid in class who doesn’t take notes. A decent amount of the time, this works out okay for me, but when it doesn’t I get roasted. I would love to see a post about note-taking as aforementioned in this post. This post was good though!

12 Darren January 3, 2012 at 7:38 am

One thing not to do is this:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-28/sat-cheaters-paid-ex-schoolmate-to-do-test-prosecutor-says.html

Amazing what people will do to “succeed.” How would you like to find out right before surgery that your doctor paid someone to take their MCAT? That right before your trial, your lawyer paid someone to take their LSAT?

I proctored standardized tests in graduate school (it’s good money). I caught a few cheaters. One of them screamed “you’re ruining my life” as he ran down the hall outside the classroom. No sir, it was already ruined when I arrived.

Some of them argue that the standardized tests are just “hoops to jump through.” That may or may not be true, but one must jump through them anyway.

13 MoneyforCollegePro January 3, 2012 at 7:54 am

Time management skills are necessary for the reading of this article….:)

Excellent article though. I definitely make a master plan for my studying and now work habits. It helps me stay focused, and I work much better when I can track my progress, even if it is minimal.

14 Zachariah January 3, 2012 at 7:58 am

Spot on.

I managed to get 4.0 for my junior and senior years of univsersity, and I used much of what you said here.

My favorite flash card program was CueCard. But it does lack some language support so I have gone to Anki for Korean. Also Anki has a lot of great shared decks. I have been going through a 4000 word GRE vocab deck (I love words).

15 Richard January 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

Great posting, I will save send a link to my students. On my blog I have an posting advise I gave to a student who failed a licensing exam (multiple times). http://6sproductivitycomcom.fatcow.com/?p=649

16 Brandon January 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

2.75 GPA first semester isn’t that bad. I would have loved to have done that good. My first semester GPA was like a 1.19. But since then it has been all As except for one class.

17 Michael January 3, 2012 at 8:57 am

Awesome! Went back to school at 43 for the ubiquitous ‘mid-life career change’ last year and am about to enter my final semester and sit for my boards in July (nursing). Been stressing about a tough last semester and the license exams…this really will help me be prepared (could’ve used you all last year!! :)

18 J January 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

Yes, I would be very interested on reading about your note-taking strategies. I’m currently a law student myself, and I feel a real urgent need to learn how to learn. But as it is, this article is a great starting point. Thank you!

19 Bryan Wells January 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

I too would benefit from note taking advice. I plan to return to school in the Fall and I want to see a discernible difference in my academic achievement from my last bout with college.

20 Renee January 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thanks for this! I have midterms coming up, and this will be a lifesaver. The advice given in this website is invaluable, though when my friends look at my history, they think I’m considering a sex change.

21 the muskrat January 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

Wish I’d employed these techniques when I was in law school! I did better than most in my class, but certainly wasn’t top 10 like the author, and my work/life balance at the time sucked.

22 Ben January 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

Quality article as always. I will definitely be coming back to this article once I start school back up. Good information here.

And as appears to be the consensus…I’d like to vote for the note taking article too.

23 Bill January 3, 2012 at 9:27 am

Could you please print out a hard copy, get in your time machine, and hand me the article 35 years ago? It would have helped considerably.

24 bubba January 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

You lost me at “router”.

25 Bob Barker January 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

I had to laugh at “to keep your brain running on all six cylinders”. Didn’t we use to get 8? Is this a sign of the times? No wonder men aren’t what they used to be. :D

26 killerokapi January 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

The thing that helped me most for repetitive memorization exams (multiple choice-Biology, nutrition, etc.) was flash cards. I would make a stack of them a week before the test and flip through them in any free time I had-before class, during tv commercials-and took out any cards I had memorized. The day of the test I put all of the old ones back in and ran through the cards again a couple times. I got A’s on all of those exams! It’s time consuming to make the cards, but like outlining-you learn as you do it.

27 Jason C January 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

As an academic advisor at UVU I will pass this article to my students who need help studying- Great article!

28 Joe L-E January 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Great article. I’m almost out of the woods when it comes to studying, but the Virginia Bar Exam stands in the way. I’m taking it for the first time in February, and I’m currently working, too. I’m not used to this work/study thing (I was a full-time student in law school) so any advice on how to conquer this beast would be awesome!

29 Scott January 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

I’m going to law school in the fall. I have bookmarked all of this advice. I’ll probably create an outline of it and post it on my wall.

30 Ashwin Nanjappa January 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Your post on note taking please :-)

31 Mark January 3, 2012 at 10:47 am

I am a first year medical student, and that article was a nice check on my habits and a few new hints. This may be overkill for undergrad, though if I were back in undergrad I probably would have gotten a 4.0 with that strategy.

I block 1 hour a day per hour lecture (50 mins study, 10mins break) then also block 1 hour on the weekend per hour of lecture. Also, I block 30mins per hour of lab. Finally, I give one hour a day for misc. school stuff. That really helps. I also spend 30mins in the morning previewing the day’s lectures.

While sitting in lecture, I highlight focused topics from provided outlines, and make notes into my calender on what to study. Maybe its read the book for more background. Maybe its find some practice tests. I make flashcards for all the brute memorization stuff the day off a lecture, then study it that day, then on the weekend, then before the test.

What matters is what values. I value my education, so I spend 100hrs/week on it. While I value my relationship with my wife more, it is more flexible and willing to take a back seat resource wise. Wife, school, health…that’s it. It’s all about what you value. Take pride in your work. Hold yourself to the highest standard and you can enjoy the self-esteem that comes from it.

32 Steve January 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

Nice article!

One method I found helpful in law school when making and using outlines was to cut the outlines down ‘from the bottom up.’

For instance, the completed outline might have this many catagories and subcatagories or divisions:

I (supposed to be a Roman Numeral 1)
A
1
a
i

I’d study the WHOLE thing…then do it over, without the last subcatagory (above, the “i”), and the information contained within it. I ought to be able to reproduce that in my head without the need of having it on the paper.

The next revision does away with the next subcatagory (in the above example, “a”). Once again, I ought to be able to reproduce that in my head without the need of having it on the paper.

I would do this until I was left only with the main catagories (Roman Numerals). Great way to see if you remember the course material.

One caveat: remember the story about the brilliant student who reduced the entire courde outline to ONE WORD.

When he got into the test, he forgot the word…

33 Stephen January 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I will try to implement them this semester. Thank you.

34 LP January 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

Awesome article. TBQH Business Calculus really just sucks. I got a C even with a really great professor and study groups. :(

35 Tank January 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I agree, a note taking article would be fantastic. I managed to get through my freshman and sophomore years of college with little trouble and did not take notes. I have found this year to be rather troublesome and a note taking article would really help.

36 Brandon January 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

My grade 12 Biology teacher taught us that the effectiveness of the 45/15 rule will diminish over time, ie the 45 minute period will get shorter the longer you are studying.

Great article! There’s definitely a few things in here I will try this semester.

37 Elvis January 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Great article! Thought I would add in my undergrad practice.

During my courses I would outline a chapter as I read it making sure to put in all key terms that would be found in the glossary. Once I finished reading the chapter I would go back through and add the definitions from the glossary. Lastly I would import these terms and definitions into quizlet.com and use their ‘learn’ feature. Worked great.

38 Corey January 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Brett, is there a specific program you would suggest for setting a schedule or did you just use a physical calender and pen/pencil?

I am in the same situation you were in. I breezed through high school and community college without ever having to study, and I recently finished my first semester at university with a 2.93.

My New Year’s resolution was to get straight A’s and I’m not taking it lightly.

Excellent write up, by the way. Only weird thing I saw was the part on “turning off your laptop’s wireless router.” “router” should be adapter/card/component.

39 Big Bobby January 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Great article, and I’d love to see a note taking one too!

40 Brasilero January 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I would love a note taking article. That would be just great.
This article was really needed. I’ve never had that great of study skills. This has been totally inspiring.

41 Javi January 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Excellent article! I used many of these tips when I was in college studying Mech. Engineering, learned the hard way (my first few years were rough on the GPA!).

42 John B January 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Good article. I would love to see the note taking one as well.

I’m in a bit of a different boat than the article though, after a good first semester at college I picked up a few things that other people around me just didn’t seem to get.

1. Take the time to actually learn things, not just for the test (you hinted at this in memorizing things long-term). When finals come around, knowing and reviewing allows you to simply coast into the final without worrying, whereas having to reteach leaves a lot of room for stress and messing up. Also, college courses tend to build upon each other, so solidifying your base I can only assume would be beneficial.

2. A good paper-writing technique that I picked up in a class in high school was to do research, formulate a thesis, and then write an outline (even a rough one) incorporating where you would put quotes, research, ect… all just in the forms of notes to yourself. Instead of just taking the outline and casting it to the side, actively use it to put material into your paper, and save the document after everytime you work on it. The result is that you can write about any topic at anytime (if you don’t feeling like writing about one section, you can easily go to another without interfering your flow of ideas, because they’re all documented). It also allows for smooth transitions, which usually are the signs of a good writer. At the end you just take out all of your outline headings, format for maybe 5 minutes, and you have a paper. Makes 10+ page papers much less of a daunting task.

3. Exercise and diet help immensely with focus.

4. Instead of relying on caffeine, keeping well-hydrated works generally just as well to keep me awake (that’s just me… although it can be inconvinient when there’s no bathroom around).

5. If possible, keep all things electronic away from you during study time, maybe with the exception of music. You’ll be suprised how well it works.

Hope to not be pretentious but those are just a few things that worked well for me. Just wanted to share my helpful tips on a site that’s been very helpful to me.

43 Cody January 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Excellent post, I find talking a loud especially helpful. I’d like a post on note taking as well!!

44 Mitch January 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

great article, will definately be using some of those strategies.

Ps. please do that article on note taking, it would me much appreciated:)

45 Mitch January 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

great article, will definately be using some of those strategies.

oh and please do that article on note taking, it would me much appreciated:)

46 Nik Rice January 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I went to college for ten years (didn’t know what I wanted to do), and I actually took courses on these subjects. If you can, take them early. I didn’t and wish I had. I took; Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, First Things First, speed reading, Metacognition, Student Success, and career development all BEFORE taking my required pedagogy courses. (I am a high school teacher).
Also, turn your phone to silent, not vibrate, and put it away! I know we all have the need to “check” to see if we’ve missed something, but take Brett’s advice that this is an appointment with your brain. You wouldn’t tell your dentist to hang on while you check your facebook or text messaging, would you?
Your cell phone also sends out a magnetic field that can scramble your brain’s alertness, so never keep your phone in your pocket or touching you while you study.
+1 for the note-taking post.

47 Nik Rice January 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

One more thing.
keep your feet flat on the floor, and never cross your arms or legs. It sounds silly but it messes with your brain.

48 Rob January 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Good article.

As a colege instructor let me add that what your professor thinks of you matters. Hopefully this isnt breakneck first impressions or broad stereotypes, but if your professor sees you trying and paying attention they are going to work harder to meet your needs. There is nothing worse than someone who is chronically late, absent, or inattentive complaining about a grade or asking for special treatment the week before finals.

49 Parker January 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Brett,
I loved the article! Having a post on note-taking strategies would be very helpful!

50 Ben January 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I really needed this!
I am a senior in high school. I’m one of those students who gets by pretty well without studying. I have absolutely terrible time-management skills. Whenever I think about going to college next year, I feel stressed out because I don’t know how I will cope with the work load and my inability to get things done. Reading this has taken away some of the stress and I feel a little more confident that I can revise my strategy. Thank you!

51 Isaac Crosse January 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Hey!
Great article, it will really help a lot!

An article on note taking would be awesome too!

52 John January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Awesome article.. definitely needed it! If you could write an article on note taking too, that’d be amazing!

53 Adam C January 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

This couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m starting school next monday for the first time in 6 years… Thanks so much!

54 Matt C January 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Thanks Brett, as a person who is going to Grad school in the not to distant future, this advice is all going to be very useful.

Also, something I found useful during my undergraduate study was informal discussion groups. My friends and I had the luck of taking three history classes with a paticularly engaging professor and after each class we would go get lunch together and discuss and debate the ideas and the events taught in class. These half hour to 45 minute discussions really helped us to understand and remember the material taught in class.

Additionally, I would also like to see a post about outlining and note taking.

55 Nervin January 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

This blog is a success! I had been really enjoying the recently posts. You guys are angels. I’m looking forward for the note-taking stuff. Keep up the good work!

56 Brad Gray January 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I have a couple of questions for Brett (or whoever else feels qualified to answer). First, what do you mean by synthesizing your notes? I’ve never heard of this before.Second, is there a computer program or phone application you recommend for making your master schedule? Or did you use a paper calendar? Thanks in advance.

57 NathanH January 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm

“I could devote an entire post to note-taking strategies. Maybe we’ll visit that in a future post if there’s any interest.”

What do you mean, “if there’s any interest?!” This would be one of the most helpful articles for me to read (among tons of others, I’m sure), especially in the raw, factual fashion you do. You should write this one as soon as possible.

58 Scott January 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Thanks for the great post Brett. Just what I needed!

59 Sandra January 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

You have no idea how much I wish this had been written before my final undergraduate semester. All the same, this will still be useful when I go to graduate school. Thanks so much!

60 Saul January 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Great article. This website is the best ever. Every time I need advice or encouragement for something, a new article pops up. Thanks you.

61 Aaron January 4, 2012 at 12:06 am

This was very helpful and I’ve bookmarked it for next semester! And since you asked, I would love to see an article on notetaking. Thanks!

62 Wes January 4, 2012 at 12:58 am

THANK YOU! This is excellent.

63 Commenter January 4, 2012 at 2:21 am

Sugar! – If you are concerned about testing or your short term memory failing you, have some sugar. This doesn’t mean you should eat poorly all the time, but the morning of a test, or immediately before an exam or mentally focused project- sugar will help your brain to function at peak efficiency. The human brain feeds on sugar, and a small boost occasionally has been proven to boost short term memory and assist with short term congnitive focus.

64 Rocco January 4, 2012 at 6:30 am

Thank you for this! This article is a treasure trove!

65 Ben January 4, 2012 at 9:53 am

I would love to see an article on note-taking, as well. All through my high school and even undergrad, I didn’t have to take many notes. However, now that I’m in a challenging Masters program, I’m finding that my dearth of note-taking ability is quite a liability.

66 David January 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

Did you perhaps mean “inauspicious start”?

67 Josh Donahue January 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

Awesome! Makes me want to go to Grad School. I would Love it if you wrote a post on note taking. I’m terrible at it.

68 John January 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Great article, and another vote for a note taking article!

69 Jon Greenspon January 4, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Great atricle – a lot of what you indicate on here that you did and had to develop/learn on your own is taught during our first semester at Annapolis. It is also seriously reused during sessions at Quantico and other Navy college activities.

Jon Greenspon, USMC (Veteran)

70 Rich January 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Super helpful tips. I really like the scheduling portion of the post. Too often I find myself losing track of everything I need to balance and this will certainly help me in the future. Thanks.

71 Ryan January 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Thanks a million for this article Brett, really enjoyed reading it and I hope I can put the great advice to work now.

72 Michael January 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Great article. Another good one from a professor who echoed all the frustrations with students my professors and my own father (a teacher) voiced:

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/lrnfacts.htm

and his homepage (lots of good educational articles under the heading “University Survival Guide”

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/index.html

73 Grady January 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks so much for this article, I am only in high school but many of these study techniques work very very well for me!

74 jax January 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Great article! I’d like to add like to add another tip I learned for when I’m writing a paper (and the deadline is at least a few hours away). I take off my watch, hide my clocks, and turnoff the time display on my computer. It totally helps me stop worrying about how “efficient” I am being with my time and instead helps me just focus on my work

75 Tommy January 5, 2012 at 3:02 am

Great read! I’m going into my final semester studying chemistry and have picked a lot of these techniques up along the way, but it was great to see some habits vindicated. I’ll have to make some modifications, too. I’ve always benefited tremendously from turning my outlines into flashcards when we finish a chapter in class; rewriting is a learning miracle when it comes to conceptualizing. Also, do practice problems until your eyes bleed.

76 ardichoke January 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

Great article. Wish I had read it when I was in college. It probably would have helped me repair my abysmal GPA.

I must agree with a couple of the above commenters though, the statement “disable your computer’s wireless router” really threw me. A wireless router refers to a very specific device, which is not what’s inside your computer. Total nitpick though.

77 Rachel January 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

To get through college-level work, you do have to “learn” to study. The smartest kids are often the ones who do the worst in their freshmen year – they’ve been accustomed to coasting by and doing the bare minimum and still getting good grades in high school. The best way to succeed in college is to simply pay attention in class and take diligent notes. Regard your college education not as something to get “through” but as a way to accumulate knowledge that you may need later. Nowadays it’s typical for people to change careers two and three times. So even if a subject bores you now, remember that you may need that information someday! Don’t be content with a “C” – get all you can out of college. And what you or your parents are paying for is not the textbook or the lab or the dorm and caf… it’s the expertise of the faculty. Pay attention during lectures and take excellent notes – better to take too many notes than too few. And do NOT use a laptop in class to take your notes. Hand-write them the old-fashioned way. The classic note-taking catch-22 is how to listen and take notes at the same time. If you have to listen, parse, and also type at the same time, it’s just too many tasks. Also, hand-writing will make you retain ideas more firmly than typing. It’s more physically laborious and so you tend to remember what you write more so than what you type. My final pro-handwritten note argument is that when you hand-write your notes, you should then type them up before each exam to create a study guide. That will give you a chance to trim out any unnecessary information you’ve written down, or add additional information from the textbook that may not have been discussed in class. By handwriting, then typing your notes, you will have already “studied.” Especially for a history or math class or anything that involves memorizing, simply having written, then typed the key concepts will reduce the time you have to spend drilling. Learn to write quickly – as long as it’s legible, it doesn’t have to be perfect penmanship. Learning shorthand is not a bad idea. But if your professor talks quickly and you’re in a position in which you are either writing or listening but not both, opt for listening and comprehending over mindlessly transcribing the lecture verbatim. Ask your professor if you can use a hand-held tape-recorder to record the lecture if you cannot keep up with the notes. Learn to listen and parse information and write down what’s important. Observe your professor and see which ideas get him or her excited; learn to recognize changes in the pitch of the lecturer’s voice; be on the alert for phrases like “the most important….” and of course “this will be on the exam.” Don’t make the mistake of only writing while the professor is talking. When he or she finishes a topic and moves onto to another topic, that’s the time to jot down the key ideas from the previous topic. Often you won’t be able to recognize these ideas until the conclusion of the lecturing on that topic. You may need to sit for a few minutes after class is dismissed and hot down a few additional notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Learn to listen well and to take effective notes! I am shocked by the poor note-taking skills of the students who work in our office. If I ask them to read a short 3-page article and summarize it in two or three sentences, most of them cannot do it. Sometimes I ask them to verbally summarize an article for me, and they just cannot seem to narrow in on the important points. They don’t know how to recognize the lead sentence of each paragraph, the thesis statement, or the conclusion. I end up having to read the articles myself instead of getting a quick summary that would save me time. If your notes are poor, chances are it’s your listening/comprehension skills and not your note-taking skills that need improvement. Read the newspaper every day to improve your comprehension skills – notice how the first paragraph summarizes the article? Listen for similar verbiage during your lecture courses. Watch documentary television programming and summarize each program in your mind after you finish watching it. Learning to parse volumes of information is a life skill that will always benefit you. When you launch your career, you’ll discover that bosses really value the employee who can sit in an hour-long departmental meeting, parse out unimportant details, and know what they have to do without having to be spoon-fed the information. If you think note-taking is just for college, think again! I never enter my boss’ office or attend any meeting without a pad and a pen.

78 Flavio January 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Thank you for these awesome tips. I had to copy and paste this to word. I have to update my study skills.

79 Harry January 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm

The ancient Greeks developed Nenomics and Acrostics as memory recall techniques. Most school, college and university courses test the students’ memory recall capabilities . . . . . and none of them teach the essentials of memory training and speed reading. The development of online learning allows each student to progress at their own pace . . . I have taken learn-at-your-own pace online courses and CD courses. I went through one program 3-times in the alloted amount of time.

Many classical gentleman of a long bygone era learned at their own pace, often via the apprenticeship route, EG the renowned attorney Clarence Darrow being once such gentleman.

80 Jack January 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Yes i enjoyed this article too. And I would love to hear your approach to note taking because it is something I tend to change the way I do it very often. I need to get set on one way.

81 Liam January 5, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I would love an article on taking notes

82 Javier A. January 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I start my MBA in a week… and after 3 years in the workforce— this article, as with many before, just hit the nail in the head with (personal) perfect timing. Always on point for my interests and things I care to get better at or just learn about. Anyways, I can do all these things, and if I do them: How could you not be on the top of the class? Organization and discipline beat out brains in the end. Gonna be thanking you when the tough gets going.

83 Andrew January 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm

This post is right on time for me! Heading back to school in 2 weeks with a huge desire to man-up my college experience, in and out of the classroom.

84 Stan January 6, 2012 at 1:58 am

I would also suggest ” The Study Technology ” of L.Ron Hubbard. This gives reasons on why certain physical and mental phenomena occur, how to deal with it and why they occur.

85 Matthew H January 6, 2012 at 5:51 am

I’ve just planned my whole semester around this and boy will I be busy! I had to cut some activities (one of my a cappella groups, which was REALLY hard) and I’m basically booked solid from 8:30AM-2:00AM M-R, but I think it’ll be worth it.

When it comes to taking notes by hand or typing them, I think it really depends on the class and the professor. For language or math classes, for example, handwritten is really the only way to go.

For other classes, if your handwriting can keep up with the professor, go right ahead. But if they talk so fast you can’t keep up and focus, I say go with the laptop. Make the notes takes up the whole screen so you’re less tempted to surf the web.

If you’re typing your notes and have a Mac, I HIGHLY recommend the Dictionary app. It’s connection to two dictionaries, a thesaurus, and Wikipedia (the best feature). Use Spaces (especially if you have Lion) and open it full-screen on a different Space than your notes. If the professor brings up an obscure term or event, just type it in and know what the heck they’re talking about. I used this all the time in U.S. Foreign Policy last semester.

86 Eddie January 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

wow this is really a great article.

87 Rachel January 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Well, I’m a computer science major, so hand-writing is usually easier – some of the formulas and diagrams are too complicated to type easily. However, writing something by hand has always helped me to remember, and transcribing handwritten notes to a typed study guide has always helped me remember things. Test yourself with two different lists of items (animals, vegetable, or mineral, it doesn’t matter). Hand-write one, turn the page over, and see how many you can recall from memory. Type the other, look away from the screen, and see how many you can recall. There may be no difference, but for me, hand-writing always makes it easier to remember! And transcribing notes from hand-written to typed study guide allows me to further refine my scrawled notes, plus it’s an extra bit of “drilling.” I would opt to tape-record any professor who talks too fast over using my laptop. I am practically the only computer science major at my school who still hand-writes notes, but I also have a 3.9 GPA!

88 Bryan Sanctuary January 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I should have read this before I wrote my own blog on Teach yourself to learn, http://bit.ly/v9njml . I wrote mine (with a lot of similar ideas) because I was teaching chem to bright students right out of high school who did not see to have a clue how to manage time. They had two common questions: “Do I need to know that for the exam?” “There is too much to memorize.” I try very hard to eliminate the word ‘memorize’ from their study habits.

89 OB January 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I advanced from failing from college to advancing to a top 25 graduate program in the medical sciences. The only thing I would add is technical degrees (science & engineering) are a little bit different from the speed reading. You have to plan your college career to learn the language of science & the base rules. It’s better than speed reading. Chemistry I &II, Bio I & II, Physics I & II, & Organic I & II are the most important ones to learn.

You can’t memorize your way through them. You must have a comprehension, which is how I turned it around. Then I could derive the formulas in physics I forgot, as well as for chemistry. You know you understand it well enough when you ask “why does that happen?” and the books say “No one knows.” Then you’re ready to go on to the upper level classes.

I also have a business degree, and here I went with speed reading and long term memorization. You understand what a manager is, how people interact, etc. The problem is you talk about items that are at a scale that you don’t think about day to day.

Just memorizing the title/label for a phenomenon doesn’t work, and it’s how the professor will weed you out as not belonging in science. In that way, I think it is bad advice in that section, as well as good advice. You may be sabotaging some students.

90 Penry January 7, 2012 at 5:58 am

I go to a boarding school in England that works almost in the same format as University, with big exams at the end of every term, but revision technique is a weakness of mine. This will be really helpful! Great article!

91 Devin January 7, 2012 at 6:23 am

Possibly the very best advice I’ve ever received on the subject.. I’m in the exact same funk, and I hate it. I’m glad I got this information at the beginning of this quarter. This is awesome!

92 Multi-Licensed January 7, 2012 at 6:56 am

Thank you again, AoM. This blog consistently comes through with high-quality, insightful material. Other so-called “lifestyle” blogs (Askmen) are superficial at best. Perhaps Askmen senses a real competitor with this blog.

Since discovering AoM, I check in regularly to see if new insights can be found, or to rediscover that which has bee obscured or lost through the passage of time. You have an avid follower.

93 Frank January 7, 2012 at 8:06 am

Excellent article – I know these techniques work, nice to see them in one concise article!

My only suggestion for improving the article is that you don’t want to turn your academic career around, even if it’s had an auspicious start! On the other hand, if it’s had an inauspicious start… ;-)

94 Dick January 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

Awesome post

95 Marc January 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Congratulations for this article! I’m in university right now and it’s basically what I changed from my first term to the second one (and there was a nice leap upwards of my grades).
By the way, I went to the review session before my administrative law exam, and the professor said “easy, general exam”, and it turned out to be 75 multiple choice questions looking into the darkest corners of the spanish civil service!

96 Barry January 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm

@Rachel- an excellent comment filled with usable information for anyone, student or not. Unfortunately, you wrote way too much for one paragraph which took away from your message. You write well; it would be a shame to not reach your audience because you make your prose difficult to read.

@Brett, an excellent article. I used many of your tips in law school and bar exam prep (yes, I passed the bar with points to spare)

97 Tom January 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Great article, and consider this another vote for the note-taking entry!

98 Matthew H January 8, 2012 at 3:01 am

Article on note-taking/reading actively would be fantastic!

99 Mark Melendez January 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Great article, Brett, will be using these techniques and advice in the coming Spring semester.

To Rachel, very good advice. I’m one of the students who had no problem in school acing almost every test without having to study, but when I found myself in college this first semester that just past, I quickly became overwhelmed and had to get myself back on track. Luckily, I was able to reset my priorities and time and pass with a 3.784 GPA.

Also to everyone as people stated before it REALLY matters what your professors think of you. Your grade is usually affected by this. Honestly, I’ve passed with better grades than I deserved throughout high school and college just because the teacher liked me(hint: Participate). For those in or going to college try not to stress so much sometimes you’ll get easy classes sometimes you won’t as long as you study and review during the semester, you will be fine. Sometimes you won’t have to study or review at all, but as always don’t get too cocky and be the smart kid who flunks because he thinks he knows it all.

Lastly take college serious how you conduct yourself now is how you’ll act when you graduate and start your career. You build character by how you treat your problems, assignments and projects now, in college will effect how you’ll treat future career and life problems. How you get the grade is just as important as grade.

Thanks for the great post, would like to see one about the note-taking mentioned in the article and good luck to those of you in college.

100 Sean January 13, 2012 at 8:46 am

Great post! I am in my second semester of seminary and am feeling the effects of burnout from undergraduate. This post was motivating and thorough. I would be thrilled to see a post on note-taking strategies.

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