There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to know that no gene for genius exists. You’ve got the same green-light for egg-headedness as Galileo.
Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.
This week’s Study Dude tickles the backside of the book The Straight-A Conspiracy: Your Secret Guide to Ending the Stress of School. No-one is born a genius, but we’ve all got the grit to go Einstein. First, make your schoolwork automatic, and, second, don’t multitask: two-step your way to brilliance resilience.
Do Math Like You Wolf Pizza: Automatically
Have you ever seen a ballerina and thought to yourself, “It looks so easy?”
Or have you ever seen a martial artist and thought, “I can do that!”
Well, without hours of work, you can’t. Not until you make it automatic.
At university, when I solved math-problems, sometimes I’d baffle at why an answer was negative and not positive. I’d even ask myself dumb questions like “Does a positive times a positive sometimes equal a negative?” Duh!
So, I’d break the question down into its simplest terms, sometimes explaining concepts to myself as if I were five-years old. Hours passed. And suddenly, the simplest answer would dawn on me: aha!
And I had the highest grade in the class.
Even more embarrassing, a classmate told me had the same dumb question. So, I gave him my solution?one fitted for a five-year-old. He got it! But, he mocked me, even ridiculed me: I could have brushed my teeth in his snorting froth.
But, come exam time, he forgot my tip and flubbed up.
In sum, a seamless pirouette takes serious work.
Maats and O’Brien explain how to hone automaticity:
– The more you work at some task, the more “myelin” you get; more myelin means faster neural signals. Thick myelin helps you solve tasks faster than you can maul steak during a vegan diet blackout.
– The more you practice, the faster you get.
– One short song on the radio takes weeks of work and a lifetime of practice. Genius stems from diligence.
– Edison took an existing lightbulb and tried over ten-thousand filaments until he found a durable one. He then paid-off the press to paint him as the genius.
– Just because Ed’s faster at electricity, doesn’t mean you don’t have the stuff. He just fondles more lightbulbs.
– If stuck, slow your pace and fix it. Look things up you get wrong right away. Correct before you move on. Pile up on extra resources, such as supplementary textbooks and solutions manuals.
Maniacs Multitask; You Focus
In grade nine, I watched the Smurfs while studying. Life was playful; school, fun. Grades higher than Rob Ford. They called me “brain”?to my secret delight.
But in grade eleven, the music raged so loudly the walls shook. And I fit in German lessons between all night Axis and Allies and Dungeon and Dragons games.
Life sucked; my grades tanked. And due to rushed grooming, an eyebrow disappeared.
But by university, the room hushed to the moan of a ventilator and scribbles of a pencil. My math grades popped to the top of the class. I was now da dude ? da chit.
What did it take to turn me around? Focus.
Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien show you the A+ magic of focus:
– You can’t multitask without your attention worsening for each task.
– Multitasking leads to stress.
– Our attention can only focus on one thing at a time.
– Multitasking doubles your errors while upping the time to finish your task.
– Like a computer briefly freezing while running three programs, your brain slows when multitasking.
– Focus on only one task at a time. Automatic tasks such as chewing gum, you can do. But anything that takes focus, single it out.
– Look up words you don’t know.
– Break down problems into little pieces. Tackle each one.
– Edison dreamed lightbulbs. What dream’s got your focus?
So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.
ReferencesStone, Douglas, & Heen, Sheila. (2014). Thanks for the Feedback. NY: Penguin Books.