The Study Dude—Win A Grades with Tricks

Do you dance like Michael Jackson to Wii games?  Do you cycle like Lance Armstrong after doping?  Well, whatever you do well, do the same with studies.

Learning how to win A-grades takes time and tricks.  To get the A’s, we need to master mnemonics, reading strategies, exam tips, and note-taking skills.

But how do students learn to study?

I learned to study through hard effort.  I sat at my desk from 3 p.m.  until midnight, daily, doing nothing but schoolwork.  No weekends off.   Even during two Mexico holidays, I did beachside calculus nonstop.

And I got many head-starts.  Prior to semesters, I’d pre-read a chapter of each assigned textbook.  During the semester, the day exams were announced, I’d start studying.   On the day the prof assigned papers, I’d gather over twenty library sources.  I’d even solve math problems for the following day’s lectures—that way, lectures doubled as reviews, not as bafflers.

And I learned to get A’s by going overboard.  I’d write down the prof’s every word, using abbreviations and symbols for speed’s sake, adding acronyms and mnemonics in the margins.  I’d also write essays comparing two articles by typing every sentence into two-columns—while cutting and pasting synonyms side-by-side.

But my study tricks won me a silver medallion and a master’s degree.  But not a PhD.  Why?  I almost drowned in extracurriculars.  Cycling.  Boxing.  Singing.  Documentary filmmaking.  Wrestling.  Just last night, as I slept, I tried out for sports teams at lullaby university.

Tony Roe shares study tricks in his book Effortless Learning: Learn the Secrets that Teachers Never Told You:

  • You don’t need a bulging brain to succeed in school: “It does not matter whether you are intelligent, clever, or smart, but what matters is the desire to do well and have the right techniques and strategies to study in a smart way” (7% through ebook).
  • But you do need to pore over your books: “You just can’t get A’s by studying the day before the exams. You can’t get A’s if you don’t practice at all.  And you can’t pass if you don’t study at all” (7% though ebook).
  • So, how exactly do you get A’s? “Scoring A’s really centers around 2 THINGS and they are your LEARNING strategies and EXAM APPLICATION strategies” (8% though ebook).
  • To learn the art of studying, you can either “lear[n] the ‘process of learning’ from a senior … [or] from massive amount of trial and error … [or] you read up heavily in the area of accelerated learning” (10% through ebook).
  • So, what specifically do A-students do? “The ‘clever’ students would read through the notes and do their best to understand it before attending the class” (12% through ebook).
  • What else do clever students do? “As the lesson gets complete for the day, they would revise what they had learnt that day” (12% though ebook).
  • But if you suck at a subject, embrace it: “If you are weak at a particular subject, it means that you will have to do more of it. There’s no way to escape” (13% through ebook).
  • And embrace your mistakes: “If you ever want to learn something very fast, the best way is to MAKE A LOT OF MISTAKES” (14% though ebook).
  • Lastly, spend free time with recall: “The ‘clever’ students, upon reaching home, would attempt recalling all the lessons taught from the first day onwards” (12% though ebook).

During free-time, I’d recall my lectures.  If I couldn’t remember a fact or solve a problem, I’d find the solution before bed.  And at bedtime, I dreamt of sprints—study sprints, sports sprints, and sprinting from grad school.

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