The Study Dude—Tools for Top Students

Try speedreading an e-book.  It’s like speed-baking a frozen turkey.  Impossible!  But if stuck with a frozen fowl, top students will quickly get it golden.

In grad studies, I did speedreading.  Often, I’d be the only student prepared for discussion.  But when I’d speed-read dense material, I’d glean only the clear-written sentences.  The rest escaped me.

But when I TA’d, a student couldn’t grasp a dense reading at slower speed.  I felt the same, but when I upped my speed, gleaning only what made sense, I got the gist.  That’s what the student should have done.  Speedreading helped me get a master’s degree.  But my GPA missed the mark for entry into the PhD program.  The word “teacher” labels my Myers Briggs personality type.  So, I dreamed of becoming a professor—a goal I failed to achieve.

But wait! As long as we live, we can still chase the dream, right?  Well, if I were alone, I’d become a Doctor of Naturopathy.  But sadly, when I’m alone, I get anxiety—spacey for seven-hour stints.  Life never presents perfect solutions, but passion can push us past hardships. It can fuel top performance.

And to be a top student, you need that passion.  You also need to speed read and adopt a smart student psychology.  Tony Roe shows how in his book Effortless Learning: Learn the Secrets That Teachers Never Told You: The 7 Steps To Master Any Subject, Memorize More and Focus Fast (While Studying Less):

  • Top students tend to speed read: “Reading fast will increase your ability to concentrate and comprehend. Research has shown that the faster you read, the better you comprehend” (location 559, 24%).
  • Poor students read slowly: “Average students read the textbooks the wrong way, i.e. slowly and not extracting the essential information” (location 519, 24%).
  • While speed reading, use a pencil: “One of the techniques you can use to focus your brain and at the same time increase your reading speed is to use a pencil to guide the eye” (location 633, 28%).
  • And quickly circle important stuff: “While you speed read across the text, circle keywords with your pencil” (location 633, 28%).
  • Plus, play fast instrumental music to quicken your speed: “If you find reading at high speeds uncomfortable … play high tempo music when you are reading … The speed you are reading will tend to match the tempo of the music” (location 646, 28%).
  • Great students also go beyond the expected: “[Top students] would actually do more than what the teachers expect them to do” (location 430, 20%).
  • Top students concoct a grand plan: “Successful students always know their outcome, what results they want, what are they going to do in the future, their future career, etc.” (location 443, 19%).
  • And top students give studies 100%: “Successful people MAKE a DECISION to succeed. And they DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve their goals” (location 400, 19%).

A friend pursued an MD, which required her to take extracurriculars.  If I were to get an MD, I’d focus on athletic extracurriculars.  After all, fitness is my passion.  Far more than speed backing frozen turkeys.