I’m no Einstein. I’m no Rockefeller. And I’m no Wiki Leaks. But what I am—at least, what I was—was a straight A student. Okay, I earned not straight A’s but all A’s and A minuses, with I think two B+’s thrown in the mix. And if I can achieve straight A’s, so can anyone.
I learned the easiest, or maybe the hardest, ways to getting straight A’s. Let me enlighten you to three strategies that will fast track you to straight A stardom.
Ready to smash top grades?
Don’t Cram. Work steady.
If you work long hours, every single day steady, you will be more relaxed when you write your exam. It’s similar to martial arts competitions. The best fighters train long, hard, and steady. They are at their peak performance whether they are in the gym training or in the ring competing. Once they are in the ring, it’s like nothing changed. They are relaxed yet hyper focused. They fight like they train. Similarly, you should write your exams like you study, but only if you study steady yet focused.
I scored the highest class mark in almost every university math class I took. This is how I achieved top test-taking performance: I studied around nine-hour days on math, from 3 pm to midnight, taking short breaks intermittently but otherwise working steady. Because of this heavily focused time investment, when exam time came around, I would stress right up until the time of the exam. Once I had the exam in my hand, I would instantly relax. I had the same calm energy writing the exam that I had while studying steady at home.
Know Every Fact by Memorizing Like a Master.
If you have a test on a chapter in a book, it’s your star student obligation to know everything on the exam. That’s why memorization is critical. To memorize, you are best off with a study buddy. If you have, say, fifty definitions to memorize, type them up and get your buddy to recite them from memory, one by one. To start, you read the first definition and then your buddy repeats it from memory. If he gets it wrong, you read the definition out loud again. The key is your buddy needs to get the definition correct three times in a row before you move onto the next definition. But to move onto the next definition, he’s got to repeat from memory all the definitions already cited plus the new one. If he makes a mistake, you go back to that definition, read it to him, and he then must repeat it from memory correctly three times. Then you go back to the top of the list, and he recites the definitions in the list from memory error free. You can prompt him with one or two keywords, but ultimately he’s got to get the list right three times in a row.
Once he has all the definitions memorized, it’s your turn.
If you don’t have a study buddy, simply record yourself on your phone, double checking your answers frequently. Don’t stop until you have recorded the entire list with no prompts, error free, three times.
But don’t stop there. Every day before the exam recite your memorized list at least once through, error free.
There are more memorization techniques, some even more effective, which I won’t be covering in this article. But if you want to seek them out online, they are called mnemonics.
Solve Problems with 100% Accuracy Three Times in a Row.
This trick will help you ace most any exam. When studying at home, don’t quit solving homework problems until you can solve them three times in a row without a mistake and without referencing the textbook. The number three is golden in the human psyche. Still life art often involves three pieces of fruit. The human mind just loves things that come in threes. Three strikes and you’re out! So, solve problems three times in a row to gain mastery. A little caveat: you’ll need to study extra before exams, doing every problem again one or more times until error free.
Only once you get your degree with honors, it’s party time! Feel free to party until a month before grad school. Yes, the party stops so you can spend a full month pre-studying the first chapters in each of your grad classes. After all, grad school is your calling!
Once you gain a high-income career, you’ll have more than enough from which to celebrate for the rest of your life. I’m no Rockefeller, but a high paying career sure beats scrambling for a nickel to afford a banana for lunch.