D O N O T
After you read a page, look away
and generate the main ideas from inside
yourself. Highlight about 35% and never
highlight anything you haven’t put in your
mind first through recall. Try recalling the
main ideas in a different place from where
you originally learnt them, such as while you
are walking to class.
Space your repetition.
Spread out your
learning in every subject. Do a little every
day, just like an athlete. Your brain is like a
muscle – it can handle only a limited amount
of exercise in one subject at a time.
Turn off all interruptions from your
phone and computer, and then turn on a
timer for 30 minutes. Focus intently for 25
minutes and work as diligently as you can,
then take a five-minute break. After the timer
goes off for the eighth time, give yourself a
small, fun reward. A few of these sessions in
a day can really move your studies forward.
Set up times and places where studying – not
glancing at your computer – is just some-
thing you do naturally.
It is common to be unable to
solve problems or figure out concepts in
maths or science the first time you encoun-
ter them. When you get frustrated with a
problem in maths or science, take a break so
that another part of your mind can take over
and work in the background. The 30-minute
cycle builds breaks into your process: 25
minutes focus, five minutes break. The
timer’s alarm brings you back to your work
to start the next session.
Do the hardest things first in the
day when you are fresh.
Know your stuff!
This means understanding
and practising the solution to a problem so
that it can all come to mind in a flash. After
you solve a problem, rehearse it. Make sure
you can solve it from scratch – every step.
When it comes to facts, you can pretend it’s a
song and learn to play it over and over again
in your mind, so the information combines
into one smooth chunk that you can pull up
whenever you want.
Express the main idea using
– concepts, flash cards, diagrams,
Draw up your own test,
honing in on
what a student should know to understand
this topic well. Save it, then write it yourself
later when you prepare for a test.
Use your failures to learn and close the
Once there is a gap in the tower of your
understanding, everything from there on will
be wobbly. Therefore, after every assignment
and test go over your mistakes, make sure
you understand why you made them and
rework your solutions. Whenever you realise
you don’t understand, go through your notes
and textbook from the beginning and see
where you missed something. It may even be
from a previous year. Go back and fetch it. It
will be more than worth the time and effort.