So True!


16 thoughts on “So True!

  1. I just read and reread everything on this site. I took notes, made a checklist for tomorrow and have more or less and idea as to what I’m going to do with the rest of my semester. I’m not behind, just not advancing in my intake of knowledge. I want to learn the material not just walk out class with an empty A. This is exciting, this is the turning of a new leaf. Will update at the end of the semester with results.

  2. Hello! I am Eugenia from Uruguay and I found your blog super useful!
    Thank you so much for posting your ideas and for helping other students around the world!
    I am currenty studying to be a Spanish-English Translator and I’ve always struggled with procrastination. However, I am going to put the things I read here into practice.
    Once again, thank you! Cheers

    • Sorry I’m late with the reply. Home probably has less distraction that a dorm. The key is just setting times and sticking to them regardless of where you are. Eliminate distractions and have a total focus on whatever you are working on. I like libraries because they do just that, but if you are at home, close your door, turn off your electronics and keep your nose in the books. Good luck and thanks for your comments.

  3. I’ve been at university for 3years now and I’ve still got a few years to go and I’ve found that I’m doing worse and worse as the semesters have gone by. thank you so much for all of the advice , I need it now more than ever. The thing is that I retain more when I write things down (summary eg) , but a lot of your strategy is based on reading with understanding. Is that saying that the summary in a sense is important information highlighted in the textbooks? is it not advisable then to make summaries and do the test questions based on them? I understand that it would take longer.

    • Writing is usually always better than not. The key to highlighting textbooks is to identify the key points in each paragraph. Try to highlight them in a way that they can actually be read as a sentence if you can. Then write a test question based on it. I’ve seen textbooks with enough margin to do it, but you’re probably better off writing them in a notebook. Put a reference number for the page and paragraph. For example 124/3 meaning page number and paragraph or area. Just write the question. I don’t think it is necessary to write out the highlighted material again.

      Your time will be better spend self testing and being able to answer by heart. Read it. Make sure you understand it. Highlight it in a way that isolates the key point, write the test question that you think would likely address it. Focus on self testing by heart. I have seen so many kids just read and re-read sections of textbooks. That isn’t as effective as ‘explaining it to yourself’ completely by heart. Essay style exams become easy and any others will be so easy it will be a joke.

      I can’t emphasize enough breaking things down into small pieces. Literally one page at a time and ask yourself – if I took an exam on this material tomorrow, do I understand it and remember it well enough to get an ‘A’? If not – read it again, talk to your professor, look on the Internet for different examples to help clarify it. Highlight it, write the test questions. If you do this religiously, yes, it takes more time – but review and retention will be dramatically enhanced.

  4. What a great site Sir. I’m about to start my second year cllege degree here in North Scotland. Your clear and straightforward advice now enables me to not have to write copious notes from the textbooks, just highlighting salient points and the test questioning certainly appeals to my brain. I’m reading up over the summers hols to hit the ground running as I barely scaped a pass last year; so now I can ‘hit the ground running’ next year. I’ll give my results as they come. I can’t wait !

  5. this is a really helpful site, i just started university this year, in september, studying biomedical engineering, Bsc. i am already sitting up and working my best, but now i will do more, this motivated me…the only problem is…i am a little slow and this is a big change from high school.. any tips?
    and please post more stuff!

    • Biomedical Engineering – you can’t go wrong with that. Good luck. Will be posting more soon. I know I keep saying that I’m doing a new site, but honestly, it is on the way. I’ve got other things going on in my business so it’s been hard to keep up. As for you being a little slow, not sure how to reply to that. What you think is slow may not be at all given the difficulty of your major. There is only one speed and that is the speed to do it right the first time. That is going to vary by person and by class. If you read the material, highlight it, understand it, and write sample test questions – that’s your speed. It isn’t fast or slow, it just is. Trying to rush things now will only cause you to have to make up the time later. Time yourself when doing assignments. No need for a stopwatch, just note the time on the starting page and note it again when you finish. Every class is different, but just get an idea what kind of time you are spending on every ten pages you cover. See how consistent you are over time. Eliminate distractions every way you can. Kill the cell phone, get away from the dorm, find a good spot in the library. Stay completely focused and you’ll cover things faster over time. But again – forget about slow or fast. Just focus on doing it right. Ultimately that’s all that matters.

  6. Hi Jim,

    I have a couple of questions for you. So I work full time and I am currently doing an online program. I am going to apply the actual study principles from your site but I am struggling with the time management part of it. You see, my whole program is at your own pace, they do have suggested dates to do exams and things of that nature but they expect you to go through a whole unit in 1 week and for me that just isn’t plausible with my work schedule the way it is. I have 1 year to do each semester of my program. and my job is very physically demanding so when I get home after having worked a double shift the last thing I have the energy for is to work on homework. Also, I only get some of my books in hard copy and not for every class. My study units and workbooks are all in pdf format. I personally find this much more difficult for me. So perhaps you have some suggestions for me on this front.


    • Hi Ashley. It’s always difficult to provide any specific suggestions not knowing exactly how much time you have and where you use it. Working double shifts, doing school and trying to have a life of your own has got to be tough. We are really anal about the time management part of things. You only have so much time and unless you are able and willing to cut something out of your schedule. I have mentioned that we are working on an app that will help students manage their time and workload in a unique way. We would love to have you as a beta tester if you are willing to do so. We like to learn how students work around these kinds of problems and it sounds like your case is an extreme one. We would love to see if it can help students like you. I would like to talk with you at some point to get a better understanding of what you do and how you manage things. We are in development but should be ready for some testing in the next couple of months. I’ll follow up.

  7. Hello Jim, I just want to say a very big thank you. I read your site before I started college in Canada & I applied as much as I could to my academic life. I even applied some unconsciously which I just realized that I did when I re-read your site today. I am so glad to report that I finished college with an ‘A’ in every course & just one ‘B’. Thank you so so much for making this information available to the public.

  8. Jim,
    I read your study blog once a semester just to remind myself of the process you have outlined here. I am 33 years old, a full time father/husband and network engineering working towards my BS in Electrical Engineering. Did I mention my wife is finishing up her MBA this spring?

    Your plan is simple and effective. I will most definitely pass these skill sets on to my children some day. Thanks for the website, and the precious information your have put together.


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