How To Study Update

An update and an introduction to the newest member of our team, Petr Placek, from the Czech Republic. Petr played hockey at Harvard and knows well the struggle of too much to do and not enough time to do it. Our unique new web app is his idea and he wants to tell you about it.

Coming soon.  (Just as quickly as we can get it done!)

  1. How To Study Guide
  2. The app to manage your college time and workload like never before.
  3. Online learning portal with tutorials and specific examples.
  4. Relentless follow up so you follow through.

Update: New Site and Study Program

Hi everyone. I appreciate all of the follows and I wanted to bring you up to date on the status of our new site. We have been creating a comprehensive new program to help students manage their college studies in a unique way.

I’m working hard with my partner, Petr Placek, from the Czech Republic who graduated from Harvard in 2015.  Petr was a hockey player who never had enough time to manage his college work and his experience and advice are invaluable in getting this done.

Sometime this fall we’ll be launching a new program that will include:

  1. A Study Guide. Lots of study tips and techniques to get the most out of your study efforts. Completely updated and downloadable.
  2. A new app to plan and manage your college time and workload in a very unique way.  Unlike a typical calendar or college planner that just shows you when and where you have things to do, our app will show you what you have to do, how much time you have, and how much time you need – continuously in real time. It takes managing your college work to a whole new level.
  3. An online knowledge base. Users often ask for more specific examples of study methods. We’ll have those and more and we’ll keep adding new content in a variety of formats continually over time.
  4. Relentless Follow Up. We know that none of this information matters unless students follow through. We intend to relentlessly follow up with students with reminders, suggestions, and some motivation to make sure you stick with it and develop strong study habits that will last your entire college career.

All of this will be presented on a brand new website sometime this fall.

I admit that this project has grown in scale beyond what I ever expected but we think you’ll be happy with the results. Unfortunately it won’t be ready before school starts, but we promise it will be worth the wait.

Thanks for your patience and we’ll get some screenshots and video out soon.

Jim and Petr



Thanks To Everyone

Thanks to everyone for your comments.  Again, my sincere apologies for lack of follow up with each of you on your comments.  I am deep into a college related project that I think everyone is going to find very useful.  I do have this site high on my list to dramatically improve and follow up with everyone who comments.  Thanks for your patience and good things are on the way.  By the start of the next school year, I’ll be ready!

Appreciate Your Patience!

I want to apologize to all of my site visitors for my delay in updating the site.  I have several companies and many projects that I’m involved in and have just not been able to get a new site done when I thought I would.  It is high on my priority list as I have a new college related project underway that I think you will like.  Stay tuned!

New Site Coming Soon!

OK, I’ll admit it – this site needs a change.  A new one is coming in time for the next school year.  It will be better organized, with more content, with a bright, clean new look.  Stay tuned.

My daughter will be a senior at Boston University and my son will be a freshman at Baylor.  My youngest will be a senior in high school and he’s starting to look at colleges now too. 

I’ll need to be ready to annoy them with copious amounts of unwanted advice.  Sorry kids, but I’m going to be ruthless about your college success. 

Delay. The #1 Problem

Don’t Wait

When you calculate the amount of material you need to cover each day for each class, you may be surprised just how little it really is.  Usually always under 10 pages per day – or 70 pages per week.

The temptation will be great to delay your reading, highlighting and test questions.   If you have class on MWF.   Instead of processing 10 pages each day, you’ll combine two or more days and do 20 or 25.

Don’t do it.  Resist that temptation at all costs.

Small bites work best.  Do something every day.  You’ll take your time, read more deliberately, highlight more effectively.

One day’s content is the foundation for the next.  Doing smaller amounts daily will improve  comprehension and retention.  When the unexpected interruptions occur, you’ll be ahead.

When you are rushed, you cut corners, you increase stress.  It’s subtle, but it’s there.

Resist the temptation to delay.  Do you daily number.  Every day.  No exceptions.  You’ll always feel refreshed, in control and ahead of the game.

Get ahead if you wish, but never fall behind.  Know the number.  Do the number.  Every day.

A Simple How To Study Fix

A study habit so simple, why doesn’t everyone do it?

I talked to a student who was struggling in school.  He goes to an Ivy League college and was getting a poor grade in economics.  I asked him to let me see his textbook.

What did I find? Not a single indication that the book had been opened.  Not a single word was highlighted on the pages.  No notes, no question marks – nothing.  The book could have been sold back as new.

The student told me he was reading his assignments and I believe that he was.  He just wasn’t doing it the right way.  It was the beginning of a new semester, so it was a good time to start fresh.

I went through the following exercise with him.

  1. Counted the number of pages in the book that he needed to read in the upcoming semester – about 400.
  2. Counted the number of days the class ran – about 100.
  3. Divided Line 1 by Line 2, which equaled 4 pages per day.

OK, let’s take a break.  Four pages per day!  Yeah, I realize he would have some other stuff to do in the class – some extra assignments, a paper or two, etc.  But…FOUR PAGES A DAY. Even he had to shake his head.

As I’ve said in the site, it’s best to break things down into simple units.

Out With The Stopwatch

OK, so how hard is it do get this done?  I pulled out my iPhone, set the stopwatch to zero and took out my highlighter.  My goal was to slowly and carefully read 4 pages of the book and highlight the key points to the best of my ability.  Again, no speed test here.  The goal is to understand each and every sentence, identify what is likely to be on an exam, and highlight it for easier review.  RESULT:  Average per page 03:25.  Total time for 4 pages: about 14 minutes.

Write The Test Questions

So now I’ve read it, highlighted it.  Now I need to ready it for the exam.  Time to write test questions.  I looked at each highlighted area and asked myself: “If this were the answer to a test question, how would that question be phrased?”  Kind of like Jeopardy.  “What are the 3 things that…; What is the definition of…;  Compare and contrast each of…

So I didn’t actually write the questions, but he got the idea.  Whatever those are, write them in the margins next to the highlighted areas.

Study For The Exam


  • I culled out all of the filler words.
  • I highlighted the core content that will likely appear on the exam.
  • Highlighting forced me to focus and really read and understand the content.
  • By writing the test questions I again focused on the content and how it might actually appear on the exam.

Study ONLY What You DON’T Know

When it’s time to actually study for the exam, he’ll simply read the questions and answer them by heart!  DON’T read any of the highlighted text unless you have to as a review.  Just read the question and see if you can answer it.

Once you are CERTAIN that you KNOW the answer, cross a line through the question with a pencil.

Now when you review, simply look for questions without lines through them.  Study only the material you don’t know.

Rinse, Repeat, Get an ‘A’

You aren’t wasting time re-reading the text in the book blindly trying to find the things that might be on the exam.

You’re studying only those things that you don’t already know and aren’t wasting time reading things you already know.

So, if you start a week in advance, do you think for a second that you could not get an ‘A’ on that exam?

Remember too, that this same material will likely be covered in class.  If you’re taking your class notes the way I explain and writing test questions the same way, you’ll get double the retention and double the benefit.

We’re talking 20 minutes of work each day.  JUST GET IT DONE!

Don’t wait until tomorrow. Do it after your next class.  Do it NOW.

Now you know – 20 MINUTES EACH DAY.  That’s it.  20 MINUTES EACH DAY.

Look at it that way, and it’s an easy A.