how to become a straight-A student // back to school 2019

how to become a straight-A student // back to school 2019

November 21, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


“A little organization goes a long way”. Becoming
a straight-a student is not so much about study hacks or brutal cramming sessions. The
path towards academic success has a lot to do with disciplined time management, organization
and smart study techniques that focus more on comprehension than straightforward memorisation.
In today’s video we will be discussing some of the strategies that real-time top-scoring
students use to get the best possible grades and which can be found in a book written by
Cal Newport titled “How to Become a Straight-A Student”. Today we will be covering only some of the
initial concepts of the book, the so-called study basics. In order to keep this video
relatively short, I kept out part 2 and 3, which cover the methods to excel in quizzes
and exams and papers and essays, respectively. Since the book is rich in advice for college
and studying I highly recommended you to explore the rest of the book, and if you want to do
it for free, stay tuned for the end of this episode. The first thing you need to consider is a
simple equation. Work accomplished equals time spent multiplied by the intensity of
focus. If you watched last week’s video on how to build the perfect study routine, then
you’ve already been acquainted with the concept that studying in short bursts of time in a
regular pattern is more important to your information retention than trying to compensate
long periods procrastinating, with study sessions that last hours. Effective time management can be achieved
in five minutes a day, in a system comprised of a calendar, where you should schedule specific-time
events, and a list which you should carry with you at all times. The idea is using five
minutes each morning to write down the list of tasks you have to complete that day and
go through the reminders of yesterday to update your calendar each morning. In that way, you
create a self-sustaining time management system that relies on simple tools. Basically, as
you plan your day, your page or piece of paper should be divided into two columns – a list
for your “today’s” schedule” and a list for “things to remember”. Today’s schedule should
be filled with dedicated time slots assigned for specific classes or tasks. “Things to
remember” should be a place where you write down new assignments and tasks that are created
during that day and which you need to migrate into your calendar the following morning during
your daily five minutes of time management. The type of tools you use to achieve this
system should take into account your preferences and lifestyle; you can either go digital or
analogue, opt for a more complex planner or a simple piece of paper folded in your pocket.
While scheduling tasks during the day you should take into account its priority in your
overall list. Most important tasks should be tackled first, in case they’re not time-specific,
and less important tasks should be tackled last. If something goes wrong for those less
important tasks, you can always migrate them to a later time. Besides that simple hierarchy
of importance, it’s also crucial to leave enough buffer time in each one of your time
slots to anticipate mistakes or delays. Even if you excel at time management habits,
beating procrastination is still key to allow you to actually *do the stuff.*The book discusses
five main strategies that can help you with this: – 1 – keeping a work progress journal, where
you record what you worked on or whether you were able to complete all the required tasks.
It’s basically a habit tracker for your work that relies on a streak method to keep you
motivated. – 2 – eating the right food and correct amount
of water to boost your levels of energy and focus
– 3 – making an event out of worst tasks, which means that you can go to a different
place to study, breaking your routine and creating a sense of novelty. It also allows
you to block some time in your calendar, since you’re going to a different, probably more
distant place. – 4 – building a routine for daily studying
by deciding in which days you will work on specific subjects or topics, at what times
and for how long. As work starts transforming into a habit, it will be easier to convince
yourself to start studying. – 5 – choosing the hard days. This means that
when all hell breaks loose, designating a couple of days as “hard days” will isolate
time of high intensity work from other regular work. A couple of tips for scheduling hard
days is informing your close friends that you will be going through a hard study period
as well as scheduling entertaining or relaxing activities right after you finish all of your
work. Furthermore, straight A students know when,
where and how long they should be studying. Giving a solid answer to these three questions
and sticking with them for a long period of time will improve your study routine, and
the more consistent your study routine is, the better your results will be. While Cal
Newport uses many top scoring students’ feedback to say that early morning is the best time
to study, I prefer to recommend you whatever schedule your energy levels are at the highest
point, be at night, morning or afternoon. Regarding the space where you should study,
the overall recommendation is to study in isolation, somewhere that improves your focus,
eliminates distractions and separates leisure from work. Regarding the question about “how
long you should study”, we’ve answered that already in last week’s video — no more than
one hour at a time, depending on your level of motivation and energy. Even when you are
on a roll, it’s important to take regular breaks and remember to keep your study sessions
short overall. If you are interested in these concepts, you
can actually listen to the entirety of “How to Become a Straight-A student” for free in
Audible, which is the sponsor of today’s episode and is basically better than ever: besides
getting one free audiobook per month, which can be today’s book or any other book we’ve
discussed in a past video like Atomic Habits or Deep Work (as well as the many other best
seller books they have in their catalogue), your subscription will also give you access
to 2 Audible Originals that you can’t hear anything else, as well as more than a hundred
audio-guided fitness and meditation programs as newspapers like the New York Times, Wall
Street Journal or Washington Post, all delivered daily for free in your Audible app. Also, if you start listening to How to Become
a Straight-A Student in your car, at the gym, or while commuting and decide you hate it,
you can also exchange your audiobook for another audiobook of your choice with no hassles involved.
And if you cancel Audible at any time, the library of audiobooks you’ve purchased will
be yours forever. You can start listening to How to Become a
Straight-A Student with your 30-day Audible so your first audiobook plus two Audible Originals
are free. Visit [http://audible.com/mariana](http://audible.com/mariana)or text **(SMS Code)**to 500-500 to start listening
now. If you are interested in these topics, I do
a lot of videos on productivity, motivation and organization, so for all the latest content you can join
our community and start your learning journey here by subscribing to the channel. I hope
you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and I will see you next week. Bye guys!