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How to Ace College Courses

How to Ace College Courses

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Published by Naraykln

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Published by: Naraykln on Jun 26, 2009
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The Straight-A Method: How to Ace College Courses 
Features: Pulling It All TogetherStudy HacksMarch 9th. 2009, 5:13pm
 Last year I introduced 
The Straight-A Method 
: a general framework for all of the tacticalstudying advice that appears inthe red book and on this blog. A lot has changed since then, so inthis post I describe a new and improved version of this key piece of the Study Hacks canon.
The Straight-A Method
 The Straight-A Method is supported by four pillars:
capture, control,
Eachpillar is associated with a high-level goal you should strive to achieve as a student. Here’s thepromise:
If you can satisfy these four goals — regardless of what specific strategies orsystems you use — you will ace your courses.
All of the study advice presented on this blog(i.e., any article in one of the
categories) and inthe red book support one or more of thesefour pillars.
 Below I describe each pillar, and provide some sample advice to get you started on the road toward satisfying their goals.
Pillar #1: Capture
 You must capture, organize, and regularly review
of your obligations as a student. Thisincludes both the
(e.g., test dates and assignment schedules) and the
 (e.g., application deadlines and demands from extracurricular involvements).Taking stock of 
that’s on your plate can be scary, but it’s also crucial for maintainingcontrol over your life. It provides the foundation needed to build intelligent plans and iteliminates the toxic stress generated by disorganization.
Sample advice for accomplishing this goal:
Getting Things Done for College Students…Made Easy 
Follow a Sunday Ritual 
A Time Management System for Students Who Are Terrible at Time Management…
How to Stave Off Stress with a Mid-Semester Dash
Pillar #2: Control
 Control your work schedule. In the short-term: plan each day what hours you’ll dedicate to work and what you will accomplish in these hours. In the long-term: break up large projects intosmaller pieces and identify on what days you will work on each. Do not allow
work to existoutside of a carefully considered schedule.There are two types of college students. Those who are battered around by their workload,always jumping from one looming deadline to the next, and those who manhandle their work into smart schedules that allow them to get things done on their own terms. For the sake of yoursanity, strive to be one of the latter.
Sample advice for accomplishing this goal:
Don’t Use a Daily To-Do List 
How to Reduce Stress and Get More Done By Building an Autopilot Schedule 
Pulverize Large Assignments with the ESS Method
The Retreating Deadline Method 
Choose Your Hard Days 
Fixed Schedule Productivity: How I Accomplish a Large Amount of Work in a SmallNumber of Work Hours 
How to Use Time Arbitrage to Maximize Your Productivity Profit
Pillar #3: Plan
Never “study.” The word is ambiguous and tied up with too many emotional connotations drivenby guilt and what you think school work 
feel like (e.g., tiring, boring, painful). Whileyou’re at it, never “write a paper” or “do a problem set” or “read an assignment.”
These phrasesare all too vague!
 Instead, always follow a concrete plan built around specific actions. When you complete theactions according to the plan you’re done. No more late nights reading and re-reading your notesuntil you feel like you’ve paid your academic dues. Get specific. Then get it done.Reducing your academic work to a concrete plan made up of concrete actions allows you tostreamline and gain efficiency, while avoidingpseudowork and guilt.
Sample advice for accomplishing this goal:
My World Famous Mechanical Exam Prep Process
Drizzle Test Preparation Over Many Days
Use Technical Explanation Questions When Studying for Technical Classes
Use Focused Question Clustes to Study for Multiple Choice Tests
Stealth Studying: How to Earn a 4.0 With Only 1.0 Hours of Work 
How to Ace Calculus 
How to Solve Hard Problem Sets Without Staying Up All Night

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