A. Study Basics 1. Manage your time in five minutes a day i.
Jot down to-dos and deadlines on a list whenever they arise ii. Transfer these to-dos and deadlines to your calendar every morning iii. Plan your day each morning by labeling your to-dos with realistic time frames and moving what you don¶t have time for to different dates 2. Declare war on procrastination i. Keep a work progress journal, and every day record what you wanted to accomplish and whether or not you succeeded ii. When working, eat healthy snacks to maximize your energy iii. Transform horrible tasks into a big event to help you gather the energy to start iv. Build work routines to make steady progress on your obligations without expending too much of your limited motivational resources v. Choose your hard days in advance to minimize their impact 3. Choose when, where, and how long i. Try to fit as much work as possible into the morning and afternoon, between classes and obligations ii. Study in isolated locations iii. Take a break every hour B. Quizzes and Exams 1. Take smart notes i. Always go to class and try to take the best notes possible ii. For nontechnical courses, capture the big ideas by taking notes in the question/evidence/conclusion format iii. For technical courses, record as many sample problems and answers as possible 2. Demote your assignments i. Work a little bit each day on your assignments; avoid suffering from day-before syndrome ii. Read only the favored sources on the syllabus in detail. To decide how much time to spend on supplemental sources, remember the importance hierarchy: 1. Readings that make an argument are more important than 2. Readings that describe an event or person, which are more important than 3. Readings that only provide context (i.e., speech transcripts, press clippings) iii. Take readings notes in the question/evidence/conclusion format iv. Work in groups on problem sets, solve problems on the go, and write up your answers formally the first time 3. Marshal your resources i. Figure out exactly what the test will cover ii. Cluster your notes for nontechnical courses iii. Build mega-problem sets for technical courses 4. Conquer the material i. Embrace the quiz-and-recall method. It¶s the single most efficient way to study ii. Spread out memorization over several days. Your mind can do only so much at a time 5. Invest in ³Academic Disaster Insurance´ i. Eliminate the question marks for topics covered in or from the reading that you don¶t understand 6. Provide ³A+´ answers i. Look over the whole test first ii. Figure out how much time you have to spend on each question (leaving a ten-minute cushion at the end) iii. Answer the questions in order of increasing difficulty iv. Write out a mini-outline before tackling an essay question
Follow your outline and articulate your points clearly ii. get some opinions on the organization of your argument and your support from classmates and friends who are familiar with the general area of study ii. Consult your expert panel i. Conduct a thesis-hunting expedition i. the more people who should review it 7. Research like a machine i. Target a titillating topic i. Find sources ii. Decide if you¶re done. Make personal copies of all sources iii. The Out Loud Pass: Carefully read out loud a printed copy of your paper. Dedicate a good deal of thought over time to getting it right iii. Use any and all leftover time to check and recheck your work C. There is no shortcut to developing a well-balanced and easy-to-follow argument ii. The Argument Adjustment Pass: Read the paper carefully on your computer to make sure your argument is clear. Type supporting quotes from sources directly into your outline 6. Write without the agony i. Essays and Papers 1. Seek a second opinion i. don¶t fixate i. Describe your argument in a topic-level outline iv. The Sanity Pass: A final pass over a printed version of the paper to check the overall flow and to root out any remaining errors
. (If the answer is ³no. marking any awkward passages or unclear explanations 3. Fix. and revise where the flow needs improvement 2. fix obvious errors. Annotate the material iv.v. Skilled editing requires only three careful passes: 1. The more important the paper. Write no more than three to five pages per weekday and five to eight pages per weekend day 8. Start with general sources and then follow references to find the more targeted sources where good thesis ideas often hide 3.´ loop back to #1 5. Craft a powerful story i. Before starting to write. A thesis is not a thesis until a professor has approved it 4. Start looking for an interesting topic early 2.