I’m Red-beard The Pirate and I can help you improve your grades with my book.

Are you a  student looking to improve your grades?

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There is a strange irony that most of the best prepared students in class end up the weakest test takers. It actually makes sense when you start digging into the details though. The skills that make a student “a good student” in the traditional sense, are the same things that drag them back when it comes test time. Part of becoming a skilled test taker is related to completely ignoring the “good student” urges (or compartmentalizing them) and starting to focus on a less traditional style of test taking.

“Good students” I use in quotes to emphasize that I’m referring to the traditional idea of good students and not just any student that gets good grades. In this context, a good student gets good grades but a “good student” gets good grades by studying hard and making a large effort to making those grades.

One way to virtually guarantee your success (or at least survival) in any class is to just keep working on a subject until you get it. That usually means sitting down with the textbook and looking down on it until something finally sticks. Some students spend hours and hours on this process just to become sufficient. This is where one of the first things you should learn to become unshakable come test time comes into play.

1. Control Your Obsessiveness

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If you sit with a textbook for hours trying to understand a subject then you’re going to be giving every aspect of your anatomy signals that what you’re studying is unbelievably important. It’s going to make it inevitable that you’ll stress when the subject comes up. The bigger you make the assignment seem, the more difficult you’re going to make taking the test. When you step into the test, you’re going to feel those hours of stressing over the subject.

Does that mean you should just walk in and fail without ever learning the subject?

Of course not. While using the 15MSS (15 Minute Study Strategy) that is taught on this blog, this shouldn’t be a scenario you run into very often. By using the right study strategy well in advance of the test, you can prevent this problem from coming up during the test. When it does come up, you’ll have the tools to handle it without turning it into an overly stressful experience.

Even if you don’t go for the full 15MSS, there are better approaches to solving this test preparation problem.

If you’re looking to prepare for a difficult test, instead of stressing obsessively for hours on it, study in regular short sessions. So, instead of sitting for 5 hours trying to learn it. Sit down for 25 minutes trying to learn it. Then an hour later you can do it again. Then repeat that as long as you find necessary. This is dramatically more likely to teach your brain the subject is important but it won’t be giving the same obsessive signals to your body as studying it straight through. You’ll get plenty of breaks and enjoy the process a whole lot more.

2. Focus On Memorization

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Once you have the basics of what you’re learning understood, it’s time to forget about trying to develop a deeper understanding on the subject. In an ideal scenario, you should have a basic understanding of the information by the end of class time. By the time you’re sitting down with your study material, you should be able to focus most of your energy on straight up memorization.

If you don’t understand the material by the end of the class then check out our future article (How To Survive A Boring Lecture.)

Memorization is a strategy that helps you control your stress levels. While trying to understand a subject deeper and deeper is a challenge that is constantly increasing in difficulty, trying to memorize a list of facts is a relatively steady challenge. Science has done enough studies on how to memorize information. If you’re looking to stimulate memory, there is a standard set of procedures you need to go through. If you go through them, you’ll memorize it (in the short term at least.)

For more info on that you should read 6 Memory Strategies You Need In Your Study Toolbox.

Understanding isn’t as well understood. It’s not easy to know how well you can creatively think about a subject. What seems like progress may not be progress. What seems like no progress can be tons of progress. This is inevitably stressful and confusing. At a certain point, it’s much easier just to settle in for the sure thing of memorization.

When you step into the test, you won’t have to worry about forgetting the information you should know. (I’ve had so many aha moments on tests that it drives me nuts. After hours of uncertainty about my understanding, when the test comes and I know what I need to know, the pieces seem to fall right into place.) This isn’t a sure thing but once you have the basics of understanding, memorization is the safest place to focus on.

3. No Improvement Mentality

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Test time is not the time to be worried about improving your grade.

It’s not an athletic event where stress will help you improve. It’s the opposite.

Worrying about improving your grade during test time is a sure method to stressing yourself out about it. You have limited time. You have limited access to resources. You have plenty of points at stake. You do not need the extra concern of improving your grade.

When you step into a test, only look to hold your ground. If you’re expecting a B on the test then fight for a B. That means, it’s not time to stress about every stupid little question that you can’t answer. When your grade doesn’t require perfection, you shouldn’t be stressing about imperfection.

When you sit down for the test, you know what you know and nothing more. It’s not the time to stress excessively to try and dig up hard to find information you haven’t thought of in years. It’s the time to do what you know you know. Anything extra you can do is just that: extra.

This blog often recommends going into a test with the mentality that your grade is already decided. This is usually a state best achieved by not doing crazy things like trying to cram months worth of studying into a night.

There is nothing (virtually nothing) you can do at that point to improve your grade. If the teacher throws you a question you’re completely unprepared for then you will be screwed. Accept that. That’s okay. You can learn from it. Sitting and worrying about it will not improve your grade. You can’t magically go back in time to study something else. You only know what you know and nothing more.

Accepting this is one of the most powerful ways you can reduce the stress you feel during tests. (It’s not completely true. It might as well be though. Naturally, skilled test takers may be able to improve their grade through a strange mind-over-matter confidence but the average person would get a lot farther just settling in and trying not to screw up the grade they already have in the bag.)

Using these strategies you can make tests your easy class day. On your average class day you’ll be forced to focus on hard learning what your teacher is lecturing. On test day you’ll get the relatively relaxing chance to just review the stuff you already know. That’s an amazing experience that absolutely everyone should be looking for.

Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to check out the archives, follow along, and read the ebooks in the sidebar for all the dirty secrets your teachers don’t want you to know about.

How To Become Unshakable On Tests

A B&C Students Guide To Mercilessly Crushing A Students At Their Own Game (While Laughing Your Way Towards The Ivy-League)

Are you smart but getting meh grades?

The smartest students are often the ones the school system leaves behind. It’s easy to motivate a half-wit (or even almost-wit – like a horse with a carrot dangled in it’s face to get it running. Giddy-up horsey!

You would never fall for that, right? Then this is for you.

It’s easy to procrastinate when you’re getting a raw deal. That’s the smart thing to do.

Academics is a game – and its prizes are good. Really good! There is more to the story than that though. What do you have to do to get that prize? And that matters even more than the prize. Study 18 hours a day for straight-A’s and a high-paying job someday in the distant future? Ughhh… Not me. That’s for sure.

I scored near the top of my college Engineering class while studying less than 15 minutes a morning. And seriously, I don’t sound like a super genius, do I?

Hint: I had barely scraped a 1.0 GPA in high school and I wasn’t skipping and having fun with friends either – I was… dare I say… trying my best.

Big Tip: trying doesn’t matter unless you’re experimenting or already using an effective strategy. Trying without an effective strategies is a waste that can plop your grades in the stinker. First step – STOP TRYING with ineffective strategies.

You got that?

Look… I’m a bit crazy. I get it. I’ve read hundreds of books on grades, learning, and memory. I spent sleepless nights studying obscure academic journals. I swear, I even read the book “How To Read A Book” and didn’t have to drink alcohol to do it!


You wanna’ know why?

Don’t tell anyone but… I care. I was emotionally crippled by the school system. I had heartless, lazy, and downright mean teachers (and a couple good ones that couldn’t help.) It took years for me to untangle their mess…

And I went to college and beat them at their own wretched game. Top scores. Easy studying. Time to make friends and impress the ladies. (You know… the important stuff!)

But I know… I wasn’t alone and I know there are others facing similar and worse challenges than I did. And I may be out of the warzone now but I can’t in good conscience leave you behind without my arsenal.

That’s why a decade ago I founded Smart Student Secrets and got link backs from LifeHack, HuffPo, and good college professors with names I can’t pronounce from all over the world that see these strategies crushing every day. But forget about them… the emails I get from grateful students… that’s the stuff a good life is made of.

My newest book is, in my opinion, the best book ever written for students that want to absolutely crush the academic game.

It gets you to focus your energy on the most important aspects of grades – giving you leverage on the system.

It shows you the big painful studying, you’re not benefiting from – that you thankfully get to stop today and forever.

It takes the latest in academic research on memory and puts into your hands, the exact memorization strategies that a Purdue Professor proved can let someone memorize 2.35 things for every one they’re memorizing now.

And this isn’t about “working harder” – and it’s not about “working smarter” either. (I cringe every time I read that phrase.)

It’s about working only when it matters most and creating the habit of motivated and effective learning.

I guarantee this… You can skyrocket your grades with my book while studying less than you ever had to study before. If I’m wrong, send me an email and I’ll refund you – no questions asked.

Please give me the chance to change your life for the better – it’s on me to prove it. What you’re going to do is: click on the link here or below, click “Buy Now”, fill in the boxes, and you’ll get your copy of the book through an instant download.

Get How To Study Happier Here

Warning: Inflation is eating my butt right now. My accountant is saying the prices need to go up to keep up with server costs ASAP or this whole site is in danger. I’m writing this one last message as a last ditch effort to get this book to anyone that wants it. If you want it, do it now while the guarantee and price are still available. You will have it for when you’re ready to start.

Last chance! Don’t miss it at the lowest price and best guarantee I can do.


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9 thoughts on “How To Become Unshakable On Tests

  • August 9, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am
    getting knowledge all the time by reading thes nice content.

  • March 1, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    This is the perfect site for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard toargue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been written about for decades.Great stuff, just great!

  • February 18, 2021 at 10:07 am

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • January 6, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this web page daily, this website is really pleasant and the users are actually sharing fastidious thoughts.

  • December 9, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Everyone has their own techniques for studying before a big test. Lol I remember my mom telling me that almonds help with your memory…so of course I would eat a whole bunch before any big test. These were all great tips, and could be used by all students to an extent, no matter their study habits.

  • May 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Does that mean my last minute 12 hour study session isn’t helping? lol

  • May 20, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    In most universities past exam papers are readily available before new courses begin and I’ve always advised students to look at the papers relevant to the courses they’re about to start studying. If you know how the questions are likely to be phrased, it’s much easier to focus whilst you are studying on what you are likely to be asked (and how the questions will look), rather than trying to guess what you may need to know.

  • May 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Ever since elementary school, I have always been told to spend an hour rereading my textbooks to “study” for a test. Whenever I tried to do that, I just got more confused with loads of extra tiny bits of information that I didn’t need. I would just feel overwhelmed and I would walk into the test not knowing anything. I think having a good teacher plays a role too. Some teachers overwhelm students with grade-A vocab and fancy terms, but the teachers that are straight and to the point make understanding concepts easier.

    • May 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Certain teachers do have a way of making even the most simple ideas completely impossible to understand.

      You brought up a really good point about textbooks. Students really need to be careful expecting the textbooks to teach them because the textbooks almost always include dramatically more information than the test has.

      Thanks so much for sharing!


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