This is intended to be a fun little addition to my blog post about what to do if your friends get better grades than you. Yea… You know you shouldn’t care what grades your friends get compared to you. It’s not a competition but… hell… once you start to get good at scoring high it can become a bit of a high score game. A little friendly competition is good for you.
Here is the important thing to realize though:
Set Your Limits In Advance
How much of your time are you willing to spend to score higher than your friends?
Never start competing until you can answer this question.
What is it really worth to you?
I remember an old friend in college that was strangely obsessed with an MMORPG. He’d play it for hour after hour for weeks on end. He’d go to class and then go back to playing immediately after until his next class started. (Naturally, his grades sucked for it.)
One time he told me why he was “playing” so hard. He told me how he was trying to keep up with a bunch of guys that spent, not almost, literally, all their time playing the game. He barely stood a chance of competing because he was stuck going to class for hours a day.
A couple years later I saw him and asked him about how he was doing in the game. He just laughed and shook his head. Eventually he told me, “it just wasn’t worth it anymore. I wasted so much time with that game.”
Don’t find out that you’ll regret the time you wasted after you’ve already wasted it. Think about it in advance.
Scoring higher than your friends should be considered a game. You can do well in class without investing significant amounts of time in it. You shouldn’t do well in it at the expense of important things in life.
Setting your limits in advance ensures you don’t waste more than you’re willing to.
Make It Explicit!
If you have a friend that scores more than you that you’re trying to compete with, you should make them aware of the competition (assuming you think they’ll find it as fun as you.) This will make it slightly more difficult to win but it will make it a whole lot easier to judge.
Trying to compete with someone when they don’t even realize you’re competing is kind of petty. For all you know, they’re not even trying. If you’re trying your hardest and beat them on a bad day then no one really cares. It should mean nothing to you or them. It’s just coincidence.
By making the competition explicit you can directly compare your grades with one another. This will force both of you to take each grade you get more seriously. (A few times in my life I’ve had those petty unspoken competitions versus other students grades just to learn I’d already been scoring better than them before the competition… Yea… That’s embarrassing.)
The inevitable trash talking can be a great motivator too.
Their light hearted insults can be what it takes to get you studying when you don’t really feel like it. Often, your light hearted insults back at them can make it feel like you’ve gotta’ back up your trash talking with extra studying. This could screw up my preferred 15MSS but motivation isn’t something you should be fighting against.
Of course, this should be fun. If one of you can’t keep it light hearted then it’s time to back off and realize you’ve more fun things you could be wasting your time with.
Focus On Efficiency
Always assume your competition has more time to study than you.
How would you try to compete if you only had half the time of your competition? Now do that for as long as you’re willing to do it.
When it comes to studying, this strategy usually comes down to a few important factors:
- Optimized Class Time
- Use Tricks
There are grades that matter more than other grades. Focus on those few grades that matter most before you move your attention to the less important ones.
Most of the material you’re presented with in class can be completely ignored and forgotten about. The hard part is defining which information should be eliminated. By eliminating things you have more time to spend on the stuff that really matters.
Optimize Your Class Time:
If you can focus and learn better than your competition in class then you’ll be at a major advantage. This is one area that many “good” students struggle. They spend so much of their life thinking about school that they nearly completely zone out through class time.
Use memory tricks. Use understanding tricks. If you can find a trick to solve a problem then take advantage of it. It may feel like you’re not learning it as well but in most cases, if you review appropriately, you’ll be learning it better.
This blog is loaded with different strategies to improve your studying efficiency. Competing for higher grades than someone else may mean you have to sacrifice some efficiency in order to get the grades you’re looking for but it shouldn’t mean you throw out efficiency completely.
Yes… Some might consider this a cheap loophole but the person complaining about it is usually the one that lost out because someone else took advantage of it.
Course selection has a huge impact on your final grades.
If you pick the right course, you can score dramatically higher while working and studying dramatically less. Selecting courses in this way usually comes down to selecting the right teacher. Some teachers love giving high scores. Others virtually never do it. Often this is best done by asking people you know for advice in your course selection.
Of course, teachers play another role as well. A good teacher can make your class time significantly more efficient. Even if the teacher isn’t an easy teacher, if you can pay attention during their class better, you may be able to get more out of their class than your competition gets out of theirs. That means you’ll end up with a huge advantage.
So… are you ready to crush your friends scores and teach them not to try and score higher than you? Well… if you properly apply the lessons on this blog… I’m confident you are.
Have fun with it and thanks so much for subscribing!
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.
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