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This weeks question brought up a rather hazy aspect of the 15 Minute Study Strategy. This is a problem that many students don’t need to worry excessively about but it can become a major issue if you’re studying with certain particular methods or about certain particular subjects.

I’ve been attempting the 15 minute study strategy using flash cards. I’ve felt really good about the amount I’ve been memorizing but I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. The flash cards I’m creating tend to take a dramatic amount of time to create. I need to scope out the info. Then write it all down. If I were to include that in my 15 minutes then I’d hardly spend any time actually using the flash cards. Should I be making the flashcards faster or is this time not supposed to be included.

This is an interesting point to bring up.

The 15 Minute Study Strategy, ideally, will spend 90% of its time on recall. If you’re spending more than 10% of your time creating flash cards then you probably shouldn’t be including it in your 15 minutes. Sure, plenty of students do and can get away with it but it’s not ideal for everyone.

This often comes down to how a person creates their flash cards. Some students (in some classes) can write up a ton of good and highly prioritized flash cards in only 5 or 10 minutes. Those flashcards can last 2 or 3 sessions. If that’s the case then including prep time shouldn’t be a big problem. Some other students end up spending hours perfecting their flash cards. If that’s the case then, I would recommend you change your flash card writing strategy, or it shouldn’t be included in your 15 minutes.

Flash cards are a typical example I use to discuss studying with the 15 minute study strategy because virtually everyone already understands the concept. That being said, they’re usually not one of the most efficient ways of studying. They’re just a simple strategy. I wouldn’t consider them anywhere near ideal without some serious prep work.

Flash cards are my example mostly to represent recall versus reading. Studying can’t just be reading certain information repeatedly. You need to look away from the information you’re reading, and remember it, to be studying. Flash cards force that pretty well. It can be done with other, less common methods like covering what you’re reading and remembering, or closing your eyes and remembering.

I’ve seen some super efficient flash card creation strategies that can work pretty well with the 15 minute study strategy. If you’re working with flash cards then one of your top priorities should be speeding up your flash card creation. You just have to get a little creative and then get a little mechanical. By that, I mean, you need to find some way to get only the most important information, then you have to copy it down to flash cards as mechanically as you can.
One method of doing this is just creating flash cards of very specific sets of information. For example, you might just take the flashcard information directly from the summary at the end of a textbook chapter. That information is a very condensed source that could save a ton of time. It should ideally be done in conjunction with notes but it’s efficient. That’s what people creating flash cards need to focus on.

Prep time should only be included in the 15 Minute Study Strategy if that prep is efficient. If you’re not careful then your prep time could easily take over your study time. Considering there are alternatives to requiring any prep time at all, consider however much time you choose to invest in prep work optional.

If you’re looking to make your homework as efficient as your study time then you might want to check out 9 Strategies To Make Homework A Breeze (Cliche Free).

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 follow along and check out the archives. Also, read the ebooks in the sidebar to get all the secrets.

Q/A – Fitting Prep Work In The 15MSS


This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.

I’m about 4 hours away from something big.

The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.

I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.

Students noticed.

Droves of them.

And then teachers noticed.

Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.


Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.

I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.

But… There was a problem…

I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…

And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.

I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.

I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.

I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.

I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.

I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.

But there was always this… but…

What about the C students?

What about the D students?

What about the students that are currently failing?

Sure… Some would reach out.. but…

They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…

And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.

And it’s gone.


Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.

In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.

It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.

If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.

Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.

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One thought on “Q/A – Fitting Prep Work In The 15MSS

  • March 20, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I’ve read some good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make such a magnificent informative website.


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