The color of the board is about the only thing that’s changed in the modern classroom. (Okay… and computers.) 

Boy oh boy… I’m a sucker for questions like this. It’s a rant provoker for me. Without further ado:

The study advice in this blog has kind of blown my mind. I don’t understand why no one’s ever told me this stuff. A lot of it seems kind of obvious but I’ve never had a teacher recommend it. They always give these crappy study more tips. Why do you think that is?

I think this is a question best answered with a list.

1. Teachers aren’t good students.

I’m sorry to say this but most teachers didn’t have the best grades in school.

In fact, teaching is regularly ranked as one of the easiest college majors.

That’s not to say high scoring teachers don’t exist (because they do) but most of the most skilled students went into fields other than teaching.

2. Teachers love their subject.

When a teacher says to study their subject more, they’re saying what may have worked for them.

Teachers select certain subjects to teach because they like those subjects.

Since they like those subjects, they likely can get away with studying the subject longer to learn more.

The average student doesn’t love the subject as much as the teacher.

That means forcing more study time often ends up being a counterproductive waste of time.

3. One Size Fits All

Study advice’s effectiveness depends on the student to some extent.

I’ve written books and articles on studying and school for a few years now and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface in this absolutely insanely complicated subject.

No one can blame a teacher for picking a pointlessly simple one size fits all solution.

(Sarcasm alert:) Study more! It works. It may not be efficient. In fact, in the long run it can become more and more difficult and less and less effective but when that happens teachers can repeat: STUDY MORE!

4. New Data

Most aspects of public schooling have been static for the last 100+ years.

Many of the pieces of advice provided in this blog have been discovered in the last few decades.

The only major advances that have ended up in schools today are white boards (instead of black boards) and computers.

The vast majority of the system is the same as it’s always been.

The new strategies have never had a chance to get into the system.

5. Grades Versus Knowledge

Of course, some of the stuff I recommend doesn’t help a student learn better. Some of it just helps the student score higher while learning less.

Assuming the teachers real goal is educating students of specific knowledge, they shouldn’t teach you these strategies.

I teach these strategies because the system is broken.

The system can’t be fixed without people realizing that.

These strategies prepare you for life with things more important than pointless facts. They help you interact with the world around you in a more intelligent way.

Most teachers have the best of intentions. That being said, most don’t have a clue what they’re talking about when it comes to getting better grades.

Image Sources: David Woo

Q/A – Why Do Teachers Give Bad Study Advice?

Maybe She Won’t Notice

D’s eyes were watering at the score on the screen.

He was thinking, “Is this what I am now?”

The score was low. Lower than he liked to think about – and way lower than he used to get.

He was just hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask. He always hated telling her and it killed him worse to lie about it. It’s his mother… she wants what’s best for him and he knew he was screwing it up.

Staring at the score it hit him…

This has to change. On the next test, coming up in 3 weeks, he was going to make up for it. He was going to score high.

So… he studied. He studied for hours that night. He studied until his eyes were closing involuntarily.

The next day… he studied for hours.

And the day after that… he did it again.

But the day after that – his best friend was going through a bit of a crisis. So… he took the day off studying. I mean, no one needs to study hundreds of hours for a test, and he was doing well so far.

But the next day… he was exhausted. And, you know, exhausted studying doesn’t work. So he missed that day to.

The day after, he squeezed in some studying.

And… I think you know how this story goes…

The night before the test, he’s staring down at his study guide and cursing to himself.

It happened… again…


That night he buckled down and studied almost all night. (Until he virtually crashed at 3 am.) Every time he started dozing off earlier he’d get a snack or drink and keep on plugging. He worked. And he worked hard.

He even had moments where it felt like he was running better than ever. He felt like he was going to pull it off.

The test was the next afternoon.

And I’d like to say he knocked it out of the park and D saved himself with his last ditch effort to save his grade but…

I can’t say that.

Sure… D didn’t bomb completely.

But when he was staring down at his score… he was tearing up again. And he still was hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask him about it…

It’s not a number on a piece of paper.

I know… it can help reduce your stress to think that way, and there is a place for that.

But your future, your position in the world, is partially decided by these numbers on these papers. We all know it.

We all want to put ourselves in the best position possible – and these scores can do that for us.

And D knew it.

If you know it then join us.

– Aaron


D is kicking butt it this semester – more importantly, he’s doing it without procrastination rearing its ugly head.

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

We’ll also send you some awesome freebies.

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

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3 thoughts on “Q/A – Why Do Teachers Give Bad Study Advice?

  • March 12, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Fantastic. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  • March 1, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Going off of the previous cmoemnt discussion, how do you feel about a very shy, introverted student attempting to get the same sort of information from a teacher as an open and outgoing one? I myself am not a very good speaker, and am very introverted to say the least. In fact, I have some major social phobias which have led me to skipping classes altogether for fear of being called on. For some people this makes sense if you are unprepared, but I typically am up on all my work to the best of my abilities. In response to your video, do you agree with how school systems function with normal test procedures? I find studying specifically for a test is rather self-defeating to actually learning something. If everything not on the test is thrown aside, and a person is really only studying for a good grade, then nothing is really be learned (and more importantly, retained).

  • September 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    You don’t give modern school technology enough credit… heck… at least they don’t use chalkboards anymore.


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