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“you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool”
-Richard Feynman

If only students studied half as much as they thought they were studying, virtually no students would struggle to achieve high grades. (Actually with an accompanying grade deflation they probably would but that’s beyond the scope of this train of thought. Choo Choo Bang! Anyone that can put that sentence together deserves a pat on the back.)

Good grades are not as hard as most students think they are. It has nothing to do with studying for hours at a time. In fact, studying for hours at a time is usually a sign that you’re doing something wrong. It’s a sign that you may not be studying quite as much as you think you are. And if you are, you may be defining studying wrong.

Students all around you are scoring in the top of their class without ever putting long hours into studying. And no, they’re not all gifted students. They’re just average people that have figured out the formula for studying. What is that formula? Well… First, let’s look at what most students think that formula is:

Time = Results

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Most students think that investing a ton of time into “studying” is all they need to do to get good grades. That’s totally wrong though! I’ve talked to hundreds of students that study hours every school night just to get subpar results.

I’ve also talked to some of the most study averse students in the world and found grades (often while in top notch schools) that top their class.

Here is the biggest problem though. Even when students say they’re “studying” most are not just studying. Instead they’re studying and texting friends or studying and watching a movie or studying AND…

So… are you really investing that much time into studying?

The Real Study Time

This is what I hear from too many students: “I do this while studying because it encourages me to study. I enjoy studying more…”

No… you do this while studying because it lets you enjoy it in between the time you’re studying. You can’t text your friends and study (unless it’s literally a study group testing or something.) You can’t watch a movie and study. You can intermittently stop studying to text your friends. You can intermittently stop watching the movie to study. That’s because studying requires focus. It’s the next piece of the study formula that too many students overlook.

Focus * Time = Results

Now the formula is getting more complete. The important part about your study routine is not only your study time. It’s also your study focus. If you’re only 50% focused on studying then it cuts the value of your study time into, at most, 50%. For most students it’s even worse though.

Focus is hard to switch between multiple tasks that require intense focus. Sure, you may be able to listen to music and study with minimal loss of efficiency but you can’t bounce from a deep conversation with a friend and back into studying within seconds.

Your brain is going to get caught up in whatever it wants to do more. (Of course, most students prefer just about anything to studying. In that case, you shouldn’t ever make studying compete for focus versus anything it will lose against.) Instead of studying you’ll just get caught up thinking about whatever else you’re doing.

Using this formula, most students can produce great results but there is another piece that, if not accounted for could stunt a student’s ability to produce great results.

Methodology * Focus * Time = Results

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Studying isn’t as simple as taking information and putting it in your brain.

The human brain isn’t designed to study in the way that most people wish they could study. Students regularly sit and stare at their study material hoping that staring at the information for a certain amount of time would implant the information somewhere in their brain. It just doesn’t work that way though.

The human brain has evolved to only memorize information that it considers essential to survival. Things like physical landmarks stick into a person’s brain automatically.

I just noticed that happen to me just the other day. I was driving someplace that I’d thought I’d never been before but out of nowhere I saw a little ice cream shop that triggered a memory from almost two decades ago when my parents took me to eat their a single time in my life. The brain remembers that easily. Remembering the year Lincoln got assassinated won’t give you calories directly implanted into your stomach. That means it’s significantly harder to remember than that ice cream shop.

Since you can’t just read the information and expect it to stick, you need to look for better methodologies to convince your brain that the information you’re trying to learn is unbelievably important for your long term survival.

One of the most simple methods of convincing your brain that remembering information is important is to expose yourself to the information repeatedly. This is used for the traditional “read your textbook until it sticks,” study methods. The problem with this method is that it takes a ton of time to remember information consistently (if it ever actually sticks.)

A much more powerful way of convincing your brain the information you’re learning is important is by making your brain remember it (repeatedly). So… instead of reading your textbook and reading it again, you might read your textbook and then but then put it down and try to write the information you read.

After a single instance of pushing to remember information, it’s given a dramatically higher priority to your brain and you have a significantly higher chance of remembering it when you need it. For more ideas on getting information to stick you might want to read 6 Memory Strategies You Need In Your Study Toolbox.

Of course, there are tons of tweaks to these methodologies. Focus and time are dramatically less complicated factors to figure out. There are millions of methodologies that can be used. There are tons of studies that say how well different methodologies work. The options are countless. That being said, you don’t need a perfectly effective methodology if you invest the required time and focus into the equation.

For the average student, it may be better to worry about this factor as a potential handicap instead of factor to improve. I may have spent years of my life trying to experiment my way into a perfect study methodology but that isn’t required to reap the benefits.

To this day, even after all the time I invested, the effectiveness difference between my personal experiments versus some major studies on the subject are sometimes less than 10%. I

t’s worth thinking about if you’re using a bad study methodology but if you’re retaining a reasonable percentage of the information you’re learning then you’ll be fine.

In fact, if you want to get all the benefits of my years of experimentation then you can find it right on this blog. Is this the whole formula? Hell no. The formula is significantly more complicated than that but never mistake the formula for “Time=Results” and using resources like this one, you can enjoy life dramatically more.

This isn’t the only aspect of school most students don’t understand. You might want to read 101 School Hacks For Better Grades & A Better Life.

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 and check out the archives for all the details.

The Formula To Study Success

How You Will Get Straight-A’s – Impress Teachers – And Having People Beg You To Tutor Them (And It Will Be Easier Than What You’re Doing Now)

Ever met a dope that still scored higher than you?

I know I did. And, believe it or not, it’s more common than you think.

Despite what you have been told, hard-work and intelligence are not the keys to good grades. In a study by Karpicke of Purdue University and Roediger, III of Washington University showed the right strategy can get you remembering 2.35 things for every minute of focused studying you’re doing now.

If you study wrong, you could be plummeting your grade by 67% (or more if you’re using a worse than normal strategy.) And many of the wrong strategies are one’s you’ve been taught to do your whole life!

Once I discovered this for myself, my whole world changed. I got C’s and D’s in highschool. In college, I was near the top of my class for my Engineering degree. Freshman year in college, I knew I had to spread the word.

I worked with one student (D.L, I’ll call him for soon-to-be obvious reasons.) He was going back to college after getting out of prison on a drug charge. He was retaking his English class – with the same teacher. A couple weeks into the semester, the professor pulled him aside and asked him, “how the hell some prison teacher could make him that much better – that fast?”

It wasn’t the teacher.

It makes sense the teacher wondered that. The changes that can take place when you change strategies are astounding.

Every minute you study ineffectively is wasted. Your grades may go up a little but it’s a losing battle. Effective studying skyrockets your scores faster – giving you more time to:

  • Learn more than you ever imagined
  • Improve your health, well-being, and non-academic life
  • Enjoy your time the way you want to

My book How To Study Happier teaches this strategy that let students memorize 2.35 things for every one they would normally memorize. Plus, it gives you dozens of other strategies and stories that can put you on the path to academic enjoyment – instead of just surviving. (And remember, no matter where you are in your journey, it just gets harder from here. Be prepared!)

All my books come with a 100% money-back guarantee – just send an email and my people will refund it – no questions asked.

I want to help you. Put it on me to prove it. Please give me that chance.

Last thing, inflation is making it hard for me to keep prices where they are. Server costs are going up and prices on my books may go up as soon as next week (as of the day of writing this.) So please act now. When these prices go up, there will be no exceptions made.

Right now, click the link, buy now, fill in the boxes, and get an instant download for you to have when you’re ready- while the price is holding.

Get your copy of my book about How To Get Happier Straight A’s.

It only costs $4.99 (and if these strategies don’t work like magic like it has for thousands of other students then you can get a full refund.)

Click Here To Buy Your Copy


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  • February 23, 2016 at 4:31 am

    This is a brilliant article, I like how you mention that studying for hours and hours is not a good sign. I often see students sacrifice sleep, food, any leisure time etc just to study more and still never get the grade they aimed for. Hard work is well and good but there’s always a limit and our lives shouldn’t revolve around school and grades.


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