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How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know you could get better grades without having to rack your brains and put your life on hold?

I teach some of the most competitive students. They are all jostling to get into med school and you should see the extreme measures they take. They study till they drop… literally. That’s not what university life is supposed to be like. The key to freeing up your time is to learn to study effectively, not study more. As the semesters go by, you should be getting better grades but studying less. That’s the true measure of academic success. Here are 8 simple things you can do to achieve this seemingly impossible task.

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1. Sleep well

Sleep is sacred. Maintain your alertness by sleeping well — not more than 8 hours a day, but not less than 7. This is bound to improve both your body and brain health and energy levels.

Another cool trick is combining tea or coffee with a power nap during the day. Just sip your preference of coffee or tea, then doze off for no more than twenty minutes. You’ll wake with double the energy boost as the effects of the caffeine kick in at precisely the moment you wake up.

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2. Discover how you learn best

People generally learn in one of three ways and tend to prefer one — through visuals, sound, or touch. You need to figure out which one works best for you. According to the discoverers of neurolinguist programming, your words tell you which one you may lean towards. Listen to yourself in the coming days and notice statements like: “I see what you’re saying…” or “I hear you” or “I can’t get a grasp on that.” Once you discover which one of the modes of learning best suits you, adapt your studying techniques to your preference.

3. Teach to learn better

Another great way to study more effectively is to actually teach others what you are studying. Do this and you are proverbially hitting two birds with one stone — spending time with friends and helping them on the one hand, while you also learn the subject far more effectively. Teaching is a great reinforcer of concepts and helps solidify your memory.

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4. Study only when you’re productive

Students succumb to the pressure of exams so much and so often that they think they need to burn the next 48 hours, studying on afterburners. Studying too much, at all times, is extremely counter-productive. Set apart times of the day when you are at your best mentally for the task. We waste those hours too often on meaningless tasks — aided greatly by our addiction to the internet. This requires no small amount of self-discipline, but it’s well worth it when you realize you can learn so much in short periods of time.

5. Study many things at once

Many students make the mistake of studying for one subject at a time. They finish one exam and then move on to the next subject. This is one of the most destructive study habits out there. Face the fact that your exams come one after the other and start studying for all of them a little earlier, but in 20- or 30-minute intervals. After a short break, switch subjects. It decreases the level of boredom, keeps your mind challenged, and maintains your levels of motivation.

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6. Meditate

Find a place to sit where you’ll feel comfortable closing your eyes. Become mindful of your surroundings, your breathing, your heart rate, the sun, the din of the day, the whole thing. Hey, you’re alive! This is a great exercise that very often resets your attitude and keeps you sharp and focused.

7. Don’t sacrifice your social life to study

I’m not saying you have to party your way through college on overdrive with destructive habits, sleeping late and waking up totaled at 1 pm every day. But a healthy social life — friends and family that build you up — is great for your success. Make sure you cultivate your relationships while still giving studying the priority and attention it deserves. Many give up one for the other at their own peril.

8. Feed your mind

There’s no way to circumvent nature’s laws. You reap what you sow, and that can be said also for your mind. Be curious always. Love learning. Listen more than you speak. Seek wisdom and choose to cultivate intelligence. While it may sound a little fluffy, practice positive thinking and gratefulness. A happy mind learns far better than a negative, bitter, and cynical mind.

Featured photo credit: Yuri Samollov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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