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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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