#1: Why the library is the most under-used resource in college (and why you should be exploiting it)
The college library, yes, the same building you mostly admire from the outside, is a wonderful place.
It’s difficult sometimes in college to find peace. Hostels are a noisy affair – with parties, blaring music, and people coming to your room. If you want to get some serious studying done, head over to the library for a few hours. The “reference books” section is a great repository of books, other than the prescribed course textbooks, that you can use. Everyone is different. If you scourge patiently, you might just find the perfect book, tailored to your learning requirements.
P.S. Switch your phone to “flight mode”. Use apps/extensions likeand to avoid distractions.
#2: Why bunking classes is more disastrous than you think it is
We get it. Not all classes are interesting, not all Professors are good.
However, that still does not justify bunking classes. If you go to every class, you will, at the very least, know what is being taught. Someone might ask an interesting question, which might not have occurred to you. The Professor might hint at a topic that might be more crucial, at least from the examinations.
#3: How sticking to a schedule yields better results than expending the same amount of efforts in an unorganized manner
Human body works in cycles, synced with the 24-hour day-and-night period. So, studying everyday during a fixed time spell, is more productive than studying for the same amount of time in a haphazard manner.
#4: On the benefits of taking regular breaks to recharge (bonus:)
Trust me. No person can keep on working 24×7. No matter how strong you are – physically and mentally. Everyone needs to take a break and recharge.
I normally follow the 45-15 plan. Studying for 45 minutes and then relaxing for the next 15. Stretch, take a walk, drink some water, watch a small (<5 min preferably) video, grab some snacks, and gear up for the next round.
For the purposes of the technique, a pomodoro is the interval of time spent working.
After task completion, any time remaining in the pomodoro is devoted to. Regular breaks are taken, aiding . A short (3–5 minutes) rest separates consecutive pomodoros. Four pomodoros form a set. A longer (15–30 minute) rest is taken between sets.
#5: On the virtue of compartmentalization
College is fun because there is so much to do. Classes, exams, assignments, club activities, college fests, parties, gaming, sports, social interactions etc. However, the same can be overwhelming if not managed properly.
So compartmentalize your life. There will always be multiple concurrent deadlines. Focus on one, and forget the rest. And this is not just for your college years, but for your future professional life as well as your personal one.
- Compartmentalize it. Isolate the issue from all the other challenges you are dealing with.
- Apply extreme focus on each compartment, but only for a short period of time.
- Move forward in incremental steps. And once you see progress…
- Close the compartment and open the next one.
- Say “no” to things that don’t deserve a compartment.
#6: How a balanced revision plan reinforces what you already know
Human memory is different from computers. You can’t just feed data and information once and expect it to remember it for posterity.
a memory champion, summed up the perfect revision plan.
“Let’s say on day one of the holidays you learn a bunch of stuff,” Cooke says. “You could just cram, cram, cram, move on to the next thing and cram, cram, cram. But you’ll basically have to relearn it all again the night before the exam because you’ll have forgotten everything.
The best thing to do is break up your studying of a subject – read it for 10 minutes, test yourself an hour later, then again on day two, then day seven and day 14. The biggest mistake you can make is just to keep reading it over and over to yourself.”
#7: On going the extra mile (Interactive learning, Smart learning)
If you only read what everybody else is, you will only know what everybody else does.
So, go the extra mile. Don’t just read books. Do some interactive exercises, watch some intuitive, explanatory videos, teach someone the same concept, use what you have learnt and apply it to a practical problem.
(Don’t simply be a passive learner)
#8: Why you should avoid all-nighters (or the merits of sleeping enough)
All-nighters are like the One Ring. Exams are Mt Doom. The closer you get to them, the stronger the temptation to skip sleep for a day and instead use those “precious” (sorry) hours to cram as much as possible.
They affect productivity, retention, and are generally deleterious to your health.
#9: On the importance of being organized
Just because 2 different people work equally hard, and are equally intelligent, does not mean they would receive the same output. It’s not just the amount of effort expended, but the manner in which it is.
If you have taken meticulous notes during the semester, you have a cheat sheet that you can quickly gloss over before an exam to refresh your memory. Making succinct notes and comments while reading, highlighting the critical parts in a book, and keeping all resources – your notes, professor’s lecture slides, last years’ question papers etc – in one place, makes it easier to access them before an examination.