I plan on updating this article as I encounter resources that I found helpful when studying. Currently featuring my guest interview on a student podcast, and a book summary from one of my long-time favourite productivity figures Thomas Frank.

🎙️ Guest Speaker on The Student Rant

One young student at North Sydney Boys recently started a podcast talking all things study-related, and I was lucky enough to be interviewed as an alumni a couple of months ago. It was good to catch up with Sahaj and discuss what life is like after high school, including some of the things I've learnt about study approach in university, especially related to tech-based subjects.

Have a listen above, and definitely check out the rest of the episodes if you're interested!

📗 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades

Published 2015

Finished 9th October, 2021

Read this out of order according to which parts required prioritisation. Some chapters are pretty barebones/ the minimum, others can be found on Thomas Frank's Youtube channel. However, it was still a beneficial read, and I highly recommend it for late high school and early university students.

  • Step 1 - Pay Better Attention in Class
    • Outside of the classroom eat, sleep and exercise well.
    • In class be active by speaking up and deliberate with note-taking.
    • Be solution-oriented (15 min work before asking for help).
    • Reduce decision-making friction by planning ahead.
  • Step 2 - Take More Effective Notes
    • 5 note-taking styles - outline, cornell, mind-maps, flow and write-on-slides.
  • Step 4 - Plan Like a General
    • Planning is not doing. Prioritise by separate positive, reducing negative and willpower impacts.
    • Work out your fudge (under-estimation) ratio and factor it into work plans.
  • Step 10 - Make Group Projects Suck Less
    • Get to know everyone, set clear expectations and strong communication channels.
  • Step 3 - Get More Out of Your Textbooks
    • Don't do all of your assigned reading or be a textbook zombie - identify what is important to read, and be active by forming questions, summaries and/ or teaching.
  • Step 5 - Build Your Optimal Study Environment
    • Pick a location 'vibe' (ambient noise, hustlers), support it with music (instrumental/ white noise) and block digital distractions to get into flow.
  • Step 6 -Fight Entropy and Stay Organised
    • Organise files from the start, build a quick capture system for the constant barrage of ideas.
    • Recommended platforms: Dropbox, Evernote, Scanbot, Todoist, Trello. Most important thing is to actually try them and see what works for you.
    • Constant vigilance aka fight the entropy - schedule time to make fixes for the quick actions you've taken during the week.
  • Step 7 - Defeat Procrastination
    • Build daily grit through habits. When procrastinating, admit-> identify (the factors) -> fix.
    • Avoid low-density fun (scrolling) by setting high-density fun deadlines.
    • Postpone distractions with Pomodoro, and use public/ social accountability if necessary.
  • Step 8 - Study Smarter
    • Replicate test conditions while studying - recognise the most important topics, form questions and be active not passive when studying by using spaced repetition (Anki).
    • For STEM: notice specifically when and why you get confused by aiming to explain every step of a problem. Aim for understanding not memorisation, but backfill knowledge rather than stall learning as you have to keep up. Finally, you have to practice, but if you get stuck online resources exist before your professor.
  • Step 9 - Write Better Papers
    • Do a brain dump to obtain focus and key questions, then research wikipedia sources and add quick annotations.
    • Write an awful first draft, then edit ruthlessly using a read-only copy with a focus on identifying errors first, then correcting them all at once rather than one-by-one. If giving to test readers, they only have one blind read opportunity so be purposeful by guiding them on the type of feedback you require.

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