Study Hacks Blog

Finals Diaries: Travis Prepares to Battle Calculus

April 16th, 2009 · 8 comments

Caltech CalculusQuiet Study

This is the first post in the finals diaries series, which follows a group of students through their quest to improve their study habits in time for spring exams. We start with Travis, a freshman physics major from Caltech. In May, he faces a brutal multivariate calculus exam. This leaves him a little less than a month to toss out his existing habits, which he candidly describes as “less than stellar,” and embrace a more efficient academic lifestyle.

Plan A

As with all of my volunteers, I asked Travis to describe his current plan for preparing for this test. He replied:

It will boil down to taking a couple of weeks before finals and figuring out what I don’t know, trying to brush up on what I may have forgotten, and doing some example problems.

This, of course, is exactly the type of vagueness that drives students to last minute scrambles and incomplete preparation. Luckily, Travis still has time to change his ways.

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Finals Diaries: Let Me Help You Ace Your Finals

April 8th, 2009 · Be the first to comment

UPDATE (4/9/09): I have chosen my four volunteers for this series. The application is now closed. If you haven’t received an e-mail from me, assume you weren’t chosen. I received over 70 volunteers within the first 24 hours! Thank you everyone who offered their help. I think this series will be a lot of fun. Stay tuned…

A Few Good Volunteers

I’m launching a new series this spring in which I follow a group of students through their preparations for final exams. The students I follow will get personal advice from me on how best to structure their studying. My goal is to provide a realistic view of study habit rehabilitation — often a messy process!

If you’re interested in participating, e-mail me the following: your school, your major, and the dates of your final exam period.

I predict I’ll get many more volunteers than I can accommodate, so I apologize in advance if I can’t fit everyone in.

4 Weeks to a 4.0: Create Project Folders

April 20th, 2009 · 11 comments

4 Weeks to a 4.0 is a four-part series to help you transform into an efficient student. Each Monday between 3/30 and 4/20 I’ll post a new weekly assignment to aid your transformation.

Welcome to Week 4Time to Change

This is the fourth and final post in our four-part series 4 Weeks to a 4.0.  Let’s do our review. In week one you gained some control over your schedule. In week two you mastered taking notes in class. And in week three you streamlined your assignments. In other words, we’ve covered all regularly occurring academic work. This leaves us only to tackle the big infrequent stuff. I’m talking about studying for exams and writing papers.

Week 4 Assignment: Create Project Folders

Your assignment for this week to adopt the project folder method, which I describe below. This simple method streamlines the process of studying for exams and writing major papers. I used it throughout my time at Dartmouth, and swear by its effectiveness. You can also see aspects of it in action in our ongoing finals diaries series.

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I’m Off to Brazil

April 17th, 2009 · 6 comments

A Southern Journey

I’m leaving tomorrow for a one week computer science conference in Brazil. I will almost definitely have Internet access, but my time will be limited, so please excuse the fact that I will be slow to moderate comments and respond to e-mails for the next week.

Fear not, however, I have the last 4 Weeks to a 4.0 post ready to go live on Monday and a backlog of finals diaries and other exciting posts that will go up soon after I return.

Stay tuned…