2/11/2016

Let's give it a try (trying out Cal Newport's tips on becoming a straight A student)

Hey everybody!
When you are a little into study blogs, study hack sites or study youtubers (as I think I am) you will have heared the name 'Cal Newport'. His book 'How to Become a Straight- A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High while studying Less' is a frequently requestet reading matter on many study blogger's sites.
As I wanted to read this (and probably his other books as well) someday, I yesterday somehow stumbled over it a again and decided to listen to it as an sudiobook, if avaliable.
On youtube, however, I could not find an audibook, but, instead, a lot of lectures and quite comprehensice videos about Cal Newport and his work. So, I clicked the first one and basically listened to it as if to an audiobook.
It was this video, where he outlines the most important points of his book, divided in the cathegories: How to Study, ProcrastinationStudying and Happyness- philosophy. His advice was basically like this: (all information given in this article are from this very video)

Talking about How to study, he first claimed the word 'study' as such to be meaninless at is is no clear definition and can be constructed in various ways. What is important, is, according to him, not how long a person is 'studying', but how the studying is done. He claims one of the very few actually successful study techniques the so called 'Active Recall' That basically means lecturing and repeating the study content out loud without the usage of any notes or mental help. By lecturing and explaining the content, according to him, one will be able to remember the material deeeply over a long period of time while reducing the studying time. This technique is, so Newport, the only one that should be considered as studying. Time invested in other kinds of 'studying' should be minimized as far as possible.
Obviously (this is the point that a lot of people misunderstand) it is required to have a silent study time to some degree as well. For lecturing a content, it is neccessary to have read the content. There will ever be a silent study time, but this should be limited.

Next, Newport talks about the procrastination issue. He claims something like chronic or personally inherent procrastination not to exist. Procrastination is, in case, a way of the brain telling a person, that this person's plan to succeed a challenge, is not likely to be successful. As the brain does not want to invent energy in something, that will most likely just waste the energy  and does not show the desired results, the brain refuses to take action in it. In order to avoid this, Newport request to answer three questions about a studying plan to convince the brain of it's succes:
a) How am I going to study?
b) For how long?
c) How do I know, it will work?
Answering this three key questions will help figuring out a study plan that is likely to suceed and will therefore be approved by the brain.

Coming to the last point, Newport talks about the kind of philosophy about studying and having fun. He claims his methods helping to succeed studying and get high scores at the same time as having fun and time for other things to do. People, who are focussed on working hard in order to have a great time later, tend to delay the definition of 'later' until they just become a working machine with no dreams.
To avoid this, Newport recommends not participating in too much activities. When having a rather minimalistic scheule with only the required classses, not too much clubs or other activitie, one is able to actually focus and concentrate on one activity and succeed it instead of being overwhelmed all the time and having no results for the work, one is doing. So, doing one activity focussed matters more than the total volume of all the activity, one is particiaparting in.

This were quite a lot of insights. I am still somehow doubting the adamptability of his strategies, because they seem just too positive to be possible. On the other hand, it is required to simply work more intensively when actually succeeding his study techniques, what will not be too easy. And at the end, there is a reason, why his book is requested by such a lot of study bloggers.
I want to give his methodes a try. I am going to try out the Active Recall and then go from this putting more of his advices into practice. I will definitely change and adjust a few points, but the main point should be the same.
I am very curious on whether this can work out and will definitely tell you about the further changes.
See you soon!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!