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A. Study Basics 1. Manage your time in five minutes a day i.

Jot down to-dos and deadlines on a list whenever they arise ii. Transfer these to-dos and deadlines to your calendar every morning iii. Plan your day each morning by labeling your to-dos with realistic time frames and moving what you dont have time for to different dates 2. Declare war on procrastination i. Keep a work progress journal, and every day record what you wanted to accomplish and whether or not you succeeded ii. When working, eat healthy snacks to maximize your energy iii. Transform horrible tasks into a big event to help you gather the energy to start iv. Build work routines to make steady progress on your obligations without expending too much of your limited motivational resources v. Choose your hard days in advance to minimize their impact 3. Choose when, where, and how long i. Try to fit as much work as possible into the morning and afternoon, between classes and obligations ii. Study in isolated locations iii. Take a break every hour B. Quizzes and Exams 1. Take smart notes i. Always go to class and try to take the best notes possible ii. For nontechnical courses, capture the big ideas by taking notes in the question/evidence/conclusion format iii. For technical courses, record as many sample problems and answers as possible 2. Demote your assignments i. Work a little bit each day on your assignments; avoid suffering from day-before syndrome ii. Read only the favored sources on the syllabus in detail. To decide how much time to spend on supplemental sources, remember the importance hierarchy: 1. Readings that make an argument are more important than 2. Readings that describe an event or person, which are more important than 3. Readings that only provide context (i.e., speech transcripts, press clippings) iii. Take readings notes in the question/evidence/conclusion format iv. Work in groups on problem sets, solve problems on the go, and write up your answers formally the first time 3. Marshal your resources i. Figure out exactly what the test will cover ii. Cluster your notes for nontechnical courses iii. Build mega-problem sets for technical courses 4. Conquer the material i. Embrace the quiz-and-recall method. Its the single most efficient way to study ii. Spread out memorization over several days. Your mind can do only so much at a time 5. Invest in Academic Disaster Insurance i. Eliminate the question marks for topics covered in or from the reading that you dont understand 6. Provide A+ answers i. Look over the whole test first ii. Figure out how much time you have to spend on each question (leaving a ten-minute cushion at the end) iii. Answer the questions in order of increasing difficulty iv. Write out a mini-outline before tackling an essay question

v. Use any and all leftover time to check and recheck your work C. Essays and Papers 1. Target a titillating topic i. Start looking for an interesting topic early 2. Conduct a thesis-hunting expedition i. Start with general sources and then follow references to find the more targeted sources where good thesis ideas often hide 3. Seek a second opinion i. A thesis is not a thesis until a professor has approved it 4. Research like a machine i. Find sources ii. Make personal copies of all sources iii. Annotate the material iv. Decide if youre done. (If the answer is no, loop back to #1 5. Craft a powerful story i. There is no shortcut to developing a well-balanced and easy-to-follow argument ii. Dedicate a good deal of thought over time to getting it right iii. Describe your argument in a topic-level outline iv. Type supporting quotes from sources directly into your outline 6. Consult your expert panel i. Before starting to write, get some opinions on the organization of your argument and your support from classmates and friends who are familiar with the general area of study ii. The more important the paper, the more people who should review it 7. Write without the agony i. Follow your outline and articulate your points clearly ii. Write no more than three to five pages per weekday and five to eight pages per weekend day 8. Fix, dont fixate i. Skilled editing requires only three careful passes: 1. The Argument Adjustment Pass: Read the paper carefully on your computer to make sure your argument is clear, fix obvious errors, and revise where the flow needs improvement 2. The Out Loud Pass: Carefully read out loud a printed copy of your paper, marking any awkward passages or unclear explanations 3. The Sanity Pass: A final pass over a printed version of the paper to check the overall flow and to root out any remaining errors