Here are some key techniques proven by research to help students learn more effectively:



  • Eat your frogs first. Not literally of course. Eating your frogs first means that you should start on the most cumbersome tasks first thing when you wake up, when you're still fresh.
  • Watch out for procrastination cues. You now know the drill, when you find yourself slipping into procrastination, remove all distractions and do a pomodoro. Once you get your feet wet, no essay or task will intimidate you any more.
  • Use recall. Don't count on your brain to remember everything you have just read. After you read a page, close it and try to recall the main points mentioned.
  • Test yourself. ALL.THE.TIME.
  • Take breaks. You have got to go check on your kittens! Take breaks after every focused learning session. It doesn't only reward your hard work, it also helps your brain retain the information your just learned.
  • Plan your quitting time. Research suggests that if you set a time when you are going to quit, it will enhance your efficiency. If you start working at 8 and set a quitting time at 5, you are most probably going to get more pomodoros done than if you don't set a quitting time.
  • Write your to-do list for tomorrow today! Yes, planning what you want to do (in terms of processes not products) the day before will actually help your brain organize for the following day.
  • Interleave. So you have tens of different statistical equations that solve different sets of problems. Practice jumping back and forth between problems that require different techniques and strategies to get a core understanding not only when to use that technique but when not to use it too.
  • Space your repetition. Believe me, you will NOT memorize something 100% effectively if you repeat it 100 times at the same study session. You have got to practice what you are learning in different sessions along different days. Exercising with a dumbbell 100 repetitions at the same session won't get you muscles but would get you a muscle strain.
  • Focus. Use the pomodoro to set up a timer for 25 minutes where you dedicate your whole attention and concentration on your work eliminating all distractions. Reward yourself after that.
  • Believe in yourself and your system.


A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel in Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra), by Barbara Oakley, Penguin, July, 2014

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