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May 30, 2013

How to Read Difficult Stuffs

When you have to read difficult stuffs, remember this useful advice, by Geraldine Price and Pat Maier in Effective Study Skills, 2007, page. 271.
  1. You should "assess the knowledge you bring to" the text you're using now. Is your background knowledge, prior knowledge sufficient for the reading task at hand?
  2. Instead of persisting too much, too long, you should switch to "a text which gives you more help and briefer, more broad-stroke explanations." They give as examples: Idiot's Guides, "A" level texts (the authors are writing for university students.) Their special examples are Sattre and Heidegger. My examples are early-day linguistic books and Java, Visual C++ books in the late 1990s . Such books were written before the fields were mature and thus the authors themselves were unsure of their knowledge. In other words, they were bluffing. This happens in every field of study though.
  3. How to Be a High School Superstar, by Cal Newport, 2010 : Read a different textbook.
The key lesson here is : Find something more digestible for you.

If the going gets really tough, here is another advice, by Heather Cooke in Success with Mathematics, 2003, page 37-38.
  1. "try to do it [a worked example] yourself without looking at the book's solution"
  2. "To understand something new, ... write it down ... "
  3. Write out a difficult passage.
The key lesson here is : Slow down, take your time, relax.

Here is another advice, by Peter Levin in Conquer Study Stress, 2007.
  1. Regard reading as a treasure hunt: Look for clues, checking our their helpfulness, and keeping your main aim in mind all the time.
  2. Read breadth-first. Skim for the gist, scan for key details.
  3. Take notes breadth-first.

One more advice from Take Notes by Ron Fry, 1997, for reading technical texts.
  1. Backtrack a lot as you must expect a lot of wrong turns. Go trail and error mode.
  2. Slow down and tie up what you've just read and understood.
  3. Translate formulas, numbers etc into different words. Explain your understanding to a toy or a friend.
  4. Sketch, draw, doodle.
  5. Play around to uncover different paths to the solution.

From something we've read:
  1. casual reading : newspapers, friendly personal mails, sales letters etc.
  2. careful reading: reports, poetry, science texts
  3. slow reading : technical articles. Here, you pause a lot more often, and you consolidate your intermediate understandings more often.

Consolidate What You've Just Read

In one experiment, the researchers divided the students into 2 groups:
(a) 25 % time spent in reading + 75 % time in reciting
(b) 100% in reading

Group A fare better than the Group B in the tests that followed the reading period.

Taking Breaks During Your Study

Secrets of Getting Better Grades, by Brian Marshall, 2002, 2nd edition.

After every 15 minutes of study, take a 2-min break.
After every 50 minutes, take a 10-min break (same as in "How to Win at College," by Cal Newport, 2005.)
After every 3 hours, take  a half-hour break ("How to Be a High School Superstar," by Cal Newport, 2010 )

Ace Any Test, by Ron Fry, 2000, 4th edition.

1. Study when you are fresh.
2. Use time blocking.
3. For a psychological boost, reduce the pile of books, papers etc into simple notes.

How to Win at College, by Cal Newport, 2005.

  1. Keep a work-progress journal. Every night, jot down scheduled and actual accomplishments. This practice helps to hold you accountable and to hurt your ego.
  2. Relax at least half an hour before you go to bed.

May 27, 2013

Proven Memory Principles

Mike Evans, in How to Pass Your Exams, 3rd edition, 2009, recommends developing your memory through active revision:

1. Make sense of the key ideas in what you read or hear.
2. Recall and review periodically.

How to Be a High School Superstar, by Cal Newport, 2010 endorses the same approach:

1. Quiz yourself and answer loud.

Memory Principles at HopeHero Software Works

  1. Arouse desire for what you want to remember.
  2. Chunk and encapsulate. If necessary reformat the input.
  3. Make sense, find meaning, relate new materials to your existing knowledge..
  4. Make a cue to easily re-activate what you've just remembered. e.g mental pictures, mental movies, tunes, rhymes, acronyms, etc.
  5. Recite. Practice active recall.
  6. Use it, apply it in real life.
  7. Avoid distraction, intervention, interference.
  8. Rest and sleep properly.

Types of memory
  1. Audio loop e.g the way you remember phone numbers.
  2. Imagery, pictures, snapshots
  3. Episodic, films, movie-like events
  4. Semantic, symbolic, verbal, language-related.

We will elaborate on each of these principles later.

Reading Math

When you have to read math textbooks, workbooks etc, remember this useful advice, by Randall S. Hansen and Katherine Hansen in Idiot's Guide to Study Skills, published in 2008. I lifted the following points from page. 130.

  1. Read in order. When you find something tough or confusing, the usual culprit is that your have skipped over some points before this one. Go back and study those points in detail, and then come back to the current problem set.
  2. Pay attention to illustrations, formulas, proofs, theorems, definitions, etc. These save you a lot of explorations that you will otherwise have to do on your own.
  3. Work the sample/example/practice problems.

May 22, 2013

Learning Styles --- Part 1

Can I change my style? Can I improve my style? Can I learn or acquire a new style? Which style is best for what learning task? Don't ask a good question. Because scholars, researchers, book writer usually leave them for you yourself to answer!

What Styles Are There?

  1. Left-brained, right-brained?
  2. Prefer to see, hear or do?visual,auditory,reading/writing-preference,
  3. Deep vs surface
  4. Holistic/Integrative vs atomistic/itemized
  5. Single/alone vs team/social/cooperative learning
  6. Converger,Diverger,Assimilator,Accommodator
  7. Field Dependent or Independent
  8. Concrete or Abstract

"What is my style?"
"Do we have more than one style?"
"Can I change my style?"
"Can I improve my style?"
"Can I learn or acquire a new style?"
"Which style is best for what task?"

As I have warned you before,  you yourself will have to to answer these very good, and useful questions.

We'll come up with more help in later posts on this blog.

Success with Mathematics : Mindfulness, Zen and Feelings

Heather Cooke's Success with Mathematics, 2003

page 100-101
Pin down your fleeting and ephemeral thoughts and possibilities.
Stabilize them: "What do I know?" "What do I want?" "I wonder if ...." "Maybe ...?"
Writing them down helps you clarify them,
And it affords you an easier access to them again later.

page 99, 101
Wait before you draw/sketch.
Wait before you have formed an image in your mind.

page 101, 103
Try an example to detect a pattern.
Try something smaller, simpler, more restricted, more special, or partial or auxiliary.

page 106
Vary many aspects to get a sense of the original question.
Vary many aspects to recognize variants in future.
e.g. What aspects can be changed?
What is the range/scope of variation?
In what ways can a given aspect be changed?

When Stuck?

  1. Ask "Why stuck?" What do you already know? What do you still want? Can you bridge between the known and the unknown/wanted?

  2. Simplify: Break it down. Substitute simpler/easier words or numbers.

  3. What else do you think you need? kind of information? from of information?

  4. Say it out loud or talk to a toy.

  5. Use the given/worked solution a bit.

  6. Take a break, do something very different.

  7. Skip, later studies may help.

  8. After you have solved something that got you stuck for a while, do post-mortem.
    1.What helped to get you going again?
    2.What led you to getting stuck in the first place?

Zen in the Art of SAT

By Matt Bardin and Susan Fine, 2005.
They suggest walking through the open door, swiftly and with confidence. "The open door" is a metaphor for those "pieces of the puzzle that make sense" to you right now. You should try them one at a time, and do only what comes easily to you.

Find More to Study Less

Find More

"Find More" means "finding more meaning in what you see, hear, or read". When a lesson makes sense to you, you can remember it with less effort, you can apply it with less effort to solve a problem, and thus you can get higher marks with less effort.

Books and teachers will make effort to help you understand. But it is your duty to put in this effort. If you don't understand a thing, don't force it down your brain. Refuse to do so. Einstein refused, Watson(DNA discoverer) refused, many great scientists and almost all great business people refused too.

If a book can't help you understand, change to a different book.

If a teacher can't help you understand, change to a different teacher.

Words are not much help, explanations are not much help. Let your child feel, see, hear, smell, taste what it is really like to understand, to find meaning.

Exercise 1.
1 .Let him/her read this list for 1 minute and then ask him to recall them. There are 12 items in the list.
Feb, p6, Holland, pen, p4, pencil, Spain, paper, Germany, January, p5, March.

2. Show him/her read this list for 1 minute and then ask him to recall them again.
(pen, pencil, paper), (p4, p5,p6), (Spain, Holland, Germany), (January, Feb, March).

3. Show him/her read this list for 1 minute and then ask him to recall them again.
(pen, pencil, paper), (upper primary classes ), (Spain, Holland, Germany), (first 3 months).
(pen, pencil, paper), (upper primary classes ), (this world cup 1st, 2nd, third winners), (first 3 months).

4. Ask: Why does the step 3 become easy?

Exercise 2.
1. Ask them to memorize this table.
100    200
300    600
700    1400

2. Tell them that (1) first column has only 3 digits (2) first column begins with the smallest 3-digit number i.e 100 (3) second column is twice of the first. (4) 200 + 100 => 300 and 600 + 100 => 700.

3. Ask them if it has become easier to remember and if so, why?

Exercise 3.
1 .Let him/her read this dialog for 20 seconds and then ask him to explain it in his/her own words.
A: Do you have children?
B: 2 kids in primary school.
A: That's fine. Do you have any pet?
B: 3 pets. 2 dogs and a snake.
A: Oh, sorry.

2 . Tell him/her that Speaker A is a landlady and B is a potential tennant. Let him/her re-read the dialog
for 20 seconds. Then ask him/her to explain it in his/her own words again.

3. Ask: Why has the task become easier?

Exercise 4.
1. Teach this formula very quickly.
train A going to the right with a km/h
train B going to the right with b km/h
train A and B are d km apart when they start
the time they will meet/pass each other = d/(a+b)

2. Ask them to solve such a problem under "Speed" topic in P 6 maths. Are they ok?

3. This is what happened in one class where the teacher gave no formula at first.

|--------------------- 200km ------------------|
|--------------------- when? -------------------|
9 a.m. A ------> when? <------B 9.a.m
20 km/h                                        60 km/h

They were given no formula. Most of them got stuck/stumped.
Only then, after 2 or 3 minutes, they were reminded to make/find their own formula.
So, they made a similar but smaller, simpler problem/case of their own, like :

|------------------- 20km -----------------|
|------------------ when? -----------------|
9 a.m. A ------> when? <------B 9.a.m
4 km/h                                    5 km/h

They were reminded again: "Sometimes smaller numbers help. Sometimes they don't. If stuck in the same type of problem, change the type, change the nature of the problem."
One student came up with this problem, like :

|----------------------------- ------------------------------|
<--- 1hr at 6 km/h        1hr at 4 km/h  ---->
|------------------ total time = 1 hr    ------------------------|
|----------------   total distance = 10 km    ----------------|

Then, that student again turned the problem into opposite direction, like:

|--------------------------------- 10 km ---------------------------------|
9 a.m.  ------------------------------------------------------  9 a.m.
|----1hr at 4 km/h ------> met in 1 hr <------ 1hr at 6 km//h---|

10 km, 4 km/h, 6 km/h, 1 hr???
10/(4+6) = 1 ???
distance apart / two speeds = time to meet ???
Because they were a bit tired, the teacher confirmed their formula instead of asking them to verify it with another example.

4. Which class, the first or the second, do you think have a better chance of recalling and applying the formula in different situations? Which have a better chance of solving things future?

Please Help Us

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Please send us your ideas, suggestions, comments, your problems, difficulties, and struggles.

May 21, 2013

"Pass Your Weak Subjects" : Book Review

Are you struggling with some subjects at school?

There is a book specially written for such struggles, titled Pass Your Weak Subjects, by Richard Palmer, 2008.


Use mind maps, diagrams, flow diagrams. They contain a lot of information and help in visual learning.


Master the vocabulary.
Use graphs.
Use mnemonics, devices that help you retain the new information you've just picked up.


Use mind maps
Use revision notes e.g. Cliff, Barron
Practice active recall.


Revisit the topics constantly.
Do lots of examples. Study worked examples.
Stop when your targeted load/quota is done, celebrate. Don't burn yourself out in ambition and greed!
Use mnemonics.
Use colorful imagery.


Pay special attention to and master key equations and phrases. Such phrases cover key concepts.
Master key math concepts and skills.
Use revision guides. e.g. Cliff, Barron, Schume

May 20, 2013

Taking Notes

"How to Be a High School Superstar," by Cal Newport, 2010.

Make good notes to save time and effort later.
1. For non-Math subjects, order your notes like:
Question ---> Evidence, Raw Facts---> Conclusion
Thus, you imbue the middle section with meaning and motivation.

2. For Math-related subjects, order your notes like:
Problem --->  Steps for algorithm, explanations---> Answer, Solution
Again, you imbue the middle section with meaning and motivation.

Note-taking during Class: "Secrets of Getting Better Grades," by Brian Marshall, 2002, 2nd edition.

  1. Leave some thinking space.
  2. Organize:
    1. Outline. Use sub-headings etc.
    2. Use mind maps.
    3. Use circles, arrows, blocks, etc..
    4. Use numbering.
    5. Use colors.
  3. Capture the essence. Listen for word clues, emphasis, repetitions, what's written on the board.

Taking Notes during Class: "Ace Any Test," by Ron Fry, 2000, 4th edition.

  1. Select:
    1. What is unknown to you?
    2. What the teacher emphasized.
    3. Explanations
    4. Examples and demonstrations.
  2. Summarize.
  3. Sort: relationships between the points.

Taking Lecture Notes: "Study Smarter, Not Harder," by Kevin Paul, 2009, 3rd edition.

  1. Key words, in your own words.
  2. Key patterns
  3. Diagrams, graphs.
  4. Flexible, non-linear arrows to link points.
  5. Spaces to fill later: With what you might have missed, With our own insights, etc.

Study Skills | Problem Solving | Start With the Doable

Mathematical Methods

We have reviewed so many books, principles, methods and techniques for doing school examination Math. We have tried them out with our classes and have found some of them useful and practicable. Here we are sharing those battle-tested. proven methods with you.

This week, we're discussing the method of starting with the doable.

When reading a math problem, sometimes you can see all the way through to the solution. On such occasions, you don't need any help. But at other times, you feel stumped or overwhelmed. You may even become panic-stricken. How do you control such unhelpful feelings? You need to remain calm and even a bit hopeful. In How to Solve It, George Polya calls the development of such emotional muscles an essential part of a student's mathematical education, insisting that a maths teacher should not fail in this responsibility.

Easier said than done? Yes. Exhortations, preaching, theoretical explanations alone will never do. We must make the kids see and feel for themselves. With advanced or mature students, the teacher may even model such emotional stability behavior.

Exercise 1.
1. Imagine you are in a very important exam. You get 3 minutes to answer the question below.
2. "For how many three-digit integers will reversing the order of the digits yield a two-digit multiples of thirteen?"
3. You don't need to solve this actually. Just record your own emotional reaction and that of your child.

Answer: The question comes from "Zen in the Art of the SAT" by Matt Bardin and Susan Fine, 2005, page 7-9. It was meant to freak out the typical SAT taker and to invoke their Maths anxiety.
If you decide that the question is too much, too high for a P6 student, how can you make it more approachable?

Exercise 2.
1. Which of the following are the multiples of 2?
2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 22

Answer: 2,4, 10, 22

2. Which of the following are the multiples of 13?
12, 13, 24, 26, 35, 39

Answer: 13, 26, 39

3. What are the first 8 multiples of 13?
(13 x 1), (13 x 2),(13 x 3), ...

Answer: 13, 26, 39, 52, 65, 78, 91, 104

Exercise 3.
1. The following is a list of the multiples of 13 from smallest to biggest.
Pick out the "two-digit multiples of thirteen"
13, 26, 39, 52, 65, 78, 91, 104

Answer: 13, 26, 39, 52, 65, 78, 91

Exercise 4.
1. You need a three-digit integer and you reverse the order of its digits(e.g. 912 becomes 219) to get 13.
What is that three-digit integer?

Answer: 310

2. From which three-digit integers do they come from?
26, 39, 52, 65, 78, 91

26 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 620
39 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 930
52 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 250
65 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 560
78 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 870
91 comes from a reverse of a 3-digit ... such as ... 190

Their moral from this is to walk through the open doors and look for such doors patiently and with optimism. "You may think there's something great behind one of those locked doors, but if you can't get to it, it's useless. The open door is the only one that provides a point of entry." page 7-9, Zen in the Art of the SAT by Matt Bardin and Susan Fine, 2005.

My moral from this is : most of the times a complex problem is nothing more than a bunch of simpler, smaller problems.

Can you help your kid look for and find the smaller ones,the open doors?

Can you teach your kid the right time, the right place, the right way to give up and search for the open doors?

"Secrets of Getting Better Grades"

Secrets of Getting Better Grades, by Brian Marshall, 2002, 2nd edition has many useful tips for study. It shows us how to do note taking and reading with purpose.

Note-taking during Class

  1. Leave some thinking space.
  2. Organize:
    1. Outline. Use sub-headings etc.
    2. Use mind maps.
    3. Use circles, arrows, blocks, etc..
    4. Use numbering.
    5. Use colors.
  3. Capture the essence. Listen for word clues, emphasis, repetitions, what's written on the board.

Reading Purpose

  1. Preview: Select, look for structure.
  2. Skim: Overall ideas, specific locations.
  3. Scan: Main ideas, key details.
  4. Intensive: You can almost re-create, re-construct what you've read.

"Study Less, Learn More"

Study Less, Learn More by Benson Soong, 2006 is a good book for young students. This single line is worth the price of the whole book: Format of the input determines the ease of absorption, understanding and recall.
  1. Format of the input determines the ease of absorption, understanding and recall.
  2. To memorize numbers, replace numbers with letters, words, or some other symbols.
  3. To aid memorization, put key words and phrases into acronyms.
  4. To understand concepts, well, ... I still can't differentiate between the three kinds of levers.

This book is short and thin. But the content, the key ideas are gold.

Teach Like a Champion

Teach Like a Champion ,by Doug Lenov, 2010 is a nice book. Well, I have to be positive. But the notes truly reflect what I got and what you are likely to get from reading the book.

T 13

Name the steps.

T 14

Make what you write on board look like what you want your students to write down in their books.
Model good note-taking behavior.

T 16 : Break It Down

  1. Provide an example.
  2. Provide a context.
  3. Provide a rule.
  4. Provide a missing step or a first step.
  5. Roll back.
  6. Eliminate wrong choices.

T 23 and 24

Groupwise recall, review, chorus, reinforcement.


Using your skills with vocabulary and grammar, you decode and deposit some facts and ideas into your short-term memory.

Skills levels :
words, phrases, sentences --> paragraphs --> essay/chapter/article, book, topic/theme
--> field/subject/discipline

1. Provide some context or background knowledge.
2. Alert them to focal points, like a tour guide.
3. Front-load, that is, introduce key scenes in advance as in movie ads/trailers.

While reading:
1. Ask.
2. Solve bit by bit. Don't let problem or difficulty pile up.

"Ace Any Test," by Ron Fry : Book Review

Ace Any Test by Ron Fry, 2000, 4th edition, is an excellent book. My son likes the section on Cramming a lot!

What Parents Can Do?

1. Set up a study routine for the kids.
2. Convince them of reality and real life.

If You Must Cram

  1. Set realistic goals. Be modest, don't be greedy, ambitious.
  2. Go for selective depth, not breadth.
  3. Use mnemonics.
  4. Decide when to go to sleep. Get up early.
  5. In the exam room, write down things during the first few minutes.

Taking Notes during Class

  1. Select:
    1. What is unknown to you?
    2. What does the teacher emphasize?
    3. Explanations
    4. Examples and demonstrations.
  2. Summarize.
  3. Sort: relationships between the points.

Efficient Reading

  1. Read the questions at the end of a chapter. Ask why you should read this?
  2. Ignore repetitions.
  3. Slow down with the new.
  4. Focus on what is highlighted.
  5. Maps, photos, drawings etc are key.
  6. Get the big picture:
    1. Rephrase the headings.
    2. Read the introductions and the first few sentences.
    3. Answer your initial questions, those question you asked yourself before you started reading.
    4. Write down summary notes.


free associate to generate new ideas --> organize --> write, leaving some spaces --> correct/edit

Exam Room, Exam Time

1. Read the whole question paper.
2. Mark the easy ones you intend to tackle.

May 18, 2013

"How to Study " by Ron Fry : Book Review

How to Study by Ron Fry, 2005, 6th edition is a wonderful book for study techniques. The section titled "How to Read Technical Text" is particularly excellent.

Reading Purposes

  1. You may be reading to grasp a certain message.
  2. You may want to answer a specific question.
  3. You may be reading to evaluate what you are reading.
  4. You may be trying to find important details.
  5. You are only interested in applying what you are reading to your task at hand.

Technical Text Reading

Concentrate on:
  1. Definitions, terms, vocabulary. They are the foundations.
  2. Examples. They help you consolidate your understanding.
  3. Visuals. They save you a lot of work. A picture is often worth more than a thousand words.
  4. Relationships e.g. classifications, contrasts, cause and effects, etc.
Tie up often. Pause and  stop to check and to solidify your understanding.

Review and solidify often, especially with definitions, examples, formulas.

"What Smart Students Know" : Book Review

What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson, 1993 is still fresh and relevant for today students. I recommend this section in particular : "What if You Get Confused while Reading?"

What to Focus while Reading?

  1. Purpose

  2. Your existing knowledge

  3. The big picture

  4. Key ideas, definitions, terms

  5. Your summary

  6. Your organization

  7. Your mental picture

  8. Your hook/cue/mnemonics

What if You Get Confused while Reading?

  1. Return to the big picture.

  2. Backtrack. Retrace your steps to note the wrong turns you've taken.

  3. Jump to the end

  4. Find an example.

  5. Skip it!


  1. Definitions

  2. Examples

  3. Relationships

How to Organize

  1. Ways to compare

  2. Similarities and differences

  3. Dependency, order, relationships etc

Kinds of Hooks or Mnemonics

  1. Pictures

  2. Patterns

  3. Rhymes

  4. Stories

Problem Solving

imitate -----------> understand
what --------------> why
  1. Guess, trial and error. Play around.

  2. Approximate.

  3. Try extreme cases

  4. Try special or general cases

  5. Restate or re-formulate the problem.

  6. Remind yourself of similar problems, or some relevant/related concepts

  7. Reconstruct the problem in smaller or simpler ways. Our favorite trick.

Study Smarter, Not Harder : Book Review

Today I am reviewing Study Smarter, Not Harder by Kevin Paul, 2009, 3rd edition. The book has a lot of useful tips for students at all levels.

First all of, here come tow major findings from the book.
  1. No stress, full emotions ----------> good learning
  2. Meditation ---> Gamma waves ---> good learning


Causes of good memory are :
  1. Learning through multi-senses, multi-channels e.g. see, hear, do, touch, smell
  2. Similarity
  3. Association, links
  4. Emotions
  5. Intensity, vividness, sharpness
  6. Repetitions
  7. Mnemonics
  8. Chunking: primacy effect (you remember most what you notice first), recency effect (you remember most what you notice most recently.)
  9. Linkage
  10. Reviews: After every hour, After every half day, After every whole day.

Stages of Reading

  1. Read clues to know what to expect, what to look for, what to focus.
  2. Slow reading to facilitate real, deep learning
  3. Summarize and sketch.

Taking Lecture Notes

  1. Key words, in your own words.
  2. Key patterns
  3. Diagrams, graphs.
  4. Flexible, non-linear arrows to link points.
  5. Spaces to fill later: With what you might have missed, With our own insights, etc.

If You Have to Cram, Cram Five Days in Advance

  1. Focus on the possible. Cut back your ambitions.
  2. Try to do just 2 new topics per day.
  3. Practice output activities i.e. write, speak, present, demo etc.
  4. Stop new input as the target date nears.

May 17, 2013

"How to Win at College"

"How to Win at College," by Cal Newport, 2005, is full of useful and practical tips for students. Here I share tips on Time Management, When to Quit and Memory.

Time management

  1. Block out obligations.
  2. Assign hour-long blocks to specific projects.
  3. Set aside at least one block for slack and emergencies.
  4. When knocked off your schedule, re-organize your blocks.
  5. Time blocking is more effective than daily todo lists.

When to quit

Define "Productive" as efficiently accomplishable and in a reasonable amount of time.

If you're sure you won't be able to solve it without outside/extra information/help,

or if you can't specify a time frame within which you will be able to solve it,

or if you've put in a long time but you are still unable to finish it off,

then, you should give up.


  1. Quiz and Recall : Make yourself recall specific information.
  2. While reviewing or reading, jot down your recall questions.
  3. Then, quiz.
  4. Then, articulate with emotions, using multi-senses etc.
This Quiz and Recall technique has the same effect as TDD (Test-Driven Development) or TFD (Test-First Development) in software development. You are very clear about your objectives and you are also very clear about whether you've made it or not.

"How to Be a High School Superstar" : Play Some Politics

"How to Be a High School Superstar," by Cal Newport, 2010, is a wonderful book.

I am surprised to find that this book discusses politics unwittingly. These superstars know how to play politics at a premature age!

Step 1: Cut back

Have a stop-work point e.g. In my Graduate school, I stopped all forms of study at 4:00 p.m sharp.
Reduce your study time so that you get more time for other steps below, for instance.

Step 2: Explore

  1. Experience interesting stuffs: people, places, events, especially. communities that are well-known but little-understood and that still have open roles.
  2. Deconstruct a success path.
  3. Pursue something hard to mentally simulate, but not that hard to execute. By the way "Parkinson Rule," Book 3, said this a lot better.
  4. Have patience if you can't have faith. Don't think, just believe you'll have it.

Step 3: Focus

Review and reduce your goal list to just 1 or 2 "deep interests."
Litmus test: Does that excite you on a weekend morning?

Step 4: Execute

  1. In your chosen community, pay your dues first, get political buy-in first.
  2. Get good: Give up your assumptions, learn from the successful. Immerse.
  3. Do what the Community Elders recommend/suggest/offer. Or just add a tiny bit of the new in something already existing.
  4. Sequence your objectives in terms of achievability. "Underdog Advantage" said this better in many ways.