Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

May 18, 2013

"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.


  1. This is too simple. Only points and no paragraphs.

  2. Thank you. I'll eleborate and expand later.