ad astra per alia porci

what smart students know
December 14, 2008, 7:09 am
Filed under: Law, Lifeskills, skills | Tags: , , , ,

Notes from What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson

A useful book for students who are already putting in the hard work but have not awoken to the realities of study. This book helps those who need some direction and finesse to complement brute effort, but is not very useful for anyone who already appreciates the need to read smart and organise well.

The Smart Student’s credo

Robinson listed 12 principles, but I feel only a handful is truly useful and relevant.

1) Nobody can teach you as well as you can teach yourself

2) Merely listening to your teachers and completing the assignments is never enough.

3) Not everything you are assigned to read or asked to do is equally important.

4) Grades are just subjective opinions. Don’t peg your self-esteem to grades, and enjoy studying.

5) Making mistakes is the price you pay for learning and improving.

Robinson espouses his “Cyberlearning” method, which is essentially a fancy way of naming an efficient and productive method of analysing and extracting useful information from texts relating to the subject one is studying.

Several questions to ask when you read something:

1) What’s my purpose of reading this?

2) What do I already know about this topic?

3) What’s the big picture here?

4) What’s the author going to say next?

5) What are the “expert” questions? – each subject has a unique set of questions that you need to keep in mind while reading.

6) What questions does this information raise for me?

7) What information is important here?

8) How can I paraphrase and summarise this information?

9) How can I organise this information?

10) What’s my hook for remembering this information?

11) How does this information fit in with what I already know?

Robinson also suggests that as exam dates draw closer, the amount of prepared notes should shrink; what is learnt should be summarised into one page.

Handling teachers is an important skill. Give a good first impression, and try not to attack the teacher’s  obsessions.


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