12 Ways to “Hack” Get That “A” Grade

“Study smarter, not harder!”

This quote may seem ‘cheesy’ to some, but its veracity is worth its salt.

These four words can not only help you ace your next exam, but also allow you to be smart when it comes to preparation.

Here are 12 hacks to help you get some smart studying done.

1) - Carrots and Sticks –  

Reading large chunks of text can be cumbersome. Take it easy on yourself by placing M&Ms after every paragraph – or if you have stamina make it after every chapter. This will help you read more and not look at the book as a burden. In fact it’ll give you the regular snack break you need. 

2) - Teach yourself

By way of a presentation you can better retain the information. Present to an empty dorm room or you can ask your roommates to sit in as audience. Stand next to the wall and imagine the room to be full of eager students willing to learn. Teach them what you’ve just learnt. Stop, if you must, in the middle and hit those books again for better understanding of the material. Teaching is the best way to retain information and clear your concepts.

3) - Cross Questioning

This technique is not meant for lawyers alone. Get a smart student from your class to sit across the table from you. Ask him/her to test you. This technique would work well in a group study session. Ask each other questions (take your cue from past exams). Discuss exam techniques, leave no stone unturned

4) – Satisfy Your Senses

Write your notes in different colors, then read them out aloud. Keep yourself alert by smelling peppermint (take it with you in the exam room if you want to). When taking notes, touch the paper you’re writing on. Listen to Hanz Zimmer and Pandora when studying. Their music has no distracting lyrics and is excellent at motivating. And munch on antioxidants and whole grains to keep your brain firing on all cylinders.

5) – Read Upside Down

As crazy as it may sound, this is a proven tecchnique to increase your focus. No standing on head necessary here. Turn your book upside down and read aloud. Though slow in the beginning, in the long run, it will save your time. This "crazy" technique actually helps you focus better.

6) – Make Notes (Where ever you can)

Watch Matt Damon in ‘Good Will Hunting’ and Russell Crowe in ‘A Beautiful Mind’ tackle those complex math problems by vandalizing mirrors and windows. However if you’re not a genius then those white/black boards may also do the job. Check for yourself. If you have a chemistry exam coming up, try writing those definitions and formulas on them.

7) – Take Notes the Ol’ School Way

When you write down notes by hand, you first process and reframe the information and then write it down. In contrast, students who rely on laptops to take down notes, type word-for-word what the teacher has said; they’re unable to process information comparatively well. Your goal here should be to take detailed notes. Notes that can re teach you the concept years after you’ve taken them down. Ever wondered why all the old school journalists still keep a pen and diary handy. This is why. 

8) – The Perfect Time to Study

The best time to study is obviously when the brain is working at full capacity. If you wake up at 6 am, your brain will already be at half its capacity. If you want to do some hard core studying then your best bet would to wake up early. However, this goes without saying that you must get your recommended 7 – 8 hours of sleep as well. Sleeping late and waking up early will not give your brain enough rest.   

Are these hacks for traditional students only? Are online students being left in the lurch? With over 5 million online students in the US, students enrolled in online courses need help too.

So here are a couple of hacks to help online students

9) – Select the Right Font

If you’re reading, you obviously need the right font to help you. There are several studies showing that the Times New Roman font is the best typeface for reading. Don’t believe it! Take a look at this font’s rich history online. It’s been used for almost a century and is still popular among serious online users. However, it might not go well on your resume so be careful with that. Set the size of the font at 12 for unparalleled clarity.

Notice anything special about this hack?

10) - Let Google do the Talking

After you’re done with your essay let Google Translate proofread it for you. Go to Google Translate and simply paste your essay into Google Translate and then click on the speaker sign. Turn on the volume and listen to the “lady” read your essay back to you. Having your essay read back to you is the best way to check for errors and problems with flow.

11) – Use Google the Right Way

This freely accessible web search engine helps students with scholarly literature available online. In short, if you’re a student looking to complete an assignment, do not use google.com instead go for its much smarter and wiser brother scholar.google.com

12) - The Biggest Hurdle Between you and an “A” is Internet Surfing

Studying can be hard if you’ve got your Facebook and Twitter open. Even though there’s nothing wrong with a little break once in a while, the problem starts when you begin to do this a bit more often. When studying what you should be counting on is uninterrupted silence and concentration. Apps like Cold Turkey can temporarily block the sites you specify and for the period of time you specify, so that you can get some work done in peace.

Hacks are creative solutions to everyday problems. Even though they are similar to advice and tips, hacks are actionable nuggets of wisdom. So if you have a big exam coming up give these hacks a try and see if they work.


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