Answer by Rizwan Aseem:
When I was 16 years old I listened to too much heavy metal and rock and roll. Spent too much time talking to my girlfriend, and watching Baywatch.
I struggled in high school and failed my first two semesters in college. It wasn't until I discovered this secret that I was able to fly through college.
Just because of this one secret I quickly out paced my friends and class fellows in college, was able to get a professional degree faster than my friends, and get a significantly higher paying job.
Here's the secret for you to apply this in your life and get results and success that you've never even dreamed about.
But a word of warning…
Most people will tell you that you should concentrate on your grades and focus on studies. There will actually be people giving you advice such as forget everything and just focus on studies.
These will usually be people who did not study much, got terrible grades in schools and are now stuck in low paying jobs with large mortgages and want you to fulfill their fantasies of being great students.
Don't listen to them. This advice will only get you good grades in school, but good grades in school have nothing to do with real life. The things that you use in real life aren't taught in schools.
You do need to focus on your studies, but not harder, but smarter. I'll show you how to study and learn faster.
I learned these skills through a lot of trial and error. If I had picked these skill up earlier I would've been significantly more successful in my life. Both in my grades in school, at my workplace and in my personal life.
In this post you'll discover the single biggest skill that every high school student should learn in his life.
You'll learn how this skill will apply in your school and college life. And you'll also uncover the secret to learning this skill.
But that's not all, you'll also learn how to implement this skill in your life every day and improve on it as you grow older.
By the end of this post you will have a detailed map of the the single biggest skill that every high school student should learn, you'll know how this skill will benefit you in your life, and you'll also discover how to implement this skill in your life.
The Biggest Skill Every High School Student Should Learn
If you learn this skill in your life you will gain the love of your family, the respect of your friends, and become a leader in your peer group.
If you don't learn this skill you will become a nobody relegated to living a small town living. Your parents will think of you as a useless kid and question your existence.
Your friends will move on and get tired of your ranting and the things that you do.
Since you're a 16 year old high school student you will want to start doing this immediately, but curb this urge. Give yourself a 30 day time period to learn to do this. Give yourself a "test-drive" so to speak, or implementing this skill.
Once you've done this for 30 days then and only then think about adding more to this skill. But remember, once you've got this skill down, you need to keep doing this.
If you do, the effect of this skill will compound over time and give you unstoppable momentum.
At the end of this post I'll also share with you the exact plan you can use to implement this skill in your life and get higher grades in all your subjects.
In fact if you just implement this skill alone you will drastically improve your grades to the point that your teachers will be shocked and question you.
If you are already a straight A student you will reduce your study tie by at least 50% while maintaining your grades and free up time to do extra-curricular activities surprising your parents and delighting your teachers.
The Secret Skill: Learning Faster
The fact is that you will be learning for the rest of your life, whether it is to learn to drive, learn to write a resume, manage people, write to a board of directors, or even just parenting. You will be learning new things every 2 – 5 years in your life.
But if you keep learning at the rate that you currently learn, you will be lost. You will spend more time learning new things than actually doing them. This will cause you to not want to try new things and you will lose interest.
Unless you learn to learn faster. Unless you learn to upgrade your learning curve.
In this post I'll just explain to you how to learn faster in the context of a subject that you might have in school. This will help you understand and instantly implement this skill to your studies.
Once you learn this skill you can implement this method to learning about anything.
You can implement this same method to learning new skill, picking up musical instruments, understanding the rules of a new sport that you pick up or anything else.
The Old Way – Learning At The First Grade Level
Right now you're learning as the first grader learned. Because that's when you initially started to learn. Your teachers taught you how to learn things, your ABCs and 123s.
The advice your teacher gave you then is probably how you're learning right now.
You run a finger under the words, mouthing them in your head and reading each and every word in your head.
If you forget what you read, you go back and read again.
This is a very inefficient way of learning and causes more stress then actual learning. Because the bandwidth of how we learn is limited to what we learned about learning in the 1st grade.
This about it this way, if your computer is able to support Terabit internet speeds, but your modem can only push 56.6kbps then you're screwed.
No matter what you do, how much you what, how many upgrades you put in your computer, until you upgrade the modem, nothing will work.
So the first skill that you should learn is to learn faster. Here's how it will help you in school and in life.
The Benefits Of Learning Faster In School And College
When you start learning faster you won't have to spend hours and hours sitting with your books and not getting anything.
You'll be able to spend the hour or two that you really need to study and then have the rest of the time to day-dream about hot chicks, hang out with your friends or shoot some zombies on your PS4.
Your parents will give you shit either way, but if you've done your work ahead of time, and learned to do it then you'll have a lot better chance of convincing them to actually buy you the concert tickets to that concert you want to go to.
Plus even though your friends will be stuck with books, you'll be done studying and be able to actually teach them a thing or two.
Here's a secret, the more you teach other people the better you learn, so don't be shy to help out a friend if you've finished your work.
But how will learning faster actually help you in real life.
The Benefits Of Learning Faster For The Rest Of Your Life
The sad reality is that most people don't read much after they've graduated from college. In fact the average American reads less than 1 book per year. Which means that most people aren't reading much.
But the flip side is, to succeed in the real world you need to be constantly learning. Whether you're a doctor, an engineer, an artist, or a graphics designer. If you don't learn new technologies, new software, new changes to the industry, new ways to develop things then you will be left behind.
Additionally most organizations value how well you learn within the organization than what you've already learned in college.
So your boss is going to be happier about you learning the company's policies, procedures and improving them, rather then moulding what you learned to the company. And not doing a very good job.
But the question remains – how do you learn faster and make this a life long habit.
The Hidden Secret To Learning Faster
So lets take a look how to learn faster.
Most teachers follow a strict curriculum and expect students to follow the course starting from the first chapter ending in the last. But the truth is that our brain does not think linearly.
We don't think in a straight line. We don't process information starting from 1 and ending in 20.
We think from one place to another. We talk about different topics at the same time, and even though our conversations aren't linear, we can still put all the conversation in a neat pile in our brain and talk about it in a linear manner.
This is what Tony Buzan discovered and how he came up with a technique called Mind Mapping. Where you take a concept and map it out on paper.
This has different branches leading from the central concept and moving from one place to another.
Then each branch has sub ideas, and each sub idea has topic within it.
This is how the human mind works. We think about things in a collective. We thing about topics in a collective, not in a linear manner. But we have to produce things in a linear manner, when we're writing them down.
This causes a bit of confusion when we're learning. Thus we try to learn topics linearly instead of naturally.
By learning and reading topics naturally we're able to learn them quicker, have a better understanding of them, and be able to reproduce them faster.
The 7 Steps To Learning Faster
Here are the 7 steps that you must take to learn any topic faster.
1. Preview Stage
This is the first stage of learning. In this stage you just go over the book. Hold it in your hand, read the front cover, the back cover. Then you flip through each of the pages spending no more then 1 – 2 seconds per page. This stage will take you about 5 minutes for a 300 page book.
The purpose of doing this is to just get acquainted with the book. Let the topics be picked up, subconsciously. You will read a few words here and there, but the focus is not on reading. It is on just becoming acquainted with the book itself.
We are 'fooling' our mind into thinking we've read this a few times and that this book is comfortable and easy to read.
2. Pre-Reading Stage
This is the stage where we are going to spend a little more time. Looking over each page. We're still not at the reading stage, we're just doing this to become more familiar with the book.
We're now spending 2-5 seconds per page. The purpose of doing this is letting the main topics and sub-topics get implanted in the mind. You can read if you want to. But mainly just browse the book. Spending no more than a few seconds on each page.
This stage take you about 20 minutes of your time. By now you will know the main structure of the book. How it is laid out, the topics, the sub topics, the things that the author has empasized. By now you could talk about the topic that the book is on.
You won't be able to be very specific about the subject, but you will have a high level grasp of the subject.
3. Reading Stage
Finally we're on the reading stage. But this is going to be a little different from the way you've been reading all your life. We aren't just going to read. We're going to learn. We're going to retain the things that we read today.
The reading stage itself is divided into two parts. The first part is taking notes, the second part is reading (which won't be done until you get to the Post Reading Stage). The note taking part is first because this helps enhance the reading and help you remember the key points.
Your mind is very good at picking up the important parts of any communication, written or verbal. But if you think about it, or spend too much time on it, you miss the important points and focus on trivia.
This is why we're going to take notes before you start reading. This technique helps our mind to focus on the key points without thinking about it too much
So pick up a legal pad and a pen. This is so you can take notes. Now we'll spend 5 minutes per chapter taking notes. Even before we actually read the book.
Now because we want to learn quickly, we'll spend the next 50 minutes (5 minutes per chapter for a 10 chapter book) taking notes on all the chapters.
Using the mind mapping technique make notes of all the chapters in the book.
The central idea is the topic of the chapter, the subbranches are the sub-topic in the chapter, then each sub-topic will have 3 – 7 explanatory points that the author discusses. Additionally each explanatory point might have a few examples.
Write each of them concisely. You don't have to make this pretty, just write this down in the next 5 minutes. Don't think too much about it, just write down the first things that appear important. We'll make this pretty later.
Now that you've spend the 50 minutes and gone through the entire book and taken notes on this, now you can go ahead and read the book.
4. Post Reading Stage
Now that you've got the main points of the book written down and in front of you. You can go ahead and actually start reading the book.
Reading it at this stage will help you understand all the concepts that you've written so far, and it will also help you fill up any areas that you might have missed in the reading stage.
Spend only 10 minutes per chapter reading the important parts of the book. Don't worry if you cant read every thing, you'll be able to get most of the material and retain it much better.
Even if you read at a slower pace, spend no more than 10 minutes per chapter. The purpose is to let the material be soaked in by your mind. If there are 30 pages in each chapter, then you're spending 20 seconds per page to read.
This means that you go over each page, look at your notes and see if you got the gist of that in your notes, if you want to add more information to your notes, do that.
If you think you missed something, or didn't understand it properly, spend a little longer to learn this.
By reading it in this manner you should be done with the entire book in another hour and a half.
You might still feel that you haven't read the book entirely and that you don't get all the concepts.
This isn't because you don't understand the concepts, it is because you've been so conditioned to reading each page for 10 minutes that reading it this way seem like cheating.
Your mind wants you to think that it didn't "understand" anything. Your mind wants you to believe that you wont retain anything because of the way you've been taught all your life.
You have understood most of the material, you have read most of the book, and you can talk about it, write about it, and even explain most of it – you just don't believe that you can.
Don't think about that too much. It might be a right time to take a break if you haven't taken one so far in your study.
5. Overview Stage
After finishing the book read through your notes. Just browse them and think about the topics. Think about what the author said, or meant for each topic.
Spend 2 minutes per chapter just thinking to yourself, and saying out loud what the author meant in each topic. Total time should be no more than 20 minutes
Think about this exercise as explaining to an imaginary friend what the author meant in each chapter.
You can go over your notes and use what you wrote down to talk this out loud. In total you'll only be spending about 20 minutes in this section.
While you're doing this you will notice areas where there are missing example, places where you don't know what the author said or meant, or areas where you feel a little weak.
Put a question mark near these area in red pen. This is just to remind you to go over these items again. Don't fret about this. Just put a question mark, and move on to the next item.
We'll cover all the question marks in the next stage. For now go through your entire notes and revise them while explaining to an imaginary friend.
6. Re-Read Stage
This is the stage when you will go back and read all the things that you missed out. Spend another 5 minutes per "question mark" reading over the subject matter once more. In total spend no more than 60 minutes.
Which means that you should have no more than 12 question marks from the previous stage. If you have more question marks then either you're discounting what you've learned too much, or you weren't paying enough attention on the first reading.
In either case, now is the time to increase your understanding of the subject matter.
Take the time to read the information that you missed out earlier, take notes, enhance your outlines that you've made and use this time to enhance your reading of the topic.
Again you might think that you've not yet retained anything, or that you're spending too little time reading everything that you should. But you have already spend enough time.
Sure you're spending probably only 25% of the time that you would normally spend reading a book. But you have a detailed map of the information that you need to learn.
Plus you've gone through the book at least twice, and once while taking notes.
This stage will help you enhance the information that you missed out, just by spending 5 minutes on each question mark.
7. Review Stage
This is the final stage. In this stage you are going through the book and your notes simultaneously.
Browse through each chapter of the book and then look at your notes. Compare what you missed out from your notes and if necessary add that to your notes.
Take no more than 2 minutes per chapter just going through each chapter and reviewing your notes. This stage is just to give you one last chance to fix any glaring errors, fill up any holes in your notes and help you overcome any weak areas in your study.
Once you've done this, put your book aside. Read over your notes. You are not done with the book yet, but you are finished with the main thrust of your study.
You will use the notes over time and review them whenever you need learn the subject, or even to revise a particular topic. You won't need to go to the book again.
Total time spend in the review stage is no more than 20 minutes.
Putting It To Work For You
This works particularly great for textbooks.
So let me give you an example of that of studying physics. (This book is the example I'm using since its the first one that popped up in Google http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/books/11/std11-phys-em-1.pdf )
This book incidentally has 10 chapters, divided into 5 sections. Additionally if you look into each chapter, it has sub-sections ad smaller topics. On top of that each topic has a small description with the subtopic.
On top of this there are some problems for you to solve at the end of each chapter. The first chapter has 35 problems.
So to use the technique on the physics book follow the step by step process mentioned in this post. Leave the problems un-solved for now and don't look at them. Use these problems to self test yourself when you get to step 5.
This is an excellent way to find out what part of the syllabus you're weak in. Then you can go back to that specific part of the syllabus and practice and read more.
The biggest benefit of using this technique is that by the time you go to class you'll have gone through the entire subject matter and will have intelligent questions to ask the teacher.
Plus whatever you learn in class will be a way to revise the subject matter and not just learn it for the first time and come home confused.
This same procedure would be applied to Calculus. Use the notes to add formulas that you need to remember in each chapter, and the derivatives of each formula.
Finally with any subject involving mathematics remember practicing is more important than just reading. So with both physics and Calculus spend 30-60 minutes everyday solving problems. Look at problems at the end of each chapter and solve them.
Even if you don't know how to solve them and have to look over the answers, or solved answers to understand. This is a much better way or learning mathematics than any other method.
Don't take additional tuitions, don't sit with your head in your hand if you don't understand a problem, solve it using pen and paper, even if you have to copy it. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but this works great.
The total time to follow the 7 steps will take about 275 minutes or roughly 4 hours 45 minutes. If you just read the book once, it would take you about 5 hours also.
So Why Do It This Way?
The difference is that you've not just read the book.
You've spend the last 5 hours you've
- gone through the book at least twice,
- taken notes on the entire book,
- reviewed your notes at least twice,
- talked yourself through your notes at least once effectively testing yourself on the ideas
- Identified problem areas in the book and review them
So you've not just read the book, but you've become a thorough expert on this book and will be able to explain in detail with the authors examples to your friends, and answer any impromptu questions.
So if you just spend 2 hours a day following this procedure, you'll be done with nearly 3 books every week. Which means that you'll be done with your entire course work work in the first month.
The benefit of this is that you now have a better understanding of the course work then anyone else. Sure you're reading ahead before your teachers even get there.
This will give you the benefit of asking your teachers the right questions when the time arises and you'll be well prepared in your coursework.
But you don't have to limit this to your coursework. Any book that you're reading. Try this out. Read the book using this technique.
You'll discover that at the end of reading the book with this method you'll read it faster, and you'll retain more information than you previously did.
How To Implement This In Your Everyday Life
The truth is if you don't implement this in your life you won't get the benefits of this. And if you only implement this 1 week before your finals this won't work.
That's like wanting to win the olympics by putting in 1 week of training. It just won't work. If you want to win the olympics you will have to put in the additional time to become successful.
Here's the good news – you don't need to put in hours and hours of study to make this work. Just put in 2 hours every day after school. Whether you have home work or not, whether it is a holiday or not.
Make this your life long habit. The habit of spending 2 hours every day studying. Spending 2 hours studying. In high school spend 2 hours to study your subjects. Not just what you have to read for your homework but on top of that.
You don't have to stop going to parties, or stop hanging out with friend. Just make this your priority. Do this before you go out with your friends. Do this before you go for a party. Do this before you have to go to a concert.
If it's a holiday or Sunday, do this before you do anything else. Close the door of your bedroom, tell your parents that you're studying for 2 hours and you want to be left alone. Then spend the 2 hours studying. Not a single second less, or more.
This 2 hours rule is an absolute must. The benefit of doing this is that you will never have to cram for finals, you will never be surprised by a quiz, you will have finished all your coursework ahead of time and will be relaxed during final week.
But don't just do this for when you're in school or college. Make this a life long habit of spending 2 hours studying on your schoolwork, your college work, or your profession.
If you spend two hours every day on your chosen field of study by the end of the year you'll have put in 700 hours and in 5 years you'll have put in 3,500 hours.
This time alone will be enough to propel you to the top 1% of people in the field. Specially since we know that most people read 1 book per year.
By spending 2 hours a day of focused study on your chosen field you will quickly become the top 1% in your profession in the world.
So every day when you come home, no matter what time it is, no matter how late it is, spend the 2 hours studying in your chosen field. Force yourself to do this, whether you like it or not, whether you feel like it or not.