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How do top students study?


Grades are an essential part of the high school student’s lifestyle and are arguably the most important part of college admissions. Achieving these grades, however, is difficult and laborious. Studying requires lots of time and energy that students are unwilling to invest in until the day before the test. Unless you’re a genius, studying is something that is inevitable. However, although studying is hard work, there are things that you can do to make studying more efficient and less exhausting.

Recently, I read an article about a form of studying called “stealth studying,” which emphasizes the importance of studying in a large number of 5-10 minute chunks integrated into one’s daily routine. The brain best absorbs and retains information in small chunks, so the key is consistency. By setting out small chunks of time for studying, studying will appear to be less difficult.

This approach relies on three key principles:

  1. Learn and process information as soon as they are introduced in class. If you’re already taking in information from a lecture or a reading assignment, you might as well process all the information at the same time. This can help minimize the time spent studying by preventing the need to process the information in a separate time block. During lectures, be engaged and process the information even if your teacher is a boring lecturer. Part of learning the information comes from asking lots of questions, so make sure to come to class attentive and be prepared to ask tons of questions.
  2. Review information when you’re not doing anything, such as when you’re on the car or when you’re walking between classes. Part of stealth studying requires you to use dead time, or whenever time is being wasted. For example, while walking in between classes, reinforce the information that you learned in your head. Ask yourself questions and quiz yourself about the material that you learned. These few minutes count as studying, but they don’t feel difficult at all.
  3. If you are uncertain about some information, be sure to fill in your gaps in understanding immediately. In this day and age, getting information can’t be any easier; everything that mankind knows can be accessed through the device in your pocket. If you find yourself with gaps in your understanding, make sure to fill it in by asking your teacher or searching it up on google.

This system of studying can work for you, but it also means that you must cut out last minute cramming for exams. From personal experience, cramming can help you pass exams, but the information is not firmly ingrained in your brain. Without getting the basics down, you’ll find yourself struggling to stay afloat later in the year. Once you get used to this stealth studying system, you’ll begin to discover the flexibility you actually have with the dreaded activity known as studying. By removing long study sessions, you can eliminate a lot of stress from your life.


About Eric Guo

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