Accelerated Learning and Life Skills

10 Rules of Good Studying – Part 2

In last month’s video blog, I discussed the first five of the 10 rules of good studying from Dr. Barbara Oakley’s best selling book “A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math an Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)”. In this month’s video blog, I discuss the last 5 rules of good studying.

Please take a minute to read the last 5 rules listed below and then watch my 11-minute video blog on how to apply these rules in any math, science, or engineering class. I guarantee it will be well worth your time.

6) Take breaks.
It is common to be unable to solve problems or figure out concepts in math or science the first time you encounter them. This is why a little study every day is much better than a lot of studying all at once. When you get frustrated with a math or science problem, take a break so that another part of your mind can take over and work in the background.

7) Use explanatory questioning and simple analogies.
Whenever you are struggling with a concept, think to yourself, How can I explain this so that a ten‐year‐old could understand it? Using an analogy really helps, like saying that the flow of electricity is like the flow of water. Don’t just think your explanation—say it out loud or put it in writing. The additional effort of speaking and writing allows you to more deeply encode (that is, convert into neural memory structures) what you are learning.

8) Focus.
Turn off all interrupting beeps and alarms on your phone and computer, and then turn on a timer for twenty‐five minutes. Focus intently for those twenty‐five minutes and try to work as diligently as you can. After the timer goes off, give yourself a small, fun reward. A few of these sessions in a day can really move your studies forward. Try to set up times and places where studying—not glancing at your computer or phone—is just something you naturally do.

9) Eat your frogs first.
Do the hardest thing earliest in the day, when you are fresh.

10) Make a mental contrast.
Imagine where you’ve come from and contrast that with the dream of where your studies will take you. Post a picture or words in your workspace to remind you of your dream. Look at that when you find your motivation lagging. This work will pay off both for you and those you love!

Thanks for watching and happy learning – Joe

If you have a specific question about accelerated learning techniques, please leave a comment below or send me an email at I will be creating a video FAQ as one of my upcoming (late 2015?) monthly video blogs and I would love your input.

Comments & Responses

Leave a Reply