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Making College "A"s



1.  Copy Big Business.
     Build a team of advisors that know you (not parents).  
     Meet regularly.  Use them to review your papers (prior to completion); class schedules and selections,
     your failures, etc.  Never write a term paper alone.

2.  Review this material every quarter.

3.  Use Innovative thinking to get yourself through school.

4.  Review the Outline For Success  and relate it back to yourself.

5.  Get on birth control!

6.  Learn to meditate.  This will increase your GPA by one letter grade.
       See:  Rants - Meditation

7.  Determine if you are an early bird or a night owl.  Schedule yourself accordingly.

8.  No matter what, make all "A"s and stay current just for the first 30 days. That's all. 
        Your pride will make it difficult to give up that position.

9.  Grades are directly related to sleep, as memory storage occurs during sleep.  Get enough.

10.  Watch the 1973 movie The Paper Chase.  It is an immediate download at Netflix, Blockbuster and others. 
       Review the notes on it in the back of  Outline For Success.    (Appendix "B")

11.  Read the article Rant - Graduation.

12. Take a speed-reading  class.  You have to look for it on campus.  You cannot get college credit for it, and you can get it cheaper on campus at the junior college level.   You can also purchase the software and learn it on your own, which is what I recommend.  This will cut your reading time down to about 20% of what it is now, and will increase your comprehension.

13.  Avoid fraternities and sororities, you don't have time for that.  Wearing a dead fish around your neck
       will not get you a good grade in chemistry.

14.  Save your Freshman catalog.  That is the school's contract with you.  Read it!
      Three years later they may change the rules on you.  This prevents it from harming you.

15.  Learn how to challenge classes by just taking the final or take a difficult one on a pass/fail option.



1.  Choose subjects you enjoy.

2.  Check out the teachers.

a.  Get many opinions.
b.  Stand outside of the class you want to take; ask those students.
c.  Ask specific questions about the class.
d.  Offer to purchase their book for more than the $5 they will get at the bookstore.

3.  Remember that registration for classes is never closed.
        If you want in a class, you can talk your way in with the instructor.

4.  Determine if you are an early bird or a night owl. 
     Schedule yourself accordingly.

5.  Apply for Scholarships.

6.  Know when to bail out of a class or take an Incomplete.

7.  Early on, take a computer language.  It will teach you how to think.



1.  Learn to outline.

                       a.  Print.  When you take notes in longhand, you have to translate in your mind to memorize.
b.  Use short phrases, with key words in front for Mnemonics later.
c.  Leave a couple of lines after a section for corrections later on.
d.  Take your exam with the same pen (model) as your notes.  Keep a Correct -Tape on you.
     Never take notes in purple and the exam in green.  Your mind will not be able to spot
e.  Boil the fat out of the clauses; get to the point.
f.   If it's in the book in italics, it's a test question.
g.  I prefer long-legal pads for note taking; one pad per class.  Always leave the top page blank. 
      Put your name and contact info on the second page and back.
      These notes are life and death to you.
h.  For difficult material, refer back to the page number from the book.
i.   If possible, create your own shorthand for oft repeated words.  In law, I had symbols for
     plaintiff, defendant, issue, ruling, etc.  Be sure to put an index of symbols on the front of the        
     back cover of your note pad.

2.  Study in short bursts.

3.  Read the text book early.  Stay two chapters ahead.

This is most important.  First, this plans for the flu or a lover's quarrel.  When you get behind, the others are actually just catching up with you.  As soon as you purchase your book, outline the first three chapters, as no instructor will ever skip those chapters.

Secondly, If you read and outline prior to class, you don't have to study hard for the exam.  The exam study time is spent in class watching the teacher work his way down your notes.  Just move your pencil down to each point he covers.  Make corrections accordingly.  This class time is actually you memorizing the material.   Compare this with the students that have not read the material and are writing down every word being spoken, which is in the book!  They are accomplishing nothing.  Now you see why the teacher will be lecturing to you; you will be the only one looking him in the eyes.

I heard about a professor that saw only heads down and students writing everything being said.  She said, "You don't have to write everything I say verbatim."  A student raised his hand and asked, "How do you spell verbatim?"

4.  Do not use a highlighter - Only mark what you don't know.

When purchasing textbooks, do not buy one with a lot of yellow highlights - it was owned by an idiot.
Draw a line down the right and left margin of major points you do not know, nothing else.  Highlighters focus on coloring inside of the lines rather than what the professor is saying.

5.  Take quick notes, not long sentences.

6.  Read Actively.

a.  Write down exam questions and answers as you read.
b.  Outline after you read.

7.  Study in bright light with no music.

8.  Use Index Cards.  Put key points / Mnemonics that can be memorized while standing in a line.

9.  Avoid Burnout:
        a.  Prop up your feet; remove shoes.
        b.  Breath deeply three or four times to oxygenate the brain.
        c.  Eat a small sweet.
        d.  No large meals before class, especially chicken or turkey.
        e.  Do not drink a soda prior to class.
                The caffeine will awaken you, but then the sugar will put you to sleep.
                Try this.  Drink water first half of class, then soda at break.  The sugar will kick in after the class.

10.  Build a personal library.  Save your books, if possible.


1.  Attendance is your grade!  Maintain zero absences.
      Let's assume there are twenty classes and you skip two.  That is 10% of the material covered.
      If you miss 10% of the exam questions, that can move you from an "A" to a "B".  Skipping is expensive!

2.  Sit in the front row. 
      If you capture a seat in the first row for the first three classes, you then own it. 
      If you don't understand something, the instructor will see it in your eyes and lecture to you only.      
      This will become a habit for both of you - you will be the center of his attention.
      You won't be distracted by the opposite sex.

3.  Take quick notes, not long sentences.

4.  Pay special attention to first and last minutes of class.
        The teachers give information that they fear they failed to say during the last class.
        At the end of class, teachers will rush information they want to make sure you hear. 
        All of these are test questions.

5.  Always get to class ten minutes early.
       You will meet the other dedicated students to share with. 
       Get their notes from missed classes; form a study group, etc.


1.  Become an expert test-taker:

a.  Write in outline form.
b.  Use short paragraphs, not one giant one.
c.  Remember neatness.
d.  Answer all test questions.
e.  Rely on first impressions.
f.  If unsure, take a guess, then place a dot in margin to come back to.
g.  Use the same pen/pencil you took notes with.
h.  Have your erasure / white-out / correct tape in your pocket.
      Keep an extra one in the car.
I.  Eat candy before the exam.
j.  Never eat a heavy meal prior to exams.
k. Dress for the exam and wear cologne; it sharpens the brain.
l.  Get in a good mood.  Tell yourself a joke to make yourself laugh.
m. Review repeatedly days before the exam.
n. Review the notes regarding educated guessing on multiple choice questions.
o. Be one of the last ones to leave the exam room.
p.  Advanced Technique Only:  Study weeks before the exam instead of dating.  Then get laid he night before the exam. You will then begin looking forward to exams instead of dreading them (just kidding).

2.  Pretest yourself.

a.  Use old exams.
b.  Check library for old exams.
c.  Ask the instructor for old exams.
d.  Use questions at end of chapters.
e.  Make up your own exam questions.

3.  Memory Tricks:

a.  Recognition
b.  Mnemonics
c.  Make photo-copies of your outline.
d.  Study the copies while in car, in line, etc.
e.  Write rough outline several times instead of doodling.

4.  Use Index Cards.  Put key points / Mnemonics that can be memorized while standing in a line.

5.  Learn how to guess at multiple choice tests.
         Top 10 Tips on How to Ace College Multiple Choice Exams.

6.  Get to know the Asian students that sit in a group in the back of class.
        They are very friendly and will gladly share with you.
        To them, the grade is life or death.  They will have copies of old exams, shared outlines, study
        together in the break hall, etc. and they will make most of the "A"s in class. 


1.  Do any extra credit work offered.

2.  Term Papers:

a.  Neatness.
b.  Do all work on the computer.
c.  Make an outline.
d.  Write topic sentences.
e.  Fill in the detail.
g.  Refine the paragraphs.
h.  Check for grammar, spelling, logic, etc.
i.  Move up the dates.
j.  Utilize a team!  It's not cheating, its professional.


3.  Move up due dates.

4.  Be professional.  This is your main job; treat it as so.
      Appearance does matter.


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