How to Become a Straight-A Student Book Summary - How to Become a Straight-A Student Book explained in key points
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How to Become a Straight-A Student summary

The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less

4.4 (210 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

How to Become a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport is a practical guide for students who want to achieve academic success. Focusing on efficient studying, time-management and test-taking strategy, it provides tips and tricks for boosting grades and reducing study time.

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    How to Become a Straight-A Student
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    In order to study more efficiently, manage your time and work in short, intensive bursts.

    How do you manage basketball practice, your English essay, your social life, and the rest of your homework? Many students believe there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. But that is simply untrue!

    Most people waste their time working at a low intensity, i.e., pseudo-working. This kind of “work” occurs when you study in a distracting environment, such as in front of the TV, or working through a long and continuous period of time where your concentration drops.

    For example, while it might feel like pulling an all-nighter was “hard work,” the loss of concentration due to sleep deprivation means that you were really just pseudo-working.

    A better way to focus your time is to work in short bursts with a high intensity. Indeed, many straight-A students spend a few intense intervals studying, while their less successful counterparts study much longer at lower intensity.

    In fact, studies show that the optimal learning period is roughly 50 minutes, so you should work no longer than one hour before giving yourself a break.

    Think of it this way: the work you accomplish is equal to the time spent working times the intensity of your focus. In other words, if you spend three separate hours of study at an intensity of “10,” you get the same outcome as you would if you study for ten hours in a row at an intensity of “3”!

    By reducing the time and ramping up the intensity, you’d find yourself with seven hours to do whatever you wanted – meet friends, party hard, sleep, relax, you name it!

    But in order to start working in short bursts, you’ll need to carefully manage your time.

    Keep a detailed calendar with all your deadlines and upcoming tasks. Always carry a list with your day’s schedule on your person and write down any new deadlines or tasks that crop up during the day. Spend five minutes each morning putting those new deadlines in your calendar.

    And remember: keeping a calendar will only help you manage your time if you actually use it.

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    What is How to Become a Straight-A Student about?

    How to Become a Straight-A Student offers you successful strategies used by actual straight-A students to help you score better grades while studying less. From time management to concrete advice on developing a thesis, this book gives you all the tools you need to earn the perfect 4.0 without burning out.

    How to Become a Straight-A Student Review

    How to Become a Straight-A Student (2006) is a practical guide that helps students excel academically. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • It offers proven strategies and techniques to help students improve their study habits and achieve higher grades.
    • With its step-by-step approach, it provides a clear roadmap for students to manage their time effectively and stay organized.
    • Its practical tips on note-taking, exam preparation, and maximizing productivity make it a valuable resource for any student looking to excel academically.

    Best quote from How to Become a Straight-A Student

    You need to know what your professor wants you to know.

    —Cal Newport
    example alt text

    Who should read How to Become a Straight-A Student?

    • Students who are sick of pulling all-nighters
    • Anyone who wants to make the most out of their time
    • Anyone who would benefit from less procrastination

    About the Author

    Cal Newport is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a PhD from MIT. He is currently an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University and has also authored a number of books, including How to Be A High School Superstar, How to Win at College and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

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    How to Become a Straight-A Student FAQs 

    What is the main message of How to Become a Straight-A Student?

    The main message of How to Become a Straight-A Student is to share effective strategies for academic success.

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    The reading time for How to Become a Straight-A Student varies, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary takes around 15 minutes.

    Is How to Become a Straight-A Student a good book? Is it worth reading?

    How to Become a Straight-A Student is worth reading for its practical tips and actionable advice on achieving academic excellence.

    Who is the author of How to Become a Straight-A Student?

    The author of How to Become a Straight-A Student is Cal Newport.

    What to read after How to Become a Straight-A Student?

    If you're wondering what to read next after How to Become a Straight-A Student, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Learn Like a Pro by Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe
    • A World Without Email by Cal Newport
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte
    • The Algebra of Wealth by Scott Galloway